Tomorrow’s jobs require training and advanced knowledge that conventional school programs simply aren’t teaching. Higher education is catching up, and fields of study are beginning to evolve: new college degrees include specializations in robotic surgery, green building design, and Facebook.
Prerequisites: BS in a scientific field
The cost: US$41,836
Course of study: No aspect of medicine is going untouched by nanotech in the next decade, from targeted drug delivery to next-generation implants and tissue engineering, including surgical procedures where robots can accurately slice and suture on a sub-millimeter scale.
Prerequisites: BS, typically in biology or computing
The cost: US$56,000 (out-of-state residents)
Course of study: Today’s medical problems aren’t being solved by physicians so much as they are by computers analyzing DNA strands. Bioinformatics requires as much skill with SQL as it does with a stethoscope, putting the subject at the intersection of big data and medicine.
Prerequisites: High school
The cost: US$95,200
Course of study: In the fall of 2013, this tiny liberal arts college will launch the first social media degree in the US. Students can major or minor in the finer points of Facebook and Twitter, but the focus is on using social networks to develop marketing and branding strategies for businesses rather than tending crops on Farmville.
Prerequisites: High school, with a focus on applied technology
The cost: US$72,000 (out-of-state residents)
Course of study: Designing green structures is complex, and students need to optimize renewable energy systems and design for sustainable or reclaimed building materials.
Prerequisites: An undergraduate degree with honors, plus a background in science or math
The cost: £13,950 (US students)
Course of study: Computers do the work in the stock market now, using algorithms to analyze and monitor the markets. Students learn how to analyze the market and design algorithmically driven hedge funds.
—Christopher Null, May 2013