Investigating the Need for Forensic Engineering Graduate Program to Meet the Growing Workforce Demand Conference

Pradhananga, P, Müller, CC, Rahat, R et al. (2023). Investigating the Need for Forensic Engineering Graduate Program to Meet the Growing Workforce Demand .

cited authors

  • Pradhananga, P; Müller, CC; Rahat, R; Elzomor, M


  • Forensic engineering is a growing career choice in the civil engineering discipline for the evaluation of structural failures and poor structural performance of houses damaged in a natural disaster, deteriorating infrastructure, and maintenance of the built environment. However, most of the forensic engineers in a professional role for field investigations are structural engineers who may or may not have developed forensic skills during their academic careers. This study aims to: (1) investigate bachelor's in construction management programs in 72 American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) accredited institutions to identify the accessibility to forensic engineering-based courses; (2) identify essential forensic engineering skills that students lack; and (3) investigate students' interest to pursue a forensic engineering career. The results of this study indicated that forensic engineers need specific skills and competencies to objectively analyze the causes of failure using the collected evidence, including (a) technical competency; (b) legal knowledge including technical vocabulary and legal procedures; and (c) interpersonal skills including the ability to communicate technical information to the people from non-engineering background. However, the student survey results indicated that many students lack such skills and there is a pressing need to teach them those skills in graduate programs. Additionally, the results highlighted that only 4 out of 72 ACCE institutions which consist of 5.6% of the accredited degree programs offered courses that are related to forensic engineering. With growing concern for climate change impact and deterioration of infrastructure such as bridges and buildings, the workforce demand for forensic engineers is expected to increase. The findings of this study are directed to engineering education administrators and interested parties in the current state of forensic engineering education to suggest that universities need to allow construction management and civil engineering students to develop forensic engineering skills and help them become successful in their professional careers.

publication date

  • June 25, 2023