OXFORD, Miss. – To give its students better chances to graduate and launch successful careers, the University of Mississippi School of Engineering has raised admission standards for most of its degree programs.
To enroll in the Bachelor of Science programs in chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer and information science, electrical engineering, geological engineering, geology, and mechanical engineering, students must have a minimum ACT math subscore of 25 and high school core GPA of 3.0.
These standards are based on the level of preparedness students need for the first-year engineering curricula, Dean Alex Cheng said.
“As a professional school in the state’s flagship university, the School of Engineering’s mission is to give its graduates, through an interdisciplinary background, the abilities to adapt to the rapid changes in engineering,” Cheng said. “The school is committed to its mission of providing a liberal arts-enhanced professional education of the highest quality that broadens students’ experiences and future success.”
As the standards have gotten tougher, demand for the school’s program has soared, said Marni Kendricks, assistant dean for undergraduate academics.
“During my 12 years in the engineering dean’s office, I have witnessed undergraduate enrollment in this school go from 576 to 1,565, total annual graduates go from 78 to 221, admission standards go from none to 25 on the ACT math, and career fair participation go from fewer than 10 companies to more than 50 companies,” Kendricks said.
“I am totally confident that we’re on the right track for the next decade. The rising tide of engineering-interested high school students has allowed this program to set new high-water marks in terms of admission standards, academic expectations and graduate achievement.”
Since fall 2004, the average overall ACT score of the entering freshman class has increased from 23.9 to 27.3, and the GPA from 3.24 to 3.66.
For less-prepared students, a pathway to success is created in the General Engineering degree program. Students with a minimum ACT math subscore of 20 and high school core GPA of 2.8 can be admitted to the pre-engineering program in general engineering.
Preparatory math and first-year student experience courses are provided to assist students in meeting the prerequisites of the first-year curricula. Students get individual advice for a successful transfer into the engineering degree programs they choose, for an on-time completion or a minimum amount of extra time to degree.
The General Engineering degree is one of the school’s most innovative and versatile programs. Students in this program can pursue different emphases, such as pre-med, pre-law, business, education, manufacturing, public policy and military leadership.
“The five engineering degrees – chemical, civil, electrical, geological and mechanical – have been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology since the 1950s,” Cheng said. “The computer and information science degree is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.”
Many engineering students are enrolled in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, one of the nation’s top honors programs. Many students have opportunities to pursue undergraduate research, study abroad or to enroll in special programs, such as the Chinese Language Flagship Program and the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence.
In collaboration with the School of Law, the engineering school also has a 3+3 accelerated engineering and law degree program. Most Ole Miss engineering students are engaged in service, including the highly successful Engineers Without Borders chapter that renders service in Africa.
The school’s broad-based education has produced well-rounded engineers, and many of them have become national leaders in the industry, government and higher education sectors. Graduates enter not only the professions of engineering and technology, but also the diverse fields of medicine, law, business and public service.
“I’m so very optimistic about the future of Ole Miss engineering,” Kendricks said. “I can hardly wait for Summer Orientation to welcome our incoming 2017 freshmen class.”