Washington & Jefferson College Associate Professor of Mathematics Ryan Higginbottom; Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Judy Kirkpatrick; and West Virginia University School of Public Health Dean Jeffrey Coben (center).

WVU establishes first accelerated master’s degree program with external institution

In an effort to provide an affordable option for students seeking a graduate degree, the West Virginia University School of Public Health has established the first shared-credit degree program with a program outside of the University system.

The School recently signed an agreement with Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, that will provide qualified students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Master of Science in Biostatistics in just five years.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Washington & Jefferson to give students at both of our institutions access to this innovative and cost-effective program,” said Joyce McConnell, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As a land grant university, WVU is committed to serving the people of our state and region. By graduating more qualified public health professionals locally, we know we can fulfill that commitment.”

“Given the rising cost of higher education coupled with the increasingly competitive job market, we wanted to ensure we were meeting students’ needs and providing cost-effective options,” said Jeffrey Coben, dean of the WVU School of Public Health. “This new program will give students an edge in the marketplace with their graduate degree in Biostatistics a year earlier than most traditional programs.”

The “3+2” program will allow students to work toward their bachelor’s degree for the first three years at Washington & Jefferson College and then transition to WVU for the fourth and fifth years. After successful completion of their third semester at WVU, Washington & Jefferson College will issues students their Bachelor of Arts degree. Students will continue to matriculate at WVU until the Master of Science requirements have been met.

“Biostatistics is an important, fast-growing area of study that offers many exciting career options,” said Associate Professor Ryan Higginbottom, chair of the mathematics department at W&J. “Since graduates generally need an advanced degree to make an impact in this field, we at W&J are excited to partner with WVU to make this a possibility for our students.”

Details about the program and application process can be obtained from the Department of Biostatistics at the WVU School of Public Health or the Department of Mathematics at Washington & Jefferson College.


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