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Medaille College, which has offered baccalaureate degrees for 60 years, plans to launch its first master's degree in January.

Classes for the master's degree in business administration will be taught evenings on Medaille's Agassiz Circle campus and may open the door to more graduate programs at the college.

"We are currently looking at a number of different areas for expansion into graduate programs," said John J. Donohue, vice president for academic affairs.

"We are looking most significantly in the area of education."

Medaille President Kevin I. Sullivan hailed the college's first master's degree as "a significant milestone for the college."

The degree, recently approved by the state Education Department, is designed for accessibility and flexibility, Donohue said.

It aims to to produce graduates able to solve strategic management problems and trained in multimedia communication technologies.

"With our weekday evening schedule, you could hold a full-time job and essentially be a full-time student without having to surrender your weekends," Donohue noted.

The 45-credit curriculum, to be taught in two nine-week modules per semester, could be completed in as little as 14 months. It will cost $395 a credit.

Candidates may choose one of two concentrations -- strategic human resource management or strategic management.

Every student will be provided with a laptop computer for the duration of the course.

"One of the nice things for our current undergraduates is that, if they plan properly, they could take some of these MBA courses (while undergraduates) and finish their MBA in one more year," Donohue said.

Medaille, which spent two years actively planning its first graduate program, surveyed area businesses and alumni to determine the need for the degree, and the college shared early drafts of its curriculum with several business leaders.

"There was very strong interest from various constituencies," Donohue said. "There is a demand for people prepared to meet today's business challenges."

The program's strategic human resource management concentration "focuses on staffing, compensation, training and evaluation -- in particular, how these all fit into long-range planning for a particular organization," Donohue said.

The strategic management concentration is concerned with the management and marketing of new technologies and products.

"We are trying to create graduates who are both comfortable with and capable of dealing with changes going on in business, particularly in technology, and integrating those into the ways in which they do business," Donohue said.

The college is hiring two additional faculty members for the program now and expects to bring a third on board before next fall, he added.

Medaille already offers a joint master's program, in reading, with Canisius College, but the degree is granted by Canisius, Donohue said.

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