September 30, 2015 (Oxford, Miss.) - The University of Mississippi School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences at Belhaven University signed an agreement Wednesday to create a new dual degree program for undergraduate students.
The partnership offers students an opportunity to simultaneously earn a degree in biology, business, chemistry, mathematics or physics from Belhaven, a private, Christian liberal arts college in Jackson, and an engineering degree from UM, the state's flagship public university.
The dual degree program does not guarantee students will earn two degrees, as each student must fulfill the degree requirements for each university to earn its degree.
"We are pleased to partner with Belhaven University on this important initiative," said Morris Stocks, UM interim chancellor. "By joining our resources with those of Belhaven, we will be able to generate more STEM majors - a distinct need of the state of Mississippi. Our partnership will serve to benefit both universities, our region and state."
"A partnership at this level is unique in higher education, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Ole Miss in providing such a high-quality engineering degree for our students," said Roger Parrott, Belhaven president. "For these graduates to receive a diploma from both institutions makes them especially well-credentialed for the marketplace."
A student pursuing the dual degree can be admitted to both universities. He or she will spend the first two to three years at BU pursuing a specified degree along with available pre-engineering and engineering courses. Upon satisfactory completion at BU, the student will enter UM's engineering school to complete the remaining courses required for the engineering degree. Courses taken at UM that are suitable for the bachelor's degree will be transferred back to BU.
The dual degree curricula will be created and agreed upon by both universities to ensure that students can complete the degrees on time.
"We are pleased to have this agreement with Belhaven," said Noel Wilkin, UM acting provost. "It will facilitate the smooth transition of their students into our engineering program. As the first engineering school in the state, we are pleased to take steps that will give good students opportunities to earn their engineering degree at the University of Mississippi."
"Following graduation, students will have a strong foundation in liberal arts and a broad-based engineering education that will enable both institutions to continue the proud tradition of placing alumni in positions of leadership in Mississippi and around the world," said Dennis Watts, Belhaven associate provost.
Dean Alex Cheng said the UM School of Engineering looks forward to its collaboration with Belhaven. "We are very pleased to work with this fine university in providing a pathway for STEM students to earn their engineering degree," Cheng said. "Engineering has had a presence at the University of Mississippi since its founding and is the first professional school of engineering in the state."