Civil Engineering MS

Program Purpose


The Masters of Science program builds on the foundation of skills, breadth, and depth of the undergraduate education to achieve greater competency in civil and environmental engineering. While the undergraduate program prepares students for routine practice (i.e., practice that has long been used and tested by practicing engineers), the graduate program brings students to the state-of-the-art in one or more specialty areas enabling them with the skills necessary to handle problems at the cutting edge.

Curricular Structure

Graduate Catalog

Objectives

Graduates of the MS degree program will be:

  1. Recognized for their education and accomplishments and sought after by civil and environmental engineering organizations in the government and private sector.
  2. Leaders within the profession and contributors to state of the art practice in design and analysis of civil and environmental engineering systems
  3. Advocates of the profession through their examples of faith, character, lifelong learning, service to the community, and high professional ethics as set out in the document "Aims of a BYU Education"

Learning Outcomes


Project Option

Math and Science

Competency in fundamental civil engineering math and science.

Courses that Contribute: CE EN 523 CE EN 602
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Competence
Problem Solving

Solves applied problems using state of the art tools and methods in at least one of the Civil and Environmental Engineering specialty areas: geotechnical, structures, transportation/materials, or water resources/environmental.

Courses that Contribute: CE EN 523 CE EN 602
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Human knowledge
Project Planning

Develops a project plan, including objectives, scope, and timeline with a clear understanding of the intended results.

Courses that Contribute: CE EN 602 CE EN 691R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence

Thesis Option

Researching Relevant Literature

Appreciates the contributions of others and can research the literature of the chosen specialty discipline.

Courses that Contribute: CE EN 523 CE EN 691R CE EN 699R
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Lifelong learning
Articulating Problems and Conclusions

Articulates challenging research problems and derived conclusions to the intended audience.

Courses that Contribute: CE EN 691R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Communicate effectively
Math and Science

Competency in fundamental civil engineering math and science.

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Competence
Articulating Results

Articulates results of challenging design problems to the intended audience.

Courses that Contribute: CE EN 691R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence
Problem Solving

Solves applied problems using state of the art tools and methods in at least one of the Civil and Environmental Engineering specialty areas: geotechnical, structures, transportation/materials, or water resources/environmental.

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Quantitative reasoning
Publishing

Publishes contributions in technical area of research.

Courses that Contribute: CE EN 691R CE EN 699R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Lifelong learning

Evidence of Learning


The following measures will be used to assess the department's success in helping graduate students achieve the intended outcomes and objectives. The measures will be collected using one of four different tools: natural results of departmental requirements that are already being tracked, committee evaluation of the thesis or project, exit interviews of graduating students, and alumni surveys. The following paragraphs describe which measures will be tracked using each of these tools. The assessment measures will all be stored in electronic databases that can be analyzed and summarized in order to provide evaluation committees with appropriate and timely information. Most of the data will be compiled by means of online forms and always stored in a manner that will not allow responses to be connected to individual names.

Departmental Requirements


Some measures will provide insight on the overall quality of the department and are items that are routinely tracked for each student and will be entered into the measures database as a natural progression of a student passing through the program. These requirements and accomplishments include measures such as:

 

Thesis/Project Evaluation

The advisor and advisory committee are in the best position to provide a critical evaluation of the overall and relative success of individual students. At the time of the final defense (or project presentation) the committee will fill out an online assessment form that evaluates the quality of thesis/project writing, presentation, and the student's overall success in graduate school. All measures are given a numerical value between 0-4 and professors use a rubric that attempts to insure that grading is consistent between different faculty members. In addition to providing a numerical value for several different measurements, the committee has the opportunity to record suggestions for program improvements. Such suggestions provide an opportunity for individual reflection and improvement but will also be stored with the assessment database for subsequent review and consideration by the graduate committee and department. The following are the measures evaluated and stored within the graduate assessment database:

 

Exit Interviews

Each graduating student is given a questionnaire to fill out. The students are asked to provide feedback to the department on how successful the program was in terms of achieving the program outcomes. Information not easily tracked by the department as listed above will be collected as well as the students feelings about the appropriateness of the program objectives and outcomes and their suggestions for improvements. Specifically the following measures will be gathered:

 

Alumni Surveys

At two years, five years, and ten years an attempt is made to contact each graduate in order to update their perception of the success of the graduate program in achieving intended objectives. Whereas the exit interview provides a view of the success in achieving program outcomes, the follow-up interviews will allow the graduates to assess and reflect on the success of program objectives. In addition to asking questions about the perceived success of program objectives, the following specific measures intended to help assess the quality of the program will be gathered and stored for analysis and review:

 

Assessment tools matrix

The following table maps which of the objectives and outcomes each of the individual assessment tools is intended to measure.

Image:MSMatrix.jpg

 

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


The assessment measures will be compiled in databases that can be drawn on for analysis and reviewed by committees organized to provide additional feedback and recommendations for program improvements. These committees all play a role in assessing the overall effectiveness of the graduate program in meeting the stated objectives and outcomes. As appropriately required the objectives and outcomes themselves may be modified. The following committees are organized to aid the department in assessment and improvement: graduate committee, department executive committee, external review board, and college and university committees.

Summaries of the assessment measures and comments from the committees organized to provide oversight and suggestions will be presented to the faculty for discussion each year at the annual fall retreat and at faculty meetings specifically organized for graduate program evaluation as judged necessary by the department's executive council. Faculty will then make final recommendations and vote on program modifications before being officially implemented.

 

Graduate Committee

This committee meets regularly to discuss graduate program issues and to develop proposals for changes that will lead to improved program quality and achievement of learning objectives and outcomes.

External Review Board

Each year the department will receive a visit from an external review board made up of industry leaders, most of whom are alumni of the program. The board is asked to review the program outcomes and summaries of the assessment measures. The board provides valuable feedback regarding the overall direction of the program and makes suggestions for improvement.

College/University Review

The college and university administration periodically perform program evaluations and provide feedback and suggestions. As requested the assessment measures will be made available to such committees to aid in their evaluations.

Department Executive Committee

This committee is comprised of the department chair, associate chair, graduate coordinator, undergraduate coordinator, and faculty development coordinator. The committee will review assessment measures and suggestions from the graduate committee to determine if further discussion and consideration of changes should be taken before the full faculty.