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College of Charleston Launches New Academic Programs This Fall



By: CofC Media

What do systems engineering, geoinformatics, cultural sustainability and global studies have in common? These are all new academic programs at the College of Charleston, and each is making its debut this fall semester.

Systems engineering – the newest major at the College – combines coursework in computer science and physics. Like the other new academic programs beginning this fall, it’s an interdisciplinary offering that has been added to the College’s academic menu in response to industry needs.

Geoinformatics is the College’s newest minor. This program combines data science, computer science and geospatial science. According to Tim Callahan, chair of the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, students who complete this program will be prepared for work in a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

“Those fields include computing, data science and geosciences,” Callahan says, “as well as any areas that require an understanding of data analysis applied to environmental, social and economic issues. You’ll find similar graduate programs offered around the world. Our new geoinformatics minor will prepare students to be strong candidates for those programs.”

Cultural sustainability is the newest of the undergraduate certificates offered at the College. The thrust of this 18-credit-hour program focuses on the intersection of culture with the economic, social and environmental realms of sustainability.

According to Christine Finnan, who directs the program and serves as chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, completing this certificate will prepare students to help develop more sound and effective policies.

“Students in this certificate will learn the importance of using resources wisely,” says Finnan. “In addition, they’ll grow to understand what sustainability means to different groups of people as well.”

And the newest concentration at the College is global studies, which has been added to the international studies major. Malte Pehl, who directs the International Studies Program, says unlike the regional concentrations in this major, this new concentration offers students more elective coursework on global and cross-regional issues.

“The new concentration offers students interested in studying the world one more way of doing so,” explains Pehl. “It doesn’t require that they decide on a particular region to study from the outset. Also, it mirrors an approach followed by some of the best undergraduate programs in the country. Offering both types of tracks – regional and global – is an innovative way of designing the major. It will help to position our graduates well, whether they ultimately move on to careers in public service, the nonprofit or private sectors, or decide to pursue graduate studies.”

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