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Public Affairs


Four new degree programs for the new academic year

September 2, 2003

Photo of a student working on a dressmaker's mannequinSFSU launches four new undergraduate majors to start the academic year, including the first combined degree in atmospheric and oceanic sciences in either the CSU or the UC systems. In addition, the History Department begins a new graduate field in modern world history.

Along with the atmospheric and oceanic sciences degree, undergraduates can now choose among new majors in computer engineering, interior design, or apparel design and merchandising.

Atmospheric and oceanic sciences
With its emphasis on climate change, natural hazards and environmental hazards, the new major in the two sciences builds upon an interdisciplinary core that focuses on the interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean. Previously, students interested in those subjects earned a bachelor of arts degree in science: concentration in meteorology.

"The new degree more accurately reflects the combination of the two sciences to give students the scientific background they need," said John Monteverdi, professor of geosciences, who helped create the program. "And I think we are going to attract more students to San Francisco State now that they can earn a B.S. in the field as opposed to a B.A."

The new program's curriculum, designed to meet the requirements of the American Meteorological Society, will prepare students for graduate study, careers with the National Weather Service, or work in the fields of physical oceanography, applied meteorology and applied oceanography. Ten current majors are expected to graduate in 2005.

Computer engineering
Another new degree program in the College of Science and Engineering -- computer engineering -- will help prepare the next generation of specialists who design and apply digital systems. Incorporating the core requirements of both the electrical engineering and computer science programs, the new major includes additional courses in computer engineering, high-speed design, real-time systems, multimedia systems and project design. The program has five first-time freshmen students and 15 transfer students this fall and is expected to grow to 180 majors by 2008.

Interior design and apparel design
In the College of Health and Human Services, two new degree programs are based around interior design and apparel design and merchandising. Students with a flair for furnishings, the use of paint, and home or office decorating can now earn a bachelor of science degree in interior design or the field of apparel design and merchandising. Nearly 150 students are enrolled in the majors and because some students have already satisfied many of the requirements, a handful of graduates are expected in May 2004.

“This new degree focuses on the consumer, which makes it different from a business degree. We’re looking at a growing industry and how it impacts consumers, how consumers benefit from the industry and how businesses must meet the needs of consumers,” said Nancy Rabolt, chair of the Consumer Family Studies/Dietetics Department.

The two majors give a jump-start to students hoping to land jobs with architectural or design firms, clothing retailers or antique stores. In addition, students who want to open their own design business or work for a national company with individual offices or franchises -- such as Starbucks or even AAA -- could declare this major, said Ken Fehrman, a consumer and family studies professor heading up the interior design degree.

Modern world history
The History Department this semester introduces a new graduate field in modern world history. The new major field will focus on historical events from 1500 to the present, including the study of African, American, East Asian, European, Latin American and Middle Eastern history.

The new offering reflects the expanded global focus of the History Department as a result of recent hires, said Richard Hoffman, department chair. In addition, graduate students in history have shown a growing interest in how the modern world has evolved on a global basis, he said. The new field also strengthens the department’s preparation those who wish to teach world history in middle schools, high schools or community colleges.

-- Ted DeAdwyler


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Last modified September 2, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs