University News

Bachelor's in Fire Protection Approved

February 5, 2013

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MACOMB, IL -- For nearly 34 years, Western Illinois University has offered educational opportunities to firefighters from across the United States, first with its Open Learning Fire Services program in 1979 designed solely for fire professionals and later with distance learning degree and certification opportunities in fire administration. Beginning in Fall 2013, the University will offer its first bachelor's degree in fire protection.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) recently approved the Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection Services at Western. The degree program is expected to enroll approximately 75 students in the first year, according to Terry Mors, director of the WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA).

Working with the School of Distance Learning, Outreach and International Studies, LEJA has offered a fire administration minor since Fall 2002. LEJA has partnered with The Open Learning Fire Science Program and the National Fire Academy's certification program in offering hundreds of firefighters from around the nation their undergraduate degrees in general studies, focusing on fire sciences.

"The educational opportunities we've offered in fire sciences throughout the years have allowed firefighters from coast to coast to keep current in their field, and has afforded career advancement for many as they obtain degrees and additional certifications," Mors said. "We're so pleased to offer a bachelor's degree in fire protection services beginning this fall. It complements not only our LEJA degree, but it also certainly fits within our school's growing commitment to fire protection studies and other interdisciplinary programs at Western, such as emergency management."

The WIU Fire Protection Studies Program features a comprehensive major comprised of 120 semester hours, including 18 hours from six required core courses. In order to best meet student needs, the new Bachelor of Science fire degree program offers two separate, unique study options, Mors explained. The fire administration program, which is delivered online, is designed for working firefighters seeking promotion to senior leadership positions, while the fire science option features face-to-face classes, which are delivered on the Macomb campus, and is suited for students preparing for a career in the fire service.

"The fire science option is relatively unique in that it offers a four year, on-campus program for students preparing to enter the fire service. Of particular note is the inclusion of a robust internship program within this option," he added. "In addition to the new fire major, the University remains committed to its existing fire minor programs

For more information on the new bachelor's degree or one of the fire protection minors, contact the School of LEJA at (309) 298-1038 or visit For information on the Open Learning Fire Service program, visit Learning, and for more information on the general studies, visit

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