MSU and Belhaven University partner for dual degree program

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Top officials from Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering and Belhaven University’s School of Science and Arts signed an agreement on Thursday [Oct. 17] to create a new dual degree program for undergraduate students.

The partnership offers students an opportunity to simultaneously earn a degree in mathematics, biology, business, chemistry or computer science from Belhaven and an engineering degree from Mississippi State University.

“This partnership with Belhaven University will bring excellent students to MSU and expose them to world-class engineering faculty that are leaders in their field,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “I’m proud to partner with Belhaven to create more educational opportunities in Mississippi, and I look forward to seeing these students thrive in our Bagley College of Engineering and then begin an impactful career.”

Belhaven University President Roger Parrott believes that engineering students will get the best of both universities.

“Students will take foundational STEM courses and general core curriculum from our expert faculty, who are gifted in preparing students for work at the highest levels of engineering,” Parrott said. “Students will also have all the advantages of a smaller Christian university. Then students will move on to MSU for top-level engineering courses with their senior faculty. Smart students will understand that by using the best strengths of each university, they will receive the very best education.”

Students pursuing the dual degree can be admitted to both universities. They will spend the first two to three years at Belhaven, pursuing a specified degree along with available pre-engineering and engineering courses. Upon completion at Belhaven, these students will enter MSU’s engineering college as a junior to complete the remaining courses required for the engineering degree. Courses taken at MSU will be transferred back for a bachelor’s degree from Belhaven.

John Estes, Belhaven University’s Yerger Chair of Mathematics and Director of Engineering Partnerships, said there are many benefits for students who participate in the dual degree program.

“We are proud to offer students the benefits of both a Christian liberal arts university like Belhaven and a research institution like MSU,” Estes said. “Our students will have the robust opportunity to get hands-on mentorship, a solid foundation in science and technology, and interaction with engineering professionals at Belhaven and specialized courses, research, and connections with industry at Mississippi State.

“By joining our resources, 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,” Estes said.

Jason Keith, dean of MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering, said students will be better equipped for success because of the collaboration with Belhaven.

“High-achieving students will be able to obtain their science degree rooted in Belhaven’s foundational curriculum and then transfer to pursue either an undergraduate or a graduate degree in engineering from MSU, equipping them for success in new ways.”

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.

For more on Belhaven University, visit

For more on the Bagley College of Engineering, visit

MSU is available online at

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