ABET Accreditation

In the United States, accreditation is a non-governmental, peer-review process that assures the quality of the postsecondary education students receive. Educational institutions or programs volunteer to undergo this review periodically to determine if certain criteria are being met. However, accreditation is not intended or used as a ranking system. Rather, it provides simply assurance that a program or institution meets established quality standards.

ABET, Inc., (www.abet.org) is responsible for the specialized accreditation of educational programs in the fields of applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. (More general information about accreditation is available at www.chea.org.) ABET accredits postsecondary degree-granting programs housed within regionally accredited institutions.

ABET accreditation is assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students. For example, an accredited engineering program must meet the quality standards set by the engineering profession.

ABET accredits programs only, not degrees, departments, colleges, or institutions. All programs seeking accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET must:

  • Demonstrate that they satisfy all General Criteria established by EAC,
  • Demonstrate that they satisfy all specific Program Criteria established by EAC in collaboration with the lead professional society associated with the program area (for
  • Civil engineering, this is the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE),
  • Establish Program Educational Objectives that are consistent with the mission of the institution, the needs of the program’s various constituencies (employers, alumni, etc.) and EAC criteria, and
  • Establish specific Student Outcomes that consistently support the program educational objections.

These program educational objectives establish professional career abilities and accomplishments expected for the program’s graduates within a few years following graduation. In contrast, the Student Outcomes represent are skills and abilities obtained and demonstrated by the student during their academic career and represent the body of knowledge they have obtained by the time they graduate.

At Mississippi State University, the program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org. The Program Educational Objectives and the Student Outcomes for this program are presented below.


Program Educational Objectives
Graduates  of  the  civil  engineering  program  should,  within  the  a  few  years  after graduation:

  1. Demonstrate  a  broad  knowledge  of  the  principles  and  fundamentals  of  civil  engineering and  their  applications  through  their  successful  practice  as  professional  civil  engineers, their  pursuit  of  graduate  or  professional   degrees,  or  their  engagement  in  other professional careers that involve the application of the engineering method.
  2. Achieve success in the multidisciplinary environment of the 21st century and demonstrate their  ability  to  adapt  to  emerging  and  evolving  technologies,  social  conditions, professional  standards,  and  career  opportunities  by  attaining  leadership,  managerial, administrative, supervisory, or other positions of responsibility.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the ethical, societal and professional responsibilities  of  a  civil  engineer  through  professional  registration  and  active membership in professional organizations.
  4. Demonstrate  an  appreciation  for  lifelong  learning  and  for  the  value  of  continuing professional  development  in  maintaining  their  professional  competence  through participation in graduate and continuing education activities.


Program’s Student Outcomes

During the course of study in civil engineering, the student should develop, and ultimately obtain:

  1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  3. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  4. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  5. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  7. An ability to communicate effectively
  8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  9. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  10. A knowledge of contemporary issues
  11. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.