New interdisciplinary creative arts majors launch this fall

June 6, 2024
One male and three female actors performing in front of the microphone on stage

Two new undergraduate majors launching this fall at Fitchburg State University will open career pathways in the arts and healthcare fields, providing students with strong interdisciplinary skills to respond to high-needs sectors of the statewide and regional economies.

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education recently approved the university’s new bachelor’s degree programs in creative arts therapies and creative arts enterprise, making Fitchburg State the first public institution in the commonwealth to offer such degree paths.

“These innovative programs have been designed to respond to evolving career trajectories for university graduates and will foster skills development spanning disciplines,” University President Richard S. Lapidus said. “We are grateful to the Board of Higher Education for recognizing the value of these unique programs that will allow Fitchburg State graduates to engage fully and meaningfully in emerging fields.”  

The professional major in creative arts therapies (CAT) is designed for students interested in learning how modalities of drama, music, and visual art are utilized in working with children and adults in a variety of settings. The major combines the student’s chosen arts focus with pre-professional coursework in human services and psychological science, preparing them for graduate study as well as entry-level positions as recreational therapists, activities directors, and assistant/technician roles in education and mental health counseling. 

The creative arts enterprise (CAE) program equips individuals to be active and engaged artist entrepreneurs and practitioners across a variety of contexts. Its coursework allows students to develop a personalized and flexible set of skills, preparing them to meet the diverse demands of arts organizations and audiences in a shifting global economy. Students in the major will expand their knowledge of administration, publicity, and entrepreneurship through coursework in business, professional writing, and marketing communications while simultaneously honing their artistic skills as musicians, visual artists, or theatrical artists. This twofold approach prepares students for careers as active artists who are equipped to meet the administrative, promotional, and business needs of various types of arts organizations, including theaters, orchestras, choirs, galleries, museums, studios, churches, and more.

The new programs will be offered as Fitchburg and the North Central Massachusetts region is experiencing a renaissance in its cultural economy, with partner agencies including the Fitchburg Art Museum and NewVue Communities. Major projects in development include the Fitchburg Arts Community on Elm Street that will include 68 units of artist live-work space in the heart of downtown, as well as Fitchburg State’s plans to revitalize the long-vacant theater at 717 Main St. into state of the art performance and rehearsal space.