Frequently Asked Questions about Civil Undergraduate Curriculum
Select a question below to drop down in the page to the answer.
- What if I need to substitute for a required class in the curriculum?
- What curriculum do I follow if I am a 5th year student?
- What is the difference between CE 4990 and CE 4991 and how do they relate to the senior thesis?
- How does the Engineering in Context program (ENGR 4010/4020) or fit into the civil engineering curriculum?
- Are there any suitable alternatives to CE 4991?
- If I receive a D in a required course, do I need to repeat the class?
- As an undergraduate may I take a CE6xxx class and if so how does it fit into the civil engineering curriculum?
1) What if I need to substitute for a required class in the curriculum?
It is typically the student that is "off-schedule" that may need a modification in our standard curriculum (see question 2). You may request a modification in the curriculum. You should download and complete the Civil Engineering Curriculum Modification Request form. On the form you should clearly describe why you need a modification and state the change in curriculum requested. The form needs to be approved by your academic advisor, by the assistant chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Teresa Culver), and then by the Undergraduate Dean. If approved, a copy of the signed form will be kept with your academic records for documentation of the modification. NOTE: we may not be able to approve all requests.
2) What curriculum do I follow if I am a 5th year student?
You may always graduate under the same curriculum as your 4-year colleagues. That is if you had entered anticipating graduating in 2013, but do not graduate until 2014, you may still follow the curriculum for the Class of 2013. However, students that have been away for a semester or more (possibly due to illness, academic suspension, co-op program, international study, etc.) may find that the course offerings and/or the curriculum have changed during their absences. If it is no longer possible to complete the curriculum that you started on, you may request appropriate modification in your program (see question 1). Or if you simply would prefer to graduate using the newer curriculum, you may also formally request to do so using a Civil Engineering Curriculum Modification Request form (see question 1).
3) What is the difference between CE 4990 and CE 4991 and how do they relate to the senior thesis?
Senior theses are composed of a technical paper and an STS paper. Early in your STS 4500 course, each student must select a technical project for your senior thesis and find a faculty member to be the technical advisor of that project. Senior thesis technical projects may be design or research, and they do not even have to be in the area of civil or environmental engineering. During the STS 4500, the main thesis related product is a thesis prospectus (proposal) describing the proposed technical and STS projects. The final thesis document is due during the second semester (STS 4600). The technical thesis paper may be authored by a team or by an individual, and the basic structure of the technical paper is defined by the technical advisor. Your STS professor will supervise the STS paper. Most Civil students will find that their CE 4990 projects are the best choice for the technical component of their senior theses. CE 4990 Civil Engineering Research and Design provides every student an opportunity to select a focused technical experience to be completed as an individual or in a small group. We offer a large set of CE 4990 sections that span the spectrum of civil engineering and include both research and design experiences, so students are likely to find a project that the fits their interests and future goals. Most of the CE 4990 sections require preparation of a paper or report summarizing the results of the project. Thus the structure of the CE 4990 matches well with the thesis technical projects, and the supervising professor of the CE 4990 course can be the technical advisor of your thesis project. Through CE 4990, a student typically can complete their entire technical thesis project during the Fall semester, even though the final thesis technical report is not due until the spring semester. Note, however, that you will be completing two separate 3-hr courses (CE 4990 and STS 4500) with different supervising professors. Therefore, while you may be able to use the same technical project in each course, you should expect at times to have to modify write-ups to satisfy the expectations of each course. CE 4991 Civil Design and Practice provides each student with an integrative, large civil group design experience. The scope of the CE 4991 project requires the teams to demonstrate and integrate a breadth of civil and environmental engineering skills. In addition, during the project students will perform a range of tasks required in practice for a large design, such as cost engineering and preparation of a competitive design proposal. Through this major design experience, plus the extensive opportunities to interact with practicing engineers offered throughout the project, CE 4991 helps prepare students for professional practice.
4) How does the Engineering in Context program (ENGR 4010/4020) fit into the civil engineering curriculum?
A civil student in the Engineering-in-Context program, completing a project with significant civil or environmental engineering content, may not have to take CE4991 (see the following question and answer), CE 4990 or may be able to count three-hours as a CE4xxx elective. A student will not be given permission to replace two civil courses with this alternative experience. Hours from ENGR4010/4020 not given approval for substitution as CE courses can always be used as Engineering elective hours or unrestricted elective hours.
5) Are there any suitable alternatives to CE4991?
All civil engineering students must have a for-credit major design experience. CE4991 reinforces a range of civil engineering and professional practice skills, typically applied to land development for a commercial site. Civil Engineering graduates consistently rate CE4991 as one of the most useful courses taken here, and the majority of civil students will use CE4991 as their major design experience. With approval, a student may substitute another course for CE4991, but the following key factors must be demonstrated:
- The focus of the course must be a major design experience, providing the civil engineering student significant design experience in at least one area of civil engineering.
- The design experience must be group-based.
- Supervision from an appropriately trained engineer must be provided (i.e. a computer scientist should not supervise a structural engineering project).
- You must gain written approval for the replacement course, using the Civil and Environmental Engineering department's curriculum modification form (see question 1 above) BEFORE THE START OF CE4991. To avoid disruption of the CE4991 group experience, students will not be granted permission to drop CE4991 for another substitute class after the semester has begun.
6) If I received a D in a required course, do I need to repeat the class?
A "D" grade is considered a passing score, albeit indicating some significant weaknesses. The department of Civil and Environmental Engineering does not have any special requirements related to D-level course work. Thus you may take subsequent courses after receiving a D in a prerequisite course. However, as per school policy, you may also choose to repeat the class. If so the two grades for the course will be averaged in your GPA. Overall, your cumulative GPA must be at least a 2.0 to remain in good academic standing and to graduate.
7) As an undergraduate may I take a CE6xxx class and if so how does it fit into the civil engineering curriculum?
As per school policy, you must be a fourth year student with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2. If so you may ask permission of the instructor to take a 6xx level course. The CE6xx course may be applied to your undergraduate degree as civil engineering elective (please complete the Civil Engineering Curriculum Modification Request form to document this change in your curriculum) or as an unrestricted elective. If this is an "extra" course and you do not need the credits for any undergraduate requirement, then you may later apply these credits towards a graduate degree. Note, however, you generally cannot apply the credits towards both your bachelor's and a graduate degree.
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