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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

West Virginia Establishes First Accelerated Master’s Degree Program with External Institution

In an effort to provide an affordable option for students seeking a graduate degree, the West Virginia University School of Public Health has established the first shared-credit degree program with a program outside of the University system.

The School recently signed an agreement with Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, PA, that will provide qualified students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Master of Science in biostatistics in just five years.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Washington & Jefferson to give students at both of our institutions access to this innovative and cost-effective program,” said Ms. Joyce McConnell, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As a land grant university, WVU is committed to serving the people of our state and region. By graduating more qualified public health professionals locally, we know we can fulfill that commitment.”

“Given the rising cost of higher education coupled with the increasingly competitive job market, we wanted to ensure we were meeting students’ needs and providing cost-effective options,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coben, dean of the WVU School of Public Health. “This new program will give students an edge in the marketplace with their graduate degree in biostatistics a year earlier than most traditional programs.”

The “3+2” program will allow students to work toward their bachelor’s degree for the first three years at Washington & Jefferson College and then transition to WVU for the fourth and fifth years. After successful completion of their third semester at WVU, Washington & Jefferson College will issue students their Bachelor of Arts degree. Students will continue to matriculate at WVU until the Master of Science requirements have been met.

“Biostatistics is an important, fast-growing area of study that offers many exciting career options,” said associate professor Dr. Ryan Higginbottom, chair of the mathematics department at W&J. “Since graduates generally need an advanced degree to make an impact in this field, we at W&J are excited to partner with WVU to make this a possibility for our students.”

Details about the program and application process can be obtained from the department of biostatistics at the WVU School of Public Health or the department of mathematics at Washington & Jefferson College.

About WVU School of Public Health

The West Virginia University School of Public Health in Morgantown, WV, is dedicated to tackling critical public health issues facing the citizens of West Virginia and the Appalachian region. Through community engagement projects, innovation and research, students and faculty are engaged in partnerships or projects in nearly every county in West Virginia. Research and service efforts focus on contemporary issues associated with injury and disease prevention, elimination of health disparities and policy solutions. The WVU School of Public Health is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The only accredited public health program in the state, the School is home to undergraduate and graduate programs in various public health disciplines at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.  Learn more at

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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