Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Civil engineering programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (EAC-ABET) must comply with program criteria developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Requirements stipulated in the program criteria are limited to the areas of curricular topics and faculty qualifications. There is a perception that innovation, flexibility, and creativity in civil engineering curriculums are stifled by the EAC-ABET program criteria. The goals of this study are to determine if the civil engineering program criteria (and indirectly ASCE's Body of Knowledge) have 1) hindered innovation and 2) standardized civil engineering curriculums.
A curriculum study was performed of 86 EAC-ABET accredited civil engineering programs in the United States. The study included programs from all 50 states; small and large; public and private; and research and teaching focused. For uniformity in the study and because the majority of civil engineering programs use a semester credit hour system, only programs with semester credit hours were analyzed. A database of graduation requirements was created that indexed courses in categories corresponding to the EAC-ABET civil engineering program criteria.
Innovation in civil engineering curriculums was addressed by examining the required number of credit hours in civil engineering electives, technical electives, civil engineering courses not linked to the program criteria, and math and science electives. The degree of standardization of civil engineering curriculums was investigated by comparing the 86 civil engineering programs to a benchmark civil engineering program of study derived from 2002 ABET data. Since 2002, the average number of credit hours required for a civil engineering degree decreased from 130.4 to 128.6 and the number of elective engineering credit hours increased from 11.0 to 19.0. The study concluded that civil engineering programs use unique methods and courses to meet the EAC-ABET program criteria, and during the period 2002-2017, the nation’s civil engineering programs gravitated further from a standardized curriculum.
Swenty, B. J., & Swenty, M. K. (2018, June), The Impact of EAC-ABET Program Criteria on Civil Engineering Curricula Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31106
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: © 2018 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