Areas of Concentration

Faculty research interests emphasize the following areas: environmental engineering, soil mechanics and foundation engineering, structures, transportation, water resources, computer graphics, computer-aided design, railroad engineering, engineering mechanics, timber structures, pavement design, and materials performance and characterization, construction safety and innovation.

Current research topics are: vertical subsurface barriers for the remediation of hazardous waste sites; transformation of slurry trench cutoff wall materials from the passive hydraulic barrier materials into active treatment materials while maintaining their passive hydraulic barrier characteristics; flow in compounds section open channels with mixed flow at a free overfall; interaction of main channel and flood flows in unsteady flow; design of steel structures using advanced methods of analysis; appropriateness of existing numerical models for nonlinear transport processes in environmental systems; pedestrian safety; guardrails and median barrier crash worthiness; tests of open web steel joist; full-scale tests of metal-plated timber trusses; rotational stiffness of truss heel joints; stiffness coefficients of metal plated connected truss joints with varying direction of loading between grain angles and metal plate axis; in-situ nondestructive testing of timber structural members; vibration serviceability; the diffusion of having engineers and architects design for construction safety; biodegradation of municipal solid waste in engineered reactors; coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation in aqueous systems; mitigation of odor potential at wastewater and solid waste treatment facilities; bioremediation of contaminated ground water; adsorption of heavy metals by microorganisms; characterization of pollution from agricultural sources; biological conversion of waste materials to useful forms of energy, such as methane and hydrogen, lifecycle analysis of engineered environmental systems.


The thesis is considered a contribution to the education of the candidate and normally results in an original contribution to the body of engineering knowledge. Thesis requirements in civil engineering may be satisfied by:

  1. an experimental or theoretical research project;
  2. an exercise in solving a practical engineering problem involving novel features, which may or may not comprise design, and with or without required experimental verification. The thesis is followed by a final oral or written examination that must be passed at least two weeks before the degree is to be received.

Facilities and Courses

Thesis work can be conducted in any of the current research areas in the department or in any area acceptable to the adviser and the department. Excellent computational and experimental facilities are available, including university computing resources and laboratory facilities for computer-aided engineering and design, materials testing, structural testing, dynamic materials characterization, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and fluid mechanics and hydraulics. The following describes the courses offered by the department.

Note that not all courses are taught every year. A total of eight course credits, including the thesis, is required for the MSCE degree.

Courses Offered

601.  Structural Analysis (I or II; 3, 2)
Analysis of structures including: review of essential mechanics; sketching deflection, moment, and force diagrams for indeterminate systems; influence lines; application of virtual force and displacement principles; and a comprehensive study of the direct stiffness method with a focus on matrix analysis. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

603.  Wood Engineering Design Principles (I or II; 3, 2)
Wood properties as construction material; design of beams, columns, fasteners, and connections. Glued-laminated timber and many other uses for structures in accordance with the National Design Specifications. Form work for concrete structures, plywood and plywood diaphragms. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

605.  Design of Steel Structures (I or II; 3, 2)
Introduction to behavior and design of steel structures and elements, including tension members, compression members, beams, beam-columns, and connections. Limit states design philosophy is emphasized through the use of AISC specifications. Design loads according to contemporary standards and international building codes. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

606.  Design of Concrete Structures (I or II; 3, 2)
Introduction to behavior and design of concrete elements and structures: beams, columns, slabs, footings, bridges. Reinforced and prestressed concrete. Material properties and behavior, flexural and shear strength, serviceability and deflections. Use of relevant codes and specifications Including ACI and AASHTO. Design loads according to contemporary standards and international building codes. Prerequisite: CENG 300 or permission of the instructor.

607.  Prestressed Concrete (I or II; 3, 2)
Analysis and design of prestressed concrete members and structures: flexural stresses, flexural strength, shear strength, loss of prestress, deflections.

608.  Finite Element Methods (I or II; 3, 2)
Fundamental theory and applications for civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering mechanics stress analysis problems. One-, two-, and three-dimensional elements, and axisymmetric elements, and their formulations; stress recovery techniques; modeling considerations; convergence criteria and error estimates, includes use of commercial and developmental finite element analysis programs. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

609.  Earthquake Engineering (II; 3, 2)
Analysis and design of structures subjected to earthquakes. Single and multi degree-of-freedom systems, response spectra, seismology, soil dynamics. Seismic design methods in building codes. Isolation and energy dissipation systems. Laboratory to include experiments with shake tables. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

610.  Design Loads for Buildings and Bridges (I; 3, 2)
Wind, snow, and seismic designs in accordance with ASCE/SEI 7-05 Minimum Design Loads, AASHTO 2007 LRFD Bridge Specifications, AISC 13th edition (2005), ACI 318-05 and NDS 2005. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

619.  Advanced Topics in Structural Engineering (I or II; 4, 0)
Topics will vary. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

621.  Hydrology (I or II; 3, 2)
The interrelation of meteorological conditions, precipitation, surface runoff, and groundwater storage. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

622.  River Mechanics (II; 3, 2)
Mechanics of free-surface flows in rivers; introduction to sediment transport mechanisms; application to river engineering design (bridge crossing, culverts, flood control, river stabilization). Prerequisite: ENGR 222.

