Students are introduced to the fundamentals of design at the freshman level in the ENGR 120 course. Progressively more complex design projects in the course provide students with opportunities to devise methods and systems to meet assigned tasks. Students work in teams to assess approaches and make decisions regarding completion of the tasks. Oral and written reports are required, with appropriate drawings and analysis of recorded data to support the design.
At the sophomore level, students take ENGR 210 and ENGR 220, which are design oriented courses. They introduce students to open ended problems and selection of alternative solutions. Teamwork is encouraged.
The junior year includes basic environmental, structural, soils, materials, transportation, and fluid mechanics courses and labs, all of which contain significant design components in the form of open ended, practical problems, alternative approaches to solutions, feasibility considerations and detailed specifications of systems. A required reinforced concrete design course is also part of the junior year.
The senior year includes a capstone senior design course beginning in the fall semester with, CE 481, in which students work on a complex, multidisciplinary project design. The spring semester CE 483 is a continuation of the project began in fall. The students must interact closely with a local consulting engineering firm, a government agency, or a similar organization. Past projects have included landfill design, structural building design, and waste-water treatment plant design. The students work with design professionals on these projects. Drawings, preliminary reports, feasibility, alternative evaluation, and a final written report and oral presentation are key elements of the course.
Also included in the senior year is a required civil engineering design elective course for a specialty area. In addition, students can choose design courses to fulfill technical elective requirements.