Department of Political Science

Liberal Arts to offer new degrees and certificate

Published on Apr 03, 2018

Photo of liberal arts dean Joseph Aistrup

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) will soon offer two new undergraduate degrees and a new undergraduate certificate. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) recently approved a bachelor of science in neuroscience and a bachelor of arts in law and justice. ACHE also approved CLA’s first undergraduate certificate, Leadership for a Global Society.

“The new bachelor’s degrees and the undergraduate certificate support Auburn’s strategic commitment to prepare our students for graduate and professional study and for career success,” said Joseph Aistrup, dean of the College of Liberal Arts (pictured above). “Students can now receive the training and education in these significant fields here at Auburn.” 

Neurosciences is a growing field of study. The US Department of Labor expects a 12.9 percent increase in jobs for medical scientists, such as neuroscientists, from 2016 to 2026. Auburn’s program is one of only two programs in the state along with University of Alabama-Birmingham. Administered by the Department of Psychology, the neuroscience degree emphasizes the psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior and prepares students for medical school or other health-related careers. The curriculum includes coursework from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Education and the College of Sciences and Mathematics.  

“The Department of Psychology is pleased to offer our undergraduate students the opportunity to obtain a degree in neuroscience,” said Ana Franco-Watkins, department chair. “Students will receive a strong scientific foundation in the neuroscience of human behavior.”

The law and justice degree is the first of its kind in the state and one of only a handful in the country. The curriculum is designed to better prepare students for law school by using an interdisciplinary approach, offering courses from the Departments of Political Science and Philosophy and the School of Communication and Journalism. Students in the program will graduate with a proficiency in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and strong writing and oral communication skills and will be prepared for success in graduate school and legal careers. A legal internship is required for students in the program to help develop practical skills and employment contacts.   

“The political science faculty, the new pre-law coordinator, and I are excited about working with other CLA departments to provide this unique degree experience for our students.  Through coursework in multiple departments, specialized advising and programming, and the internship, our students will graduate better prepared for law school, other graduate programs, or entry-level positions in the legal field or justice system,” said Cynthia Bowling, department chair. 

The certificate in leadership for a global society provides students with the skills to become engaged citizens who live and work among an increasingly multicultural and global society. Students will explore global economic, social, political and environmental issues. The certificate, which is an excellent complement to any degree, requires 12-credit hours and can be completed by Auburn students or non-degree seeking individuals.  

“We are excited to offer our students another opportunity to reflect on the relationship between self and others and to acquire skills required for intercultural competency and for leadership in a global society,” said Giovanna Summerfield, associate dean for educational affairs. “As all work settings today are very diverse and connect with international partners, our students will be better prepared to contribute and excel in any roles they may play within those settings.”

Students may begin pursuing the new bachelor’s degrees and certificate this fall. The new offerings reflect the College of Liberal Arts’ commitment to equipping its students with the skills for personal and professional readiness upon entering the global workforce.