The state Board of Regents will allow the University of Georgia to offer engineering degrees.
The regents approved the new UGA program Tuesday by a vote of 9-8.
The proposal was criticized by Gov. Sonny Perdue last month.
It’s also drawn fire from Georgia Tech, which is the state's public engineering school.
UGA officials have said the new programs would help provide the state with more workers and draw more federal research dollars to the campus.
But Georgia Tech officials say the state can't afford to duplicate programs amid the worst fiscal crisis in recent history.
The move comes after the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta opened a satellite medical program at UGA in partnership with the Athens-based university.