Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Overview

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s Master of Engineering (MEng) program differs from most other one-year masters programs in its requirement of both a group project and an individual thesis linked to the project. These provide a valuable real-world experience to complement the extensive coursework students receive.

1.782 is the project subject for students in the environmental track of the MEng program. Analogous subjects for the High Performance Structures and Information Technology tracks are 1.562 and 1.120, respectively. Students in the Geotechnical track usually join with students in the HPS or Environmental tracks for their project.

The project / thesis is a yearlong effort designed to mimic professional practice. In September, participating faculty and staff present a number of potential projects and a mock “request for proposal” (RFP) is provided for each. The goal is to offer sufficient choices that students are able to choose a project within their specialty. Students respond to the RFP by forming “companies”, or units within companies, usually of 3-5 students each. The process begins with a written “letter of intent” submitted in early October. In November teams submit a draft proposal and present it orally to their companies’ “upper management”, consisting of project supervisors who critique the proposed work plan. In December they present their final proposal (in written and oral forms) to “their client” (e.g. a mock government agency or large engineering firm). These final proposal presentations are tape-recorded and students are asked to critique their own presentation-and that of a classmate-as an assignment in their Concepts of Engineering Practice subject (1.133). During January, when there are few formal classes, students work intensively on their project, usually visiting their project site. Final oral presentations are made to the public in April, and students spend their last month finishing their individual theses, which are developed from the group project. The final project report, due along with the theses in May, can either be an integration of the individual theses or a condensed exposition suitable for publication in a journal or conference proceeding.

Recent 1.782 projects have involved subsurface remediation at the Massachusetts Military Reservation Superfund site on Cape Cod; restoration of the Florida Everglades; dredging of Boston Harbor; evaluation of schemes to reduce non-point source runoff; design of wastewater treatment facilities in Brazil and Puerto Rico; household water treatment systems for Nepal, Haiti and Peru; a brownfield development in Providence, RI; and water resource planning for the islands of Cyprus and St. John in the US Virgin Islands.

Representative RFPs, letters of intent (LOI), proposals, presentations, and final reports for three recent projects are presented on this site.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Projects with Examples
Written Assignments with Examples