January 2017

With more than 145 majors, Minnesota’s private colleges are always weighing when they need to make changes in their academic offerings. It is a sizable commitment and one that colleges don’t make lightly, but each year several new ones emerge. In our latest listing of college majors, new ones ranged from music business to public service to integrated science. We asked two colleges for more background on the decisions and steps involved with their additions.

Bethany Lutheran College adds nursing

Bethany nursing program classroom

With Board of Regents approval and Minnesota State Board of Nursing permission Bethany Lutheran College added nursing, its first bachelor of science. Bethany had been exploring the option of adding nursing for a while and this fall the timing was just right. Rural nursing is a focus of the new program, said Sara Traylor, a Bethany graduate and the director of nursing. “If you look at the area Bethany is in, it’s rural and rural nurses are hard to come by,” Traylor said. 

“We want to serve our community by incorporating those types of experiences into the program. So the students who are from small towns in the area and who want to stay have that opportunity.”

Bethany nursing students

Creating a new program can be daunting, and nursing programs are resource intensive, requiring special classrooms and materials. Bethany remodeled one of its larger classrooms into a new nursing lab and completely stocked it with new equipment like medical beds and mannequins. The nursing degree includes a structured nursing curriculum paired with liberal arts breadth. Traylor wants the program to be forward thinking. “My vision for the program is to focus on cultural diversity, caring compassion and servant leadership,” said Traylor. The program will start small, enrolling 24 students each fall beginning in 2017, but Traylor is looking forward to growing the program in the future.

Concordia College adds finance

Concordia College created a new major in finance after hearing feedback from some of the business community and the growing finance industry. The curriculum is based around the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute and is a CFA Institute recognized program.  Among other things, the program covers about 70 percent of the Candidate Body of Knowledge prescribed by the CFA Institute guidelines.

Christopher Mason, associate professor of finance, described starting a new major: “For me it’s about how do we grow an academic program.  It’s three things: cutting edge curriculum, passionate qualified teachers and connecting it to student’s futures.  We created a strategic plan to make sure we achieve these three things.”

One of the unique parts of Concordia’s new major is the Offutt School Finance Association, which is a student-led group that manages a set of portfolios.  Students have an opportunity to get hands-on experience trading and analyzing stocks while seeing real change in their portfolios.  The leadership of the association is made up of finance majors, and each role is connected to curriculum.

The major also includes an opportunity to go on a one-week international exploration seminar to Europe and Asia, where students meet with executives of major international organizations.  Last year in Zurich, students met with the CFO of UBS for three hours and discussed managing portfolios.   This sort of experiential learning is a hallmark of Concordia’s new major.

Just over a year ago six students declared interest in finance; now finance is the fastest growing major in Concordia’s business school. This coming fall — the major’s second year — Concordia will be adding additional finance professors and new internships. Mason is excited about the reception of program and is looking forward to its continued growth.

If you’re interested in other majors, you can search for them in combination with other interests using our College Finder.

Sample of other new majors:

  • Augsburg College – graphic design, music business
  • Bethany Lutheran College – American studies, nursing
  • Concordia College – neuroscience, finance
  • College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University – integrated science
  • Hamline University – public service
  • Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota – strategic communications, computer data science, digital media and journalism
By Tom Lancaster