UNT Students Turn Passion for Retail into Degree

The University of North Texas is preparing to launch the area's first comprehensive bachelor's degree in retail.

The school got the go-ahead from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to launch the new program in the fall 2016 semester, but many students on campus are already getting excited for the offering.

Currently UNT offers programs in merchandising and digital retailing, but Professor Richard Last said this will create a program that teaches students to embrace all facets of the changing retail landscape.

"You think about North Texas, all the retail here," said Last. "Not to have a pipeline for retail management is a miss."

So with this, Last said students will get a chance to better bridge the gap between traditional stores and sales technique, with the growing presence of online and cyber shopping.

Junior Shannon Williams and sophomore Lindsey Lotze hope to be some of the first graduates of the program and said they're already finding the profession changing just since they became interested.

"(You think) it's all about just shopping, but it's not. There's so much more to that," said Williams.

Lotze said much of the classwork involves things she'd never thought she'd be a part of, like app development, web coding and, maybe most importantly, cyber security.

"We had things like the Target breach a while back, but we're learning from that," she said.

Last hopes that with the new degree program, students in North Texas can help to better shape the future of this oldest form of commerce.

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