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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia medical school is merging with a liberal arts university known for its design programs in a move officials say will help them improve course offerings.

Officials with Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University announced the preliminary merger decision Thursday.

School leaders tell the Philadelphia Inquirer ( the merger will help them offer programs focused on “real-world” problems.

The deal could help give Philadelphia University students a better shot at Jefferson’s medical school, which traces its roots to 1824. Jefferson would nearly double the number of its students and add to its academic programs.

During the three-year transition period, Philadelphia University’s name won’t change, but “eventually it will be clear” it is part of Jefferson.

Philadelphia University was formerly known as Philadelphia College of Textiles & Sciences. It changed its name in 1999.