Orientation Guide for New Students 2013

Download the Construction Program 2012-2013 Orientation Presentation (46.6MB)


Welcome to the Stanford Graduate Construction Program

Note: We use this name to include students enrolled in the MSCE in Construction Engineering and Management, the MSE in Construction Engineering and Management and the MSCE in Design-Construction Integration.

The faculty and staff hope that you will make every effort to obtain the most from your Stanford experience. This guide is intended to assist you in a rapid orientation and to make you aware of the facilities and services available for student use. It supplements several other publications available from the university and the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering to give you additional information specific to the Construction Program. We will direct your attention to high priority topics in the initial orientation meeting and the first afternoon seminar meeting.

Orientation Meeting

The initial orientation meeting for incoming CEM/DCI/DCI students will take place on Thursday, September 19th. The CEM/DCI/SDC orientation will start at about 10:00 a.m. in Y2E2, Room 292, immediately following the department-wide CEE orientation meeting that begins at 8:00 a.m. with continental breakfast in Huang, Room 300, Mackenzie Room. At the CEM/DCI/SDC orientation meeting, we will review the overall program philosophy and describe academic requirements. This background will assist in preparing for an initial meeting with your faculty advisor.

Before your first advising meeting, you should review the graduate construction curriculum, compare your undergraduate program with the list of required undergraduate courses, and prepare a proposed program of study for the entire academic year to discuss with your advisor. Please review this guide prior to our CEM/DCI/DCI orientation meeting. At this meeting faculty and returning students will further explain this information and answer your questions. Classes will begin on Monday, September 23, 2013.

We strongly encourage you to carefully plan your proposed program of study covering all planned work at Stanford. Think earnestly about what you want to get out of your time at Stanford. Consider personal, professional, and other goals. We also suggest that you take full advantage of advice from returning students because of their recent experience and excellent knowledge of how to get things done at Stanford. Best of luck for a productive, enjoyable experience at Stanford! Make your time as a member of the “Stanford Construction Program (CEM/DCI/DCI) Crew” a rewarding experience.

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Student Advising and Academic Requirements

This section of the guide, which we will briefly discuss at our first orientation meeting, gives you a summary of student advising, the academic requirements for graduation, class scheduling, gaining admission to other courses, and other academic requirements.

Student Advising

Student advising is intended to assist the student in gaining the maximum value from his or her stay at Stanford. The faculty considers it an important responsibility to assist the student in making the many decisions required in the graduate construction program and in selecting a career path. Faculty advising also involves maintaining academic standards for the program. Faculty advising includes the following major activities: (1) assisting in planning a program proposal for a Master's degree, (2) approving that the program meets academic requirements, and (3) offering general academic and career guidance.

Because you will meet with your faculty advisor soon after our first meeting, we have summarized the faculty advising steps below. Returning students in the program provide important resources to the student-advising program. They offer new students the chance to benefit from recent experiences of their peers with the courses in construction, other parts of civil engineering, and other engineering departments and schools in the university.

Advising Steps

  1. Prior to your first meeting with your academic advisor, select the track (CEM/SDC/DCI) that you intend to pursue and prepare your complete proposed program of study for that track. This will serve as a first plan, so expect changes as you learn more about specific courses.
  2. The printed advisee lists are posted outside the Civil Engineering Department Office of Brenda Sampson in Y2E2, 3rd floor (Room 314). Check the list to identify your advisor. The list will be posted on September 19, 2013.
  3. Use the schedule posted outside each faculty member's door to make an appointment with your advisor. Obtain his or her concurrence with the proposed program of study.
  4. Attend the classes and make sure they fit your needs and interests.
  5. Complete the study list for Fall Quarter to correspond with Graduate Construction Curriculum, review with your advisor, and enter the program in the AXESS system by the date shown on the Stanford Time Schedule. This is your registration for classes at Stanford.

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MS Program Requirements for Graduation

See the separate description of the Graduate Construction Curriculum. This lists the courses and requirements for 5 areas: management, engineering (including structural engineering for DCI students), integration, industry context, and skills.

Class Scheduling

Many factors force changes in class scheduling. Construction-DCI courses do not generally conflict with each other, but there may be conflicts with courses in other programs or departments. The following sources of information are useful in scheduling classes:

Gaining Admission to Other Courses

With approval of your advisor, construction students may take courses in other engineering departments or Schools of the University as electives in the graduate construction program. In the past, construction students have taken courses in the Department of Management Science and Industrial Engineering (MS&E), in the Graduate School of Business and at the University of California, Berkeley. Enrollment in each presents a special challenge. See one of the returning students who have recent experience in taking other courses of interest to you for a further description of the steps necessary to gain admission.

