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BYU-Idaho will offer a civil engineering emphasis starting Fall Semester 2012 for students studying mechanical engineering.
"This has been the most requested degree by students, their parents and the industry in general," said Garth Miller, faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. "When we meet with professionals, they're constantly asking for civil engineering majors. The need for engineers who can update the nation's aging roads, bridges and other infrastructures has never been greater."
The new program promises to be a great help for those students who are seeking to earn a degree in civil engineering at BYU-I.
"Guys don't have to go down to Provo or anywhere else anymore," said Daniel Adams, a junior studying mechanical engineering. "Guys that get accepted here can stay here and get their civil engineering degree as opposed to doing a couple prerequisites and then transferring."
The university currently offers bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering and welding and fabrication technology. The university teaches classes on civil engineering, but only offers an associate degree.
Previously, students that desired to earn a bachelor's degree or higher in civil engineering had to transfer to BYU or another university after earning an associates degree.
Offering a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at BYU-I will most likely lower the cost for students not wishing to transfer to another university.
Creation of a new degree also means that the school will hire new faculty to teach the subject.
One new job for a civil engineering faculty member is already posted on www.byui.edu and another will likely be added by 2013, Miller said.
New classes on civil engineering will be added along with the new faculty.
Eight new upper division classes are already being planned and will open for registration Fall Semester 2012.
Mechanical engineering places more emphasis on physics and moving parts, which in turn are used to design all classes of vehicles, machinery, and structures like power plants or dams.
Civil engineering is the science of designing and building static structures, or structures that don't involve moving parts.
Examples of civil engineering in action are in the construction of bridges, skyscrapers, roads and water systems. It is one of the oldest forms of engineering and has been a study of engineers dating back thousands of years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a degree in civil engineering will be more valuable in the coming years, because the position will become more necessary as the country's population continues to grow.
It is expected that civil engineering jobs will increase much faster than the average of all occupations through 2018, according to www.bls.gov.