SMTTT: Engineering Program Earns National Accreditation

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:


Written by University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites in central and southern Mississippi, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 130 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and sport venue safety and security, among others. USM is also one of only 40 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of approximately 15,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 36 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 24 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit


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