San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.360.1 - 25.360.14
Creation of a Structural Engineering Professional Master’s Degree ProgramDue to the complexity of contemporary practice, top-tier structural engineering firms hold themaster’s degree as the minimum level of education for new hires. In addition, the AmericanSociety of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recommends a master’s degree or the equivalent of 30 creditsbeyond a bachelor’s degree as part of the minimum body of knowledge for licensed professionalengineers. Finally, students whose end goal is a career in professional practice have indicated apreference for graduate programs focused on professional practice. These needs provided theperfect opportunity for the creation of a new professional master’s program in structuralengineering.Assessments were conducted to determine the viability of the proposed program with respect toindustry and students. Engineering firms were surveyed to provide feedback on the proposedprogram elements as well as to gage the potential job market for graduates. Undergraduatestudents were surveyed to determine interest in the program, and to gather student feedback onkey program elements. Goals of the program and key features were refined per the assessmentresults.The program, which began in the summer of 2008, is led by a full-time professor of practice withindustry design experience and guided by an executive advisory board, composed ofrepresentatives from all areas of structural engineering.The key feature of the 30-credit 10-month program is a 9-credit, 3-course design projectsequence in which the student teams design a real-world structure from initial conception to finalconstruction documents. An individual project assignment, as well as technical electives allowsstudents to tailor the program to their individual interests and career goals. A laboratory classprovides hands-on learning of structural behavior. Interaction with industry leaders throughseminars, field trips, and externships allows students to network with professionals and gain anunderstanding of their chosen industry.Recruitment of students is from four different categories: current domestic undergraduate civilengineering students, practicing engineers, international students, and “non-traditional students”with undergraduate degrees in fields outside of civil engineering.This paper discusses the creation and execution of the structural engineering professionalmaster’s program, including market research, goals and features, and student recruitment. Initialassessment results from graduates, employers, and advisors evaluating the effectiveness of theprogram at preparing students for professional practice are presented.
Gross, J. H., & Mohr, D. M., & Pessiki, S. (2012, June), Creation of a Structural Engineering Professional Master's Degree Program Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/21118
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