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UCCS adds new degrees 

click to enlarge JEFFERY M FOSTER
  • JEFFERY M FOSTER

Building on its strong growth in other areas, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recently announced that it is adding three new degrees.

The new offerings are a bachelor's degree in exercise science, a master's in athletic training and a bachelor's degree in inclusive elementary education. The additions mean that UCCS now offers 39 bachelor's, 20 master's and five doctoral degrees.

The changes come after UCCS announced another enrollment record (it's set one every year since 2007), with 11,356 on-campus students. Educating the growing student body has required rapid physical growth. From 2002 to 2014, UCCS invested more than $213 million in campus buildings. Another $228 million is planned from 2014 to 2018. Meanwhile, the university has gone from 318 regular faculty members in 2007 to 436 in the fall of 2014.

Both the bachelor's in exercise science and the master's in athletic training build off sports medicine, one of UCCS' strengths. The school has strong relationships with local sports organizations and health care providers, as well as Olympic sports' national governing bodies, Paralympics and the Wounded Warrior program. The school also plans to build a sports medicine and performance center as part of the City for Champions project.

UCCS is the only CU campus to offer the exercise science degree, which is "the study of movement and associated functional responses and adaptations." Graduates with the degree often work in sports medicine or pursue advanced degrees to become exercise physiologists, medical doctors, physician assistants or physical therapists.

UCCS is the only school in the state to offer the master's in athletic training. It is considered a preparation degree, through which students can become eligible for national certification as an athletic trainer. The degree combines a bachelor's and master's degree into a single five-year program.

"With the emphasis to provide preventive services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions for athletes of all ages and abilities in our community, this new degree is a good fit," Nancy Smith, dean of the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, stated in a press release.

Finally, the bachelor's in inclusive education is an in-demand degree that gives future elementary school teachers training in special education and "culturally and linguistically diverse education." The goal is to train teachers who can educate all students, regardless of their abilities, background or English language skills.

All three degrees are associated with careers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will have strong growth.

— J. Adrian Stanley

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