Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

University adds three new majors

UW-Whitewater is adding three new majors this year, including environmental science, Japanese and computer science. It’s the first time the university has added any majors in the College of Letters & Sciences since 1995.

Environmental Science

Associate Dean of Letters & Sciences Dr. David Travis helped in planning the new environmental science major.

“When we were working on it, we put together what we thought was the best major,” Travis said. “We wanted it to look exciting and interesting to students coming in.”

Travis said the two years it took to add the new degree proved to be a difficult process.

“It was a challenge,” Travis said. “We had to assess what we had and develop a program over what already existed. There weren’t any new funds available.”

The major will focus on three specific studies: environmental management, ecological sciences and Earth sciences.

“We really want to cover the broad stroke of environmental science issues in today’s world,” Travis said. “So we set it up in a way where students have a lot of opportunities to get into great depth in certain areas.”

Students who enroll in the new program will be required to take on a project in the surrounding community where they will conduct research or help out the area environmentally.

Another option for students would include travel study.

“We’d like the students to travel to a part of the world that is environmentally sensitive or threatened,” Travis said. “They would get a new perspective on the major challenges those areas face.”


The new Japanese major has already been implemented for the spring semester.  During the process of adding the major, Professor Kasumi Kato observed the growth of student interest in Japanese.

“Over time, more and more students have been showing enthusiasm and dedication to the Japanese studies,” Kato said. “It was very wonderful timing.”

Several professors on campus have Japanese experience, making the transition to the new major smoother.

“We were very fortunate to have a number of colleagues on campus who have their specialties in different Japanese studies,” Kato said. “That was very important.”

To complete the major, at least one travel study trip to Japan will be required for students.

“For any student pursuing a foreign language degree, we believe it’s important for them to immerse themselves in that culture outside the United States,” Kato said. “It’s also a great way for them to expand their horizons.”

Computer Science

Computer Science was added partially due to the growing demand for programming jobs. Computer science Professor Jonathan Kane has seen the demand for computer science majors in the work force increase over the last few years.

“The interest in computer science is trending up again after going down in the ’90s and 2000s,” Kane said. “People with this major are the ones who get hired by Windows, Google and Facebook.”

To compensate for the increase in interest, the department has recently expanded.

“In the last five years our department has managed to hire three PhDs in computer science, and we’re looking to hire at least one, maybe two more in the fall,” Kane said.

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Not only is the faculty ready for the major to begin, but so are incoming students.

“I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from prospective UW-Whitewater students who are excited about the new major and will be coming to UW-Whitewater because of it,” Kane said. “The faculty is very excited about getting started.”

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Founded 1901
University adds three new majors