USC Aiken launching new STEM degree programs
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The University of South Carolina Aiken is offering two new in-demand majors – public health and software engineering – along with a new master’s degree in computer and information science, and an added concentration in data science.
The programs will enroll their first students in the 2024-2025 academic year.
According to the university’s admissions data, more than 60% of new students enrolled at the university for the Fall 2023 semester chose a STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – major including nursing, computer science, and engineering.
This shift coincides with a national increase in STEM occupations, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting the STEM workforce will grow faster than all occupations in the next decade.
“We’ve worked to better align our degree and certificate programs with the needs of today’s students and employers,” said USC Aiken Chancellor Daniel Heimmermann. “Our emphasis on career readiness and experiential learning ensures that our graduates are top contenders for our state and nation’s most competitive jobs.”
These programs, particularly software engineering and computer and information science, will be offered alongside the university’s National Security Agency Center of Excellence – CyberDefender Cybersecurity Program.
According to data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, approximately one-quarter of the U.S. workforce is employed in a STEM occupation. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these careers have grown by 79% in the last three decades.
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“From STEM fields to the humanities and professional programs, we’re integrating applied skills to enhance the value we offer students now and into the future,” Heimmermann added.
The Pew Research Center reported STEM workers typically earn more than those in other jobs. In 2019, median earnings for full-time, year-round workers ages 25 and older in a STEM job were about $77,400 compared to $46,900 for non-STEM occupations.
The university has also initiated work with regional employers to enhance the skills of their current workforce through micro-credentials for non-degree-seeking students. Additionally, co-ops and internships have been added to better prepare and educate students about potential career opportunities.
The university also has worked to expand its online programming, with particularly strong programs in business and nursing, among others.
Applications for the fall 2024 semester are now open and can be accessed at: www.usca.edu/apply.
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