Eduvation Blog

Trends in New University Programs

This week on Ten with Ken: I sum up recent trends in new university programs, from interdisciplinary degrees to college-university collaborations, based on Ontario-wide data and on interviews with university presidents and recruiters at the 2016 Ontario Universities’ Fair.

North American youth are increasingly focusing on STEM subjects and the traditionally high-paying professions, from accounting and law to medicine and engineering. Many universities are launching new programs at the undergraduate and graduate level to appeal to these students, and even partnering with international law schools when they don’t have one of their own.

Increasingly research is being directed towards interdisciplinary subject areas, and interdisciplinary programs are on the rise, from broad-spectrum human, animal, plant and planet health, to programs combining business and the humanities, or entrepreneurship and biomedical engineering.

Many universities also report that programs related to sports and kinesiology, social work or child and youth studies are popular.

Particularly intriguing is the number of new college-university collaborative programs launched in the past three years. Ken sums up some examples from Brock, York, Laurier, McMaster, Carleton and Queen’s to illustrate the pattern: typically, students can earn a university bachelors degree plus a college diploma or advanced diploma, and usually save a year or two in the process.

Colleges Ontario “Kindergarten” commercial

Interviewed for this episode:

Brock U:

Brian Hutchings, Acting President

James Mandigo, Vice-Provost, Enrolment Management & International

Carol Merriam, Interim Dean, Faculty of Humanities (2015)

Carleton U:

Suzanne Blanchard, Vice-President, Students & Enrolment


Lakehead U:

Brian Stevenson, President & Vice-Chancellor


Laurentian U:

Dominic Giroux, President & Vice-Chancellor

Nipissing U:

Mike DeGagné, President & Vice-Chancellor


Sara Diamond, President & Vice-Chancellor


Tim McTiernan, President & Vice-Chancellor

Queen’s U:

Stuart Pinchin, Executive Director, Undergraduate Admissions & Recruitment


Ryerson U:

Mohamed Lachemi, President & Vice-Chancellor

Trent U:

Leo Groarke, President & Vice-Chancellor


Western U:

Lori Gribbon, Associate Registrar, Admissions & Recruitment


Wilfrid Laurier U:

Craig Chipps, Manager of Recruitment & Admissions (2015)


Alan Wildeman, President & Vice-Chancellor


Thank you to all who agreed to be interviewed! And our apologies to those we missed because of time constraints. (We had just 1.5 days onsite this year.)

Recent episodes have examined the top reasons why people love attending the OUF, and new booths and recruitment marketing tactics. Next week: How universities are evolving to serve the needs of the 21st century learner.

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