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How to Design Your Own Degree Program

College opens the door to a new level of freedom. But for students who have responsibilities outside of their classwork, that freedom comes with strings attached. From work duties to family commitments, adult learners have different needs than traditional students. They need flexibility, which is one of the main reasons online degree programs exist.

Online degree programs combine the skills development and rigorous learning experiences of on-campus programs, with the added convenience of being able to study when and where you want. Virginia Wesleyan University’s online degree in social sciences, which is also a “design-your-own-degree” program, offers students the opportunity to complete their coursework on their own schedules without the constraints of campus-based programs.

Especially for online learners, focusing on one major isn’t always the best route. Working students often want to diversify their skill sets and tailor their educations to fit their current and future career goals. Learning a variety of disciplines can set students up for success, while also providing valuable experience in a variety of fields.

The B.A. in Social Science: How It Works

VWU’s B.A. in Social Science is grounded in interdisciplinary study that provides a strong liberal arts foundation. Students choose both primary and secondary concentrations so that they finish their degrees with both a breadth and depth of knowledge. All students in the online social science program complete the Integrated Learning in Social Science course first, so they have a clear direction as they begin their studies. After completing this course, students pursue the areas of study that are most relevant to them.

The Ideal Student for a Design-Your-Own-Degree Program

VWU designed the online social science degree for students who’ve completed some coursework, but have not finished their undergraduate degrees. This program is ideal for students with the following characteristics:

  • They are at a point where they want to change careers, but haven’t figured out how they can finish the education required to propel them forward.
  • They need to finish their degrees, but only have a limited window of time. The social sciences degree can be finished in just one year.
  • They have families to care for and jobs to go to every day.
  • They are looking for general education that allows them to be well rounded and hirable in a variety of roles.
  • They have broad interests and curiosities, and they realize that a wide range of knowledge and skill sets are valuable both personally and professionally.

The following two examples of social science degree tracks illustrate how students can design their own degrees at VWU.

Example 1: A Business-Focused Social Science Degree

If students choose to complete the program with a primary business concentration, they will take courses in macroeconomics, marketing, management and ethics. This equips them with relevant skills for a wide variety of careers in the business world, in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. The secondary concentrations available in the social science degree program also allow students to supplement their business education with secondary focuses, such as psychology or criminal justice courses. Psychology courses may be particularly valuable for individuals who are interested in human resources careers.

Example 2: A Criminal Justice-Focused Social Science Degree

If students choose a primary concentration in criminal justice, they will take courses in criminal law, criminology and the intersection of psychology and the law. This path of study is ideal for those who are interested in entry-level criminal justice jobs at the local, state or even federal levels. Because the social science program allows students to choose a secondary concentration in business or psychology, students can combine their interest in criminal justice with coursework that helps focus their careers. For example, combining business and criminal justice could be a good choice for someone who is interested in law enforcement administration, mediation or arbitration.

Learn More About the B.A. in Social Science

Because VWU’s online B.A. in Social Science focuses on interdisciplinary study, it allows students with previous college experience to complete their degrees in a flexible format. With coursework that provides a study of human behavior, social systems and their interactions, you’ll learn relevant skills you can apply in the workplace. You can choose a primary concentration and two secondary concentrations, so you’ll graduate with a degree that aligns with your specific career goals. Find out more about this flexible and affordable program today!