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Environmental and Soil Science – Construction Science Concentration Major Guide for 2016-2017

What is Environmental and Soil Science – Construction Science Concentration

The Construction Science Concentration emphasizes the skills needed to prepare you for entry into the very broad and diverse range of careers related to construction. This BS degree in Environmental and Soil Sciences provides students with a strong grounding in basic sciences and technology, and the Construction Science concentration includes skills to prepare them for careers in the construction industry which is becoming increasing more technology driven. In addition to knowledge of construction materials and processes, estimating, scheduling, the management of materials and people, the issues related to protection of the environment, energy conservative design, and sustainable development will become more important. Students in this program study a broad curriculum of math and science (calculus, geology, and physics), as well as applied areas such as construction management and business. Students build expertise with the latest technologies and equipment, such as geographical information systems, computer applications, global positioning systems, and surveying. Finally, they are given a solid business and management foundation including technical writing, presentation skills, statistics, accounting, and economics. Students in a program of this type typically enjoy the outdoors, and appreciate the sense of accomplishment that can be quickly realized seeing a project grow from an idea to finished product.

Career Opportunities in Environmental and Soil Science – Construction Science Concentration

Graduates will have the skills and knowledge to be successful for entry into construction management opportunities in areas such as residential, agricultural, commercial, paving and excavation construction. This field relies on knowledge from engineering, construction, and business; skills related to teamwork and leadership are important as well. The program is designed to provide you a strong background in science and math, with exposure to relevant technology such as CAD, GPS/GIS, sensors and electronic information transfer. The program leads to a Minor in Business Administration, providing a good background for a wide range of career opportunities both inside and outside of construction.

Salary Trends in Environmental and Soil Science – Construction Science Concentration

The Construction Science Concentration originated in 2010 with salary data changing rapidly due to the young age of the program and the growing need for construction professionals. As the construction industry has emerged from the economic decline of the past years there is an abundant need for construction science graduates. Further, much of the leadership and management in construction is aging and nearing retirement, creating demand for new, highly trained individuals ready for careers in construction. In recent years, graduates from established construction management programs have enjoyed starting salaries that are comparable with those of civil engineers, frequently ranging from the mid $40,000 to mid $60,000.

High School Preparation

Successful CS students typically have a strong high school background in science, math and business.  Good communication abilities (written and verbal) and experience with computers are also very helpful. A strong background in these areas will enable you to more easily begin your college work.  Also, if you are able to earn advanced placement credit in some of these areas, you may have additional options later in your degree program.  These could include taking specialized courses that interest you, working in a lab, or contributing to a research project — providing valuable experience and improving your employment opportunities. Freshman admission to the program follows the general requirements of the University.  Admission chances are enhanced by high ACT/SAT scores and a solid high school transcript.

Transfer Student Preparation

The transfer students that do best in CS have a strong background in the sciences and mathematics.  Good communication abilities (written and verbal) and experience with computers are also very helpful.  General courses in construction, pre-engineering, technology, business, and management will also provide a good foundation for building towards the student’s particular area of interest.

How to Major in Environmental and Soil Science – Construction Science Concentration

The Construction Science Concentration in the Environmental and Soil Sciences program is part of the Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Department.  Our faculty and students enjoy talking with prospective students.  A faculty member (or a student, if you prefer) will discuss our program and answer your questions about the department. It is important to choose your desired concentration early (preferably at or before enrollment), to avoid having to make up specific required courses.  Each concentration has provisions for elective courses to be taken in specific subject areas.  Students consult with their advisors each semester about their interests and the appropriate classes to meet the students’ needs.

Requirements for Environmental and Soil Science – Construction Science Concentration

The program starts with a basic math and science foundation, adds courses in technology, and natural resources, and then introduces the technologies associated with construction such as computer aided drafting (CAD) and geographic information systems (GIS).  It rounds out the curriculum with construction, business and management courses to tie all the information together to most effectively use it in making and carrying out management decisions. This broad curriculum also includes several social science electives and the composition, technical writing, and speech skills to enable the graduate to communicate effectively. The required business courses lead to a minor in Business administration.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

An internship is a structured 10-12 week work session, usually in the summer, in which you apply what you have learned in the classroom to real-life problems, while being mentored by a trained professional. Students are employed in paid full-time positions by industry, business, and government organizations, providing students with valuable experience and a competitive salary. The Construction Science program encourages all students to intern while in college, and the excellent relationship the program enjoys with the construction industry facilitates these internship linkages.

Highlights of Environmental and Soil Science – Construction Science Concentration

Here are some additional reasons to consider Construction Science at UT:

  • An excellent student:professor ratio. This means more one-to-one time with professors for academic counseling and assistance with coursework. Graduates consistently rank our outstanding, caring faculty as one of the strengths of our department.
  • Inclusion of practicing construction professionals sharing their expertise in the classroom.
  • Promotion of professionalism among construction students – through seminars, professional meetings, mentoring, presentations and special events (receptions, career fairs, workshops, etc.).
  • Strong internship and cooperative education opportunities.
  • Enhancement of written and oral communication skills including communication etiquette
  • Excellent scholarship support — our students are eligible for scholarship money from both the University and the College.
  • An active student construction science club.
  • Continuous engagement with the construction industry

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

In addition to providing its graduates with a skill set that is needed around the world, this program takes an international perspective in both its research and educational missions.  Departmental researchers have recently worked in or cooperated with researchers from countries ranging from Australia to Zambia, with countries in-between including Taiwan, Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador, and many others.  Students have spent semesters abroad in countries from Sweden to Malta to South Africa, and have traveled with College trips to Thailand, Mexico, and Jamaica.  Finally, our student body includes students from Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, China, Colombia, and other countries.  The Center for International Education is the clearinghouse for the many possibilities UT offers it students in making themselves ready for the world.  CASNR does offer some scholarships for CASNR students participating in study abroad programs.  Students, faculty and staff participate in the annual Unity through Diversity Dinner held each fall.  Some students select a minor in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature.  Construction Science is not only ready for the world; it sees its mission as meeting needs throughout the world.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Experience Learning

Experience Learning LogoExperience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.

The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.

Learn more about Experience Learning.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, go to (Opens in New Tab)

For More Information

Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science
University of Tennessee
2506 E.J. Chapman Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4531
Phone: (865) 974-7266, 974-7237


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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