UNBC unveils new degree program
The newest degree program at the University of Northern B.C. should have a ripple effect on health care in the region.
On Saturday, the UNBC board approved a PhD in health sciences. Vice-president for external relations Robert van Adrichem says the students who go this route will almost certainly be helping local health care professionals.
“They will be doing original research, novel research, and it will probably be relevant to the region. If you wanted to do research on the Lower East Side of Vancouver, you’d probably go to UBC.
“Students up here will be doing research here.”
The new program means UNBC now offers three PhD degrees, with the others being in psychology and natural resources and environmental studies. Van Adrichem says the PhD is “the ultimate level of education.”
“The normal sequence for studies is to take a bachelor’s, which is usually four years of study. Then you move on to a master’s, which can be anywhere from a year and a half to three or four years. Now, you can move on to the PhD, which will be several more years.
“It’s a level of education suited for a teachers or a top researcher.”
The new PhD program will begin immediately, with up to six students per year admitted.
“This new PhD is a terrific complement to out expanded health science programs at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels,” UNBC president George Iwama said in a release after the board meeting. “It will continue to establish UNBC as a destination for students interested in health particularly related to people living in rural, northern, and Aboriginal communities.”
At the board meeting, a new program for a bachelor of applied science in engineering was approved in principle. Van Adrichem says the decision gives the school time to plan the program before offering it to students.
“This is a program that requires significant infrastructure, unlike many other course we could offer. If we offered a new health sciences program, for instance, the infrastructure is already in place at the school.
“By approving it in principle, we can plan the program and the infrastructure at the same time.”
He said he program is one which has elicited a great deal of interest.
“It’s a program of considerable public interest. It’s seen by many people as a vital piece in the economic development of the north.”