Students applying to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown will soon have three new options available to them – two new degree programs and one new track within an existing degree program. The campus will begin offering a new Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry, a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering technology, and an applied computer science track as part of the existing Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. These are the first new degree programs to be added at Pitt-Johnstown campus since 1997, and were developed as part of the campus’ recently implemented strategic plan, “A New Dimension of Excellence for Real-World Readiness.”
In announcing the new programs, Pitt-Johnstown President Dr. Jem Spectar offered, “These are, indeed, significant enhancements to our curriculum, providing Pitt-Johnstown with greater capacity to meet the needs and interests of our students while preparing them for productive and meaningful careers in high-demand areas. The programs also enable Pitt-Johnstown to expand our growing partnerships with local and regional industries, particularly those in the high-tech areas including web design and development, data communication, network systems, healthcare technology, and scientific research and development.”
President Spectar added that the new programs would not have been possible without the support and expertise of the Pitt-Johnstown faculty members who researched and developed the proposals. “Through their strong commitment to our community, our students, and our institution,” he commented, “our faculty continue to add to the quality and excellence of the Pitt-Johnstown experience.”
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
The new biochemistry degree will help to meet the growing demand for workers in the emerging biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical fields. The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment opportunities in the biochemistry field will increase by 25% by 2014. Employment opportunities in the medical field are expected to grow by 50%, with opportunities in forensic science expected to increase by 36%. Salaries for entry-level positions in fields open to a biochemistry graduate are also increasing. As an example, according to BLS’ 2007 National Wage Estimates, the median entry-level salary in the area of pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing exceeds $90,000.
The first two years of study in biochemistry will include fundamental courses in physics, biology, mathematics, and chemistry. In order to graduate, students will need to complete 120 credits.
Pitt-Johnstown Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Alan Teich commented, “the biochemistry degree, along with our two other new programs, expands the unique mix of programs available at Pitt-Johnstown. These programs, designed by our very dedicated faculty, reflect Pitt-Johnstown’s commitment to offering a high-quality educational experience that is responsive to the needs of our students and our communities.”
Additional information on the biochemistry degree is available by contacting the Natural Sciences Division at 814-269-2900.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology
The convergence of technologies such as high definition television, personal computers, and networking has given rise to this engineering specialty. The demand for computer engineers has grown significantly over the past decade, with the growth expected to continue through 2016. The BLS projects that the number of job opportunities in computer and mathematical science will grow more than twice as fast as the average for all other occupations. Among the fastest-growing occupations are network systems and data communications analysts (ranked #2), computer software (applications) engineers (ranked #5), and computer software (systems software) engineers (ranked #8).
The new program will teach the theories and principles of computing, mathematics, science, and engineering, and will train students in applying those theories and principles to solve contemporary technical programs through the design of computing hardware, software, networks, and processes. “By linking theory to practice,” President Spectar added, “we are ensuring that our students graduate with the skills and experience necessary to make meaningful contributions to this rapidly growing field.”
Students will also be required to complete a two-semester practical design project, which will involve the design and construction of a prototype of a commercially viable product.
During the 2007 student recruitment cycle alone, nearly 200 inquiries were received from prospective students interested in computer engineering technology. Additional information on the program is available by contacting the Engineering Technology Division at (814) 269-7250.
Applied Computer Science Track
The Computer Science program at Pitt-Johnstown, which was established in 1982, emphasizes the depth of highly technical, mathematically based aspects of computing. Graduates from the program, which have consistently benefited from very high placement rates, have typically accepted positions in mathematically technical jobs such as working with missile guidance systems, simulators, and mission-critical systems. The addition of the applied computer science track provides an opportunity to prepare students for broader-based careers in computing applications including software engineering, database engineering and administration, information assurance, web design and development, and applications programming.
Students graduating with the applied computer science track will have increased opportunities for employment upon graduation. The BLS predicts that employment in fields relating to applied computing will increase 25% by 2016. In the specific field of software application engineering alone, the number of available jobs is expected to increase by nearly 45%, from 507,000 to 733,000.
Of the nearly 300 requests received by Pitt-Johnstown last year for computer science programs, more than half were from students interested the applications aspect of the field.
Information on the applied computer science track is available by contacting the Natural Sciences Division at 814-269-2900.
Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. A vital knowledge center and a foremost contributor to the area’s educational, social, cultural, and economic environment, Pitt-Johnstown offers a high quality educational experience that is purposefully designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century.