JANUARY 2, 2023 — Over the last decade, multidisciplinary studies (MDST) has been one of the most popular degree programs at UTSA. The program offers students the flexibility to design their own degree plan, taking courses from three different disciplines across the university that relate to their career and professional goals.
Beginning this spring, the University College is expanding its offerings with a multidisciplinary studies degree focused on healthcare management in collaboration with the Carlos Alvarez College of Business and the College for Health, Community and Policy.
Healthcare management is one of 10 niche areas currently offered within the multidisciplinary studies degree. These niche areas allow students to follow a prescribed list of courses from three different disciplines to create a focused program that falls outside traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Students in the healthcare management niche area will take coursework in healthcare administration, public policy and data analysis, and community health—courses that will prepare them to successfully transition into a leadership role in either the public or private sector that serves the healthcare industry.
“UTSA’s ability to regularly launch new niche areas is an excellent example of the university’s ability to be nimble and work collaboratively across multiple colleges and units to increase our students’ accessibility to fields of the future,” said Heather Shipley, senior vice provost for academic affairs and dean of University College. “We are proud that our Multidisciplinary Studies program is preparing Roadrunners to enter some of today’s most in-demand career fields.”
The University College’s first set of niche areas, which were launched in fall 2020, included artificial intelligence, cyber intelligence, data science, geoinformatics, neuroscience and nursing.
This past fall, the college launched a new set of prescribed niche areas, including applied data science, film and media studies, hospitality and events management, and strategic defense and leadership.
Similar in concept to a startup incubator for companies, the University College takes a collaborative approach to growing new niche areas with the support they need to be successful. In some cases, success might mean that the niche area is viable enough to become a standalone degree program. For example, the neuroscience niche area was able to transition into the College of Sciences and is now being offered as a B.S. in Neuroscience.
“One great thing about the niche areas is that we can be responsive to student interest and tailor the path accordingly,” said Rebecca Schroeder, assistant dean of the University College and associate professor of instruction in the Academic Inquiry and Scholarship program.
New niche areas are created based on a combination of factors. The University College leadership team monitors various sources to see which industries are experiencing significant growth and then determine whether UTSA offers sufficient coursework to create a multidisciplinary degree plan that would give students a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
For example, the hospitality and events management niche area was created to address workforce needs in San Antonio, which is one of the nation’s top travel destinations. According to a recent economic impact study, the tourism and hospitality industry employs one in eight workers locally and is one of the city’s top economic producers. In addition to courses in management and human resources, communications, logistics and planning, this program includes coursework within the focused area of cultural enrichment and an internship with an events management organization.
New niche areas are also created based on student demand. For example, students in the current data science certificate program voiced their desire for an applied data science degree program. The University College was able to expand the certificate’s offerings and launch it as one of the new incubator programs. The program allows students to take coursework in data science, math computing and business analytics and then apply what they’ve learned to solve complex problems in one of three specialized domains—cyber intelligence, digital humanities or political science.
The niche area in strategic defense and leadership was designed specifically for the university’s ROTC students. According to University College leadership, ROTC students had expressed interest in a leadership program that would be applicable both during and after service in the military.
While University College creates and administers the programs, the college relies on UTSA’s other academic colleges to offer the coursework.
“The MDST niche programs take university-wide collaboration,” acknowledged Jianwei Niu, associate dean of University College and a computer science professor in the College of Sciences. “None of the programs would be successful without the colleges that are offering the coursework and are willing to partner with us to allow our students to be enrolled in their programs.”
The University College promotes student-centered learning through academic excellence and dynamic, engaged curriculum, offering students lifelong tools for academic inquiry, advancement and leadership. Its programs also include the Academic Inquiry and Scholarship program, the Writing Program, the Air Force and Army ROTC, and the Dual Credit program.
In addition to offering undergraduate degrees in Multidisciplinary Studies, the University College offers an M.S. in Artificial Intelligence, a Ph.D. in Translational Science, and undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in Community-Engaged Leadership, Data Science and Legal Studies.
UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.
Join the UTSA community in celebrating the life of Dr. Thelma Duffey.Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Buena Vista Building, Downtown Campus
The proposed annual BME Research Symposium will allow students to present their undergraduate research free of charge, providing them with the opportunity to network and build their professional skills.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 & 2, Main Campus
The UTSA Marches Committee, in partnership with the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Education Foundation, invites everyone to the 27th annual Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice. This event is in conjunction with the "Yes We CAN" food donation drive with the San Antonio Food Bank. Guests are encouraged to bring canned food items with them to the march to deposit cans into barrels before the march begins.1310 Guadalupe St, San Antonio, TX 78207
Join us to learn about how Impostor Syndrome can affect your career decisions and how you view yourself, your knowledge, and abilities. You will leave with actionable items related to implementing coping strategies for symptoms that may arise in your career development (mentally, physically, emotionally).University Career Center (S.U. 2.02.04,) Main Campus
Join UTSA librarians for this introductory workshop for early career faculty on how to build your online scholarly identity.John Peace Library, GroupSpot B
Join the conversation with Karleen Pendleton Jimenez, a professor in the Department of Gender and Social Justice at Trent University.Virtual Event
Learn to use the dynamic tool VMOCK to assist you in your job/internship search. Evaluate your resume. Get feedback on your "elevator pitch" and on how you engage in verbal communication virtually and in-person.Multidisciplinary Studies (MS 2.02.36,) Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.