Scott and Friends:
I received a BSCE in January 1970 from a leading Big Ten university that is now famous for its success with concrete canoes. If I recall correctly, my degree required 142 hours (or credits) with very few electives. I took the maximum number of structures courses available and spent every summer as an intern doing engineering work. Nevertheless, by the end of the fourth year, I felt that I needed further education to form a basis for a successful career in structural engineering. Without hesitation, I continued on and received a MSCE in January 1971. Then I rushed down to Texas to seek my fortune.
Today, an American BSCE degree requires an average of only 124 hours, and some have dropped to as little as 120 hours. This has been primarily caused by state legislators promising their constituents that their sons and daughters can get four-year degrees in four years, regardless of major. To make matters worse, the bleeding hearts in our society have come along and demanded that a big chunk of those 120-124 hours must be spent on liberal arts subjects, such as diversity and environmental consciousness. The result is that nearly all current BSCE degrees amount to little more than ICE (Introduction to Civil Engineering) degrees. With notable exceptions like Scott, most now agree that there is a problem with educating the structural engineer of the future. So far, at least two paths have been devised to address this.
NCSEA has listed a specific series of design and analysis courses that structural engineering students should complete. If I am not mistaken, these courses are (or will eventually be) required for certification by the Structural Engineering Certification Board.
ASCE, seeking both depth and breadth, has taken a different path. Their Policy 465, sometimes referred to as the "Raise the Bar" initiative, was adopted by NCEES last September. Under the revised NCEES Model Law, candidates will not be permitted to take the PE exam after December 2014 unless they have completed at least 30 hours of relevant additional education after obtaining a BS engineering degree. This assumes that all or most states will have adopted the Model Law, or something similar to it, by that time. This is likely to occur, since some states are already doing so. Working back the timetable, these requirements will apply to all students who have just completed their freshman years and to all of those who follow. It should also be noted that neither Policy 465 nor the NCEES Model Law require a student to obtain a MS engineering degree.
Okay Scott, I will now look forward to your multi-screen rebuttal. Please start with restaurant recommendations for downtown Detroit. I find that I will be sequestered there from July 12-15 on ASCE business. This is not at all how I had intended to spend my 60th birthday. What is within a short walk of the Marriott Renaissance?
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E., F.ASCE, F.AEI
ASCE Technical Region Director
Halff Associates Vice President
... Soggy in Dallas ...