Curriculum

Undergraduate Program

The Department of Civil and Urban Engineering develops engineering graduates capable of contributing to and advancing the practice of civil engineering and its subdisciplines. Through its research programs, the department strives to be at the forefront in selected areas in the development of new knowledge and applications in civil engineering. Through its educational programs, graduates will be well rounded in state-of-the-art techniques and will develop the skills needed to apply them in a complex profession. Among these skills are the abilities to communicate effectively in written and verbal form and understand the context of civil engineering projects in a complex society.

Program Educational Objectives

Program educational objectives relate to where the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering expects its graduates to be within three to five years of earning undergraduate degrees. NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s undergraduate program in civil engineering is strongly practice-oriented, heavily emphasizing design, to prepare students for entry-level positions in any civil engineering subdiscipline or for graduate study. While some graduates eventually may work in other professions, the specific educational objectives of the program are as follows:

  1. For graduates to be working in a responsible position in civil engineering or a closely-related profession (not including those who are engaged in full-time graduate study).
  2. For graduates to have advanced in their careers to a position of higher responsibility.
  3. For graduates to be engaged in some form of continuing education, including, but not limited to, graduate education, professional development programs, relevant short courses and seminars, in-house training programs or similar activities.

Student Outcomes

Program outcomes are those abilities and skills that graduates are expected to have upon graduation with a BS in Civil Engineering degree. For these, the Department has adopted the 11 fundamental outcomes specified by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. They cover the full breadth and depth of the abilities and skills needed by modern engineering professionals. They are listed below with brief discussions of how each relates to the civil engineering profession.

  1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering. Virtually all of civil engineering involves the application of mathematics and basic sciences to the solution of real-world infrastructure problems. Fundamental engineering skills evolve directly from science and mathematics. Students are immersed in these applications across all subdisciplines of civil engineering.
  2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data. Civil engineers must engage in a number of basic experiments, and be aware of how to collect, organize, report and interpret the results of basic experiments and direct field observations of infrastructure operations. In the program, students are exposed to a wide range of laboratory experiments, including experiments in fluid mechanics, material behavior under loading, soil properties and behavior, and others. They also are exposed to the collection of field data related to environmental conditions and problems, highway and street traffic, and the monitoring of structures.
  3. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints, such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability. The program is heavily design-oriented. Several courses include full design-project laboratories, including Steel Sesign Project, Transportation Engineering, Foundation Design, Senior Design I & II, and others. Many additional courses have design components, and all students finish their academic programs with a comprehensive civil engineering capstone project. As the student progresses, the complexity of design applications increases, as do the number and breadth of practical constraints on potential solutions.
  4. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams. Modern engineering is not done by stand-alone engineers. Any significant project involves several engineers, perhaps with different engineering backgrounds, as well as non-engineers (planners, architects, financiers, managers, etc). Students have the opportunity to work in teams in several courses, but particularly in the capstone design project.
  5. An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems. Engineers do not just solve problems brought to them by others. Engineers must spot problems before they become evident and describe them in terms that expedite their solution. As students progress through the program, they increase their participation in identifying and framing problems, as well as in developing comprehensive solutions.
  6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. All professionals must be keenly aware of their general and professional ethical responsibilities to society in general, and to others who require and pay for their services. Like many professions, engineers, and civil engineers in particular, have specific ethical codes issued by professional societies with which they must comply. General ethical considerations are discussed throughout the curriculum, and several courses have a strong focus on the basis for, and application of, professional ethical code.
  7. The ability to communicate effectively. To be an effective professional in the modern world, one must be an effective communicator. Engineers must explain their views and solutions to problems in ways that can be understood clearly by other professionals and by the public. Modern communication involves written and oral forms, and a wide variety of electronic media. NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering students are exposed to, and are required to use, all of these methods to prepare for their careers.
  8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, environmental and societal context. Engineers do not solve problems in a vacuum. Everything engineering professionals do affects the world around them. In the modern world economy, the “world” includes local neighborhoods, regions, states, nations and, indeed, the world. Solutions must be couched in a firm understanding of the impacts they will have on the environment, the economy and society.
  9. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, lifelong learning. The engineering profession changes rapidly with the technological world. While general principles tend to change slowly, the specific materials, analysis techniques and approaches to engineering change quite rapidly. The body of knowledge graduates leaves with must be updated constantly and expanded during their professional lives. The program provides opportunities for students to appreciate this need, and develop useful skills for self-learning, now and in the future.
  10. Knowledge of contemporary issues. Engineering students study in a context in which local, regional and national infrastructure issues are in the forefront. Current issues and problems are discussed in virtually all courses, and students’ attention is called to immediate issues as they arise.
  11. An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for professional practice. The program is frequently updated to incorporate the latest approaches to engineering solutions, and to include the use of modern engineering tools. Important “tools” include a variety of computer programs for data analysis, simulation and design. Many course laboratories use the most up-to-date techniques and software packages available to engineering professionals.

