Bentley University Now Offering ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ As A Major

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With housing, the school’s sticker price is more than $75,000 per school year. That means a bachelor’s degree could cost over $300,000.

So what can one learn at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts?

There are many majors there that focus on the business sector, but the school recently added a major. As of the start of this month, Bentley is now offering a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) major for undergraduates.

In the school’s announcement about the news, school officials cite increased demand in the field of diversity and inclusion — and the salaries that such jobs offer.

Bentley notes that there has been a 71 percent increase in such roles globally in the past five years and that the median salaries range from $84,000 to $126,000, according to LinkedIn.

“The racial justice movement has further accelerated demand, and industry experts predict continued exponential growth well into the future,” Molly Mastantuono, assistant director of academic communications at Bentley University, wrote in the press release.

The school is offering two pathways to the degree. One is a Bachelor of Arts degree that focuses on “critical and theoretical approaches to social justice,” according to the school’s web site. The other is a Bachelor of Science degree, which the school’s web site says “emphasizes the importance of DEI in organizational strategy.”

Both of the paths to the degree will include some business-oriented courses like “Managing Diversity in the Workplace” and “Gender and the Law” as well as arts and science classes like “Cross-Cultural Communication” and “Race and Racism in U.S. History.”

The web site also notes that students will take a broad range of electives and that “students will have the flexibility to choose classes that best align with their interests and needs.”

To get the degree, the students will have to do an internship or a capstone research project. A capstone is similar to a thesis, however, as points out, “The main difference between a capstone project and a thesis is that a capstone project addresses a specific problem, issue, or concern in your field of study, and a thesis attempts to create new knowledge. A capstone project focuses on a narrow, specific topic, whereas a thesis addresses a broader, generalized issue.”

The school says that three faculty members developed the major:  Sociology professors Anne Rawls and Gary David, and Senior Lecturer in Law Kiana Pierre-Louis. It says that they view the major as “a natural progression in Bentley’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion education.”

Here are the examples of that commitment that the school lists:


Gender Studies minor, offered since 1991;

an integrated double major, Liberal Studies: Diversity and Society, introduced after 2009;

corporate workshops and executive education programs led by the Center for Women and Business, established in 2011;

and a graduate certificate in Inclusive and Responsible Leadership, which debuted last spring.


Pierre-Lewis and David also spoke to what they see as the importance of this new major existing at the school.

David said that there it makes economic sense for the program to exist.

“DEI is not just about ethical standards or moral positioning,” David told the school, according to a written statement. “As more and more studies have shown, it also makes good business sense. For companies to be creative, innovative and competitive, DEI perspectives need to be integrated into every part of the organization.”   

Pierre-Lewis said it offers students a unique opportunity that other schools don’t have yet.

“Bentley is definitely ahead of the curve on this,” notes Pierre-Louis in the written statement. “There aren’t many business schools — if any — offering an undergraduate major specifically in DEI.”   

Rawls could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.


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