College of Arts & Sciences

CAS Launches Three New Degree Programs

The College of Arts and Sciences launched three new degree programs this semester: a B.A. in digital arts, a M.S. in data science and a Ph.D. in psychology. These programs will provide students with specialized skill-sets that are in high-demand across the region.  

The B.A. in digital arts is an interdisciplinary program with courses in both the departments of Art and Art History and Computer Science. “As computers become more a part of our everyday experiences in the workplace, visual culture, and our personal communications, the design of those experiences becomes increasingly more important,” said Ned Irvine, associate professor of studio art in the Department of Art and Art History. “The Digital Arts major is designed to give students a broad range of technical and visual thinking skills suitable for employment in industries such as entertainment, graphic design, software and application development or graduate study. Both departments are very excited to be leveraging the expertise of faculty involved in teaching this new major.”

UNCW’s new accelerated master’s degree in data science also welcomed its inaugural cohort of 17 students this fall. The joint program, offered by the departments of Computer Science and Mathematics and Statistics, emphasizes computational-based applications of traditional data analysis methods and current trends in data mining and machine learning. “The local and regional business communities have been enthusiastically involved in planning the program,” said Mark Lammers, program director and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “Representatives from General Electric, PPD, Live Oak Bank, SAS, Trillium, ATMC and others participated in our first Advisory Board meeting in May. They made numerous suggestions regarding the curriculum and expressed a desire to interact directly with the program’s students in their first semester.” 

Julian Keith, chair of the Department of Psychology, said the first class of Ph.D. students is also already fully engaged in research and their first graduate courses. Students in the program specialize in a clinical health concentration including Applied Behavior Analysis and Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders. “The Ph.D. program in psychology will allow us to educate psychologists at the highest level,” said Keith. “There has never been a greater need for outstanding psychologists and from the outset our students will be active in our community, providing services for individuals and families across a broad range of areas—from severe developmental disorders in children to addiction in adults.”

The new programs increase post-graduate opportunities for students and help to meet the needs of the community and region, both priorities identified in UNCW’s Strategic Plan.  

--Gena Guthrie