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Saint Leo University Offering New Religious Studies, International Studies Degrees; Accounting, Economics Become Bachelor of Science Degrees

As classes begin for Fall 2022 Semester at Saint Leo University, students will find new, diverse degree offerings for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Tags: Accounting Bachelor's Degrees Catholic Identity College of Arts and Sciences Core Values Economics International Studies Majors Minors Religious Studies STEM Tapia College of Business
29 August 2022 - By Mary McCoy
Saint Leo University President, Dr. Dadez walking on campus with students

As classes begin for Fall 2022 Semester at Saint Leo University, students will find new, diverse degree offerings for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Two new majors are being offered by the university’s College of Arts and Sciences: the Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and the Bachelor of Arts in international studies. Both degree programs are interdisciplinary, bringing together many fields of interest, which may appeal to students looking to double major, said Dr. Marc Pugliese, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, changes have been made to the university’s accounting and economic degree programs.

BA in Religious Studies

The religious studies degree program is for students with an interest in various aspects of religion, who want to investigate diverse religious ideas, questions, issues, and problems in an interdisciplinary way. The program’s practical emphasis supplies students with real-world experience for career preparation and success beyond graduation.

Religion is tied to and influenced by the historical, cultural, sociological, psychological, philosophical, political, educational, literary, artistic, and other aspects of human life and experience, Pugliese said. Because of this, the university designed the major to be flexible, requiring five core religious studies courses plus six electives, not only in the Religion Department, but also in history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, political science, education, medical humanities and health care administration. Students interested in theology may choose their electives from among a variety of Catholic theology course offerings.

Saint Leo joins other leading Catholic universities in offering an innovative, interdisciplinary, and flexible religious studies major that easily pairs with other majors, Pugliese noted. This degree program will prepare students for careers as educators, counselors, pastors, priests, lawyers, librarians, denominational executives, consultants, activists, lay ecclesial ministers, lobbyists, journalists, authors, community development and program managers, researchers, social services workers, and many more jobs.

BA in International Studies

Like the BA in religious studies, Saint Leo’s new BA in international studies is an interdisciplinary degree program. It is designed to give students who are passionate about global issues a multifaceted way to evaluate and make a difference in the world and in their communities.

 “The world is a dynamic, complicated place, and making sense of it requires a multidisciplinary and multicultural understanding of human behavior,” said Dr. Daniel DuBois, associate professor of history and international studies. “The International Studies (IST) Program at Saint Leo University puts students at the cutting edge in the study of the modern world by training them in specific areas like war and empire; global energy markets; cyberterrorism; immigration and refugee policies; diplomacy and statecraft; and global economics. Additionally, IST students study foreign languages and the histories of various cultures and regions from across the world.”

This new degree will combine elements of history, international relations, political science, economics, language studies, and many other parts of the social sciences and humanities.

“We have courses on war and diplomacy, terrorism and cybersecurity, global health, climate and energy policy, immigration, markets and trade, and a senior research course,” DuBois said.

International Studies programs are popular choices for undergraduates interested in graduate and law school, along with careers working for nonprofit organizations, government agencies, political offices and campaigns, and businesses such as banks and other companies that operate internationally. 

Some things that differentiate the program include:

  • All IST students are eligible candidates for the Mark Orr Fellowship Program, offered through the Tampa Bay Committee on Foreign Relations (TBCFR).
  • IST students can elect to train for and compete in regional and national Model United Nations (UN) tournaments under the advisement and coaching of Saint Leo faculty.
  • IST students are eligible to participate in the 3+3 Law School Program. The 3+3 Program allows students to complete their BA and JD (juris doctor) degrees in six years, rather than the typical seven years.
  • The IST program also strongly encourages students to study abroad during their junior or senior year.

In addition to the bachelor’s degree program, students also may minor in international studies at Saint Leo.

Changes in Accounting, Economics Degrees

This year, Saint Leo University also converted its bachelor’s degrees in accounting and economics from Bachelor of Arts degrees to Bachelor of Science degrees. This change reflects an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that now is required by employers and necessary to succeed in the rapidly changing fields.

“The BS in accounting provides accounting majors the opportunity to double major in accounting and CIS [computer information systems] to better prepare them for the changing demands of the current and future workforce,” said Dr. Passard Dean, chair and professor of the Accounting, Economics, and Finance Department. “Students should also be better prepared to sit for the CPA [Certified Public Accountant] examinations, which will be changing significantly in 2024.”

The CPA Evolution initiative is transforming the CPA licensure model to recognize the rapidly changing skills and competencies the practice of accounting requires today and will require in the future, Dean noted.

“The accounting profession continues to face a rapidly changing marketplace requiring changing skills and competences,” he said. “Some of the most significant changes have been the result of the technological advancements experienced throughout the profession. The changes to the exam [particularly the increased focus on technology in the profession] and the opportunities it gives our students to double major with CIS are the reasons we proposed a change to a Bachelor of Science degree.”

The need to analyze data is evident in the field of economics, and Saint Leo changed to a Bachelor of Science in economics with a STEM designation to prepare students for in-demand careers, and also to make them “future-ready,” Dean said.

“Leaders in the field of economics from the National Association for Business Economics [NABE] such as chief economists or directors from firms such as Amazon, KPMG, and Freddie Mac, and well-established firms with a local presence such as CliftonLarsenAllen [CLA] are seeking candidates who possess skills that enable them to analyze complex data and translate that data into meaningful insights for decision-makers to act on,” he added.

“Econometrics provides the toolkit for students to be able to analyze data, which is grounded in economic theory. This program will provide students with the ability to deploy a broad set of tools, including data analysis, data visualization, econometric analysis, and written communication, and to be able to use these tools to solve real-world economic and social problems.”

Find Out More

For information about these and other Saint Leo University degree programs, email