​​Continuing to align their programming with employers’ needs, four universities within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education have introduced new programs in various areas of business, healthcare and social services where demand for highly skilled, well-educated individuals is growing.


Harrisburg – Continuing to align their programming with employers’ needs, four universities within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education have introduced new programs in various areas of business, healthcare and social services where demand for highly skilled, well-educated individuals is growing.

Chancellor Dan Greenstein approved each of the programs, which were proposed and developed by the universities in consultation with employers in their regions.

“As we redesign the entire State System, aligning our programs with workforce needs is vital, not just to the future success of our students, but to the future of the Commonwealth,” Greenstein said. “Each of these new programs was developed with both of those goals in mind.”

The new programs are:

• Bachelor of Science in information technology (with a focus on healthcare analytics) at Millersville University of Pennsylvania
• Master of Accountancy at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
• Master of Social Work at Slippery Rock University
• Master of Science in physician assistant studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania
• Doctorate of Health Science in health sciences at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

The new Bachelor of Science in information technology degree program at Millersville University was designed to prepare both traditional and transfer students as well as adult learners for careers in information technology within the healthcare sector. Courses eventually will be taught in several modalities—face-to-face, online and blended—to maximize flexibility for students.   

The new program will enable the university to expand its existing collaborations with a variety of healthcare providers and agencies in the region, including UPMC Pinnacle-Lancaster Regional, Hershey Medical Center, Highmark BlueShield and WellSpan. Millersville also is pursuing both curricular and research collaborations with Lancaster General Health-Penn Medicine and plans to develop transfer articulation agreements with Harrisburg Area Community College, Reading Area Community College and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology to ensure students can transfer easily from their various computer programming and systems administration programs into the university’s new bachelor’s degree program.

Slippery Rock University’s Master of Accountancy degree program will prepare graduates for several national certifications, enabling them to work as public accountants, management accountants, internal auditors and fraud examiners. As the accounting field has become more specialized, accountancy has become the preferred graduate degree for individuals who desire to work in public accounting firms or to become certified public accountants.

The program was designed to be completed in 12 months, with each course to be offered in an eight-week session, with one evening class and an additional online assignment each week. Students without an accounting undergraduate degree or minor will be required to take four prerequisite courses: financial accounting, cost accounting, intermediate accounting and auditing. The program will be offered at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township and is expected to attract both current undergraduate students and accounting professionals within the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

Slippery Rock’s Master of Social Work degree program will offer a clinical concentration that will prepare students for the proper diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems. Students will specialize in either crisis intervention or forensic social work, and also will be able to pursue an option in animal-assisted social work, leading to certification in animal-assisted interventions. Upon completion, graduates will be eligible to take the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) exam in Pennsylvania and most other states.

In broad terms, social work is a professional and academic discipline that improves the quality of life of individuals, groups and communities. Social workers are involved in programs that serve the military, veterans, the elderly, disaster relief, drug and alcohol treatment and community organizing. Nationwide and in Pennsylvania there is an increased demand for social workers. The Department of Labor indicates that social work jobs will grow at a 16 percent rate for the next decade, identifying it as a profession which will grow “much faster” than the national average.

West Chester University’s new Master of Science in physician assistant studies program will prepare graduates to practice medicine on multidisciplinary teams with physicians and other healthcare providers. Designed to be completed in two years—through a combination of face-to-face and online instruction—program requirements are consistent with other physician assistant programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

The program will focus on the treatment of chronic injury/illness resulting from the aging process. Individuals are living longer and are more active today than they were 10 years ago; and, as a result, are more likely to experience chronic injury/illness needing both preventive and acute care treatment. There are two other physician assistant programs offered by State System universities—at Lock Haven and Slippery Rock universities—both focused on filling the gap in healthcare services particularly among rural communities. Each of the programs addresses the unique healthcare needs of the region in which the university is situated.

East Stroudsburg University’s Doctorate of Health Science in health sciences degree program was designed for individuals who intend to pursue advanced professional practice careers in higher education, clinical research or health administration. It is a generalist degree with  concentrations in health management and administration and advanced research administration. 

Various studies indicate a rapidly growing demand for individuals with this advanced degree, which is not currently being offered by any other Pennsylvania college or university in the region. Students enrolling in the program will already hold advanced credentials and most will be adult working professionals who will pursue the program part-time. Those who earn the degree will be better positioned for career promotions.

For more information on any of the new programs, please contact the specific university.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 90,000 students across the Commonwealth. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. ​

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