Liberal Arts continues online education with new economic degrees

September 28, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting double-digit growth in a wide range of fields requiring analytical and problem-solving skills in data and social sciences, which make up the essence of an economics degree. To help meet this demand and to enable working adults to advance their careers, Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts is making its high-quality resident economics programs available online through the World Campus.

Penn State World Campus will offer bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in economics, starting spring semester 2013. The bachelor of arts will emphasize the field’s qualitative aspect, including social behavior, culture and international relations. Students will study how incentives affect human behavior, markets and economies, so they can model real-life situations and predict outcomes. The bachelor of science degree focuses on quantitative knowledge and analytical skills in mathematics theory, research and computer programming. Students will learn about mathematical models and statistical techniques for solving social challenges.

"Both degrees provide a framework for thinking and analyzing complex problems," said Dirk Mateer, director of undergraduate studies in Penn State's Department of Economics. "This is a skill set that organizations highly value. These degrees also provide many paths for graduates, including law, public policy, government, corporate management, consulting or nonprofit work."

For well over a decade, the College of the Liberal Arts and the Penn State World Campus have enjoyed a highly productive partnership, one that has produced a number of different degrees and programs -- one associate degree, seven bachelor degrees, three certificates and one master's degree -- with major contributions to another master’s degree. In addition, the college offers a significant portfolio of online general education courses that make up the core of every undergraduate degree on the World Campus.

The liberal arts bachelor’s degrees comprise psychology, labor and employment relations, organizational leadership, political science, law and society, and letters, arts and sciences. The bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in psychology are among most popular degrees, with more than 300 majors enrolled from 40 states and four countries. In fact, the World Campus students have formed the world’s first online Psychology Club with more than 100 members from the U.S, Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a video, Kara Goss, a mother of four children and a psychology major, said, “They are willing to take the time to work with you if you have questions or concerns; if you need them, they're there. Learning online is excellent; the only difference is you submit your assignments online. You still have the same ability to talk to other students. You can join the World Campus Psychology Club and get that interaction with other students, and talk to other professors.”

Wayne Smutz, executive director of World Campus and associate vice president for academic outreach, said, “The liberal arts degrees are among the most popular at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Thanks to the college’s partnership, Penn State has become a national leader in online education. It is the dedication of their leaders, faculty and staff to our mission -- giving a quality Penn State education to adults living across the U.S. and the globe -- that makes us a great story of achievement.”

Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, said, “I am very proud that Penn State liberal arts is educating thousands of students around the U.S. and the globe. We have been fortunate that over a decade ago, our faculty and senior administrative leadership had the foresight to see the great potential of online education and its growing importance to U.S. higher education. They worked closely with the World Campus and department heads, faculty and staff to establish high-quality courses and degrees offered by a dedicated team of instructors and staff.''

More information about the liberal arts online degrees are at online.

  • Several summer 2012 Penn State World Campus graduates

    IMAGE: World Campus
Last Updated October 02, 2012