New academic programs at Rider fuel enrollment growth

Hundreds of students have chosen programs introduced in last 5 years
Adam Grybowski

Students like Rider’s new programs.

Over the past five years, a variety of new undergraduate and graduate programs introduced at Rider have had a positive effect on attracting students, strengthening enrollment and the overall health of the University.

The new academic offerings have played a particularly significant role in improved enrollment for new students, which increased overall by 12.5% in fall 2017 compared to fall 2016.

“These positive effects reflect our constant attention to revitalizing our academic programs and ensuring they’re consistent with advances in higher education and industry trends,” says Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs DonnaJean A. Freeden.

In the last two years alone, undergraduate programs were established in computer science, health sciences, healthcare management, health care policy, sport management, sports media and organizational psychology. More than 200 students enrolled in these programs alone by fall 2017.

Freshman computer science major Khawar Murad Ahmed dreams of working with artificial intelligence one day and making a positive impact in the community. While applying to college, Rider's program stood out to him because of its dedication to providing rigorous instruction in essential programming and computing skills without sacrificing well-rounded liberal arts studies.

"I think all students, especially those going into engineering or science, should take a few courses in the liberal arts, as it helps them develop a greater perspective on the impact science and technology have had in the past," he says. "With the emphasis moving toward STEM, I felt that a lot of the colleges are moving away from offering liberal arts courses to science and engineering students. I'm glad Rider kept them in the curriculum."

New graduate programs in athletic leadership, the first Master of Arts degree offered by the College of Continuing Studies, and the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, the University’s first doctoral program, began last summer.

This spring, Rider began offering a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Business Analytics. Rider is the first private college or university in New Jersey to offer an AACSB-accredited bachelor’s program in Business Analytics. Indicative of the University’s long tradition of preparing students for highly in-demand, marketable careers, the major aims to fill a critical need for professionals who can distill data into valuable business insights. (According to a widely cited report by McKinsey Global Institute, the U.S. could face a shortage of experts with deep analytic and data skills in 2018.)

Changes to existing programs have also benefited students. The Master of Accountancy, Master of Business Administration and the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology are among a number of graduate and undergraduate degree programs now offered fully online. Additionally, several accelerated 3+1 and 4+1 degrees in the College of Business Administration were offered for the first time in fall 2016, allowing students to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in an advanced timeline.

Other changes to existing programs include the addition of new tracks and concentrations. A songwriting track has been added to the Bachelor of Arts in Popular Music Studies and a technical theater concentration is now available for students majoring in theater. On the graduate level, Rider’s Master of Arts in Business Communication now offers a concentration in health communication.

Our Path Forward, Rider’s strategic plan, calls for several more academic programs to be created through 2020.