Linfield plans new graduate programs for fall 2021

Cisco Reyes, professor in Linfield's Department of Health, Human Performance and AthleticsMost graduate programs focus their coursework on a specialization in a single subject. Linfield University is reimagining what advanced degrees can be with the planned launch of three new graduate programs in fall 2021, available online and on the McMinnville campus.

The programs – a Master of Science in business, Master of Science in sports science and analytics and Special Education Generalist Endorsement – provide students with expertise in their subject areas, but do so with an interdisciplinary, liberal arts approach.

“The introduction of graduate programs is an important part of our evolution from a college to a university,” Linfield President Miles K. Davis said. “But we didn’t want just any graduate programs. We wanted them to be distinctively Linfield, and to represent the interdisciplinary history and culture of this 163-year-old institution.”

The new degrees were proposed by faculty and approved by the Linfield University Board of Trustees on Feb. 13. The announcement comes less than one year after Linfield announced its first graduate program in more than 20 years – a Master of Science in Nursing in leadership in healthcare ecosystems.

“The response we received from the MSN program has been overwhelmingly positive in the first year,” said Susan Agre-Kippenhan, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We’re looking to build on that momentum and create additional strong, distinctive graduate programs this year and in the years to come.”

The M.S. in business can accommodate those who already have a degree in business, but works equally well for those who don’t. The curriculum is designed to provide expertise in innovation, design thinking, high-performing teams, critical thinking and emotional and cultural intelligence. Students will develop skills that are transferable across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

“When students complete our one-year program, they will be transformed,” said Jennifer R. Madden, dean of the School of Business. “The program sharpens their capacity to be solution finders instead of problem identifiers. Building from the liberal arts tradition, the program will cultivate knowledge, skills, resilience, agility and creativity so that our graduates have the ability to solve problems that don’t yet exist.”

Unique to the master’s degree in business is a multi-national capstone, in which students work with a global client before presenting a final consulting report at the international site (either virtual or in-person). Tuition for this one-year program covers all costs associated with the program, including courses, workshops and international travel.

The M.S. in sports science and analytics combines a traditional exercise science program with data science, providing graduates with a framework for improved decision making when it comes to implementation of training and rehabilitation programs for athletic, sport, exercise and human performance. Students will develop critical thinking skills using data analytics, paired with foundational knowledge in exercise science and communication to aid in the proper interpretation and translation of data to consumers, coaches, clients, patients and athletes.

“This is where data analytics and biostatistics meet athletic performance, strength and conditioning,” said Joe Wilferth, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Students in this program will become exercise science professionals and biostatisticians who are experienced with laboratory work and with using field-specific technologies to inform decisions related to the health and wellness of their human subjects.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for biostatisticians is expected to experience a faster-than-average job growth over the next eight years, at more than 11%. The Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration anticipates 5,300 job openings by 2028, with a median salary of more than $91,000 per year.

Each course in the sports science program possesses an experiential learning component, allowing students to get hands-on skills working with athletes at high schools, colleges and universities, professional sport organizations, private clinics and international businesses. Graduates will be positioned to work in sport-related fields or to pursue doctoral degrees in physical therapy and exercise science.

The Special Education Generalist Endorsement creates more access points to licensure for current or aspiring teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of special education teachers is forecast to grow 3% in the United States from 2019 to 2029, and the Oregon Department of Education has identified special education as a teacher-shortage area. Linfield’s certificate program – available as a graduate one-year add-on, as well as a dual-endorsement undergraduate program – opens career opportunities in education for K-12 and special education teachers, instructional assistants and learning specialists, among others.

“All of these new graduate offerings are examples of how Linfield continues to be innovative and to thrive as we prepare students for life and work after graduation,” said Wilferth.

More information on these programs is available at linfield.edu.