College of Engineering to offer 2 new degrees

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College of Engineering to offer 2 new degrees

Karly Weigel

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University of Alabama students will have two new majors to choose from in the fall. The College of Engineering will add degrees in environmental engineering and architectural engineering to meet demand in the state and country. Along with the pre-established construction and civil engineering degrees, students in the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering will have a total of four majors to choose from.

The University is the first in the state to offer both majors, which will give students an opportunity to acquire specialized skills that help benefit the state and stand out to potential employers. The change requires the addition of one class for environmental engineering, and no new staff will need to be hired.

“These two new programs will allow students more options so they can follow their passions and interests in the engineering field,” Rick Nail, professor emeritus and UA engineering alumnus, said. “Both of these two new degrees mesh well with our current civil and construction degree programs and will enrich and enhance our current courses being offered.”

(See also “College of Engineering sees growth“)

The architectural engineering degree focuses on the design of buildings and being able to work directly with architects when dealing with structural design and mechanical, electrical and construction elements. Also, students will be able to assist on the overall operation of the building. Architectural engineering is currently available as a minor, and by adjusting the curriculum, students will have the option to major in it as well.

The environmental engineering degree will focus on air and water quality and purification of land, health and safety systems.

Ken Fridley, professor and head of the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering, said he believes the college offers a unique experience for students in and out of the classroom.

“The College of Engineering offers students the ability to find an experience that is right for them, both in the academics with the curriculum we offer and also with the extra- and co-curriculum,” Fridley said. “Whether that is co-op, study abroad or research as an undergraduate, they get the education they want.”

(See also “Board of Trustees approves new degree programs“)

Nationally, fewer than 60 universities offer architectural engineering programs, and fewer than 20 offer environmental engineering, Fridley said.

He also said the engineering department has 700 undergraduate students and hopes to grow to more than 1,000 students within a few years.

During freshman and sophomore years, all engineering students take basic prerequisite classes to build a strong engineering foundation. During their junior year, students are encouraged to select a major from the four options. Upcoming sophomores and juniors will also be able to take advantage of the two new degrees.

Nail said he feels that the addition of two new majors will benefit students even more during their time at the Capstone. As a member of the engineering advisory board, Nail has watched the college grow in quantity and quality. He said he believes this trend will continue. Furthermore, he said he sees that there is a significant number of engineers and contractors retiring, which leaves a deficit in the workforce that will need to be replaced.

To learn more about the engineering programs, visit eng.ua.edu.

(See also “Department in college of engineering names new head“)