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APSU, UT-Knoxville partner on groundbreaking dual degree

October 30, 2000

In the first agreement of its kind between a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) institution and the University of Tennessee system, students can earn two degrees in five years, a physics degree from Austin Peay State University and an engineering degree from UT-Knoxville.
Under the 3+2 program, students will attend APSU for three years, then transfer to UT-Knoxville for two years.

“This program addresses some of the issues raised by state legislators that some programs do not effectively transfer between university systems and this dual-degree program provides a model for the state of Tennessee,” said Dr. Barbara Tarter, APSU's assistant vice president for enrollment management. Tarter worked with Dr. Jaime Taylor, APSU chair and associate professor of physics, and Dr. Fred Gilliam, UTK's associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs, to bring the program to fruition.

“It provides greater opportunities for our students and prospective students,” she said. “It also will increase the overall quality of our student body by attracting high academic achievers.”

Gilliam said graduates of the dual-degree program will possess deeper theoretical understanding, more applications skills and increased job placement opportunities.

“Certainly, it will give students a lot more flexibility to pursue a job in engineering or in natural sciences and physics,” Gilliam said. “The students that come to us from Austin Peay with the physics background will possess a much deeper appreciation for the theoretical principles that underlie engineering.

“The physics degree gives them a sound theoretical base and the engineering degree allows them to take that and apply it. It is a pretty powerful combination,” said Gilliam.

“Students will walk the graduation line at both schools getting two diplomas,” Taylor said. “They will get the advantage of a broad background in physics and liberal arts from Austin Peay, which opens opportunities for career growth and broader career placement. They will then get applied courses at UTK that will allow them to break into industry.”

After taking three years leading to a physics degree at APSU, students will be able to transfer to UTK and major in any of its 10 accredited engineering programs.
“It's a great opportunity for people who want to start at a small school with smaller class sizes,” Taylor said. “Then, they can transfer take advantage of UTK's engineering department, which has more than 150 faculty members.”

The 3+2 program is expected to increase enrollment at APSU by attracting at least 60 new students to APSU over the next four years.

For more information about this program, telephone the APSU department of physics at (931) 221-6116. For more information about attending APSU, telephone (931) 221-7661 or 1-800-844-2778, or visit the University's Web site at