Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Peter T. Savolainen


The lack of practical real-world applications in a classroom setting has been identified as one factor inhibiting student interest in STEM fields. Project-based learning (PBL) directly addresses this concern by providing an opportunity for students to complete an extensive, semester-long project that mirrors professional practice. In addition, PBL allows students an opportunity to refine related soft skills, such as technical writing and oral communication. This study involved the redevelopment of a senior-level highway design course using a PBL framework that largely reflects professional practice. A questionnaire survey was distributed to public and private road agencies in order to assess the importance of various classroom topics as they relate to the field of highway design. The course content was redeveloped based on the industry survey. Students were surveyed via questionnaires and focus group interviews before and after PBL implementation. These data were analyzed using mixed methods to assess advantages and disadvantages of the revised course structure. Based on these data, best practices are proposed for instruction using PBL in transportation engineering courses, particularly highway design.

Copyright Owner

Steven Kurtis Younkin



File Format


File Size

89 pages