USF will offer a new degree program beginning next January, said Bob Sullens, dean of undergraduate studies.
Students who have an Associate of Science degree from any Florida public community college can now pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science degree.
“There’s been a lot of interest in (Associate of Science) graduates in getting a bachelor’s degree,” said Sullens. “This is the first time we can make that available.”
Brenda Smith, program specialist at the Lakeland campus, said many employers base salaries on an employee’s level of education, so this degree will allow professionals to earn their bachelor’s degree while learning more in their field of study. The program will also help people who are interested in making a mid-career change.
“Over the years, we’ve met a lot of demand in the area for those looking to move forward in their professional development,” Smith said.
In January, USF will offer three concentrations: management, gerontology and urban studies.
Smith said the school hopes to soon add information technology, criminology and mental health. Students will complete the general education curriculum and complete hours in one or two of the previously stated concentrations. They can also take upper liberal arts electives and exit requirement courses.
However, the degree won’t be available until January because the administration is still in the process of hiring a director for the program. Once someone is hired, all the USF campuses will offer the new degree program. Also, they’ll begin recruiting students at the community colleges in the area.
Smith said many students come from community colleges after getting an Associate of Science degree and they’re unaware that USF doesn’t offer a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. Smith said she’s proud that they’re able to meet the public’s need.
In order to be admitted into the program, students must have at least 18 semester hours of transferable general education courses. It is a 60-hour degree program, and Sullens said it should take two years for full-time students to complete the program.