Alfred University News

Alfred University receives state approval for new degree in Sports and Health Sciences

The New York State Department of Education has approved Alfred University’s new Bachelor of Science degree program in Sports and Health Sciences, with the first cohort of students enrolling in the program for the Fall 2024 semester. The program offers concentrations which will lead students to a variety of career opportunities in the health care field or provide them a path to graduate school.

The mission of the proposed Sports and Health Sciences major at Alfred University—which will be housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences—is to professionally prepare students to enter a wide variety of health care occupations or to continue their education towards advanced degrees in health care-related fields. The program is designed to create a well-rounded, interdisciplinary experience for students interested in a broad field of health care dealing specifically with the physically active or athletic populations.

Some of the careers a bachelor’s degree in Sports and Health Sciences could lead to include sports medicine practice specialist, sport medicine facility coordinator, emergency medical technician, orthopedic technician, preventive injury specialist, clinical operations manager, and pharmaceutical sales representative. With added training, graduate school education, and certifications, potential careers include physician assistant, occupational therapist, physical therapist, athletic trainer, orthotist/prosthetist, paramedic, bioengineer, and certified strength and conditioning specialist.

All first-year students in the new major will take standard required courses before meeting with their academic advisors in the spring of their first year to choose from among five concentration tracks: a general concentration or Performance Enhancement track; or pre-professional concentrations in Rehabilitation Sciences, Pre-Physician Assistant, and Pre-Athletic Training. Grade-point average will be a determining factor in student being admitted into a particular track.

“Each pre-professional track is designed to meet the admissions requirements for graduate school,” said Jason Honeck, athletic training program director and clinical professor of athletic training, who will oversee the Sports and Health Sciences program. “In addition, we will offer specialized courses that further help students succeed” in their graduate studies.

Honeck said in developing the program, he and his colleagues on the athletic training faculty researched the top graduate programs in the country offering master’s degrees in rehabilitation sciences, athletic training, and physician assistant, and incorporated the prerequisite undergraduate courses into Alfred University’s Sports and Health Sciences bachelor’s degree program. “We also looked at the top (graduate) schools within a 300-mile radius of Alfred, looked at their entrance requirements and used that to help put our curriculum together,” he said.

“Our objective is to create something versatile and give our students more opportunities to get into the health care field,” said Honeck, who earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training in 1998 and a master’s in education in 2000, both from Alfred University. “We’re aiming for 100 percent success rates” for students gaining employment in their field after graduation or being admitted into graduate school. “That’s what will help us promote the program in the future.”

Offering a pre-professional track in athletic training is significant, as Alfred University plans to discontinue its bachelor’s degree program in athletic training at the conclusion of the 2025-26 academic year. That decision was made after the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) issued a requirement that baccalaureate athletic programs transition to a master’s program, effective after the fall 2022 semester. The last cohort of students in the athletic training program at Alfred University will receive their bachelor’s degrees in 2026.