Universities Slow to Offer Bitcoin Courses

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NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — Opportunities for learning about bitcoins at accredited colleges and universities in the United States during the fall semester are slim, but at least one private university is offering a standalone course.

NYU’s School of Law and Stern School of Business are in partnership offering “The Law and Business of Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies” for the fall semester.

“I have been teaching Bitcoin as part of my class on banking regulation since 2010. When Professor Yermack of the Stern School of Business suggested we do a class together focused only on Bitcoin I jumped at the opportunity. As far as we know thus will be the first ever class on the law and business of Bitcoin. But I am certain many other schools will soon be offering similar classes,” Professor Geoffrey Miller told Inside Bitcoins

Dr. John Caruso, professor of educational technology at Western Connecticut State University, in Danbury, Conn., told Inside Bitcoins it’s easier to have a course approved at a private university (such as NYU).

“Offering a new course in an emerging area such as bitcoins is easier at a private versus a public college. A private university has the flexibility to schedule and staff a course on shorter notice. With sufficient enrollment to offset costs the course can run the next semester. Public colleges usually require 12 to 18 months lead time to schedule a new course because tuition is subsidized,” he said, adding that other factors include contractual workload and adjunct ratio.

Caruso added that most colleges and universities will approve a new course for one time without approval by governance, but then it has to be given the green light by the department, school curriculum committees, planning and budgeting, school dean, registration and the academic vice president.

At NYU, “The Law and Business of Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies” will be instructed by Geoffrey Miller, professor of law, and David Yermack, professor of finance and business transformation.

According to the course description, students “will study bitcoin and other alternative payment mechanisms.”

More specifically, the course will cover: the essential nature of money, the origins and function of bitcoin, the nature and instability of bank-created money, bitcoin and monetary economics, other nonbank payment vehicles, bitcoin as an investment, using bitcoin as a consumer, using bitcoin as a business, the legal treatment of bitcoin, and regulating bitcoin trading.

The course takes place Tuesdays from 2-3:50 p.m. in Furman Hall 2010. It is available to Law School students for two credits and Stern School students for 1.5 credits. Students will complete a term paper 15-20 pages long.

While most colleges and universities aren’t offering any standalone classes on bitcoins some are mentioning bitcoins as part of other courses. One of these universities is Cornell University in New York state.

Professor Arpita Ghosh mentions bitcoins in Networks II – Information Science, according to the university.

According to Stanford University, bitcoins are mentioned in several of its classes, too, but there is no separate course dedicated to the cryptocurrency.

Last fall, economics professor Kevin McIntyre at McDaniel College included bitcoins in his International  Economics course, according to that college. However, that course is not being offered this fall.

Meanwhile, overseas, the University of Nicosia offers a master’s degree in digital currency.

Written by Tim Sohn

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