Officials from Augusta State and Georgia Southern Universities made it official Wednesday.
They signed a memorandum of understanding that allows the colleges to work together to offer a doctoral degree in education administration.
The doctoral program, which is offered by Georgia Southern at Augusta State, trains education administrators in leadership skills and methods of analyzing problems that prevent students from becoming high achievers.
"We hope our external degree will have a measurable impact in several ways," said Arnie Cooper, dean of Georgia Southern's College of Education. "We encourage students to apply for the doctoral program who are committed to leadership roles in urban, suburban and rural areas."
The program was announced in August after approval by the University System Board of Regents. It began this fall with an enrollment of 10 students who are taking preliminary classes. Enrollment will be increased to 20 within two years, officials said.
Before now, there was no doctoral program within a 50-mile radius of Augusta.
"It makes available graduate studies in educational leadership for the professional educators in our area, who otherwise would have to go to Columbia or Southern or Athens," said Robert Freeman, dean of Augusta State's College of Education. "As their skills get better, we improve the activities for students in classrooms, and it's a good collaborative effort."
The doctoral program is the second graduate program offered by Georgia Southern and Augusta State. In January they began offering an education specialist degree.
Reach Faith Johnson at (706) 823-3765.