ST. GEORGE — Students will have another option when it comes to choosing a four-year degree at Dixie State College beginning this fall semester.

The Utah State Board of Regents approved the proposed integrated studies degree at a meeting earlier this month. The new bachelor's degree will consist of common core and select concentrations of nine disciplines including business, communication, computer and information technology, English, biology, mathematical sciences, psychology, fine arts and Spanish.

"This one degree is actually 36 options," said Donna Dillingham-Evans, DSC vice president of academic services. "Students who are interested in these nine areas can now stay here at Dixie State College, take upper-division courses and continue to make progress toward their degrees."

The program is aimed at "any student interested in tailoring a degree to meet their unique interests by combining coursework in two different disciplines," said DSC assistant professor of English Darl Biniaz.

"Students who want to major in a discipline other than those presently available at Dixie State, and those who have earned college credits beyond an associate's degree but who have not completed a four-year degree, will find this degree especially attractive," Biniaz said.

The new degree is also expected to help Dixie officials prove the need for separate degrees in each of the specific areas, said Don Hinton, DSC dean of education, humanities, arts and social sciences.

"This degree expands the opportunities for our students and opens the door to additional desired degrees," Hinton said.

Dixie State College officials also are investigating the possibility of a potential affiliation with the University of Utah, making the St. George campus the University of Utah-St. George.

A task force composed of officials from Dixie State College and the University of Utah is working on the concept, which proponents say would open the door to more options for area students.

The idea is not without controversy, however. Two members of the Dixie State College Board of Trustees question the idea, citing the loss of local control and the requirement that the name "Dixie" be dropped from the school's title.

A status report on the possible merger, including results of a fact-finding trip and questions over institutional identity, will be presented during Friday's meeting of the DSC Board of Trustees.