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Charleston Southern University > CSU News > CSU adds new degree programs to meet market demand

CSU adds new degree programs to meet market demand

Marketing and Communication // 07.17.2017

Charleston Southern University is adding new academic programs in direct response to the needs and demands of the marketplace. In 2017-18, the new programs include Cybersecurity, Physician Assistant, Master of Science in Biology, Master in Athletic Training and, Fall 2018, Master of Arts in Psychology. What market-driven forces are behind these new additions and what will these programs prepare our students to do professionally?

Here’s a summary of each program’s goals along with the strategic design for success:


Dr. Valerie Sessions, Chair for the Computer Science department, came to Charleston Southern 10 years ago. She’s never been more passionate about any program as she is about the university’s BS in Cybersecurity.

Sessions is also confident this curriculum will be much more than a trendy response to a burgeoning career opportunity. “We want students who graduate from CSU to still be relevant in this field 30 years later.” CSU will offer specialized courses dealing with competitive security, network penetration and securing software.

Charleston’s reputation and nickname as the Silicon Harbor certainly appears to be a well-timed fit for the specialized education of CSU’s Computer Science students will receive.

Jody Davids, senior vice president and chief information officer for PepsiCo says, “I applaud this new major at CSU.  It is a visionary move, and I know the graduates of this program will be in high demand.”

As more large companies and small-to-medium businesses make Charleston their home, there will be an increased need for information security specialists. CSU graduates will be there to fill those positions.

Physician Assistant

In a recent CNN poll of “100 Best Jobs in America”, physician assistants ranked No. 2.

Changes in the health care industry have created a demand for this profession with an anticipated growth of more than 20% between 2008 and 2018. CSU is responding to that increased interest in this profession.

The program will be housed in the new Health Science Building on campus. PA’s practice medicine on health-care teams under the supervision of physicians. They examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses and provide treatment. The curriculum structure is designed to give students the knowledge, skill and confidence to care for patients in a variety of settings.

The mission of the Master of Medical Science (MMS) in physician assistant studies program is to educate compassionate and highly motivated individuals through a curriculum integrated with Christian values, to deliver patient-centered care as members of an inter-professional healthcare team, to serve as leaders in their communities and to continually promote the PA profession.

Master of Science in Biology

This new program offering will also reside in the new Health Sciences Building. It will also benefit from the new Physician Assistance program through the development of a cooperative curriculum to benefit both courses of study.

Dr. Melinda Walker is excited because a Master of Science in Biology offers such a variety of professionals in this field increased opportunities for pay raises and promotion. Beyond public school teachers who have expressed interest in their continuing education needs, Walker says, “Others such as veterinarians, social workers and safety workers benefit from this opportunity for professional development.”

This degree also aids those interested in teaching at the college or technical school level after graduating from CSU.  The program is designed with sufficient electives allowing a student to concentrate in one area of competence or to pursue a broad range of biological topics.

Master in Athletic Training

The Master in Athletic Training program is to provide an educational setting and opportunities that demonstrate dedication to the preparation of servant leaders that excel in the field of athletic training grounded on an evidence-based approach. The program encourages the academic and personal development of its students to prepare them for a career in which biblical truths and evidence-based practice guide their thoughts and actions as a medical professional.

Master of Arts Counseling Psychology

The Department of Behavioral Science at CSU has done its homework. In addition to conducting an internal feasibility study of CSU students majoring in either Psychology or Sociology, the level of student interest is buoyed by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics that projects master level mental health jobs to increase by 19% between 2014-2024. 

Dr. William J. Librizzi, director of the program, notes that, “The Mission of this program is to prepare students that are both clinically competent and Biblically sound.  Each course is designed specifically to train future counselors to offer exceptional clinical expertise in a compassionate manner with a focus on the Biblical worldview.”

This master program is designed for the individual who has completed an undergraduate program, and would like to obtain their credential as a Licensed Professional Counselor. The curriculum will prepare the student for a wide range of professional settings including private practice, university counseling and hospitals along with state and federal agencies. Classes will begin in Fall 2018.


all programs are pending SACSCOC program acceptance

Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.