North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke have established a dual undergraduate degree program that will allow students to graduate with bachelor’s degrees from both institutions.

NC State Chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Dr. Robin Gary Cummings made the partnership official during a signing ceremony on NC State’s Centennial Campus in July.

Under the program, which launches in August, students would spend three years at UNC Pembroke and two at NC State and would graduate with a bachelor’s degree in physics from UNC Pembroke and a bachelor’s degree in either electrical or mechanical engineering from NC State.

To qualify, students must have completed a minimum mathematical level of pre-calculus before entering UNCP. The program is intensive and may require summer courses. Summer camps will be available at UNCP to ensure students are prepared for the program. 

The camp will coincide with UNCP’s COMPASS Scholarship program, which involves students in computation physics and advanced laboratory prep classes to get them engaged in hands-on topics in physics.  

“This really is a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Cummings said. “Institutions working together can accomplish a whole lot more than we can accomplish alone.”

“This partnership is yet another step in the continued growth upon the existing relationships between UNC system campuses to improve higher education opportunities for North Carolina students,” added Woodson.

The partnership will provide access to exceptional education for students in the program but also an opportunity to increase access, diversity and enrollment into STEM disciplines at both institutions.

“UNC Pembroke is committed to serving as a driver for job creation in southeastern North Carolina. We do this by tapping the immense opportunities in our region and leading the way in overcoming challenges to economic development,” Cummings said. “One of those challenges, employers tell us, is difficulty filling engineering positions, especially mechanical and electrical. This partnership will help fill that void – supporting the economy of our region and providing an excellent opportunity for UNC Pembroke students to prepare for rewarding careers.”

The College of Engineering at NC State has similar dual-degree partnership programs with two UNC system partners – Fayetteville State University and North Carolina Central University – and two private institutions – Elon University and Meredith College. The College also has 2+2 partnerships with UNC Wilmington, UNC Asheville and Craven Community College allowing students to complete prerequisite courses at those institutions before completing engineering courses at NC State and earning an NC State bachelor’s engineering degree.

“This is a great step forward for our community and the employers here in the surrounding counties who need and have a difficult time finding qualified engineers,” said Beth McPhaul, senior human resource manager at Elkay Manufacturing in Lumberton. “Several months ago, at a Robeson Technical Works meeting held at Campbell Soup, we asked Dr. Cummings to look into some type of engineering programs that could provide us qualified engineering candidates. We appreciate his efforts to make this a reality and are excited about where this program is going.” 

Robeson Technical Works is a partnership comprised of area industrial employers, business leaders, Southeastern Human Resources Association members, educators and several other groups and individuals. 

Collaboration is one of the core values adopted by UNCP shortly after Cummings was hired as chancellor in 2015. 

“We want to continue to create pathways to success and one of those ways is through collaboration,” Cummings said. “Today marks the latest partnership among many that we have with institutions.”