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UVA, Sweet Briar partner on accelerated path to Master of Engineering degree

Sweet Briar College and the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science have signed an agreement establishing a collaborative program called UVAccelerate, which will facilitate early entry for Sweet Briar students into Master of Engineering degree programs at UVa.

The private women’s liberal arts college in Amherst County and the commonwealth’s flagship university based in Charlottesville said the partnership will allow qualified Sweet Briar students to apply for graduate admission to UVa during their junior year and begin taking graduate-level courses during their senior year, which will accelerate completion of their Master of Engineering degree.

Sweet Briar students who have been accepted into the program are assigned a dedicated adviser at UVa’s School of Engineering who will collaborate with the student and their Sweet Briar adviser to recommend suitable graduate-level engineering courses at UVa for their senior year.

Those UVa engineering courses are taken in tandem with undergraduate courses at Sweet Briar and may be taken in person in UVa’s hometown of Charlottesville or online through the Virginia Engineering Online program. In the program’s fifth year, students who have earned their undergraduate degree from Sweet Briar will matriculate directly into their designated UVa Master of Engineering program.

“This private-public collaboration is an exciting opportunity for the benefit of talented undergraduate women in the field of engineering,” Sweet Briar President Mary Pope M. Hutson said in a statement. “For 20 years, Sweet Briar’s ABET-accredited engineering program has prepared our graduates for success in the industry. We are overjoyed to have established this pathway for the College’s students to continue their education at the University of Virginia and proud to announce that three Sweet Briar students have already been accepted into the program.”

UVa President James Ryan said in his own statement: “I’m grateful to President Hutson and Sweet Briar for working with us on this new partnership, and I’m delighted to welcome Sweet Briar students to our excellent Engineering School. I look forward to seeing the many ways they will contribute to the UVA community and to their chosen field.”

UVAccelerate is a high-quality and cost-effective option for students at Sweet Briar who want a head start on a graduate degree in engineering, a field in which women are historically underrepresented, said Jennifer L. West, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia.

Faculty from Sweet Briar and UVa worked together to establish the parameters of the partnership, reviewing curriculum requirements and admission protocols to ensure that students meet the required learning outcomes of both institutions, the schools said.

The partnership, effective immediately, will remain in effect for three years, after which it can be amended or extended, according to the schools.


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