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The South Dakota Board of Regents today approved Northern State to offer a master’s degree in banking and financial services, building on its successful undergraduate programs in that field.


“This graduate-level degree expands Northern’s curriculum to better meet the workforce needs of the banking and financial services industry in South Dakota and the Midwest region,” said Regents President Kathryn Johnson.


 A master of science degree will prepare students for a competitive market upon graduation, she said, and also provides current professionals in the field the skills needed to advance their careers. The regional banking industry expects a number of executives to retire over the next several years, creating a need for qualified individuals to fill management positions.


 A former banking regulator said the key to any financial institution’s success is the quality and education of the management team; Northern’s graduate degree will give new and current employees the tools to effectively compete in the industry. The university consulted with industry leaders during development of the curriculum.


 NSU already offers bachelor and associate degrees, a minor, and certificates in the banking and financial services program. Today’s action also authorizes the new graduate degree for distance delivery, allowing bankers from across the country to earn this credential online.


 The Board also approved online delivery for several of its existing degrees, including master’s degrees in leadership and administration, teaching and learning, instructional design in E-learning, and training and development in E-learning. Officials said putting these degrees online expands educational opportunity to more students who find themselves place bound due to work or family considerations.


 A bachelor’s degree in international business studies at NSU was also approved for online delivery.