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UW-Stout receives UW Board of Regents approval for five new academic programs

Three science, one art and one graduate degree option boost in-demand array of bachelor’s, master’s to 80

By Jerry Poling, UW Stout

Students who are ready to build careers in science or art, or pursue a cross-discipline master’s degree, have new and in-demand options at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

The Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents has given its stamp of approval to five new academic programs at UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University. They are:

  • Bachelor of Science, biology

  • Bachelor of Science, chemistry

  • Bachelor of Science, physics

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, illustration

  • Master of Professional Studies, design, entrepreneurship and sustainability.

The programs, which were approved April 5 and begin in the fall, capitalize on UW-Stout’s existing academic offerings, labs/studios and experienced faculty in those fields. The additions bring the number of undergraduate majors to 57 and Graduate Studies to 23, along with a specialist degree and doctorate degree.

“I am proud of UW-Stout faculty and staff that are working hard to continue to adapt and expand UW-Stout’s polytechnic offerings to meet student needs and the needs of the workforce,” said Glendalí Rodríguez, provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

UW-Stout graduates are in demand. A new report found that 99% of UW-Stout 2022-23 graduates were employed soon after earning their degree and had a record average starting salary of $58,000, the best among higher education institutions in west-central Wisconsin.

In science, the three new degrees are built on the foundations of concentrations that have been offered for many years within the applied science bachelor’s program. By elevating the concentrations to majors, the university is meeting student and industry demand with more focused career paths.

For example, UW-Stout has approximately 60 students already in the biology concentration. A prehealth sciences track focuses on post-graduate professional studies, such as medical school. A recent UW-Stout alum graduated from Harvard Medical School.

“The new degrees augment the existing program array in the science disciplines at UW-Stout,” Rodríguez said. “We offer high-quality, challenging academic programs that influence and respond to a changing society.

“For example, many students studying physics are double-majoring in engineering, computer science or mathematics. This new major creates value-added credentials and experience and minimally increases the number of credits needed because of the significant overlap,” Rodríguez said.

Nationally and within Wisconsin, job opportunities in biology, chemistry and physics are expected to grow 5% to 8% in the next decade.

UW-Stout’s Jarvis Hall Science Wing, which opened in 2010, features state-of-the-art labs that support applied learning and research opportunities for first-year to senior students. They include the Cadaver Lab, Rajiv and Swati Lall Microbiology Lab, and Biotechnology Lab.

In art, the new illustration degree builds on the School of Art and Design’s six other B.F.A.  programs.

Illustration builds skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, comics and other areas of art and design. Graduates can expect to find work in industries such as advertising, publishing, entertainment and as self-employed artists and consultants.

“The B.F.A. in illustration brings together artistic excellence and applied, problem-solving skills inherent to the practical design industry,” Rodríguez said. “The courses will bring clarity to complex ideas, communicates stories and explore new and creative ways of analyzing and presenting information applicable across multiple professional disciplines.”

UW-Stout’s School of Art and Design remains the largest in the Upper Midwest, serving approximately 1,300 students. The program array extends to Graduate Studies with a Master of Fine Arts in design, which includes options in nine focus areas.

In Graduate Studies, the design, entrepreneurship and sustainability online master’s aligns with industry demand for more professionals with skills in sustainability and with the university’s ongoing efforts to operate more sustainably.

The program will help graduates advance their careers in fields such as management, entrepreneurship, education, engineering and government. Jobs requiring “green skills” are growing by 8% a year.

Courses will cover design, leadership and business management, including a capstone class that will enable students to synthesize the skills they have learned to create a research-based project.

UW-Stout also offers an M.S. sustainable management collaborative degree.

Student success is the leading goal of UW-Stout’s FOCUS2030 strategic plan.


UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes. Learn more via the FOCUS2030 strategic plan


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