UNC Charlotte is responding to the greater Charlotte region’s employment needs with three new degree programs and five new graduate certificate programs that are relevant to the current and future job market. Several will be available this spring and all programs will be open for new and current students by fall 2021.

As part of the new School of Data Science, UNC Charlotte will now offer a Bachelor of Science in Data Science. This is the first undergraduate degree of its kind in North Carolina and results from direct collaboration between the University and business leaders. In addition, the University now offers a Master of Science in Computer Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies.

New online graduate certificate programs include Advanced Literacy Instruction and InterventionApplied Nursing Informatics, Respiratory Care Clinical Concepts, and Respiratory Care Leadership. A novel certificate in Workplace Competencies complements graduate degrees and enhances skills of working professionals in all areas.

“UNC Charlotte has a long history of being nimble in adapting to the evolving needs of our students and our community with relevant and future-oriented academic programs,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “These new programs are designed to respond to industry needs, provide excellent opportunities for current and prospective students, and help strengthen our region’s workforce.”

About UNC Charlotte’s New Academic Programs:

B.S. in Data Science

The Bachelor of Science in Data Science program marks the latest expansion of the interdisciplinary partnership among the College of Computing and Informatics, the Belk College of Business, the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. To meet employer demand, the program teaches skills in machine learning, data analysis, statistics, data visualization and the ethics surrounding the field of data science. The degree is designed to accommodate both new and transfer students. An extended college transfer partnership with Wake Technical Community College provides a seamless transition for students interested in this degree. The Bachelor of Science in Data Science is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.

B.A. in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies

Another first in the Carolinas and part of the University’s goal to increase its interdisciplinary offerings, UNC Charlotte now offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies. With interactive courses from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and a partnership with the College of Computing and Informatics, the program widens students’ understanding of human computing, communication and analytics. Along with developing advanced writing, information literacy and problem-solving skills, students gain the ability to adapt emerging print and digital technologies in new contexts as they become adept in writing as a concept and practice. The Bachelor of Arts in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.

Master of Science in Computer Engineering

As one of the fastest-growing regions for technology in the nation, Charlotte demands an increasing number of hardware engineers, software developers, application developers, systems developers and networking engineers. The needs in this area align with the emergence of new application domains including artificial intelligence and machine learning systems and high-speed communication networks. 

The Computer Engineering master’s program will emphasize integrated hardware-software systems. This unique focus area is designed to more effectively serve the industry’s growing workforce demands in computer systems sub-disciplines. The program’s curriculum specializations in these sub-disciplines include computer architecture and hardware design, computer systems and applications software and distributed and real-time computer systems. The Master of Science in Computer Engineering is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.

Advanced Literacy Instruction and Intervention, Graduate Certificate

Literacy and reading instruction have always required the use of data to inform instruction.  Today, more than ever, teachers and other educational professionals need to gather and analyze data to target instruction to individuals and diverse groups of students. The Advanced Literacy Instruction and Intervention Certificate reflects these changes by providing K-12 classroom teachers and other professionals with more advanced skills in using data to create instruction and interventions. The 12-hour program is delivered entirely online and all coursework can apply toward the M.Ed. in Reading Education at UNC Charlotte for students who wish to earn a master’s degree.

Applied Nursing Informatics Graduate Certificate

The Applied Nursing Informatics Graduate Certificate is a 12-hour program aimed at improving practicing registered nurses’ skills in incorporating technology and informatics into their practice and clinical agencies. Collecting, analyzing and using aggregate patient outcome information to improve safety and the care of patients has become an essential part of practice for all nurses, but especially for nurse administrators, clinical nurse educators, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse leaders. In addition, the pandemic has re-focused attention on the many ways tele-health can be used to provide care and improve patients’ access to care. The online certificate program will teach competencies in applying information analytics to nursing practice and administration, implementing information systems in a practice setting, managing tele-health practices, and using informatics in planning resource use and distribution.

Respiratory Care Leadership Graduate Certificate

There is an industry need for more respiratory care department directors, supervisors and college faculty over the next 10 years as individuals transition into retirement. The Respiratory Care Leadership Graduate Certificate is a fully online program designed for those who want to advance in leadership and management roles in clinical and educational settings. The certificate’s 12 credit hours provide a career jump start and are transferable to the fully online M.S. in Respiratory Care program offered at UNC Charlotte. The program prepares professionals to apply leadership and evidence-based practice principles to plan and make collaborative and effective decisions relevant to respiratory care services or education. 

Respiratory Care Clinical Concepts Graduate Certificate

The Respiratory Care Clinical Concepts Graduate Certificate will provide current respiratory therapists with additional knowledge and skills for advanced clinical practice to further their careers as clinical specialists, pulmonary disease educators and navigators, research coordinators and industry sales representatives. The online program prepares professionals to apply clinical reasoning skills and evidence-based practice concepts to examine, evaluate and manage patients with cardiopulmonary diseases. Fewer than 45% of current respiratory therapists hold a baccalaureate degree or higher (AARC, 2017), however the need is growing for those with advanced skills. The 12 credit hours will transfer to the fully online M.S. in Respiratory Care program. The Respiratory Care Clinical Concepts Graduate Certificate will be available starting in the fall 2021 semester.

Graduate Certificate in Workplace Competencies  

Numerous studies have shown that employers want new hires with graduate and professional degrees to be well-versed in essential professional skills in written and verbal communication, presentation-building, managing new initiatives and working on diverse teams. The Graduate Certificate in Workplace Competencies will build these skills to promote professional success through on-campus coursework. The certificate program is designed for doctoral and master’s students in all disciplines as well as working professionals with bachelor’s degrees. The Graduate Certificate in Workplace Competencies is available starting in the spring 2021 semester.