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Our Experience With Guiding A Major Design Experience In Civil Engineering Curriculum

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.771.1 - 6.771.7

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Paper Authors

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Thomas McCormack

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Franz Rad

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Dale Richwine

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Azad Mohammadi

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Scott Huff

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

Session 2615

Our Experience with Guiding a Major Design Experience in Civil Engineering Curriculum Franz Rad, P.E., Scott Huff, P.E., Azad Mohammadi, P.E., Thomas McCormack, P.E., Dale Richwine, P.E. Portland State University/Portland Community College/ City of Portland, Bureau of Water Works/Saint Martin’s College/ Richwine Environmental, Inc.


The authors have been involved in developing and offering a course for seniors in Civil Engineering at Portland State University for the past fifteen years. The course (Civil Engineering Design) began as an experimental course taken by students as an elective, but soon became a required course for all seniors. It is taught during the spring quarter of the senior year as a “capstone” course and constitutes the last required design course in the program. A course entitled “Engineering Project Management” is a precursor. The goals of the design course are to make it as near to actual design office practice as possible, for the instructors to “guide” the students as opposed to “lecture” them, and to have practitioners guide the design projects.


Portland State University (PSU) runs on a quarter system, with each quarter spanning ten weeks plus final exams. Civil Engineering curriculum at PSU includes two years of math, one year of chemistry, and one year of physics, in addition to the usual engineering mechanics courses and freshman problem solving and graphics. At the sophomore level, a course in surveying, one in properties of materials, and one in electrical circuits are required.

Starting at the junior year and continuing through the second quarter of the senior year, the required engineering courses include: one course in thermodynamics; three courses in fluids, hydraulics, and water resource systems; one course in environmental; one in engineering geology; two in geotechnical; two in transportation; three in structural analysis and design; and one course in project management.

By the time the students reach the capstone design course (CE 494) which is offered in the spring quarter of the senior year, they have already acquired the necessary knowledge and tools for basic analysis and design problems in structures, transportation, geotechnical, water resources, and environmental engineering. A single course in engineering project management (CE 484) is required in the fall quarter of the senior year, and twenty credits of technical electives taken in the senior year round out the knowledge for emphasis in one or two of five specialization areas.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

McCormack, T., & Rad, F., & Richwine, D., & Mohammadi, A., & Huff, S. (2001, June), Our Experience With Guiding A Major Design Experience In Civil Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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