Courses offered by the Department of Management Science and Industrial Engineering are listed in the Stanford University Bulletin and in the Autumn Quarter online listings in Axess. Some courses will indicate that they have limited enrollment for which permission of the instructor is required. The instructors generally maintain sign-up lists at their offices. If you would like to take an MS&E course, attend the class meetings and see the instructor at the earliest possible time.

The Graduate School of Business allows non-GSB students to enroll in courses where space permits. This rarely is the case for core courses (200 level) because the school admits the full quota of students allowed by classroom size. Upper level courses are more available. Admission is by a computer iteration process that gives preference to students first signing wait lists posted on the first floor of the Business School. The University time Schedule does not include GSB courses; they are listed on a GSB timetable at: http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/research/courses/.

The Department of Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley offers courses in specialized areas (e.g., Marine Construction, Construction Marketing, Timber Structures) that may be of interest to construction students. The courses are generally available to Stanford students, but Berkeley operates on a semester basis, which, with the over one-hour commute, makes scheduling challenging, although feasible, especially for the Berkeley Spring Semester.

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Comments on the Stanford University Honor Code

The Fundamental Standard and Stanford University Honor Code specify requirements for student conduct, which may differ from your prior academic experience. They are contained in the Stanford Bulletin.


We caution you that the Honor Code requirements are fully enforced. The code also defines faculty expectations and requirements regarding implementation. Again, please ask your faculty advisor if you have any questions regarding the honor code.

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Additional Orientation Information

Donald R. Watson Seminar in Construction Engineering and Mgt. (CEE258)

The graduate construction program includes a two-quarter series of weekly seminars with construction industry personnel, owners, and others working in areas related to the courses and offering a unique perspective on the industry. This required course sequence is offered (graded as a pass/no credit class) to construction students and meets 4:15 to 6:05 p.m. once each week on Wednesday in Autumn in Y2E2, Room 111. See the class handout and bulletin board outside CEM/DCI/SDC Administrative Office in Y2E2, Room 242 for the list of speakers.

The Stanford Construction Institute

The Stanford Construction Institute is the name for a group of owners, contractors, and individuals who annually contribute funds to help support the educational program and to provide financial aid to construction engineering and management students. These organizations also assist in research activities, provide guest speakers, and often employ our students. Without their support our educational program would be greatly restricted. Membership in the Institute is open to all who wish to support construction education at Stanford.

Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE)

The Center for Integrated Facility Engineering conducts inter-departmental research on the use of advanced computer techniques for improved integration of the facility development process. This research is leading to the development of new methodologies and prototype tools to provide integration throughout the life-cycle of the facility—from preliminary design to operation. Several of the construction faculty and research assistants are involved in research projects of the Center.

Global Projects Center (GPC)

The Global Projects Center conducts inter-departmental and inter-school research on the unique challenges of integrating multi-national and multi-sectoral (i.e., drawn from government, including military, private firms and NGOs) organizations into global project teams to develop buildings and infrastructure around the world. Faculty and research assistants, from CEE, Sociology, Law, Economics and Business are involved in research projects of GPC.

Student-Initiated Activities

One of the major assets of a program of this kind is the opportunity to interact with colleagues from a variety of places and with different kinds of experience. Many graduates have established friendships lasting decades into their careers. In part this interaction has been facilitated by student activities such as informal and intramural sports teams, ski and golf trips, international potluck dinners, graduation parties, AGC/DBIA/CMAA student chapter, etc. The faculty encourages and supports such activities.

The real key to success, however, is the initiative and ability of interested student-volunteers. Volunteer activities for the students to consider to increase the value of the year for the entire class include: AGC/DBIA/CMAA officers, social chairperson, intramural sports coordinator, service project coordinator, resume book coordinator, activity and meeting room coordinator, class photographer, class newsletter reporter, special seminar organizer, Web page coordinator, peer advising coordinator, master schedule keeper, industry mentor coordinator, prospective student (2013-2014) visit coordinator, additional Teaching Assistants, GSB and MS&E course coordinator, other seminar coordinator, campus activity coordinator, and many others based on student interest and initiative.

Student Reception Plans

All students, faculty, staff and spouses or special friends are invited to a student reception. This reception will be hosted by the ConstructionProgram on Sunday afternoon, September 29. Please save this date. An eVite will be sent to all by the CEM/DCI/SDC Administrative Office on this event.

Student Address List

Because many of our courses involve group activities, an address list is important for all students. Please make sure that you enter your local address, phone, and Email address into the AXESS system. We can then print out a student list and distribute it to the program. A list is located on the doorway of Y2E2, Room 242 for you to fill-in with your phone number and e-mail address.

Class Photograph

Every fall we put together a composite class photo. Photos will be taken at the first CEE 258 Seminar meeting on Wednesday, September 25th11:00AM-4:00PM. Please dress appropriately in business attire. Each student will receive one copy of the composite photograph and we distribute them to interviewers. The student portion of the photograph cost is $10 each.

