The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today authorized Tarleton State University to seek final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to create two new graduate degree programs that will address the growing demand for professionals in geoscience and animal science.

 The new master’s of science programs, if approved by the Coordinating Board, will begin in fall 2019 and increase Tarleton’s degree programs to more than 100.

 “This is a major step forward,” said Dr. Karen Murray, Tarleton provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “These new opportunities support the university’s longstanding commitment to academic advancement, to improved employment options for students, and to meet the growing professional workforce needs in North Texas and beyond.”

No equivalent programs are available within 100 miles of Stephenville.

The proposed master’s in geoscience, part of Tarleton’s College of Science and Technology, will prepare students for leadership in industrial, educational and research-oriented careers, from petroleum and structural geology to paleontology.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 14 percent increase in employment opportunities for geoscience experts over the next eight years, with Texas employing more geoscientists in oil and gas exploration than any other state.

Graduates of the proposed master’s in animal science, a 36-semester-hour program in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will be prepared for careers as animal geneticists and nutritionists, and dairy and poultry scientists. Texaswages.com projects a 17.6 percent growth in animal science positions through 2024.