May 6, 2011

Virginia Tech Plans 5 New Undergraduate Degrees

After a university-wide call for new program ideas, Virginia Tech announced five exciting new bachelor degree programs in varying stages of development, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The proposed undergrad degrees are in meteorology, real estate, biomedical engineering, nanoscience, and computational biology.

Each of the new degree proposals are being reviewed by the Dean of Undergraduate Education and departmental committees within the university. Market research as well as detailed explanations of how the degrees would prepare students for the work force and/or academia are required.

With a go ahead from the University Council and the Board of Visitors, plans will be submitted to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), and in some cases to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for final approval.

Nearest to coming on line, the proposed meteorology degree will be the first of its kind in Virginia. The Commonwealth currently pays for meteorology students to study at Mississippi State University at in-state tuition rates offered through the Academic Common Market.

Originally a concentration within the Geology Department, the new meteorology program promises an innovative course of study using GIS (Geographical Information Systems) technology and would take advantage of the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg.

“Most meteorology programs focus on what we would consider classical meteorology, where you’re looking at the physics of the atmosphere,” said Dave Carroll, a geography instructor in Tech’s College of Natural Resources. “We’re specializing in the entire GIS process and blending meteorology into that curriculum.”

Tech’s new real estate degree is also nearing finalization. It will be structured so as to capitalize on Tech’s existing expertise in engineering as well as agriculture and business and would take more of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of real estate.

Similarly, the engineering, biological science and nontechnology degrees would emphasize interdisciplinary studies and undergraduate research with a long term view toward helping students prepare for graduate school or employment within the nearly 300 biotechnology, pharmaceutical, biofuels, and medical device companies based in Virginia.

More information on these and many new graduate level programs is available on the Virginia Tech website.

Photo courtesy of SharedFerret at Flickr.

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