North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will offer a new bachelor’s degree in information technology starting this fall.

The Greensboro university will be the fifth UNC school to offer this bachelor’s of science degree.

But A&T’s program will be the first in the state to focus on the niche area of mainframe education and enterprise system support — that is, the computer servers, storage and software that large companies use to manage enormous amount of data.

A&T says it is one of only four universities in the United States where students have access to an IBM z9 mainframe computer.

The university said the z-series computers remain popular among large banks, retailers, insurers and Fortune 500 companies around the globe.

A&T has for years offered a concentration in information technology as part of its bachelor’s degree program in electronics technology.

The university said 153 students were pursuing an IT concentration this year. Enrollment in the concentration has grown about 50 percent in five years.

Four other UNC schools offer a bachelor’s program in information technology: East Carolina University, UNC-Pembroke, UNC-Wilmington and Winston-Salem State University.

Of the four, only East Carolina offers the degree program online. A&T’s program will be available on campus and online.

The UNC Board of Governors approved A&T’s new program at its meeting Friday in Chapel Hill.

©2014 the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.)