SJSU Launches New 100% Online Bachelor’s Degree-Completion Programs

by | Aug 8, 2022 | Academics

From left to right: SJSU Online students Mona Lisa Sharp, ’23 Interdisciplinary Studies; Violeta Bjorngjelds, ’23 Interdisciplinary Studies; and Louis Stokes, ’23 Interdisciplinary Studies, visit SJSU in person. Photo by Robert C. Bain.

As the top-ranked transformative university in the United States, San José State University is increasing access to its high-quality, affordable degree programs with its newest innovative initiative, SJSU Online, which launches this month.

Over 2.5 million Californians ages 25–54 have attended college but have not completed a bachelor’s degree, according to California Competes. SJSU Online empowers adults to earn their bachelor’s degree through 100% online programs designed around their busy lifestyles. In doing so, SJSU Online will enable them to accomplish their goals, advance their careers, increase their earning potential and foster a sense of pride for themselves and their families.

“SJSU Online is a great way for us to more fully fulfill our mission of creating opportunities for people and helping them transform their lives,” said SJSU Interim President Steve Perez.  

“By extending the CSU educational experience to a broader set of learners, SJSU Online will help us to be an engaged, connected and dynamic urban university. I’m proud of those faculty members, student leaders and administrators who have created what will surely be a game-changing initiative for this university.”

Beginning September 1, 2022, SJSU Online will open three rolling admissions cycles for Californians for five bachelor’s programs, with future plans to add more programs and expand admissions to students from other states. Admitted students will begin as early as January 2023 on a two- or three-year roadmap to completion in:

  • Anthropology, BA
  • Economics, BA
  • Information Science and Data Analytics, BS
  • Interdisciplinary Engineering, BS
  • Interdisciplinary Studies, Educational and Community Leadership Concentration, BA

Innovating the online landscape

SJSU Online is the first of the 23 California State Universities (CSU) to offer anthropology and interdisciplinary engineering bachelor’s degrees in a 100% online format. All of the initial five programs are in high demand, especially by employers in Silicon Valley where the average Bay Area salary for graduates of similar programs ranges between $78,000 to $148,000. In addition, SJSU Online is offering one of the most affordable tuitions for an online degree at $450 per credit unit.

The programs and courses offer shorter academic terms — up to five per year — and are designed by the same SJSU faculty who contribute to the university’s ranking as #7 among top public universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report. Online students will graduate with the same degree as those who complete in-person programs and share the same opportunity to walk across the stage at SJSU’s commencement ceremonies to receive their diploma.

“High quality, engaged learning is no longer limited to a brick-and-mortar campus,” said SJSU Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr. 

“SJSU Online will meet new student populations, such as those who are returning to school, where they are — and provide an amazing public, affordable education with outstanding faculty, who will work with students to deliver a degree on their timeframe and in a way that aligns with their life goals.” 

A concierge approach

The SJSU Online enrollment counseling team will support potential students from the start, as they navigate through the program selection, application and admissions process. In order to help students maximize the credits they can transfer and minimize their cost and time to complete their degree, enrollment counselors embrace a one-on-one “concierge approach” to their outreach and support.

“SJSU Online is committed to supporting our students throughout their educational journey, which includes one-on-one enrollment counselors to help navigate the application and admissions processes,” added SJSU Interim Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Online Initiatives Ronald Rogers. “We’re also going to have support services like dedicated academic advising teams, tutoring support, and career services.”

“Our concierge approach comes from the idea of a hotel concierge, whose purpose is to make their guests’ experiences memorable,” said Senior Director of Online Recruitment Rey Penate. 

“Concierges are emotionally intelligent, observant and proactive, and those are values that we embody with our enrollment counselors and in our enrollment process. Our potential students have different backgrounds, stories, upbringings and reasons why they haven’t completed their degree yet. Wherever they are, through our concierge approach we seek to understand them, so we can provide individualized solutions.”

Meeting students where they are

While SJSU Online officially launches in fall 2022, some students have gotten a head start by enrolling in the university’s established online Interdisciplinary Studies program, which laid a foundation for the larger university initiative. Jennifer Salinas, ‘23 Interdisciplinary Studies, is utilizing the opportunity to advance her professional and academic goals.

“I was completing a service year with AmeriCorps as a math tutor and found my passion for helping students,” said Salinas.

“During that time, I found the Interdisciplinary Studies program and knew it was the perfect match for me. It gives me the flexibility to continue working during the day while I complete my degree, and I’m able to excel in both of these areas, especially because they complement each other.”

In addition to the professional and academic benefits that Salinas has experienced, she also recognizes the significant personal benefits.

“By not having to commute and being able to spend more time at home, I’m able to save myself time and energy and maintain a close connection with my family,” added Salinas. 

“I know this is important for my peers as well because a lot of them are working parents and have busy schedules. This flexibility has also enabled me to be healthier. My physical health is better, and I have less stress because of the structure of the online format.”

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