A Career in Transportation Engineering
The transportation engineering program within Montana Tech’s General Engineering Department is designed for students who wish to begin the professional careers in transportation engineering immediately after obtaining a BS degree and for students who wish to expand their knowledge of transportation engineering under the umbrella of civil engineering. At the same time, the program enables students to prepare for advanced study though a graduate program.
The program strengths lie in the practical approaches to transportation engineering. Courses run from an introduction class in Transportation Engineering to upper level undergraduate and graduate classes on Traffic Operation & Control, Transportation Planning & Policies, and Highway Geometry Design. Laboratory resources include various software packages that are popular in transportation industry and agencies, such as VISSIM (traffic simulation), TransCAD (transportation planning), AutoCAD Civil 3D (highway geometric design), SAS (statistics package), and MatLab.
Graduates from this program will be well educated in fundamental disciplines, have a sound knowledge of relevant basic engineering practices, can adapt to change, and have the vision and insight needed to implement creative and cost-effective solutions to growing demands in transportation engineering. Graduate studies in Transportation Engineering provide the framework for a new generation of professionals, who are well prepared to plan, design, build, and maintain our vital transportation infrastructure systems far into the 21st century.
Transportation Engineering is the application of technology and scientific principles to the planning, functional design, operation and management of facilities for any mode of transportation in order to provide for safe, efficient, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and environmentally compatible movement of people and goods. It is a sub-discipline and major component of Civil Engineering.
The planning aspects of transportation engineering involve technical forecasting of travel demands and optimization of resources considering political and social-economic factors. The design aspects of transport engineering include determining the route of the roadway, selecting construction material, and designing the geometry of the roadway, and the structure of the pavement, while the operations and management involve managing traffic and maintaining transportation and traffic facilities. The newer technology evolution in this area is Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).
U.S. has two million miles of paved roads; nearly two-thirds are in need of repair. In addition, the ever-increasing issues in congestion, travel delay, traffic safety & security, vehicle emission, etc. across the county have imposed great challenges and opportunities to transportation engineers and researchers. With the constraint of budgeting, staffing, energy conservation, and environment protection, transportation engineers and researchers will continue to employ cutting-edge technologies to address modern transportation problems and provide a livable, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly transportation system to the general public.
A Career in Construction Engineering
Generally all engineering is “interdisciplinary” to some extent. By its nature, Construction Engineering crosses the discipline boundaries on a regular basis. Construction projects can range from demolition, to reclamation and on to new construction, so it requires a very broad knowledge base.
The start of a new project is often the end of an old one. For example, a bridge replacement project begins with the removal of the existing structure and requires that the construction engineer understand explosive application and safety, material properties and structural behavior.
Construction of a new bridge then requires construction engineers to use their knowledge of surveying, excavation, concrete placement, steel erection, and rigging & hoisting. Construction efforts can be very dangerous places with many crafts operating in a congested area. The construction engineer must understand safe construction practices as well as being able to analyze new or unusual methods.
Highway construction involves the excavation and hauling of large quantities of soil and rock. Surface and ground water issues including erosion during construction are frequent concerns.
Conditions can vary extensively throughout the project. Environmental regulations must be understood and blended into the project. Areas of historical or archeological significance can be encountered causing significant project impacts. Jurisdiction regarding streams wetlands, and historical sites is not always clear and at times overlaps.
Industrial facilities are very complex installations requiring detailed planning and scheduling, multiple engineering disciplines and the ability to work with a variety of trades and crafts.
Commercial buildings located in congested urban areas have many unique issues for the construction engineer to address. Public safety and convenience, local ordinances and restricted staging and work areas add to the complexities.
Construction engineers are typically are well versed in multiple engineering disciplines as well as means and methods of construction. Additionally, management skills and the ability to work with a variety of people from craftsmen to developers and public officials is an asset.
Planning, scheduling, permitting, cost control and risk analysis tasks are part of the construction process from pre-planning to completion.
A Career in Structural Engineering
Structural Engineering deals specifically with the analysis and design of structures including but not limited to buildings, bridges, and residences. Structural Engineering is a field within Civil Engineering, but it can also be studied in and of itself.
Structural engineers work closely with architects, transportation engineers, and construction engineers and are charged with completing analyses and designs centered on safety, serviceability, and performance. The field of structural engineering is competitive and oftentimes necessitates a graduate degree. Students who excel in the undergraduate curriculum can be afforded the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree with particular emphasis on the inspection, testing, and monitoring of buildings and bridges.
A Proud Engineering Tradition
Montana Tech, formerly known as the Montana School of Mines, has long been recognized as a demanding, tough school that produces quality engineers. As a result, our students know a successful and challenging career awaits them.
Since 2008, Montana Tech has been offering 4000 and 5000 level courses specific to the field of structural engineering with each typically seating anywhere from 15 to 40 students. Currently, courses include Structural Analysis and Design, Reinforced Concrete Analysis and Design, Steel Analysis and Design, and Wood Analysis and Design, and Wind and Seismic Analysis. Upon completion of this suite, students become proficient with load and resistance factored design (LRFD), allowable stress design (ASD), and lateral and vertical analyses, to name a few. Of particular interest is the fact that only the most recent code manuals are used throughout these semester-long courses. Students have access to these code manuals and are constantly referring to them during lectures, assignments, and tests. These code manuals are the very manuals that they will be using in industry as well. As such, students become comfortable with very technical subject matter in a classroom setting as they build the confidence needed to succeed on and off campus.
These courses — in conjunction with other prominent courses in Civil, Mechanical, Welding, Environmental, and Electrical Engineering — afford our students the breadth needed to address a large number of issues; and the depth required to solve them. Each student leaves our curriculum equipped with purpose and resolve. In similar fashion, upon completion of our curriculum, the work force takes on professional, practical team players who are prepared to meet the rigors of our profession.
Montana Tech Structural Engineering graduates experience many exciting and in-demand career opportunities.