Let’s face it: The job market is…complicated. More and more often, what’s on your degree won’t be what’s in your job description, even if you meet the degree requirements. Not a lot of college programs address that issue, though. So, what do you do if you’re an English major who wants to found a non-profit to help kids learn to read? Or a communications major that wants to start and run your own movie studio?
The answer, for those willing to put in the extra effort, might just be a “Do Anything” degree.
Dr. Will Hatcher is the director of Augusta University’s BA in Integrated Studies degree program, a new program that lets students essentially “build” the degree they need to chase their career goals. After taking a certain number of liberal arts courses from Pamplin College in a specific field (an “area of emphasis”), students can then branch out to take courses from other colleges or programs that fit their passion (an “area of support”).
“Essentially, that means if a student wants to go into a field like medical illustration, they can take art courses for their area of emphasis and supplement that with biology and anatomy courses,” Hatcher said.
Want to study English and Foreign Languages and work for a non-profit? Have an interest in music, but no desire to play for a living? A degree in Integrated Studies could be the right program for you.
In addition to helping students “design” a degree that fits their career needs, the Integrated Studies program also helps students with a large number of credits earn a degree for their efforts.
“Some students transfer in with credits and other students want to pursue a career in a field that maybe the university doesn’t offer a degree in,” Hatcher said. “In those cases, the Integrated Studies program can kind of serve as a vehicle to help those students find their path to a degree that will help them land a job in their chosen field.”
All students that choose to pursue an Integrated Studies degree go through a capstone experience where they do either an internship, an independent research study or a study away/study abroad trip. As part of the capstone experience, students also put together a portfolio of their work and write an essay about solving a problem with their unique skillset. Afterward, they develop an “elevator pitch” to help them explain why their chosen degree makes them uniquely qualified for a job in their field.
“Our goal is to help provide students a path forward to their chosen field,” Hatcher said. “Being able to help students explain the value of their degree and why they chose the courses they took make them competitive in your field is crucial to making that happen.”