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George Washington University to Offer New Degrees

Wednesday, February 17, 2016  
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One of the most respectable research institutes at George Washington University (GW) is looking to officially start two new degree programs.

Keith Crandall, the director of the Computational Biology Institute, said he has now proposed two educational degrees for the institute. By looking to other schools to expand and revamp degrees, he said the new programs could prepare students for the growing technology workforce.

Crandall said that while the institute continues to receive grants and recognition for their research efforts, he's partnering with schools to train students for the same successes. He first proposed starting a degree program two years ago.

Crandall said the institute is working with the College of Professional Studies and the department of physics to revamp a master’s in biotechnology program that was shut down a few years ago. The degree trains students to design and commercialize biotechnology devices for jobs in typically pharmaceutical and biotech sectors.

The program leaders said they are reviewing the curricula and are not accepting any applications until they relaunch the program with content that's relevant to current industry trends. Biotechnology and bioinformatics combine biological sciences with computer science, statistics and engineering to produce products and analyze data.

“We are going to revamp that into a biotechnology and bioinformatics master's program and see if that might draw some more interest from people in the area,” Crandall said. “We are finalizing that proposal as we speak.”

Crandall said he anticipates the program will be approved quickly because they are modifying a degree that already exists. He said that the approval process for the new program he is developing will be more complicated and “a long, uphill battle.”
University spokeswoman Emily Grebenstein said officials in CPS don’t have any information on the programs at this time.

Crandall said they have also proposed a new program that partners the institute with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Northern Virginia Community College. He said that students would be able to complete their first two years at NOVA and their next two years on GW’s Virginia Science and Technology campus to receive a bachelor's degree in bioinformatics, which applies computer technology to the management of biological information.

Crandall said students with the degree can benefit from the training because of an increasing number of information technology companies in Virginia, making it a convenient location for students to apply their skills.

“We think we are in a pretty good spot to develop a training program to get some great skills to be competitive for jobs in this growing industry here in Northern Virginia,” Crandall said.

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