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UA launches new undergraduate interdisciplinary degree

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Photo Illustration by Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat

Books on the shelf at the UA Main Library on March 9.

The University of Arizona College of Humanities has announced a new undergraduate degree that is the first of its kind.

Students interested in fields such as business, fashion, public health and design can now obtain a degree that provides an interdisciplinary education that incorporates the teachings of professional, collaborative and leadership skills with a global perspective that will allow them to partake in a variety of professions, according to the college. 

The Bachelor of Arts degree in applied humanities was introduced to UA this fall and offers four concentrations that include business administration, fashion studies, public health and spatial organization and design thinking. 

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This new degree was a collaboration between the Eller College of Management, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture. 

The creation of the applied humanities degree has been in the works for the past few years, according to Alain-Philippe Durand, dean of the College of Humanities.

Durand reflected on the inspiration and significance of creating this unique degree. 

“In the last few years, now, there have been several articles being published out there about the most sought-after skills that employers are looking for,” Durand said. "Skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, communication, intercultural competence and adaptability are what we teach in the College of Humanities, and we wanted a way to combine these skills with professional skills that are being taught in the other colleges on campus.”

The BA in applied humanities requires students to complete 39 units. Twenty-one of the units are devoted towards the humanities foundations courses, electives, internship, and senior capstone. The remaining 18 units are focused on the professional concentration courses, according to the college's website

“Students in different programs realize that the curriculum that is being provided for that particular field of study was not what they initially envisioned,” Durand said. "The basis of this degree is to provide those students with an alternative where they will still be able to do some of the courses from the program that they are a part of but customize the curriculum with humanities and teach them how to view subjects with a global perspective.”

Students must complete an internship to fulfill degree requirements. 

“Here at the UA, there is an initiative called '100% Engagement', and the main point of it is to make sure that every student before they graduate has a practical experience,” Durand said. “What the students are learning in the classroom will enable them to showcase their new found skills while completing the internship and in the real world.”

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Durand recommends students to also study abroad before they graduate and become involved in community service to broaden their scope of knowledge.

UA students that are interested in obtaining a BA in applied humanities can learn more about the degree by scheduling an appointment with an academic adviser in the College of Humanities, which can be done online through the humanities advising website

“The first step that interested students should take is to reach out the academic advisors in the College of Humanities or navigate to the 'contact us' part of the website to come into communication with one of the college’s representatives,” Durand said. “The collaboration between the four colleges and the core courses being taught in each college will combine well with the curriculum being enforced in the College of Humanities and allow the students to become well-rounded individuals.”


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