Saturday, April 28, 2007

Structural Engineering and Geomechanics Program at Stanford - EEV

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering focuses on interactions between human activities and the natural environment. Its mission is to use science, engineering, and policy to improve quality of life. This includes intelligent use of natural resources such as the raw materials, energy, and ecosystems needed to sustain modern society. It also includes design of functional and environmentally compatible facilities and infrastructure. Within this broad context, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is especially concerned with:

  • Better understanding of natural cycles, systems, and processes relevant to human activities
  • Use of natural analogs to help design new materials, industrial processes, and infrastructure systems
  • Development of new building and transportation technologies
  • Advances in information infrastructure and logistics
  • Creation of attractive and sustainable physical environments

An education in civil and environmental engineering provides an excellent foundation for careers in fields as diverse as engineering design, education, law, medicine, and public health, as well as for graduate study in engineering and science. Our graduates teach and carry out research in universities, work for large firms, start their own businesses, and take positions in government and nonprofit organizations. As pressures on limited natural resources grow, there will be increasing demand for engineers who understand how to make best use of these resources in the products and services they design. The department's undergraduate program recognizes this need by providing background in science and engineering fundamentals while also emphasizing hands-on design projects and case studies that provide context and motivation. Students are taught how to combine theory, measurement, and modeling to develop a good understanding of the problem at hand and to point the way to desirable solutions.

The department offers two designated undergraduate degrees accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering provides a solid foundation for practice in both classical and newly developing areas of civil engineering, including structural analysis and design, engineering materials, geotechnical analysis and design, sustainable built environments, and transportation and logistics. The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering Science emphasizes the fundamental physical, chemical, and biological processes necessary for understanding the interactions between man and the environment. Issues considered include the provision of clean and reliable water supplies, flood forecasting and protection, development of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, causes and implications of climate change, and the impact of human activities on natural cycles. Both programs provide awareness of the sociopolitical context in which civil and environmental engineering problems are solved. Premedical students may satisfy medical school entrance requirements while earning the accredited degree in environmental engineering science with proper planning of their program. A third degree is offered for students who want more flexibility. Typical examples are students who will pursue careers in medicine, law, or scientific research.

The undergraduate programs in civil engineering and environmental engineering science share a common sophomore year that emphasizes mathematics, mechanics, ecology, and design. The ecology sequence begins by considering how natural systems work and then turns to a consideration of interactions between these systems and human activities. This sequence provides a scientific context for a consideration of sustainable design in subsequent subjects. Sophomore students from all programs work together in teams on design projects that synthesize concepts taught in the core subjects. In the junior and senior years, students from the two programs concentrate on disciplinary subjects that provide depth in each specialty. During the final term of the senior year, all students come together again in an advanced design subject that integrates lessons learned throughout the undergraduate education. There is ample room in the program for electives and minors that can be used to tailor each student's program to individual needs.

At the graduate level, the department offers two complementary but distinct types of programs. First, research-oriented doctoral and master's programs advance fundamental understanding and develop innovative approaches to engineering problems. Such programs prepare professionals for positions of leadership in research and teaching. Second, practice-oriented master's degrees introduce the political, economic, and cultural factors that influence social priorities, and prepare students to function as members of interdisciplinary teams. These programs add technical depth and professional skills beyond the four-year bachelor's degree.

Graduate programs are offered in the following areas: environmental chemistry and environmental biology; geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering; environmental fluid dynamics, coastal engineering and hydrodynamics; hydrology and water resources; materials and structures; transportation systems and engineering systems (including information technology, transportation, and infrastructure systems).



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