Degrees for tomorrow

Degrees for tomorrow

Degrees for Tomorrow

The University of Northern Iowa continually evaluates how degree offerings can help our graduates stand out in a competitive workforce. UNI works with industry partners to effectively plan for what careers are needed to support the State of Iowa and the world beyond in the years to come. Here are some of the new degrees UNI has added to accomplish this goal in recent years.

Materials Science & Engineering / Materials Science Engineering Technology

The new materials science & engineering major emphasizes the properties of metals, a core strength of the Applied Engineering & Technical Management Department. This program also leverages UNI’s foundry science facilities and materials science expertise in the physics and chemistry & biochemistry departments.

The materials science engineering technology program takes a more applied, industry-based and manufacturing approach, leveraging UNI’s existing facilities and strengths in metal casting and additive and subtractive metal manufacturing applications. Iowa companies like John Deere, Collins Aerospace, BAE Systems, Doerfer Engineering and A.Y. McDonald have indicated a need for graduates in these areas.

Materials Science & Engineering / Materials Science Engineering Technology


Hybrid accounting

The number of accounting positions in the Des Moines metropolitan area exceeds the number of accounting graduates by more than 6 to 1. Although UNI’s renowned accounting degree is hardly new, a new hybrid delivery model offers the convenience of online business-core and elective courses with in-person evening accounting courses on Des Moines Area Community College’s Urban campus.

The program gives place-bound learners with an associate’s degree throughout Central Iowa the opportunity to enhance the competencies needed to make informative financial reports, influence critical business decisions and keep an organization’s finances in check.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing - Nursing student

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Nursing at UNI launches in fall 2024. The goal of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UNI is to help meet the needs of the 80% of Iowa employers who report it is difficult or very difficult to recruit nurses. Research shows health care, and specifically nursing, is the most in-demand field of study among Iowa students seeking a four-year degree. UNI is positioned to provide the combination of hands-on experience and curriculum necessary to serve the students and residents of the state.

Online Management: Business Administration

As part of our growing commitment to adult learners, the Wilson College of Business expanded its business administration degree to include a fully online, part-time option. This program provides students with a solid understanding and experience in common core business practices. Graduates are able to serve effectively in a wide gamut of management positions such as production supervisor, business manager, employee relations manager, service representative and others. Courses include marketing, finance, human resources and operations management.

Business Analytics

The new business analytics degree builds on the reputation of the Wilson College of Business. Business analysts see trends, stories, predictions and opportunities when they interpret data to recommend business decisions. The new offering expands from an area of emphasis to a major as the need for professionals in this industry is growing. Graduates in this area will have an understanding of economics to analyze historical trends to predict what would likely happen in the future, and the management skills to recommend and implement the path forward.

Business analytics illustration

educator illustration

Purple Pathways for educators

‌The College of Education has launched two alternative degree pathways. At the undergraduate level, the Purple Pathway for Paraeducators is an accelerated, online, practice-based program for paraprofessionals who want to become licensed elementary education teachers in Iowa with a special education endorsement. At the graduate level, UNI expanded its primarily online principalship program to offer the Purple Pathway for School Administrators, a partnership with Des Moines Public Schools to help meet a large need for administrative positions in its school district.

Individual Studies: Sports Administration

After offering a minor in the area for years, UNI unveiled its Bachelor of Arts in Individual Studies: Sports Administration in fall 2023. This is a multidisciplinary program designed to prepare students for management positions within the sports industry. Through this program, students develop a core understanding of business concepts in the context of sports, leisure services, event and facilities management.

Individual Studies: Human Services

Individual Studies: Human Services

This major is a unique interdisciplinary hybrid of UNI’s five already-established human services-oriented majors: family services, gerontology, psychology, social work and sociology. It is an exciting option for students who are interested in careers fueled by service to others. This entirely online program helps students develop skills to assist in times of crisis and educate a broad range of age groups — from infants to seniors. Committed faculty members prepare students for a variety of careers, ranging from adoption and foster care to juvenile justice and senior care.

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies

You could call it a “self-designed” master’s program. For students who want to pursue an innovative alternative to graduate study, UNI’s Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies offers a flexible, personalized plan of study to a selective and multidisciplinary group of graduate students. Unlike most MA programs, the MAIS gives students the freedom to take graduate courses from all departments and professional schools at UNI and provides non-traditional students who have graduate credit an opportunity to finish a graduate credential.