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CIVIL ENGINEERING CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT BASED ON TRACK APPROACH

S. Yehia, M. Al Satari, A. Abdelfatah, S. Tabsh

American University of Sharjah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
In the past few years, many undergraduate civil engineering programs in North America were under the pressure to reduce the number of credit hours for all awarded degrees. This motion was supported by the argument that only basic/introductory knowledge needs to be provided to the students and on-the-job training is essential to gain more knowledge, based on the nature of the specialization after graduation. Further, in-depth technical knowledge in specific fields are available in the graduate program level. Consequently, curriculums of these engineering programs provided the minimum to meet or maintain the accreditation requirements. However, the feedback from the employers/industry partners has indicated a gap between the graduates’ preparation and the employers’ expectations. Specifically, they indicated that the graduates lack a full “in-depth” understanding of the concepts. These concerns could be attributed to the limited number of credit hours which are devoted to the core courses in the various fields of concentration. This is especially true in civil engineering because such a major has so many different fields of concentration under its umbrella. Accordingly, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) are providing continuous updates to maintain the quality of the engineering programs.
This paper discusses the development of a civil engineering curriculum based on track approach. It summarizes the existing ones, outlines their strengths and weaknesses and proposes guidelines for preparing fresh civil engineering graduates for the job market. The proposed curriculum takes into account the following constrains and requirements; pre-engineering, science and mathematics, general education, English proficiency, core engineering subjects, specialized tracks, and ABET/ASCE guidelines. It considers the minimum required set of core courses within a track to give the student an overall knowledge within a specific concentration. In addition, the proposed curriculum is designed to support further development for the Master of Science and Doctoral programs.