January 17, 2017  

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Southern Miss Receives IHL Approval for Two New STEM Degrees

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Today, Nov. 17, the State Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved The University of Southern Mississippi’s request to offer a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. Pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), both programs are on track to launch next fall.

In an effort to expand strong academic programs in high-demand Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, The University of Southern Mississippi will soon offer two new Bachelor of Science degrees through its College of Science and Technology.

Today, Nov. 17, the State Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved the University’s request to offer a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. Pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), both programs are on track to launch next fall. (Editor's Note: Approval was granted in December 2016.)

Amid national dialogue about the demand for more STEM graduates, industries in Mississippi have conveyed the need for more engineers, resulting in the University initiating these new degrees to meet critical business and educational needs in south Mississippi.

In support of the state’s ongoing economic development opportunities and Gov. Phil Bryant’s emphasis on the “Blue Economy,” Southern Miss has planned these academic programs with coastal students and business needs in mind.

The implementation of both degree programs will prove significant to both Southern Miss and the state of Mississippi, especially with the Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering being the only ocean engineering degree in the state and one of only 10 programs in the nation.

“I am delighted that the IHL Board approved The University of Southern Mississippi’s plans to expand our degree offerings in these critical academic areas through innovative program development,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven R. Moser. “As we work to implement this vision, USM will lead the way in providing new educational offerings and enhancing the opportunities available to current and future Mississippians.”

Research has shown that Computer Engineering is in high demand in most industrial sectors, including cyber security, chemical processing, wireless communication and healthcare. In south Mississippi, those sectors also include shipbuilding, manufacturing and farming industries, government, and military labs. USM’s School of Computing will expand its Computer Engineering Technology curriculum to offer a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.

Ocean Engineering is in high demand across Mississippi’s coastal counties, with specific needs in shipbuilding, maritime industry, offshore exploration, environmental monitoring, port operations, as well as the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. With strong emphasis on the “Blue Economy,” USM’s School of Ocean Science and Technology will expand its curriculum to offer a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering.

“The College of Science and Technology is pleased to be adding both Ocean Engineering and Computer Engineering to our current portfolio of academic programs,” said Dr. David Hayhurst, Dean of the College of Science and Technology. “Clearly, there is significant need throughout the state for graduates who are competent in computer engineering and ocean engineering, which is particularly relevant to southern Mississippi and the Gulf Coast.”

The Ocean Engineering program will be delivered at the Southern Miss Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, and the Computer Engineering program will be available both in Hattiesburg and at Gulf Park. The pre-engineering components of both programs will also be available at both campuses.

For more information about the Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Engineering and Ocean Engineering at The University of Southern Mississippi, contact Dr. Douglas S. Masterson, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the College of Science and Technology, at 601.266.4880 or douglas.masterson@usm.edu.