BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College has announced the addition of bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and international studies beginning in Fall 2022.

“These new programs will offer Bethany College students preparation for in-demand career paths,” said Interim President Dr. Jamie Caridi. “The criminal justice program, in particular, builds on a strong interest already present among current students. In combination with Bethany’s new strategic plan, Build for a Lifetime, the latest HLC approval emphasizes a commitment to educate students for a changing marketplace.”

The Higher Learning Commission, Bethany’s accreditor, notified the college of its approval of both programs.

“We are very excited to add these new majors,” said Dr. Joe Lane, provost and dean of faculty. Both international studies and criminal justice offer students that perfect combination of deep thinking and marketable skills that distinguish a Bethany education, and we look forward to welcoming students into these majors in 2022-2023.”

Criminal justice is among the most popular minors at Bethany, and the college expects students to embrace the major as well. The bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and international studies are the first in a series of anticipated new programs.

“Students have asked for the addition of the major for many years,” said Melanee Sinclair, chair of the social work department. “The major will prepare students for careers in the criminal justice field, or to pursue graduate or law school. The curriculum includes required coursework in research, political science and psychology. Students may elect to complete an internship as part of the program in an effort to make the link between classroom learning and the field. The major includes the strong liberal arts focus that is so important to all Bethany College degrees.”

The international studies major is an interdisciplinary program that is designed to give the students multiple perspectives on the issues facing an increasingly connected world. Each student chooses a foreign language and either a social sciences or humanities track. Both tracks include a variety of courses across disciplines.

“The new major gives a great deal of agency to students to chart their own path and follow their interests,” said Kayce Mobley, chair of the history and political science department. “It is very interdisciplinary, which will well prepare students for a wide variety of career paths and will hopefully inspire lifelong interest in the broader world.”

The new bachelor’s programs are Bethany’s first since 2019, when the college added a major in environmental science.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.