Advising

Successful advising depends upon a shared understanding of, and commitment to, the advising process, by students, advisors, and the university. In the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, the duties have been split among many faculty members in order to provide greater individual attention to our students. I serve as the Academic advisor to many students, both graduate and undergraduate, as well as Research advisor to some graduate students.

Undergraduate Students

The best source for advising information is hosted by Dr. Lowery. Virtually all questions I receive can be answered by the information on that site. Please check there first before emailing me. A common request is for signatures on various forms. The only form I sign is the pre-registration meeting form. All other forms requiring the signature of your advisor need to be taken to the Undergraduate Student Services office to be signed.

Note that advising appointments do not need to only occur during course pre-registration meetings. Sometimes an issue will come up in the middle of the semester that you need a fresh-viewpoint on. Please email me in order to set an appointment - just make sure you use a descriptive subject line for the email!

Pre-registration Meetings and Advising

Each semester the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering blocks their students from preregistration. This is not a punishment! We want to make sure you have the latest information regarding courses and the curriculum, as well as ensure you meet with your advisor to discuss your degree plan. Look at the following page for information I've compiled on how to get unblocked and how to schedule a meeting with me.

Undergraduate research opportunities

  • Undergraduate Research Scholars and Fellows: You do not need to be an Honors student to participate!
  • College USRG Program; The College of Engineering also sponsors the USRG Program, a 10-week research experience for undergraduates who have completed their sophomore year. Please contact me if you are interested in working with me through the program.
  • No paid positions are currently available for undergraduates, but research opportunities for course credit are typically possible.

Graduate School

Does graduate school make sense for you and your future carreer pans? That is a question that depends a lot on your desired area of specialization and future goals. For example, in structural engineering a graduate degree is virtually a requirememt to work in a structural engineering consulting office. You can find some basic information about the different graduate degrees available (did you know our program has a 1-year masters geared towards professional practice?) in a presentation made to CVEN 207. And this possibility is definitely something we should discuss during advising meetings. But keep the following in mind;

  • It’s never too soon to think about the possibility
  • Understanding the undergraduate material is the first requirement (good grades will follow)
  • You owe yourself the benefit of considering the option

Graduate Students - current and prospective

An important university office you need to be aware of is the Office of Graduate Studies. Whether you are a prospective or current student, make sure you check their site for information and forms. But as you also need some specific information about the Structural Engineering Program and my research efforts in particular,

Prospective students

As one of the graduate advisors for the Structural Engineering program, I would be happy to answer questions regarding our program. Please be aware that I generally do not respond to emails that appear to be form letters.

Additionally, I cannot review your application package and speculate on your chances of being accepted - the only fair assessment is occurs when we can view the entire application, transcripts, scores, three letters of recommendation, resume (optional) and read your statement of purpose essay.  Everything, your overall application, is taken into consideration, not just a few scores.  Once your completed application is received by the CE Graduate Office from Admissions Processing, they will add your essay, and your letters, and then send the complete package to the graduate advisors and graduate admission committee of our specialty area for a decision.  Once they have thoroughly reviewed the entire package they will make a decision regarding admission and support. Below are some of the most common questions/issues:

  • Applying: You will need to submit an application to the Texas A&M graduate program. Note they have a detailed instructions on the application process. You shoul be applying about 9 months before you plan to start your graduate program.
  • You can find most of the information on the structures program in our graduate handbook available online
  • Regarding GRE scores or minimum GPA requirements -  there are NO minimum requirements for admissions. As a general rule of thumb, you should have a 3.0 or better for a GPA (but more attention will be paid to specific courses in the structures program than your overall GPA… in other words, your grade in thermo or English is not as important as your grade in steel design) – with the average for admitted students based on past semesters being approximately 3.65. While there is no minimum GRE score required, the average quantitative GRE score for students accepted in previous years was around 770 and students usually are expected to score above 400 in the GRE verbal section.
  • Letters of recommendation: You should submit 3 letters, with at least 2 of them coming from faculty members that know you and your academic potential well. The third letter can be from another professor, and employer, etc…

Incoming graduate students

Welcome to our program! We look forward to you joining our group. Plan on arriving on campus at least a week before classes start. You'll need to check in with the CE graduate office as soon as you arrive. During that first week expect a departmental orientation as well as an orientation for the structures program.

  • Advising for courses: The week before classes there will be an orientation for all new students. That will be the time to discuss courses for the different degree plans. Until then, follow the graduate handbook - you can add/drop courses all through the first week of classes with no penalty.

Current graduate students

  • Serving on oyur committee as chair;
    • ME students; I am the chair for ME students in the structures group, unless you work with a specific faculty member on an independent study project.
    • Research students:
  • Serving on your committee as member
  • Signatures

Last updated; March 14, 2013