The GW School of Business will require students seeking a new bachelor of science in finance to double major outside of the college, a first for the school.
The degree, approved Friday by the Board of Trustees, will open up class options for finance students by significantly cutting the number of required business administration courses from 13 to three.
Provost Steven Lerman said the new degree exemplifies what GW wants for its cross-disciplinary programs, a central component of its decade-long strategic plan.
“That’s new territory for GW, the idea that you’d have a bachelor’s program in the business school in which a critical element would be you also have a [second] major,” he said.
Business School Dean Doug Guthrie has pushed a more complete core curriculum for business students, increasing the focus on the liberal arts, instead of a schedule jam-packed with business requirements.
Rising sophomores and incoming business students will have the option of pursuing the specialized finance degree. Hayley Purcell, who just completed her freshman year, plans to change her major to finance, double majoring in economics.
“I am so glad to be able to specialize in this area so that I can really focus on my passion for finance in a more quantitative environment,” she said.
She added that the double major requirement gives students a chance for more variety in their schedule and that “they can really hone in on their individual interests and create a more personalized degree.”
The school considered requiring students to add a minor last fall, an idea administrators said received positive feedback from faculty, students and alumni who have pushed for the school to loosen its requirements.
About 13 percent of GW students pursued double majors last year, but the large number of required classes for business students has historically made it difficult for them to major outside of the school.
Mark Hughes, chair of the Board of Trustees academic affairs committee, said Friday that the degree will give students a more in-depth knowledge of finance and prepare them to immediately get jobs in places like Wall Street.
Finance was the most popular concentration in the business school this year, with 240 students focusing on the subject.
GW joins American, George Mason and Syracuse Universities in offering the bachelor’s of science in finance degree, but is the only school of the four to require a double major of its students.
Assistant finance professor Min Hwang said in January that the school could look to create a degree in marketing, the second most popular concentration, next.
Cory Weinberg contributed to this report.