Education

New Degree Program Aims To Prepare Georgia Grads For High-Tech Jobs

Officials with the University System of Georgia hope a new “nexus degree” will prepare students for jobs in fields like cybersecurity and financial technology.
Officials with the University System of Georgia hope a new “nexus degree” will prepare students for jobs in fields like cybersecurity and financial technology.
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As Georgia looks to expand its tech industry in the coming years, the university system has proposed a brand new degree program to make sure students are prepared for those jobs.

A “nexus degree” would allow students to specialize more than a traditional college major does.

“The intention is to try to create a degree that is much more nimble and adaptable than we’ve ever had before,” says Tristan Denley, executive vice chancellor of academic affairs and chief academic officer for the University System of Georgia.

A nexus (Latin for “bringing two things together”) degree would augment a student’s bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

“For example, a student might graduate with a bachelor’s degree in information technology with a nexus degree in app development,” Denley says.

The nexus program would require students to take 12 hours of upper-level coursework in addition to eight hours of “experiential learning,” or some kind of hands-on training. The expectation is that students will graduate prepared to step into high-demand jobs in fields like cybersecurity and financial technology.

Amy Lancaster, director of workforce development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, says that’s exactly what businesses are looking for.

“[Companies] need people with more specialized training in some areas, so that when they do come out of college, they can hit the ground running much faster,” Lancaster says.

USG officials plan to partner with businesses to develop a curriculum for the new degree program. The Board of Regents would need to approve the courses before colleges start teaching them. However, Denley says the university system hopes to starting teaching the new classes this fall.