New degree programs in Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts seek to fill needs in workforce

Published: April 25, 2018
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Auburn University's College of Liberal Arts is offering two new undergraduate degrees beginning this fall, and one of the degrees is the first of its kind in the state. The college will also offer a new undergraduate certificate.

The law and justice degree will be the first in Alabama and one of only a handful in the country. Designed to better prepare students for law school by using an interdisciplinary approach, the program will offer courses in political science, philosophy, communication and journalism.

The College of Liberal Arts is also adding a bachelor of science in neuroscience degree, which will become one of only two programs in the state. Administered by the Department of Psychology, the neuroscience degree emphasizes the psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior and prepares students for medical school or other health-related careers.

"The new bachelor's degrees support Auburn's strategic commitment to prepare our students for graduate and professional study and for career success," said Joseph Aistrup, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "Students can now receive training and education in these significant fields here at Auburn."

The neuroscience degree will help Auburn keep up with a national growing trend in neurosciences—the Department of Labor expects a 12.9 percent increase in jobs for medical scientists from 2016 to 2026. A need for neuroscientists will continue because they play an important role in developing treatments and medicine for mental health. Auburn joins the University of Alabama-Birmingham in offering the only two neuroscience degrees in the state.

"A neuroscience degree helps prepare students for medical school especially given the new Medical College Admission Test emphasis on psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior," said Jeff Katz, professor in the Department of Psychology.

Katz explained that many disorders pertinent to Alabamians have a neuroscientific connection: closed head injuries, neurodegenerative disorders, developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism and other diseases of development like schizophrenia. Katz said many disorders pertinent to Alabamians have a neuroscientific connection; specifically, substance abuse is understood primarily through behavioral neuroscience.

"Graduates with a neuroscience degree will be able to contribute to spurring Alabama's economic growth via obtaining jobs, where there is currently a work force shortage, which require higher-level abilities in science, technology and mathematics," Katz said.

The College of Liberal Arts will also offer a new undergraduate certificate. The certificate in leadership for a global society provides students with the skills to become engaged citizens who live and work among an increasingly multicultural and global society. Students will explore global economic, social, political and environmental issues. The certificate requires 12-credit hours and can be completed by Auburn students or non-degree seeking individuals.

"We are excited to offer our students another opportunity to reflect on the relationship between self and others and to acquire skills required for intercultural competency and for leadership in a global society," said Giovanna Summerfield, associate dean for educational affairs in the College of Liberal Arts. "As all work settings today are very diverse and connect with international partners, our students will be better prepared to contribute and excel in any roles they may play within those settings."

Students may begin pursuing the new bachelor's degrees and certificate this fall. The new offerings reflect the College of Liberal Arts' commitment to equipping its students with the skills for personal and professional readiness upon entering the global workforce.

More information is available here.

The College of Liberal Arts is the intellectual heart of the university and one of the largest colleges on Auburn's campus. The College continues its long tradition of quality education, instruction, and outreach in a number of outstanding departments. The College of Liberal Arts is composed of the School of Communication and Journalism, the University College, and twelve departments which are divided into four academic areas: fine arts, humanities, communications, and social sciences. Our graduates hold a strong record of industry employment and/or acceptance into graduate schools and training programs, both here and abroad.