The Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved five new degree programs for Washington State University campuses.

Among the programs approved by the board during its meeting this week are a Bachelor of Arts in professional development and a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology and metabolism, both at the WSU Spokane campus.

The professional development degree program was initiated by the university in response to a survey of employers in the Spokane and Couer d’Alene areas that indicated a need for the program, which would prepare workers for leadership roles in public agencies, non-profit organizations and private-sector firms. Coursework in the professional development program will center on human development, resource management and problem solving, providing a strong foundation in leadership, psychology, sociology and business.

At full enrollment, the program is expected to serve 75 full-time-equivalent (FTE) students.

The degree program in exercise physiology and metabolism responds to national and local surveys that predict employment growth in nutrition and exercise-related fields. The interdisciplinary degree, offered by the Program of Health Sciences, will feature studies in the biological and physical sciences, human anatomy, physiology, organic and biochemistry and microbiology.

Enrollment in the program is expected to reach 65 FTE students.

Other new WSU programs approved by the board are a Master of Science in computer engineering and doctoral degrees in audiology and criminal justice.

The computer engineering program responds to the needs of a growing number of technology companies in Washington and in the nation. It would prepare individuals to perform research and development in areas such as computer architecture, networking, digital signal processing and asynchronous systems. At full enrollment, it would serve 15 FTE students.

The Doctor of Audiology degree program would be housed at the Health Sciences Building at the WSU Spokane campus. Graduates of the program would be able to provide diagnostic and rehabilitative audiologic services (i.e. hearing and balance) in medical, educational, industrial and private practice environments. The four-year program would include studies in anatomy and physiology, medicine, surgery, pharmacology, genetics, acoustics, health policy, counseling, education, rehabilitation, speech-language pathology and other areas. It would serve 24 FTE students annually.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in criminal justice would prepare individuals to be researchers and teachers in the field of criminal justice, which is one of the fastest-growing undergraduate majors nationwide. In the western United States, only Arizona State University and the University of California-Irvine offer the doctoral program in criminal justice or criminology. Only about 75 students nationally earn doctoral degrees in the field every year, while more than 130 positions nationwide are waiting for such graduates. At full enrollment, the program would serve about 20 FTE students.