Brunel University will launch a BSc in e-commerce this September. Time has been so tight in pulling together the programme that it will have to be launched through clearing.
But David Sims, head of the school of business and management, is confident there will be a rush for the 50 places available.
"We are moving in fast because there is clearly something important happening in this area," he says. "We believe this course will be unique because there are no other e-commerce courses out there of the same academic strength."
First-year students will start by tackling the different business and legal environments that the internet revolution has created. "Interpersonal and organisational behaviour is changing because of e-commerce," says Sims. "Students wishing to enter this field will need to have a particular slant, one that crosses the divide between management and technical approaches."
After an introduction to internet technology and web-page design, students will move on to the principles of small business management, as well as network protocol and internet security. This is designed to give them a good grasp of the basics they will need if they intend to set up their own companies.
As well as branching out into specialisms, final-year students will explore general issues raised by the emergence of a virtual society - something Sims believes is here to stay. "This is not simply a passing fashion," he says. "A lot of business subjects have already changed in kind, not just in degree, but all subjects will need to take into account the fact that the changes upon us are fundamental and not just superficial. We are now working in a different medium."