Thomas College in Waterville and Unity College in Unity are joining forces to offer on-line courses toward a master of business administration degree for graduates of both colleges.

The partnership, the result of financial support from the Unity Foundation, will begin with the fall semester, the colleges said in a joint statement.

The courses will enable students to tailor their programs by using course offerings from both Thomas and Unity, no matter which college they are formally enrolled in. By capitalizing on Thomas’ reputation in business education and Unity’s programs in the physical sciences, the partnership will help students become more competitive in today’s workplace upon graduation from college, according to the statement.

“Maine’s economy needs workers with advanced business skills,” Thomas President Laurie Lachance said. “Likewise, business leaders benefit from a solid understanding of physical sciences and environmental sustainability, particularly in Maine where our natural resources are our lifeblood.”

Unity President Stephen Mulkey said that given Unity’s global focus — with students from across the United States and around the world — the master’s program provides graduates with broad skills to address environmental challenges and green entrepreneurial opportunities.

“This partnership is not only good news for Maine, but for the planet,” Mulkey said.

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