(JACKSON, Miss.) – Beginning fall 2014, Jackson State University will offer four new degree programs in its College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), two of which are exclusive to JSU.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning approved JSU’s proposals today to offer a Ph.D. in Engineering, a Ph.D. in Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Statistics. The Ph.D. in Chemistry was the last CSET doctoral program approved by IHL in 1996.
The B.S. in Biomedical Engineering will be the only undergraduate program currently offered in the state. The U.S. Department of Labor indicates that the need for statisticians will grow, with a projected increase of 25 percent from 2008 to 2018.
“These new programs will enrich the inventory of academic offerings available to our students,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “The programs also are consistent with the mission of JSU to produce graduates capable of addressing critical challenges in our society.”
The Ph.D. in Engineering program’s emphasis areas include computer engineering, industrial engineering, electrical engineering, computational engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering and geological engineering.
U.S. Department of Labor statistics show the demand is strong for engineers in the disciplines that the program covers, from 5 percent for electronics engineers to 22 percent for environmental engineers. The trend indicates a need for highly educated engineers with terminal degrees who can either join the workforce or become educators to support the need.
Dr. James C. Renick, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said the program would significantly enhance the university’s engineering research capability, which is consistent with the designation of JSU as a “high research activity” institution by the Carnegie Foundation.
“This new program should facilitate increased research conducted by our faculty and doctoral students,” Renick said.
The Computational and Data-Enabled Science & Engineering program includes the disciplines of biology, chemistry, computer engineering, computer science, civil and environmental engineering, industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, materials science and engineering, physics, mathematics, technology, public health, economics, finance and other non-STEM disciplines. This initiative responds to The White House’s Big Data Priority for government and the nation enhancing the nation’s capabilities to create knowledge from its vast and rich data resources that will lead to major societal benefits such as cancer cures, new engineering designs and better weather prediction.
Labor statistics show biomedical engineering is the third-fastest growing occupation in the country. In Mississippi, the employment of biomedical engineers is projected to increase by 80 percent by 2018, which is above the national average.
The Biomedical Engineering Program also fits well with the state’s plans for a Healthcare Corridor in Jackson.
The B.S. in Statistics will help increase the number of students seeking degrees in the STEM academic fields and the number receiving STEM degrees. It also will improve the potential for JSU graduates to land high paying jobs in the data sciences, said Dr. Richard Aló, Dean of JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
“The program provides students with a strong foundation in mathematical and statistical methodology,” Aló said. “The program will provide courses that prepare students for careers in business, government and private industry as statisticians and data scientists and for graduate training in statistics and related fields.”
The degree provides the fundamental training in statistics for entry-level career jobs in statistics and the data sciences and preparedness for rigorous advanced degree work in statistics at other universities.