Accreditation is a non-governmental, peer review process that ensures educational quality. Educational institutions or programs volunteer to periodically undergo this review to determine if minimum criteria are being met. Accreditation verifies that an institution or program meets the criteria, ensuring a quality educational experience.
Accreditation of Programs in Engineering
The Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.abet.org) is responsible for the specialized accreditation of educational programs in engineering, engineering technology and engineering-related fields.
Accreditation, and ABET in particular, helps many people make important decisions about education including:
- Students choosing an educational program
- Parents seeking assurance of a quality education
- Institutions seeking to improve the education provided by their program
- Employers recruiting well-prepared graduates
- State registration, licensure and certification boards screening applicants for entry into professional practice
- Industry seeking to voice educational needs to institutions
- Many state registration and certification boards view ABET-accredited programs as the first step for state licensure or certification.
- ABET accreditation is also a consideration for admission to many graduate programs.
Brown School of Engineering offers accredited concentrations which follow the ABET student outcome criteria below:
- An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
- An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
- An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
- An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
- An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
- An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
- An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
ABET Accredited Programs at Brown
Seven bachelor of science programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.abet.org). These are the programs in Biomedical, Chemical and Biochemical, Computer, Electrical, Materials, and Mechanical Engineering. Within each of these concentration programs there are several options, each of which is accredited. The Engineering and Physics program is intended for students interested in a stronger physics foundation, and continuing on to graduate studies. There are currently no plans to seek ABET accreditation for this Sc.B. program. The Environmental program is not accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.abet.org), and at present there are no plans to seek ABET accreditation for this program.
The educational objectives for accredited programs are described along with detailed program requirements in the University Bulletin.
For enrollment and graduation data of each Brown University program by class and program track, please go to:
The current curricular requirements and guidelines of ABET for accredited Sc.B. concentrations include:
- One year of a combination of college level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental experience)
- One and one-half years of engineering topics
- A general education component that complements the technical content
In the context of the Brown program, one year is the equivalent of eight courses.
In light of these intended outcomes, the engineering design component of the curriculum includes at least some of the following features:
- Development of student creativity
- Use of open-ended problems
- Development and use of design methodology
- Formulation of design problem statements and specifications
- Consideration of alternative solutions
- Feasibility considerations
- Detailed system descriptions
It is essential to include a variety of realistic constraints such as economic factors, safety, reliability, aesthetics, ethics, and social impact.
For those students who wish to become registered professional engineers after they have acquired the requisite level of professional experience, an ABET-accredited program is generally desirable. In most states, the completion of an ABET-accredited four-year Sc.B. degree program is among the requirements to qualify for admission to examination at the first level of professional registration. Many exciting and rapidly developing fields of engineering can be entered with a well-designed non-accredited Sc.B. program. Students desiring more information on professional registration should confer with Prof. Eric Suuberg, who can also provide information on taking the Fundamentals Exam as a first step.