Thirty-one majors at Indiana University of Pennsylvania are scheduled to be discontinued once all of the currently enrolled students graduate, according to the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs Dr. Timothy Moerland.
He said these majors are in moratorium, which means that students currently enrolled in the program will have the ability to finish their studies, but no new students will be accepted.
“For a major to be removed is not a simple process, nor is it a quick one,” Moerland said.
Programs are opened and closed for a number of reasons, he said. The provost must keep an eye on enrollment and the amount of money available for academic programs and make sure that resources are spent on programs that make the most sense.
Since 2000, the number of majors that have been discontinued is in the mid-30s, Moerland said. However, this number includes associate degrees and two-year degrees that IUP lost when the state system realigned, shifting the function of state universities away from associate degrees.
According to a list provided by Moerland, IUP has discontinued eight majors in the last five years:
• Bachelor of Science degrees: business technology support, natural science for disaster response
• Associate of Arts degrees: business/ accounting, business/computer information technology
• Bachelor of Science in Education degree: German education
• Bachelor of Arts degrees: German for Internet trade, Spanish for international trade
• General Certification of Recognition: Safety science/safety management
But not every major that is placed in moratorium is lost completely.
“Just as often, a major becomes swallowed up by another or the name changes to reflect current attitudes and, more importantly, practices,” Moerland said.
Majors that are placed into moratorium can often be revised to meet the needs of the students, which generally results in a change of curriculum and name of the major, said Evelyn Mocek, executive assistant to the provost.
A good example of this transformation is the Bachelor of Arts in physics, Moerland said.
“A Bachelor of Arts in physics doesn’t make as much sense as a Bachelor of Science,” he said. “Enrollment was very, very low, so we shut the door on it. Does that mean we shut down physics? Absolutely not.”
There is also an element of popularity that can contribute to low enrollment, he said. The high interest in forensic science today is driven mainly by television shows like “CSI” and “NCIS” that sensationalize the profession.
“It is something that is very interesting to see,” Moerland said. “However, interest in majors driven by that type of attention comes and goes.”
Some majors are also lost because they simply become outdated. An example of this, he said, is phrenology – the study of skull shapes – which was taught almost 100 years ago. When a field becomes outdated, like phrenology did years ago, enrollment will drop.
“Students don’t want to spend their time and money on something that is no longer useful,” Moerland said. “Usually enrollment declines happen for a reason.”
Bachelor of Arts majors currently in moratorium are economics/mathematics in humanities and social sciences, economics/ mathematics in natural sciences and mathematics, French for international trade, French, government and public service, German, music history and literature, music theory and composition, psychics, applied psychology, and sociology/applied social research, according to a list provided by the provost.
Bachelor of Science majors currently in moratorium are applied physics, applied physics/electro-optics, applied physics/ nanomanufacturing technology, nursing and physical education and sport (aquatics).
Master of Arts majors currently in moratorium are chemistry, geography, music history and literature, music theory and composition, physics, Spanish literature and cultures, and Spanish-applied linguistics teaching.
Master of Science majors currently in moratorium are chemistry and sport science/aquatic management.
Bachelor of Science in Education majors currently in moratorium are early child/special education/ CCAC, deaf education and French education K-12.
Also on the list is an associate degree in applied science in electro-optics and a Master of Education in mathematics education.