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By: Van Arnold

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Polymer Science and Engineering undergraduate program has reached a significant milestone with national accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This marks the program’s inaugural accreditation since the University began offering engineering courses in 2012.

ABET, a non-profit organization, accredits college and university programs in the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

Dr. Chris Winstead, Dean of USM’s College of Arts and Sciences, says the prestigious accreditation serves to validate the efforts that faculty, staff and students have made in advancing the undergraduate engineering program.

“Engineering accreditation from ABET demonstrates that our program has clearly defined objectives and that we constantly check to be sure that we are meeting those objectives,” said Winstead. “It’s the gold standard for engineering accreditation and is seen throughout the world as an important measure of program quality.”

Winstead notes that when the program began there were just three students who had selected engineering as a major. As of the fall 2019 semester, the program included more than 70 majors.

Where ABET accreditation is concerned, an important requirement is that students graduate from a program prior to an institution requesting an accreditation review. Obtaining an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited program provides graduates with an extra level of credibility and academic status as they seek jobs in industry or admission to graduate schools across the nation.

Dr. Derek Patton, Interim Director of USM’s School of Polymer Science and Engineering, echoed Winstead’s sentiments and saluted those who helped elevate the program.

“We are thrilled to receive ABET accreditation. The accreditation ensures employers that our graduates meet the high standards of quality necessary to enter the polymer engineering field,” said Patton. “The School of Polymer Science and Engineering is proud to lead the way for the University to establish accredited engineering programs.”

To learn more about the School of Polymer Science and Engineering, call 601.266.4868 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/polymer-science-engineering/index.php

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