Required Courses

The undergraduate curriculum provides a solid foundation in all major subdisciplines through required courses.

Four courses provide the engineering science and professional underpinnings for all subdisciplines: CE-UY 2113 Statics , CE-UY 2123 Mechanics of Materials , CE-UY 2213 Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics  and CE-UY 1002 Introduction to Civil Engineering . Structural engineering is covered in CE-UY 3122 Structural Dynamics , CE-UY 3133 Structural Analysis , CE-UY 3173 Structural Design , CE-UY 3163 Materials Engineering  and CE-UY 4153 Structural Design Project  . The required environmental and water resources sequence includes CE-UY 3223 Environmental Engineering I  and CE 3243 Water Resources Engineering . Soils engineering is covered in CE-UY 3153 Geotechnical Engineering . Transportation Engineering is introduced in CE-UY 2343 Transportation Engineering . Because the department also has a full undergraduate program in Construction Management, civil engineering students must select two construction engineering courses from an approved list. All students take the capstone course, given over two semesters as CE-UY 4812 Civil Engineering Design I: Site Planning and Design  and CE-UY 4822 Civil Engineering Design II: Structural Design .

Design is covered in many of these courses, exposing students to design in various subdisciplines. An introduction to design is provided by EG-UY 1003  in the freshman year. Courses CE-UY 3173 , CE-UY 3223 , CE-UY 3243 , CE-UY 3153 , and CE-UY 4153  all have significant design content. Most elective courses also have strong design components. All students must complete two 2-credit senior design projects (CE-UY 4812  & CE-UY 4822 ) during their senior year.

Thus, students have progressive design exposure in each program year.

Undergraduate elective courses are provided in structural, geotechnical, environmental, water resources and transportation engineering, and construction management and engineering. These allow students to gain significant depth in these areas. Selected students with sufficient gradepoint averages may take beginning graduate courses in these areas. Special topics courses are provided in each major subdiscipline and are offered as needed.

Communication skills are emphasized throughout the curriculum. The humanities and social sciences portions of the curriculum focus strongly on developing writing and oral skills. The freshman engineering program also includes substantial emphasis on oral presentations and written report assignments. CE-UY 1002 Introduction to Civil Engineering  includes numerous written assignments and encourages discussion. All courses with associated laboratories require written laboratory or project reports; many design courses require formal submission of design reports, some with oral presentations. The senior design-project experience includes many oral and written progress reports and is formally presented and defended as part of final submission.

Humanities and social sciences courses also help students to understand the societal context of their profession. CE-UY 1002 Introduction to Civil Engineering  reinforces this understanding with specific civil engineering references and provides a focused treatment of professional ethics. These aspects are also highlighted in other civil-engineering curriculum courses.

Other Requirements

The BS in Civil Engineering program has three additional requirements:

  1. Because a sound foundation in Statics is essential to progress in civil engineering, students must achieve a grade of C or better in CE-UY 2113 Statics  to register for subsequent courses in the structures sequence: CE-UY 2123 Mechanics of Materials , CE-UY 3133 Structural Analysis , CE-UY 3173 Structural Design  , and CE-UY 4153 Structural Design Project  ;
  2. Since the capstone design courses, CE-UY 4812  & CE-UY 4822 , require a thorough understanding of all aspects of civil engineering, students must have a cumulative average of 2.0 or better in all civil engineering courses in order to enroll in them; and
  3. To promote interest in professional registration, students must sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). CE-UY 4092  includes a zero-credit recitation that provides preparation for the exam. Students who are not legally eligible to hold a professional engineer’s (PE) license are exempt from this requirement, but must still take CE-UY 4092 .

Accreditation

The BS in Civil Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

The curriculum for the BS in Civil Engineering is described in the tables that follow. Table 1 summarizes the curriculum and its requirements in subject-area categories. Table 2 summarizes elective courses in construction management, engineering and civil engineering. A typical four-year course of study for civil engineering majors is shown on the full-page chart at the end of this section.