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Developing a Course-based Master of Environmental Engineering Degree

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Enviromental Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.484.1 - 26.484.15



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Paper Authors


Michelle Marincel Payne Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Michelle Marincel Payne is an assistant professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She will earn her Ph.D. this year in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her M.S. in environmental engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and her B.S. in nuclear engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. Payne is interested in developing opportunities for undergraduate students to learn through research, and in developing active and place-based teaching methods for environmental engineering courses.

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Michael Robinson P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Michael Robinson is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

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Jennifer Mueller PE P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Developing a Course-based Environmental Engineering M.S. DegreeAfter completing the requirements for a civil engineering Bachelor of Science degree, studentsmay be looking for additional training in subdiscipline specific topics to prepare them forentering the workforce at a more specialized level than they could otherwise. Many employersare looking to hire students with that additional training. Following the Raise the Bar initiative toincrease the minimum education standards for practicing civil engineers, requiring a Master ofScience (M.S.) degree or equivalent 30 credits may be instituted by state law to attain licensurein the future. To obtain this higher level of education, students may not require the traditionalthesis-based M.S. degree training since they are planning to spend their careers as consultingengineers and are not considering future research-based work. Additionally, students want tocomplete their education in a shorter time frame than is typically required for a traditionalresearch-based M.S. degree.An environmental engineering course-based M.S. program is desired to allow students todevelop additional skills and to provide deeper and broader exposure to environmentalengineering challenges all within a one-year timeframe. The intent of this program is to enhancestudents’ knowledge and experiences in environmental engineering to match practioners’ desiresto hire students better equipped for their specific field.As we develop an environmental engineering course-based M.S. program, we are surveyingexisting M.S. programs to determine what coursework is typically included in course-based aswell as traditional environmental engineering M.S. degree programs. This survey provides usinsight into the collection of courses expected for an environmental engineering M.S. degree.For additional insight, we are surveying our board of advisors, composed primarily of practicingcivil and environmental engineers, about what knowledge and skills are needed and expected ofan environmental engineering M.S. program graduate. This work informs the goals of theprogram and aids in identifying what coursework should be included in the program. The resultsfrom our study can serve as a good reference to other institutions considering the optionsavailable for M.S. programs, particularly those interested in alternatives to the traditionalresearch-based M.S. programs.

Marincel Payne, M., & Robinson, M., & Mueller, J. (2015, June), Developing a Course-based Master of Environmental Engineering Degree Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23823

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