Anthropology, Biochemistry, Exercise Science Degrees Approved

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees gave final approval Friday, Feb. 24, to a new Bachelor of Science in Anthropology program and preliminary approval to two other BS degrees, one in biochemistry and molecular biology and the other in exercise science.

The anthropology program is part of an ongoing effort to expand the number of degrees offered by Michigan Tech and attract a wider range of students. "Based upon enrollments in anthropology on other university campuses, we expect that this will broaden our appeal, particularly among women and underrepresented groups," said Bruce Seely, chair of the Department of Social Sciences.

Students majoring in anthropology will be able to focus in two specialties: archaeology and environmental anthropology, which examines the relationship between humans and their environment. "We have anthropology faculty of national stature, and this new degree is an excellent fit, both for them and for our students," Seely said.

Anthropology majors will be able to work closely with faculty and participate in research and fieldwork as undergraduates.

The new BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will be a cooperative effort between the Departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences.

“The interface of chemistry and biology is a very hot area and will be into the future,” said Sarah Green, chair of the chemistry department. “We’ve had a lot of interest from talented students both inside and outside the university, so we expect to see an increase in enrollment.”

A particular strength will be the interdisciplinary nature of the degree, since it will be housed in two academic departments. “Biochemistry grew out of chemistry, and molecular biology arose from biologists using chemistry,” Green said. “Both departments bring something important to the table, which will enhance the quality of the program.”

The new degree program will build upon concentrations that have been offered for years, said John Adler, chair of the biological sciences department. “This has been an evolutionary process, and we have a number of faculty who are very active in this area,” he said. “As a result, students will have the opportunity to participate in their ongoing research as undergraduates.”

The program is expected to enroll about 40 students within a few years.

The BS in Exercise Science will be the first degree program to be offered by Michigan Tech’s Department of Physical Education. It will provide a strong, scientific foundation for students seeking employment in the health and fitness industry as well as for those seeking advanced degrees in the health and allied health professions.

“This is a new direction for the physical education department, and we are very excited about it,” said Max Seel, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts. “Traditionally, the department has provided intramural, fitness and recreational programs, but this will be the first degree we offer.”

“This is a very strong, science-based program that prepares students well for jobs in a growth industry, as well as for postgraduate education in health-related fields,” he said. “In the future, we hope to expand on the program by offering other bachelor’s and master’s degrees.”

The goal in the first year is to attract 20 students, with an anticipated 60-80 enrolled after four years.

The degree programs are expected to begin in fall 2006.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.