Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits about to be burning a hole in your pocket — but you can't decide where to go to school or even what you want to major in? Maybe news of these new degree programs will provide the right spark of inspiration.
Professional land management
The University of Wyoming in Laramie is offering this new undergraduate program. UW's program is one of just seven in North America accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen.
Don Roth of the UW School of Energy Resources says graduates will be nationally certified professional landmen, prepared for long-term competitive success in the oil, gas and mining industries.
Landmen determine land ownership and availability for mineral leasing; negotiate agreements with landowners for drilling and production rights; draft and administer contracts with the assistance of corporate counsel; coordinate workflow with geologists and engineers; and ensure compliance with government regulations.
Roth says there's a tremendous demand for landmen, particularly in the West.
Motor sports management
Students at Belmont Abbey College in Gastonia, N.C., now may graduate with a degree in motor sports management. The Gaston Gazette reports that students were frustrated because they couldn't take their first motor sports-related class in the school's motor sports concentration until their sophomore year. That led some students to drop out of the program.
Director of motor sports management Travis Feezell found the curriculum created barriers that kept interested students away, and classes didn't allow students to experience their passion for motor sports because they weren't tailored to the motor sports field. It was then that the concentration rose to a full-fledged major.
Four students will graduate this year with the motor sports concentration. The class of 2014 will be the first to graduate with the motor sports management degree.
Video game design
Manchester Community College in Connecticut is offering a new associate degree program in video game design. Professor Edward Hogan says Connecticut does not have a large gaming industry similar to California, Florida or the Boston area but that the state's tax-credit program for the entertainment industry has led to some growth.
He says at least eight gaming companies operate in Connecticut. The small state industry draws animators, film makers and special effects artists.
Courses include an introduction to computer games that reviews the history of games and technologies and an introduction to literature to strengthen reading and writing.
Quinnipiac University in Connecticut recently rolled out its own video game design program, and the University of Connecticut also has started to offer some classes.
North American Law
Arizona State University's law school is creating a North American Law Degree to prepare graduates to practice in the U.S. and Canada. School officials say it will expand the job market for new attorneys and create opportunities for international law practice.
The North American Law Degree will allow students to graduate within three years.
The degree is designed to allow grads to immediately seek licensure in Canada without further coursework, in addition to qualifying them for bar admission in the U.S.
The dean of ASU's College of Law — Douglas Sylvester — is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada and a graduate of both Canadian and U.S. schools of higher education.
Entrepreneurship & more
Arizona State University's business school will begin offering a major in entrepreneurship in the fall. The university's W.P. Carey School of Business has offered courses in becoming an entrepreneur for almost 30 years but only awarded concentrations and certificates. Dean Robert Mittelstaedt says providing student entrepreneurs a full major will help graduates highlight their extensive training.
Applications are being taken now.
The new entrepreneurship degree joins two other new majors being offered in the fall. They are bachelor of arts in business with concentrations in human resources or sports and media studies. A new concentration is also being introduced in digital and integrated marketing communication.
Environmental health program online
The University of Northern Iowa is offering a new certificate program in environmental health that can be completed online.
University officials say the courses focus on issues such as water and air quality, solid waste problems and public health concerns. Campus attendance is not mandatory since coursework material is available online. Fifteen hours of credit are required and may be applied toward either a student's undergraduate or graduate degree.
The online program will be available in the summer.