After more than 30 years, Columbia College will once again offer an undergraduate music degree. The program was discontinued in the early 1980s when the college was experiencing financial uncertainty and low enrollment.

The music degree will focus on theory and performance, but also is paired with “clusters” of classes that make it a practical degree. The four clusters are: education, which leads to certification to teach K-12; communication studies, which focuses on the performance aspect; business administration, which focuses on marketing and public relations; and religious studies.

With the new degree comes the creation of the Department of Visual Arts and Music. The department will combine the current Art Department with the music program, which was based in the Humanities Department. This department will include all current art majors and the new music majors, and Mike Sleadd will continue to serve as chair. Nollie Moore will remain the director of the music program.

“We are excited about this change and feel certain it will benefit our music and art students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. David Roebuck, interim dean for Academic Affairs, in a CougarTrack announcement.

Although the new music degree will not be offered until the fall of 2014, the new name of this department will be used immediately in preparation for the launch of the degree.