Wake Forest University is starting new academic programs in 2017. They will be based at the growing Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem.

Soon students will be able to take courses in Engineering, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery, not on the Reynolda campus of Wake Forest, but instead at the new “Wake Downtown.”

University President Nathan Hatch says the expansion is “the most significant academic innovation for undergraduates that we've had in generations. I think it will be very attractive to students, STEM students in particular, some of which have not applied to Wake Forest in the past because we didn't have engineering.”

The announcement comes at a time when employers want more science and technology graduates. The Education Advisory Board says demand for these students increased by 58 percent nationally and by 43 percent in North Carolina over the past few years.

University officials say Wake Downtown will allow for collaboration across the sciences and between the university's undergraduate and medical schools.

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