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Undergraduate Research In Construction Engineering: The Current Status

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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

6.1078.1 - 6.1078.4



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Virendra Varma

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

Session 1321

Undergraduate Student Research in Construction Engineering: The Current Status

Virendra K Varma Missouri Western State College


Undergraduate student research is common in schools of liberal arts and sciences but is not in undergraduate schools of engineering. In schools of engineering technology, undergraduate student research is limited. Student research at the undergraduate level is gaining ground in schools of engineering where faculty are engaged in research and a structure in their curriculum exists whereby students can get credit toward their degree requirement. Unlike programs in civil and environmental engineering, programs in construction engineering and construction technology are not keeping pace with undergraduate research. Evidence of undergraduate research in construction programs is limited. In order to keep research in construction engineering at the forefront, and to keep it at a level that construction discipline attracts the same caliber of students as does civil engineering, it is important that faculty in undergraduate programs in construction provide students the opportunities to do research and to present their findings in regional or national meetings. This paper presents guidelines for developing a structure in engineering and technology curriculums to create room for students to do research. Such a structure will enable students to present their research in a variety of forums at the local, state, or national level. Some examples of undergraduate research are provided to reflect on the current status of undergraduate research in construction engineering.


In January 1999, I came across an announcement concerning research opportunities for undergraduates in civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame. The announcement said, “During the summer of 1999, we will again be offering outstanding undergraduates the opportunity to participate in the research of the faculty.” I had received a similar announcement the year before.

During the last several years, the Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame has invited students with strong backgrounds in engineering or an appropriate field of science to participate in their Undergraduate Research Experience (REU) program. Ten to twenty-four students have participated every year in the REU program. The REU program is an eight-week summer experience. Participants receive a stipend of $3000 for the period as well as travel and housing allowances. Indeed it is an opportunity of a life time.

I had a similar experience of undergraduate student research at the University of Missouri where students engaged in research with their faculty presented their work. One of my undergraduate engineering technology students also presented but it was not research, but a paper dealing with the work that he had done in a construction company as a part of his part-time job. A couple of

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Varma, V. (2001, June), Undergraduate Research In Construction Engineering: The Current Status Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9928

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