Civil engineering program criteria: A snapshot of how programs meet the criteria

Scott R. Hamilton, David A. Saftner, Camilla M. Saviz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Programs seeking accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (EAC/ABET) must satisfy eight General Criteria plus any applicable Program Criteria that address curricular topics and faculty qualifications. Applicability of the Program Criteria generally is determined by the program name. As such, “Civil Engineering” and similarly named programs seeking accreditation by the EAC/ABET at the baccalaureate level must demonstrate that the program meets both the General Criteria for Baccalaureate Level Engineering Programs and the Civil Engineering Program Criteria (CEPC). A subset of curricular topics required by the CEPC includes the following [1], [2]: apply knowledge of mathematics through differential equations, calculus-based physics, chemistry, and at least one additional area of basic science; and analyze and solve problems in at least four technical areas appropriate to civil engineering. This study was conducted to characterize current practices within EAC/ABET accredited civil engineering programs by examining: The minimum number of credit hours of mathematics and sciences, and engineering topics required; The minimum number of credit hours required for graduation; Required and designated elective courses and credit hours in mathematics and the sciences; Courses used to satisfy the additional area of basic science; and Technical areas of civil engineering required in the core curriculum. Data were gathered for 131 of the 252 EAC/ABET accredited civil engineering programs as follows: Curricula of the 47 programs scheduled for a comprehensive review in the 2018-19 accreditation cycle were analyzed. A survey was sent directly to civil engineering department heads and chairs requesting the information also sought through review of materials posted online. Seventy unique responses were received and analyzed. In addition, data for 14 other programs were also analyzed. These additional programs were selected because their faculty are included among the membership of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Committee on Education and the ASCE Department Heads Coordinating Council. Among the curricula of civil engineering programs analyzed for this study, a great diversity of approaches appears to be used to satisfy requirements including the additional science requirement, number of engineering credits, number of required courses in civil engineering technical areas, and number of civil engineering technical areas covered. This analysis shows that ABET requirements are sufficiently broad, allowing programs to use a variety of creative and innovative approaches to customize their curriculum to fulfill the mission of their institution and to meet the needs of their program constituencies. Analysis of results presented in this paper can assist civil engineering programs in identifying different pathways to satisfying accreditation criteria and can provide important information for the next review of the CEPC, scheduled to begin in October 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2019


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