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Innovative Master's Degree In A Professional Program

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.317.1 - 4.317.6

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Paper Authors

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Enno 'Ed' Koehn

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

Session 2515

Innovative Master’s Degree in a Professional Program

Enno “Ed” Koehn Lamar University


The American Society of Civil Engineers has directed the Society’s Educational Activities Committee to develop a policy for the first professional degree in civil engineering. Two degrees, the Master of Engineering (ME) and the Master of Engineering Management (MEM), are recommended as programs which may satisfy the criteria for the first professional degree. The ME can, in general, be considered a technically oriented program without a research component. The MEM has a large management/business emphasis for students interested in this area. A six-year Doctor of Engineering (Engr. D.) program is also introduced as an alternative which may eventually be adopted in order to obtain full professional recognition.

I. Introduction

Recently, the Board of Direction of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) approved a resolution “endorsing the master’s degree for the practice of engineering.” The board also directed the Educational Activities Committee to develop a society policy for the first professional degree in civil engineering 2. These actions may partially be in response to legislation in various states limiting the number of hours that a state university may require to obtain a bachelor’s degree. In addition, numerous practitioners and educators perceive that students need additional courses in the communications and financial areas in order to practice engineering at a professional level when they graduate.

In particular, the ASCE Board believes today that engineers must have skills in information and computer technologies, foreign languages, and an understanding of the economic and social implications of civil engineering projects. Along with the aforementioned breadth, increased specialty area knowledge is also required 1. This level of knowledge is difficult to develop in the current four-year B.S. program format. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education indicates that the first professional degree signifies a level of academic and professional skills beyond that normally required in a bachelor’s degree program. The ASCE Board believes that the proposed increased educational requirements may improve the professional stature of civil engineers in addition to enhancing the compensation levels of the profession 1.

In order to study alternatives to the ASCE recommendations, this paper investigates the requirements associated with two graduate degrees, Master of Engineering (ME/M.Eng./MEng) and especially the Master of Engineering Management (MEM), that may serve as the first professional degree in an engineering program. The specific credit hours and typical courses required to obtain a particular degree are indicated. In addition, the concept of a Doctor of Engineering degree (Engr. D.) is also introduced. It is hoped that the information presented will assist the Educational Activities Committee and civil engineering departments in their investigation of alternatives to satisfy the ASCE first professional degree recommendations.

Koehn, E. E. (1999, June), Innovative Master's Degree In A Professional Program Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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