UW News

September 22, 2014

New degree programs aplenty starting with school year

The University of Washington is offering a number of new degree programs with the start of fall quarter 2014.

The University of Washington is offering a number of new degree programs with the start of fall quarter 2014.Mary Levin

Through new degree programs starting this fall at the University of Washington, students will learn architecture from a liberal arts perspective, complete social sciences degrees online, study international affairs, become expert in the teaching of science, and much more.

A new four-year bachelor of arts in architecture degree responds to student interest and a growing need for a degree option in that area that does not involve design, said Alex Anderson, associate chair and graduate program coordinator of the Department of Architecture, which celebrates its centennial this year.

“For students interested in architecture as a discipline that straddles the liberal arts and applied sciences, the new degree can be a good fit,” Anderson said. Students can focus their studies on architectural history and theory, materials, construction — hand craft, and digital fabrication at various scales — or sustainable technologies.

It’s also the first of the architecture department’s majors to be open to freshmen, and the students seem interested, Anderson said. About 2,000 students took the department’s introductory architecture course last year — far more than will continue on as majors.

In the College of the Environment, practicing school teachers wanting to advance their knowledge and sharpen their research skills can work one-on-one with UW faculty members to earn a master of science for teachers.

Designed with flexibility to meet the needs of K-12 teachers; the program will pair teachers with faculty mentors in fields of their interest, from medicine to engineering to environmental sciences. Participants might study the impact of aquaculture on native marine species or work with snow and ice core samples to better understand the interaction between the atmosphere and climate change.

Social sciences students with associate degrees or two years of college credit will be able to complete their studies at a distance through the College of Arts and Sciences’ bachelor of arts in integrated social sciences online degree completion program.

Matthew Sparke, program director, said in an earlier UW Today story that students in the program will compile electronic portfolios “designed to both plan a personalized pathway to completing a bachelor’s and to curate a library of their best work that can subsequently be used to showcase achievements to employers and graduate schools.”

Intended as a flexible and lower-cost option for students wishing to complete their degrees but unable to regularly come to campus, the program “promises to open university access to large numbers of students who have previously found it impossible to complete a bachelor’s degree,” Sparke said.

The UW Graduate School is offering a new doctoral program in molecular engineering, developed by the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute and a number of engineering and science departments. The program, which will enroll a cohort of eight this first year, will train students to develop a rational approach to engineering molecular systems that can be applied to fields such as health care, energy and technology.

The goal is to reduce the trial-and-error approach in many research and development labs that often relies on chance or lucky discoveries by instead systematically studying how molecules connect and behave with each other.

The program is, by nature, interdisciplinary, and students will work with faculty members and labs across many departments as they structure their degree around interests in biotechnology and clean technology. The UW is one of the first in the U.S. to offer a doctorate in molecular engineering.

The Jackson School of International Studies is offering a new master of arts in applied international studies, an intensive, 10-month program for professionals with at least five years of experience in “fields across the international affairs spectrum” — including business, government, military and philanthropy — who want to gain a deeper understanding of world affairs.

Several new programs are starting up on the UW Bothell campus.

The school will become the first institution in the country to offer an undergraduate major in climate change and policy, which will give students basic knowledge in math, science, policy and economics as well as the societal issues important to the Earth’s climate system.

Also at UW Bothell:

The UW Tacoma campus also has new degree programs starting up this fall.

The campus Urban Studies Program is beginning a new master of science in geospatial technologies degree that will, its website states, give students advanced training in geographic information systems, “training students to use and apply geospatial hardware, software and data in urban and environmental planning scenarios.”

UW Tacoma’s bachelor of arts in criminal justice degree, offered by the Social Work Program, will now also be available online.