New online Western programs allow flexibility for working adults

Contact: Kathleen Refior

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Enrollment is open for three new fully online four-year degree programs at Western Michigan University designed to help meet the needs of working adults. Beginning in the fall 2021 semester, the College of Arts and Sciences will offer fully online undergraduate programs in strategic communication, criminal justice studies and general psychology, in addition to existing online programs.

"These three new online programs offered through WMU's College of Arts and Sciences align with our mission to provide top tier, inclusive and personalized educational experiences," says Dr. Carla Koretsky, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Student success is our top priority, and as the need for flexible instruction and course delivery increases, we are committed to meeting that need."

Demand for more flexible options in higher education are growing, particularly with the enormous increase in online professional and personal activities. According to Education Data, of a total of 19.7 million students enrolled in courses at degree-granting institutions in 2017, 6.6 million students were enrolled in online classes.

Criminal Justice Studies

The criminal justice studies program provides the knowledge and skills necessary for students interested in careers such as law enforcement, juvenile court counselor, child welfare worker, family services counselor and more. The program also prepares students pursuing professional or graduate work in law, criminology or other areas. With two tracks to choose from—criminal justice or justice studies—students can explore a breadth of criminal justice studies.

Students in the criminal justice studies program will have the opportunity to apply their online learning to real-world situations through options to participate in undergraduate research and internships with faculty and industry experts. Students will also have the opportunity to pursue a law enforcement certification through the Kalamazoo Law Enforcement Training Center.

Strategic Communication

The integrated approach in the strategic communication program will prepare students for a range of careers in the communication and business fields. In fact, 94% of communication graduates are employed full or part time or continuing their education within three months of graduation.

Designed with industry feedback, WMU's strategic communication program prepares students for positions such as social media analyst, public relations consultant, communication specialist and more. The first strategic communication concentration that will be offered fully online is  public relations.

General Psychology

The general psychology program at Western will prepare students for a better understanding of how humans think, act and feel. Graduates go on to careers such as a counselor, psychologist, teacher, caseworker and more.

All students in the general psychology program are required to complete a field study or lab experience, allowing them to directly apply skills developed in online courses. Students will also have ample opportunities to engage in undergraduate research with faculty and industry professionals to gain real-world experience.

Online programs through the College of Arts and Sciences

WMU College of Arts and Sciences at WMU provides fully online and flexible academic programs, certificates and courses designed to meet the needs of working adults. 

"Our college continues to fuel our students' passion for learning and discovery at the frontiers of science, social science and the humanities. Our online degree and certificate programs provide flexibility and access to a diverse group of students, allowing them to be part of a top-notch university experience no matter where they are in the world," says Koretsky.

Learn more about the college's online program offerings.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.