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New degrees, please!

Weber State University has added 12 new degree and certificate options this semester to tailor to specialized fields. The degrees include one new master’s program, three new bachelor’s degrees, three new associate degrees and five new certificate programs.

The new Master of Social Work is the fourth master’s program in social work in the Utah public university system.

Mark Bigler, professor and chair for the Department of Social Work & Gerontology, said the program will have a clinical focus that gives it an advantage over aspects of the other masters’ degrees available in the field.

“The program will have an explicitly clinical course study as opposed to an advanced generalist program,” Bigler said. “Currently, three graduate programs exist in the Utah higher ed. system, and BYU is the only one with a clinical focus.”

Advanced standing also allows students with undergraduate degrees in social work to complete their master’s degree in one year rather than two, Bigler said, also expressing that a local commitment to community well-being is an integral part of the mission for the new master’s program.

The college of engineering also added to its breadth of degree offerings with a new Bachelor of Science in Energy Engineering as well as certification in sustainable engineering and systems engineering. Systems engineering includes the analysis, development, implementation or retirement of systems in any variety of fields.

Nicole Batty, an instructor in systems engineering, said the school’s programs prepare students for a global view when addressing concerns related to the field. Batty said all students are prepared through the content curriculum for the career systems engineering professional exam.

“Industry relevance translates to additional career advancement opportunities,” Batty said.

Justin Owen, the energy manager for the Department of Energy Services on campus, said the new programs will also help students gain experiential knowledge.

“The advent of the new program gives the opportunity to show students the campus as a sort of laboratory,” Owen said.

He cited the university’s carbon neutrality goal as part of the mission in the curriculum for students and how the benefits of students participating in that goal are applicable to life after college.

The new degree options at Weber State started this semester and span across multiple departments and programs of study. A release from the college in early August cites the wide new array of options as increasing employability for graduates in fields ranging from STEM to the social sciences.

Certifications for those with a bachelor’s degree offer a competitive edge with specialized instruction on skill sets attractive to employers. Students are encouraged to continue and explore options throughout their time at Weber and wherever their academic and career aspirations may take them.

Four of the certification programs are for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. Post-bachelor’s certificates have become popular as employers think of new ways to find employees with needed skill sets.

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