West Liberty University offers new biology graduate programs

By Walker Polivka, Contributing Writer
Starting this fall, West Liberty University is offering two new graduate programs. After going through several offices, including the West Liberty University Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, West Liberty University Board of Governors, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Higher Learning Commission, WLU is now authorized to offer a Master of Science in Biology as well as a Master of Arts in Biology.

Both degrees can pay dividends down the road. According to Dr. Joseph Horzempa, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Director of the new MA/MS in Biology, a Master of Science in Biology can gain you access to jobs in laboratories in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and biomedical companies.
Meanwhile, a Master of Art will better prepare you if you intend to go to medical school. Horzempa also stressed that completing either degree would give students top job priority in the State Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, and Forestry.
Although the new graduate programs are only in their first semester, they have attracted students. West Liberty University President Dr. Stephen Greiner has high hopes for the programs. Greiner said that, “the initial enrollment this year is eight graduate students, which is a good number of students considering that there was little time to advertise for this year.” He hopes that the number of students increases in the coming years.
On a similar note, there are other graduate programs in the process of being added to the curriculum. Sara Sweeney, from the Office of Graduate Studies, mentioned that two programs are in the final stages of the approval process. She said, “A Master of Science in Dental Hygiene, as well as a Master of Art in Clinical Psychology are on the way, as well a potential Master of Science in Athletic Training is in the early stages of the approval process.”
Students thinking of pursuing a master’s degree are encouraged to do so, but are told to proceed with caution. Sweeney advised to take the following precautions when first thinking about graduate work: Research the program you want to enter, decide what combination of classes work best for you, and to always weigh your options in Financial Aid. 
Photo credit: Samantha Wilson