New Name Approved for Construction Program

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has approved a new name for an existing program in UALR’s College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT) to better reflect the degree. The new name: Bachelor of Science in Civil and Construction Engineering.

The original degree, bachelor of science in construction engineering, was created in 2010. The new title better reflects the content of the degree, which has been designed to satisfy the requirements for both civil engineering and construction engineering programs.

UALR is thought to be the only institution of higher education in the U.S. to offer a combined degree in civil and construction engineering, although similar programs exist in Australia and Germany.

“Civil engineering is the oldest and most established engineering discipline in the world, and UALR students will now benefit by having access to a more recognizable degree,” said Nickolas Jovanovic, associate professor in construction management and program coordinator for civil and construction engineering.

“Students, parents, and employers are more familiar with civil engineering and are already reacting positively.”

Civil engineering includes the areas of construction engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, water resources engineering, environmental engineering, and transportation engineering. Civil engineers design buildings, highways, bridges, levees, locks and dams, tunnels, airports, and water and wastewater treatment plants. They are involved in almost every aspect of the building environment.

While the UALR degree focuses on structural and construction engineering, students will have the opportunity to take courses in all areas of civil engineering. Unlike most civil engineering programs, which include only one course in construction engineering, the UALR program requires approximately 10 courses in this area.

This combination of civil engineering and construction engineering is forward looking. Civil engineering is about designing infrastructure, and construction engineering is all about building that infrastructure.

“Designing and building go hand-in-hand, and UALR students will be able to get involved in both engineering design and construction,” Jovanovic said. “Graduates will be able to work for engineering design firms, construction companies, or public agencies.”

The program is housed in the Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering. The department also long has offered a B.S. degree in construction management, which has a greater focus on business processes and less emphasis on engineering design.

Both the civil and construction engineering and the construction management degrees require a common core of construction courses that prepare students for certification as an Associate Constructor by the American Institute of Constructors. In addition, the civil and construction engineering degree prepares students to pursue licensure as engineer interns and professional engineers.

The first class of civil and construction engineering students is expected to graduate in May 2013, and the program will seek accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc. – ABET – soon afterward.

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