New majors and minor to be offered in the fall

Griffin Ell / Arts Director

Keene State College has announced they will be offering several new majors and minors in the fall 2020 semester to meet student and workforce demands.

Keene State will have new academic programs that will prepare students for a broad range of career opportunities. Some of these new majors include bachelor’s degrees in legal studies, sustainability studies and neuroscience.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Harlan Fichtenholtz said the neuroscience major is designed to provide students with a broad education in the field of neuroscience. The program was developed by the psychology and biology departments at Keene State with help from the chemistry and math departments as well.

“The goal of the program is to understand how the brain functions and this can be done across multiple disciplines,” Fichtenholtz said.

Fichtenholtz added that in his time at Keene State he has spoken to many students who have had to bridge disciplines like biology and psychology or use the individualized major to develop their own programs.

“By creating a neuroscience program, we are helping those students by putting together a framework they can follow and not have to do the work themselves,” Fichtenholtz said.

On top of neuroscience, Keene State will also be bringing a new major in sustainability studies to the table. Professor of Environmental Studies and Geology Timothy Allen said that the sustainability studies major will build on the “existing and successful minor in sustainability” and will be housed in a new department. This new department is the Department of Environmental Studies, Geography and Sustainability, which Allen is co-chair of.

“The reasoning for developing this new major arises from growing societal interest in the concept of sustainability with new programs arising in numerous other institutions of higher education,” Allen said.

Allen said he thinks the addition of the new major will open doors for students in the job market as more businesses and industries are putting increased emphasis on sustainability in their operations and products.

Additionally, a new legal studies program will be made available to students in the fall. Associate Professor of Politics and Legal Studies and program coordinator Wesley Martin said the new program will provide a relatively focused training for students who expect to study law at the graduate level and practice in the field after law school. 

“Given the fact that legal studies draws from more than a half-dozen different majors, and given the 36-credit total requirement that we have set for the major, many students will find that they have a nice complement to their existing majors,” Martin said. 

Fichtenholtz, Allen and Martin all said they think the addition of these new programs will work to benefit Keene State’s students. Fichtenholtz added that they will benefit the college as well.

“Certainly, we hope that by offering this new program, we can help attract new students to Keene State who might not have come here otherwise, thus helping to ensure the continued viability of the college, to the benefit of all our students,” Fichtenholtz said.


Hunter Oberst can be contacted at

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