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Abet Engineering Criteria 2000: How We Got There And Why

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.53.1 - 2.53.3



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John W. Prados

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2577

ABET Engineering Criteria 2000: How We Got There and Why

John W. Prados National Science Foundation

Accreditation of educational programs in the United States is a voluntary, non-governmental, peer review process, which reflects a professional judgment that certain standards of educational quality are met. It signifies to prospective students and the public that graduates have achieved an expected level of competence in their fields of study and, thus, acts as a form of consumer protection. Two forms of accreditation exist: institutional accreditation, which seeks to assess the overall operation of a college or university from a broad perspective, and specialized ac- creditation, which focuses in detail on specific programs that educate students for professions (law, medicine, engineering, etc.).

Engineering programs in the U.S. are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET). ABET is the only organization recognized by the U.S. Office of Education to accredit Engineering and Engi- neering Technology programs in the United States. ABET was established in 1932 as the Engi- neers’ Council for Professional Development (ECPD), a federation of seven professional socie- ties: AIChE, AIEE (now IEEE), AIME, ASCE, ASME, NCEE (now NCEES), and SPEE (now ASEE). Today ABET is a Federation of 28 Engineering Societies that accredits approximately 1500 engineering programs at 300 institutions; 750 engineering technology programs at 250 in- stitutions (two-year and four-year); and 40 engineering-related programs at 30 institutions.

The ABET organization consists of a Board of Directors, which establishes accreditation criteria and policies and hears appeals of denial of accreditation; an Engineering Accreditation Commis- sion (EAC), which conducts visits and votes accreditation actions for engineering programs; a Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC), which conducts visits and votes accreditation ac- tions for engineering technology programs; and a Related Accreditation Commission (RAC), which conducts visits and votes accreditation actions for a few program areas related to engi- neering, but which do not fit the definitions of engineering or engineering technology (e.g., in- dustrial hygiene, safety, etc.).

ABET’s policy is to accredit programs, not departments or schools, and to require that the pro- gram name include the word engineering if it is to be accredited as an engineering program. Ac- creditation information is provided through a self-study by the institution and a report of an on- site review team; accreditation is granted if it is judged that a program satisfies published ac- creditation criteria. These include general criteria applicable to all engineering programs and program criteria, which apply to specific engineering disciplines.

The present criteria address six major aspects of an engineering program: the faculty must be well qualified and sufficient in number to cover essential curricular areas; the students must be prepared to enter engineering study, and graduates must show acceptable performance; the ad- ministration must lead and support the engineering program; facilities, including classrooms,

Prados, J. W. (1997, June), Abet Engineering Criteria 2000: How We Got There And Why Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6409

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