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One School’s Approach to the Additional Area of Science Requirement for Civil Engineering

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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

Civil Engineering Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1201.1 - 26.1201.10



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Paper Authors


Robert Hamilton P.E. Boise State University

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Dr. Hamilton has been with Boise State University since 1995, where he helped found the Civil Engineering Department.

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One School’s Approach to the Additional Area of Science Requirement for Civil EngineeringIn 2008 ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC), the body responsible foraccreditation of engineering programs, changed the criteria for Civil Engineering programs toinclude a requirement that graduates of those programs “can . . . apply knowledge of . . . at leastone additional area of science, consistent with the program educational objectives”. This newrequirement appears to have its origins in the Body of Knowledge (BOK), and the desire to makethose ideals and the ABET requirements for Civil Engineering programs become one in thesame. However, for many programs across the country this became an issue of concern andconfusion. Taking its cue from the BOK the “one additional area of science” shortly becamedefined to mean a physical science, as opposed to a social science, and that this “area of science”could not include Computer Science, Chemistry or Physics.Because of this programs needed to change their curricula to address this criterion. Schools thathad an emphasis where additional Chemistry or Physics courses had previously beenincorporated to take advantage of native strengths in their university or to support the focus oftheir program now had to reassess the value of these course versus the need to cover an area ofscience outside these fields. Many other schools had not required a science course outside ofChemistry or Physics and now needed to add a course to address this issue. Still others who mayhave required such a course now needed to assess the effectiveness of yet another course taughtoutside their department.This paper will look at the method adopted by one university to meet this criterion while at thesame time attempting to remain true to the goals and objective of that program with respect toproviding a broad education to it’s students and utilizing the unique and distinct opportunitiesthat program’s university provided to those same students. To assess the method adopted by thisschool a series of questionnaires were given to all students who graduated with the criterion of anadditional “area of science” included in their graduation requirements. These questionnairesattempted to determine which area of emphasis within Civil Engineering the student planned topursue upon graduation, which additional “area of science” the student the student studied whilethey were in school, and how this study aided them in their understanding of Civil Engineering.The results obtained, after this new criterion had been in effect for several years offers insightinto both the method of meeting this requirement chosen by this school, as well as comments onthe benefit of this criterion for the Civil Engineering profession as a whole.

Hamilton, R. (2015, June), One School’s Approach to the Additional Area of Science Requirement for Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24538

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