Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA introduces four new bachelor’s degree programs

CW / Natalie Teat
Hewson Hall is the main building for the Culverhouse College Business

The University of Alabama is introducing several new bachelor’s degree programs for the fall 2023 semester, including business cybersecurity, applied liberal arts, neuroscience and sport management. 

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education, which reviews new academic programs for public Alabama universities, approved the majors during meetings in September 2022 and June 2023.  

Business cybersecurity 

The business cybersecurity major, which is offered in the Culverhouse College of Business, aims to inform students about various aspects of cybersecurity to improve communication within organizations.
Students with this major will learn about consumer privacy, data management, secure application development, and even a basic understanding of programming languages like Python. It also provides education on nontechnical parts of cybersecurity, like management of security risks and psychology.

Allen Johnston, a professor of information at the college, said the program’s main goal is not to promote cybersecurity expertise, but to encourage communication between the technical and nontechnical branches of business.  

Johnston said technical staff, like cybersecurity experts, and business-oriented staff do not always communicate well, so this major seeks to create a “professional that sits in the middle” and “communicates on both sides.”  

“They’ve got the technical [knowledge] to be able to communicate and understand what’s going on in the highly IT-focused systems,” Johnston said. “Then they also have the business acumen to understand the needs of the business.”  

Johnston said that a board, which included chief information officers, chief sales officers and chief information security officers from organizations like Lockheed Martin and Dollar Tree, was created to help develop the major.  

He added that the board provided information on how to keep the topics taught in class relevant to the industry and how to help graduating students attract employers.  

Applied liberal arts 

Part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ New College department, the applied liberal arts degree allows students with over 80 credit hours to combine two minors for degree completion. At least one of the minors must be in the College of Arts and Sciences.  

According to a document submitted to the ACHE, the new program exists “strictly for degree completion,” meaning it is recommended for students who have not made significant progress toward their degrees or are not set to graduate in six years. 

Robin McGill, the deputy director for academic affairs at the ACHE, said this degree is not for students seeking an area of individualized study, but one an adviser would recommend to struggling students.  

McGill added that the major was added to boost degree completion rates 


The neuroscience degree program is under the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. The degree relies on multidisciplinary faculty, combining subjects including biological sciences, philosophy, anthropology and education.  

It also trains students to participate in neuroscience research alongside prepping pre-med students for the MCAT. 

Rajesh Kana, a professor in the Department of Psychology who helped develop the program, said since the university does not have the resources like other universities with neuroscience programs, the program uses faculty and courses from other departments.  

However, he said not having enough bandwidth allows students to have room for their own field of interest in the courses they like because the program is interdisciplinary.  

Kana said this new program comes during a general movement toward neuroscience on campus, mentioning a new MRI center built in late 2022 and the development of a neuroscience minor. He added that 60% of neuroscience minors said in a survey that they would pursue a major in neuroscience. 

“I think the center of mass of neuroscience at the UA campus is significantly changing,” Kana said. “Hopefully, in the next few years we’ll see a much different-looking major with lots of options built in as we have more faculty as well as more new courses.”  

 Sport management 

 The University’s new sport management program trains students for careers in the athletics industry, including education on security, event planning, public outreach and more.

Among the new classes created for the major is a required internship course, RHM 367. According to the ACHE’s meeting document (pages 55-58), potential sites for internships for the course include the UA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the NFL, MLB and Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  

 Carla Blakey, an undergraduate program coordinator for the major, said the program is launching with an enrollment of over 300 students. She attributed these numbers to student internship success.  

 “Experiential learning is definitely our foundation of what we do and what has made us successful and what will continue to make us successful,” Blakey said.

She also mentioned a new study-abroad program in Spain launching in the coming summer called UA in Europe: Globalization of Sport. Blakey said the program is still in development but will be advertised at the study abroad fair. 

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