Saint Leo University is announcing the creation of four new undergraduate majors and new options available in the university’s undergraduate English major. These new program opportunities will appeal to a broad spectrum of students interested in everything from technology and data studies to medicine or theatre, literature and writing. The options will be part of the university offerings effective in the Fall Semester 2019.
This academic news is important to prospective students and their families, school counselors, and returning adult learners alike. In some cases, the new programs will be appealing to current Saint Leo freshmen and sophomores who have not yet declared a major. They should take serious note of these new options and speak with their advisors. All the degree programs described below will be available at University Campus. The new software program will also be available to students online.
The Bachelor of Science in software engineering is an addition to the university’s already existing slate of technology degrees, which includes, for instance, the Bachelor of Science in computer science. The new degree responds to increasing specialization in the technology sector. While a computer science degree requires students to understand the creation of computer hardware products, as well as software, there is growing marketplace demand for professionals with a broad and deep expertise in software. The new software engineering degree meets this need through courses in software architecture, design, development, testing. Additionally, students will learn to appreciate the business implications of software development and development challenges. The new degree is offered through the Tapia College of Business, and the teaching faculty belong to the college’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. The university is adding a Master of Science degree program in this discipline, as well, and the graduate program will be available online.
The mathematics faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences has developed a new credit degree program that awards the Bachelor of Science degree in data science. This emerging field is essentially the answer to the questions that come as more businesses, governments, science, individuals, and other entities collect information about customers, markets, products, and all important activities. Intelligent decision making for organizations now rests on the ability to extract data, present it in meaningful ways, and protect it. Data scientists are essential to the process. Appropriate training draws from the intersection of mathematics and statistics, computer science and programming skills, and psychology. Saint Leo is ahead of many undergraduate institutions in offering a bachelor’s in this new cross-disciplinary field, and as a Catholic university that embeds ethical values into all degree programs, is prepared also to help students emerge as principled practitioners in this technical area. The degree program will be offered only at University Campus. Math faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Science are directing this program with the assistance of university colleagues in other academic departments.
The Bachelor of Arts in medical humanities is a degree program for students who are interested not just in studying specific medical conditions, but also the way individuals, families, and societies react and adapt to human development, illness, suffering, and the end of life. The demographic trends in American society indicate a growing need for professionals who graduate from college with this degree as a foundation, and who then pursue opportunities in a number of sectors. Because the field of options is so broad, the degree program is structured along two tracks. Two foundation courses and a course in bio ethics are required of all students. From there, students choose between the pre-medical track and the health and humanities track.
The pre-medical track draws from biology, chemistry, physics, and math courses from the strong, existing Saint Leo biology degree programs. In addition, students select added credits from a psychology and sociology cluster; a philosophy, religion, and ethics grouping; selected offerings from art and humanities; and an array of courses drawn from anthropology, history, communications, and law that will give students historical perspective. Graduates will be fully prepared to apply to medical school (and complete the Medical College Admission Test) or other health-related professional schools. The eventual goal of this track is to help prepare physicians, dentists, physician assistants or nurses who are able to interact with patients holistically, in addition to being capable scientists.
Alternately, the medical humanities degree is also a valuable springboard into graduate study for those interested in careers in medical social work, psychology, occupational therapy, medical illustration, public health policy, nonprofit organizations devoted to patient advocacy, and more. Those students will be advised to follow the health and humanities track. This track does not require the heavy load of science courses and instead directs majors more deeply into 18 credit hours from courses in the other course areas mentioned above, according to their interests. This also leaves the health and humanities majors enough room in their academic schedule to add a minor—which could be biology, chemistry, or other options appealing to students according to their individual goals. All the majors will have opportunities to complete academic projects, to take part in service-learning opportunities, and to seek internships. This interdisciplinary degree will be offered only at University Campus.
Until now, University Campus students who wanted to study theatre did so as a specialization within the English major. With the establishment of the Black Box Theatre at University Campus and the development of many more courses, Saint Leo’s College of Arts and Sciences is now equipped to offer a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. The program was designed to provide students a sound background for creative arts careers or graduate study in theatre arts, as well as the poise, confidence, and artistic skills that are transferable ingredients for success in other fields, such as event planning, sales, real estate, education, and more. Students must complete 36 credit hours of training that includes coursework in acting, directing, production, dramatic writing, script analysis, theatre history, selected works of William Shakespeare, and other literature. In addition, each student will complete an internship each semester. Whether on campus or beyond Saint Leo, and whether in an arts setting or another venue, the required internships will help students build a work history and provide them with an understanding of the ways non-arts work settings benefit from having employees with performance skills. Additionally, students will work on Saint Leo theatre projects, and during their senior year will be required to demonstrate the culmination of their learning in several important pieces. While the degree program has a rich offering of courses, students will still have enough credit hours available to take on another major or minors that will complement their career goals.
Changes and Additions to the English Major
The English major, which is offered at University Campus, formerly offered tracks known as the literary studies specialization, a professional writing specialization, and a theatre specialization (now being replaced by the theatre degree). To reflect the needs of contemporary society, the English faculty has updated the major with new options for those interested in careers in writing, in business, and other endeavors. All specializations lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Any of these can be paired with an education minor.
- What was the literary studies has been replaced by the literary and cultural studies specialization. This acknowledges the appetite for more diverse literary subject offerings from contemporary learners as well as the importance of providing students with exposure to multiple cultures in today’s global society. American and British literature remains in the program, to be complemented by new course offerings in women and literature, comparative global literature in translation, and literary criticism. The curriculum continues to ensure that English majors in particular graduate with developed critical thinking skills and strong communications abilities.
- The professional writing specialization also emphasizes the development of demonstrable communication and critical thinking skills. Students will still have to study literature, and courses in basic journalistic writing and desktop publishing and design will remain. New courses will be added to teach students skills in social media communication, effective rhetoric, professional editing skills, all of which are directly applicable to employment opportunities in the corporate, government, nonprofit, educational and scientific sectors. The new courses are being offered in place of the department’s undergraduate courses in creative writing topics. Those will be offered in a new specialization.
- The creative writing specialization is intended for those who want to study literature and pursue their own imaginative endeavors with the guidance of skilled teachers. So in addition to studying literature from the perspective of developing authors, students will take courses in writing narrative, poetry, prose. They will also learn about the development of an author’s unique voice and the importance of place and setting as a literary influence. Some graduates will seek direct employment with this Bachelor of Arts. This program enhancement also aligns well with Saint Leo’s graduate program in creative writing, which offers a Master of Arts on a low-residency and online-study basis.
For more information prospective undergraduates may call the Admissions Office at (352) 588-8283.