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BYU Column: BYU launches four new majors, new minor

July 29, 2018

Brigham Young University has created five new courses of study available to its students starting this fall. The four new majors and the new minor come from five different colleges on campus.

New programs and emphases are created on an as-needed basis when a department or college can demonstrate that students will benefit from a new focused course of study.

Meet the newest degree options:

Major: Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity

Department: School of Technology

College: Engineering and Technology

The cybersecurity major will build on the foundation of the current information technology major, which has already been emphasizing cybersecurity in various classes. Cybersecurity graduates can work in government agencies, analyze data-driven forensics and run penetration testing for companies, among other employment opportunities.

“There is a real need for people with great technical skills and high ethical standards, and that’s where our students fit in,” said Derek Hansen, professor of information technology and cybersecurity.

Major: Bachelor of Arts in editing and publishing

Department: Linguistics

College: Humanities

Since the creation of the editing minor in 2003, students have been asking for a major program.

Students in the new editing and publishing major will learn to analyze, optimize and distribute written, drafted and visual information. After graduation, editing and publishing majors may find themselves in large and small publishing houses, or as freelance editors, writers, technical communicators, public relation specialists or legal professionals.

Major: Bachelor of Science in statistics with an emphasis in data science

Department: Statistics

College: Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Every big business — Amazon, Google, Netflix, Adobe, Facebook and Walmart, to name a few — needs a way to make sense of the overwhelming amount of data about their clients and to solve problems with that data. Many companies are looking to hire statisticians who have additional experience with computer programming. Cue the new data science emphasis.

Major: Bachelor of Arts in design

Department: Design

College: Fine Arts and Communications

The rise of mass communication has opened the doors for the design field. With so many opportunities in graphic design, illustration and photography, more students are looking to design as an option for graduate school. The new design degree is ideally suited for those students, providing the tools they need to study design long term. Of course, that shouldn’t sway anyone who doesn’t want to attend grad school. The curriculum will provide a foundational understanding of design which can be applied to another discipline if the students desire.

“The program was created to give students a broad background in design and allow them to explore emerging sub-disciples such as design thinking and user experience design,” said Eric Gillet, the design department chair.

Minor: Design thinking

Department: Instructional Psychology and Technology

College: Education

Design thinking is exactly what it sounds like: incorporating different aspects of design to create an effective and aesthetic product, experience or strategy.

“As design concepts become more and more a part of the workplace, the design thinking minor can help students be more successful in applying the skills of their primary major in design contexts,” said Jason McDonald, professor of instructional psychology and technology.

The collaboration required in the design thinking minor gives students skills in interdisciplinary teamwork, interdisciplinary experiences and interdisciplinary creativity as they work to solve real-world design problems.

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