Last year, the University of Mississippi School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences at Belhaven University set up a dual-degree program for undergraduate students that offers them the opportunity to earn a degree in biology, business, chemistry, mathematics or physics from Belhaven while simultaneously earning an engineering degree from the University of Mississippi
Participating students spend the first two to three years at Belhaven pursuing a specified degree along with available pre-engineering and engineering courses, then go on to UM's engineering school to complete the remaining courses required for the engineering degree.
"Belhaven set up this partnership with Ole Miss in part because it's somewhat difficult facilitating appropriate labs for engineering here at Belhaven," John Estes, assistant professor of mathematics and Yerger Chair of Mathematics at Belhaven, says.
Currently the program supports mechanical, civil, chemical and general engineering, and the universities are preparing to set up electrical and biomedical engineering courses in the future.
"Both parties have been excited and supportive about an interdisciplinary program like this, and the friendly atmosphere we have here makes it work," Estes says. "Our universities are also perfect for a program like this because we're close to a lot of Mississippi-based engineering firms, which allows for local connection, and we have a private Christian college experience that a lot of students desire and are attracted to our programs. With this partnership, students get the attention and atmosphere they want and the skills they need."
Effland likes the program because it allows students like him to accomplish complex academic goals in a short amount of time.
"It's a big workload doing two degrees in five years, but it's very doable, he says. "... Chemical engineering is a big field, and I'm looking forward to my second semester opening more options for me to pursue, like pharmaceutical engineering or forensic science. The greatest way this program helps is by just getting students out there, exposing us to experts in the field, making connections with companies that send people in to talk for classes and helping us set up internships down the road."
<em>For more information, visit belhaven.edu or olemiss.edu.</em>