HSU Continues Polytech Push with Plans for Several New Programs

Drawing on its strengths in STEM, environmental and social responsibility, and experiential learning, Humboldt State University has submitted documentation of its intent to launch several new and innovative undergraduate and graduate degree programs as soon as Fall 2022 and Fall 2023.

HSU will formally submit proposals for the following programs to the California State University for consideration: Applied Fire Science & Management, Cannabis Studies, Data Science, Energy Systems Engineering, Engineering & Community Practice, Geospatial Information Science & Technology, Marine Biology, Mechanical Engineering, and Software Engineering for Fall 2023. (See descriptions below.)

“This is what a 21st century education looks like: programs where students build the skills to have meaningful careers and a nuanced understanding of society’s complex issues so they can make the world a better place,” says Jenn Capps, provost and vice president of academic affairs.

The programs are among those prioritized through the collaborative polytechnic planning process on campus. The fast-track timeline is highly dependent on additional state funding that has been proposed by the Governor and is being considered by the Legislature.

These programs, in addition to those in applied and social sciences slated for 2026 and 2029, are pending the necessary approvals by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, CSU Board of Trustees, plus accreditation from various organizations.

The announcement comes as HSU explores becoming the third polytechnic university in the CSU and the only one in Northern California. The new programs align with the University’s vision of becoming a polytechnic that builds on a strong liberal arts foundation and long-standing commitment to sustainability and social justice; and infuses traditional ecological knowledge, renewable energy, and more.

A polytechnic status would have broad implications for the region and state. It would help revitalize the economy of the North Coast (where HSU is the largest employer), provide educational opportunities to students across the state, and help meet California’s workforce needs.

“These programs are a win for HSU and the greater north state,” says Mary Oling-Sisay, vice provost and dean of undergraduate and graduate studies. “They bring to life what we do and what we’re known for and will augment our current offerings in a very significant way.”


New HSU Degree Programs

—Applied Fire Science & Management, Bachelor of Science, will develop the practical knowledge and skills to become fire science or management professionals. Created in collaboration with HSU’s respected Forestry & Wildland Resources and Native American Studies programs, the Applied Fire Science & Management major will also include a breadth of perspectives and knowledge systems (e.g., traditional ecological knowledge), with an emphasis on incorporating indigenous practices.

—Cannabis Studies, Bachelor of Art, engages a curriculum that will prepare students to act as socially engaged, historically informed stewards of an unprecedented sea-change in local, national, and global cannabis laws and policies related to cannabis legalization. Students will engage critical perspectives on both cannabis prohibition and legalization en route to concentrations in Equity and Social Justice and Environmental Stewardship.

—Data Science, Bachelor of Science, develops the skills to synthesize knowledge and apply contemporary statistics, data analysis, and computational science methods to solve social and environmental problems.

—Energy Systems Engineering, Bachelor of Science, incorporates elements commonly included in Civil, Environmental, Mechanical, and Electrical engineering disciplines. It is designed to prepare students for careers in developing, designing, operating, and analyzing clean energy systems.

—Geospatial Information Science & Technology, Bachelor of Science, prepares students for careers as Geographic Information System (GIS) analysts and specialists, remote sensing analysts, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and geographers.

—Engineering & Community Practice, Master of Science, develops future engineering leaders who will sustain, restore, and protect our natural resources and the environment.

—Marine Biology, Bachelor of Science, explores the diversity of marine life, its evolutionary history, the importance to our planet, and how it is impacted by human activities.

—Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor of Science, explores a range of integrated engineering systems that include thermal and electromechanical elements.

—Software Engineering, Bachelor of Science, applies engineering concepts to software development. It encompasses the development, operation, and maintenance of programs.