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College of Arts and Science launches three new undergraduate academic programs

Posted by on Tuesday, September 26, 2023 in News Story.

The College of Arts and Science has added two new minors and a new major concentration to its robust list of academic offerings. The minor in political economy, minor in Spanish for the professions, and Korean concentration in the Asian Studies major were developed to leverage faculty expertise, respond to student interest, and address evolving, real-world issues in contemporary society.

“We aim to offer students a wide variety of academic pathways that prepare them for their desired career paths and that help them to be engaged, informed citizens of the world,” said Timothy P. McNamara, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Science. “We have strong faculty expertise, scholarship, and student interest in these new areas of study. These programs will leverage our scholarly strengths and further our mission of preparing future leaders to find innovative solutions to the complex challenges of our time.”

Spanish for the Professions

In response to the growing need for Spanish-speakers in the global job market, the Spanish for the professions minor gives students not just an opportunity to learn the language but offers courses that can be directly applied in the workplace, such as SPAN 3345: Spanish in Business and the Global Economy and SPAN 3350: Spanish for the Legal Profession.

“The minor in Spanish for the professions is an exciting new initiative that will give students the multicultural understanding and skills needed to speak Spanish in professional settings,” said Michelle Murray, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. “This new minor equips students with both linguistic expertise and intercultural competence that will enable them to comfortably relate to those from other parts of the globe.”

Political Economy

The interdisciplinary political economy minor, offered jointly between the Departments of Political Science and Economics, allows students to study political institutions and behavior, as well as the political consequences of economic decisions, policies, and outcomes. The minor highlights the comparative strengths that the two departments have built in the subfield of political economy over the past several years.

“The minor will give students a new appreciation for how the quantitative and analytical tools of economics can be employed to engage with, and understand, contemporary debates about political institutions, political behavior, and public policy,” said Alan Wiseman, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Political Science and chair of the Department of Political Science. “Students will likewise be able to appreciate how political considerations can (and often do) influence economic institutions and market outcomes.”

Korean Concentration in Asian Studies

Korean has been added as a concentration in the Asian studies major, joining existing concentrations in China, Japan, and South Asia. In addition to language study, students will focus on Korean history, literature, film, and media.

“The global expansion of the Korean Wave—including dramas, films, K-pop, and webtoons—makes Korean language and culture one of the most fascinating areas to explore today,” said We Jung Yi, assistant professor of Asian studies and Cornelius Vanderbilt Dean’s Faculty Fellow in Asian Studies. “Through the new Korean concentration, as well as the existing Korean language and culture minor, students will not only acquire the language but also gain insights into the nation’s rich cultural heritage and its significant geopolitical and economic standing throughout the world.”

The three new programs add to the College of Arts and Science’s 100-plus existing majors and minors. The programs are available to undergraduate students as of Fall 2023.