629.  Advanced Topics in Water Resources Engineering (I or II; 3, 2)
Topics will vary. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

630.  Introduction to Roadside Safety (I; 4, 0
Fundamentals of roadside safety design and analysis: topics include traffic barrier warranting and selection, crash data analysis, hardware performance evaluation, and benefit/cost analysis. Prerequisite: CENG 330 or permission of the instructor.

631.  Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning (I or II; 4, 0)
Problems of urban and regional planning and the treatment of various factors of a comprehensive plan. Emphasis on the sustainability and  interrelationships between engineering, sociology, geography, and economics. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

632.  Sustainable Transportation Planning (I or II; 4, 0)
This course will explore the balance of enhancing mobility while simultaneously reducing impacts on the environment, society, and the economy. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

639.  Advanced Topics in Transportation (I or II; 4, 0)
Topics will vary. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

640.  Physical/Chemical Treatment Processes (I or II; 3, 3)
Fundamental principles of physical and chemical treatment processes used to treat contaminated water, air, and soil such as ion-exchange, coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, air stripping, disinfection, adsorption, and membrane processes. Laboratory experiments are used to reinforce theory and to develop design criteria for full-scale treatment processes. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 641.  Environmental Engineering Biotechnology (I or II; 3, 3)
Theory and design of biological waste treatment systems for industrial, municipal and hazardous pollutants and natural biotransformation of pollutants in the environment. Laboratory experience on startup, operation, and analysis of systems that biodegrade pollutants and produce useful forms of energy. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 642.  Sustainability Principles for Engineers (II; 3, 2)
An introduction to concepts for the application of sustainable engineering principles. Topics include life-cycle assessment, biogeochemical cycles, climate changes, fossil fuels and renewable energy, embedded water, global and cultural context, market externalities, sustainability metrics, and carbon footprint. Prerequisite: CENG 340 or third- and fourth-year engineers with permission of the instructor.

 644.  Hazardous Waste Management (I or II; 3, 2)
Identification of common hazardous chemicals and related industrial activities, determination of risk-based clean-up levels for hazardous waste sites, toxicology, pump-and-treat ground water remediation, in situ bioremediation, legal and liability issues, and remedial action. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 645.  Environmental Engineering Chemistry (I or II; 3, 2)
Principles of aquatic chemistry and applications with emphasis on acid-base reactions, metal speciation and solubility, and oxidation-reduction reactions in water. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 649.  Advanced Topics in Environmental Engineering (I; R; 4, 0)
Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

650.  Geotechnical Engineering II (I; 3, 2)
Application of the theories and principles of soil mechanics to foundation design. Subsurface investigations; methods of analysis, design, and construction of foundations; bearing capacity and settlement of shallow and deep foundations; excavation and bracing; earth structures. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

 651.  Environmental Geotechnology (II; 3, 2)
Interaction between hazardous and toxic wastes and geotechnical properties of soils. Remediation of the subsurface environment. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

652.  Ground Improvement Engineering (II; 3, 2)
Application of soil mechanics principles to improving the engineering characteristics of soils. Includes mechanisms of soil stabilization, grouting, deep dynamic compaction, reinforced earth, sand drains, and preconsolidation. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

659.  Advanced Topics in Geotechnical Engineering (I or II; 4, 0)
Topics will vary. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

672.  Construction Engineering (I; 3, 2)
Project documents, processes, and organizational structures. Construction estimating, equipment, labor, and procurement. Building methods and materials. Prerequisite: junior status or permission of the instructor.

675.  Forensic Engineering (I or II; 4, 0)
Introduction to identification, evaluation, and analysis of a wide variety of engineering failures; failure investigation and the legal process; serviceability failure, material or system failure, design errors; expert witness testimony.

679.  Advanced Topics in Construction Engineering and Management (I or II; R; 3, 2)
Topics will vary. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

680.  Special Topics in Civil Engineering (I or II; R) Half to full course.
Individual projects in laboratory work, design, or library studies, depending upon the nature of the problem selected. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

681.  Graduate Research (I and II; R) Half to full course.
Original investigations in structural engineering, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, or water resources engineering.

ENGR 695.  Advanced Topics in Engineering Mathematics (I; 4, 0)
Linear algebra and analytical/computational techniques for solving ordinary and partial differential equations relevant to engineering applications. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

699. Thesis (I and/or II)
Research on the graduate level under the direction of a faculty member.

Courses offered occasionally
625 Groundwater Hydrology, 653 Advanced Soil Mechanics