Asee peer logo

Development of an Engineering Management M.S. Option Coupled with Undergraduate Culminating Design

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Enhancing Instructional Effectiveness in Civil Engineering: Case Studies

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.486.1 - 22.486.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Fernando Fonseca Brigham Young University


Steven E. Benzley Brigham Young University

visit author page

Steven E. Benzley obtained B.E.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1966 and 1967, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California. He was a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. Since 1980 he has been on the faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Brigham Young University. He has also served as Associate Dean of the BYU College of Engineering and Technology, Associate Dean of BYU Honors and General Education, and is currently the chair of the BYU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. His research efforts are in Finite Element Modeling and Professional Engineering Ethics.

visit author page

author page

James Nelson Brigham Young University


A. Woodruff Miller Brigham Young University

visit author page

A. Woodruff Miller earned a bachelors degree in civil engineering from Brigham Young University in 1969, and masters and Ph.D. degrees in 1970 and 1975, both from Stanford University. He has been a professor in the civil & environmental engineering department at Brigham Young University since 1974 where currently he holds the Husein Professorship and directs the civil engineering design (capstone) course for all graduating seniors, and where he was department chair from 2000 to 2006. His research and publications have primarily been in the areas of remote sensing and satellite hydrology, heat transfer and evaporation, watershed runoff modeling, and trophic state evaluations. His consulting work and technical reports have been in the areas of wellhead protection, culvert flow analysis, flood studies, climate change impacts, and water distribution and conservation.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Development of an Engineering Management MS Option coupled with Undergraduate Culminating DesignAbstract: This article describes the elements of a new civil engineering MS management option currently beingimplemented in our program. In addition, the article summarizes the assessment of the classes’ outcomes andstudent evaluations as a means to determine the effectiveness of the new option. The motivation for this newoption comes from 1) the desire to strengthen our undergraduate culminating design experience, 2) a strongrecommendation and support from our advisory board to include civil engineering management in the curricula,and 3) the ASCE vision for civil engineering in 2025 to include leadership, teamwork, public policy, andmanagement as educational outcomes. The option is centered on two new graduate courses that provide a richexperience in the above stated outcomes and their coupling with our undergraduate culminating design classes.The first course, Civil Engineering Business Management (CE BM), is taught during the fall semester and focuseson providing a basic understanding of developing a business plan for a civil engineering firm. Topics discussedinclude accounting, finance, profitability, marketing, and legal aspects. The second course, Civil EngineeringLeadership and Project Management (CE LPM), is taught during the winter semester and focuses on projectmanagement, interpersonal skills, teamwork, evaluation of performance, and conflict resolution. Both classesare team-taught by faculty and a variety of professionals with years of practical experience.The coupling of the new MS management option with our undergraduate culminating design class is achievedthrough a required design project. During the fall semester, graduate students in the CE BM class have anassignment to develop an outline for a culminating design project for the undergraduate class from localmunicipalities, state agencies, or regional engineering companies. These projects serve as the capstone designprojects for the undergraduate teams. Although not a requirement, the graduate student can use the designproject as his or her Master’s Project. Graduate students determine the scope, deliverables, tasks, timeline, andmilestones for the project. During the winter semester, the design projects are proposed on, won, andcompleted by the undergraduate teams. The graduate student serves as the project manager of the multi-disciplinary undergraduate project design team . The setup provides hands on experience for the graduatestudents, who are learning in the CE LPM class leadership and management skills. The graduate studentmentors an undergraduate team; manages the project to completion on time, on budget, and to the client’ssatisfaction; and supervises the preparation and delivery of a design project report. In case the design project isused as the graduate student Master’s project, the graduate student writes a separate report that will includemanagement issues encountered during the execution of the project as well as any other degree requirements.The CE faculty oversees the overall program and mentors the graduate and undergraduate students involved inthe MS management option.Some advantages of the MS management option include (a) a structured mentoring experience for graduatestudents, (b) an effective means to acquire projects for the undergraduate culminating design class, and (c) aforum that allow practicing engineers to share professional expertise directly with students. In addition,students gain an understanding of how technical proficiency must be meshed with business acumen to have asuccessful career in engineering management.

Fonseca, F., & Benzley, S. E., & Nelson, J., & Miller, A. W. (2011, June), Development of an Engineering Management M.S. Option Coupled with Undergraduate Culminating Design Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17767

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015