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National News

NC university introduces customizable degree program

Credit: iStock

By Shanteya Hudson

May 28, 2024   

A North Carolina university wants to break the mold for people studying the arts. A new degree program will not require students to narrow their creativity to a single area of study.

William Peace University will launch an Interdisciplinary Arts degree program this fall, allowing students to explore multiple areas of interest under one degree.

Matt Hodge, associate professor of theatre and director of program, said it will replace the traditional fine arts degree, let students customize their studies and prepare them for the current job market.

“The program matches this philosophy that you don’t have to be someone that fits this one box, one label, you get to create your box, you get to create your label,” Hodge explained. “That’s going to open more doors and help you craft a unique artistic identity in the world.”

He said Interdisciplinary Arts students will take core classes, and then tailor their degree with electives in art, dance, film, game design, media, music and theatre. The change added William Peace to a short list of about a dozen universities offering an undergraduate Interdisciplinary Arts degree.

Hodge pointed out the way the program is structured will also make it easier for students to achieve a minor or double major. He believes one key to the new degree will be immersive learning opportunities. Students will take some courses to get credit for doing real-world work, both on and off campus.

“By the time you graduate, not only have you had a customizable degree, but you also are graduating with resume building,” Hodge emphasized. “You have an internship, you have multiple connections you’ve done. You’ve really done networking out in the city. So, you really are a holistic, modern professional artist.”

He added students working toward the current fine arts degree will have the ability to switch to the new program. And for incoming students, there are no prerequisites or auditions, it is as simple as declaring your major.

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