A Matter of Degrees: OSU-Cascades Set to Launch Political Science and Economics Programs This Fall


(Update: added video, commentary from acting vice president of the university)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — You might be surprised to learn that two degree programs aren’t currently offered at OSU-Cascades — but not for long.

Acting Vice President Andrew Ketsdever told NewsChannel 21 Monday about the programs; “These are already well-established curricula across the country.”

He was talking about political science and economics.

These are the two degree programs that have just been approved by the Oregon State Board of Directors to become the 21st and 22nd majors offered at the school’s Bend campus.

“We’ve seen growth in these two regions of the Pacific Northwest,” Ketsdever said. “New job growth is between 5 and 8% for these two degrees.”

The university already offers political science as a minor, and Ketsdever said the new degrees will help complement the university’s College of Liberal Arts.

Recent employment growth in these fields has made it more feasible for degrees.

“We can’t just support students with jobs after graduation, but we can support them with internships while they’re in school,” Ketsdever said.

But the labor market was not the only factor. The university has collected data on the degrees requested.

“That demand is not just on the employer side of the jobs, but also on the student side, in what students are interested in taking,” Ketsdever said.

The data showed that there could be a lot of student interest in the programs.

“We could see enrollment impacts of more than 6-8% in the near term,” Ketsdever said.

Programs are expected to begin next fall.

There are still a few steps before the degrees are fully approved, but he is confident they will be ready in the fall.

Here is the statement from the State of Oregon:

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon State University–Cascades announced Monday that it will offer new bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science starting this fall.

The two new degree programs were approved by the OSU Board of Directors on Friday.

“The new economics and political science degree programs will attract students seeking careers in business and finance, public policy and government, and law and help them develop the critical skills needed to meet some of society’s biggest challenges,” said Acting Vice President Andrew Ketsdever.

New majors will leverage courses already offered at OSU-Cascades, as well as faculty expertise. Students will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in either major.

The economics curriculum includes courses in economic theory, micro and macroeconomics, public policy, as well as subjects that build skills in oral and written communication and quantitative analysis. Students will choose from specialized program options, including General Economics; law, economics and politics; management economy; and mathematical economics.

In the political science program, students will take foundational courses in American government and politics, international relations and political thought, and persuasive writing and speaking. They will also discuss and debate current world events. Program options in political science include environmental and energy policy; international affairs; and law and politics.

OSU-Cascades also offers a minor in political science.

Students studying in these new degree programs will be encouraged to pursue internships, undergraduate research, and other educational opportunities beyond the classroom, including with organizations based in Central America. ‘Oregon.

Degrees are offered through the OSU College of Liberal Arts. Other degree programs at OSU-Cascades offered by the College of Liberal Arts include American Studies; art; arts, media and technology, liberal studies, psychology and social sciences.

Implementation of the new degree programs awaits support from the Oregon Public Universities Board of Provosts and the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s campus in Bend brings higher education to central Oregon, the state’s fastest growing region. Surrounded by 2.5 million acres of mountains and high deserts, OSU-Cascades is a premier research university where small classes accelerate faculty-student mentorship. Degree programs meet the needs of industry and the economy in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and well-being, arts and sciences, and prepare students to the challenges of tomorrow. OSU-Cascades is expanding to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net-zero goals.

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