April 22, 2021 – Husson University has announced that its Board of Trustees has approved the creation of a new degree program for students interested in careers that specialize in the design, programming, and technology associated with augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) applications. Known as the ‘Bachelor of Science in extended reality’ (XR), this new degree program will enroll its first class starting in the fall of 2021.
“We’ve seen an enormous amount of interest in a degree like this from high school students enrolled in our Early College Access Program,” said Robert A. Clark, PhD, CFA, President of Husson University. “A pilot course called ‘XR 177 Augmented and Virtual Reality’ had strong enrollments. This new program puts Husson University on the leading edge of technology education.”
Students enrolled in the new Bachelor of Science in extended reality will be working extensively in the new iEX Center, where they will collaborate with other students, faculty, and outside partners. The iEX Center will serve as an innovation hub for the creation of interactive and immersive XR research and design projects.
Students on the course will use emerging XR technology to help them develop practical solutions to real-world challenges, and will study disciplines such as digital media design, computer programming, audio engineering, and visual design; within the context of extended reality. According to the degree course’s webpage, projects that students could end up working on may include:
- Building three-dimensional models for a virtual reality training platform;
- Programming an augmented reality application;
- Experimenting with interactive projected media hardware;
- Using a motion capture system to analyze body movements or create real-time avatars;
- Programming a game engine to create interactive spatial audio-triggered effects;
- Experimenting with augmented reality glasses.
The University added that given the current level of industry demand, the kinds of presentations developed in the Center will have practical applications for professionals working in education, entertainment, business, healthcare and a variety of other fields.
“Students studying in the XR program will learn to solve real-world problems using advanced technologies,” said Marie Hansen, JD, PhD, SHRM-SCP, Dean of the College of Business and New England School of Communications. “This new degree will include augmented reality, virtual reality, three-dimensional design, spatial mapping, and spatial sound design. After graduation, they’ll be fully prepared to be hired as extended reality professionals.”
As part of this rollout, Husson University will be launching a new school to oversee the degree program. The School of Technology and Innovation in the College of Business will oversee the XR degree’s curriculum development and the capital purchases of equipment and software associated with this program. This likely means that there will be various XR hardware and software related contract awards on the horizon to be handed out by the University too.
Launching at the end of the Spring 2021 semester, the new School of Technology and Innovation will join the four other schools that already comprise Husson University’s College of Business.
“There is strong evidence that industry, educational institutions, research organizations, and others will increasingly require the consultation of an extended reality professional,” said Brave Williams, the Director of the iEX Center and associate professor. “We believe our students will have many exciting career opportunities that integrate three dimensional immersion and interaction into family and economic life. Our goal is to prepare professionals who will create seamless extended reality opportunities for everyone.”
For more information on Husson University’s new Bachelor of Science in extended reality degree program, please visit the University’s website.
Image credit: Husson University