Company Interviews

Each year certain company members of the Construction Institute and other firms come to the Construction Engineering and Management program to interview students for possible positions. The interviews are normally held during winter and spring quarters. You will need to have an updated resume if you plan to participate. A separate resume must be submitted at least one week prior to any interview before your name will be placed on the sign-up sheet. Look for details and sign-up sheets across from Y2E2, Room 242.

Career Planning and Placement Services

The Stanford Career Planning and Placement Center (located near the bookstore) offers several services that may be of interest to construction students. These include: reference files, the engineering resume book, and mock interviews. Because of the long lead times, examine these materials early in the quarter if you intend to use the Center. Many of our Construction Institute supporters will be participating in the career fairs and hold special interview dates for you at the CDC. Please watch for e-mail notifications for these special events.

Building Facilities

The small glass-walled meeting rooms in Y2E2 may be used by Construction students for group meetings when not reserved for classes, interviews or other purposes. Please use the sign-up sheet posted outside each room. Food and beverages are permitted, but the room must be left clean after use. You will obtain information concerning the CEE Department computer cluster located in Y2E2 when you arrive.

This is an extremely valuable resource; please observe the rules for use and maintenance of the cluster. Smoking is not permitted in any Stanford building. Make sure that building and room doors are closed and locked if you are the last to leave. Be security conscious. Computer theft is a major concern on campus. Do not prop exterior doors open after 5:00 pm on weekdays, or on weekends.

Email Accounts and Computer Facilities

All students should obtain a Stanford Email account as soon as you arrive if you do not already have one. This is essential for classes and many other activities. You will also receive additional information concerning computing resources at Stanford. With your student ID number, you can open an Email account using the following web page: http://www.stanford.edu/services/sunetid. If you prefer to use a free account such as Yahoo or Hotmail, it will be your responsibility to be sure to have your Stanford account forward to it, and to access messages that such accounts do not permit.

Bikes on Campus

Bike security is a problem on campus. Make sure you have a strong lock and use the bike racks.

Student Hard Hats and Work Boots or Shoes

Hard-hat: You may use your own hard hat or buy one from a local store. Be sure it is an OSHA-certified hard-hat. You must bring your own hard hat on field trips.

Field boots: You should have a good pair of hard-soled leather work shoes or boots. A sturdy pair of leather hiking boots will also do for most projects. You should obtain these items during your first week on campus since some pertinent activities will start by the second week.

Student Lockers

There are no Construction Student Lockers available in Y2E2 Engineering Building.

Building Keys and Access Codes

Students must provide their Stanford ID numbers to the Construction Administrative Office, Room 242, to get after hours keycard access to the Y2E2 building using their Stanford ID cards. Research Assistants assigned to offices should see the program assistant in the Construction Administrative Office, Room 242 to obtain a room key. You will also need to register your Stanford ID number to get keycard access to enter Y2E2 after 5:00pm.

To Purchase a 2013-14 Student Photograph

There is a $10 charge for a student photo.


If, in an emergency, you or your spouse need to call into the office, please use 650.723.4447 and leave a message. Incoming messages will be placed in mailboxes. If you have a mobile phone and wish to be contacted this way in an emergency, provide your telephone number to the Program Administrator.


Students should use home addresses or a box at the Stanford Post Office for incoming mail. Student mail addressed to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering may be delayed and is not reliable. Outgoing campus and stamped US mail may be placed in the designated boxes around campus. Postage stamps are available only at the Post Office.

Student Salary Checks

Checks for research assistants, teaching assistants and course assistants come semi-monthly and are available in Room 314 for you to pick up. They arrive on the seventh and 22nd of each month. If the 7th or 22nd falls on the weekend, checks arrive the preceding Friday. Checks are usually available mid-morning on pay days. To avoid delays, you may apply for direct deposit through Axess.


The Engineering library and other campus libraries have photocopy machines available for student use. If you anticipate extensive copying, you may wish to purchase a copy card in Terman at the Engineering Library or at Green Library, which lowers the cost and avoids the need to carry coins. The FedEx Kinko’s Copy Center at Tresidder located on the 2nd Floor offers lower rates for bulk copying. The CEE Department machine is available only for work associated with sponsored research projects. The copier in Room 252 is for faculty and staff use only. Research and Teaching Assistants may use the copy machine in Room 252 for class assignment copies. The Program Administrator is not available to do your copy work.

Bulletin and Chalk Boards

Please check the bulletin board outside CEM/DCI/SDC Administrative Office every day for notices. The board will include schedules for the CEE258 lectures and special seminars. In addition, you will see interesting information regarding academic programs, conferences and other campus activities.

Staff Offices and Equipment

The Staff office is located in Y2E2, 2nd floor, Room 242. The telephone is 650.723.4447. If you have any questions, please stop in. We will be happy to assists you.

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CEM-DCI-SDC 2012-13 class picture

Calendar Mark Your Calendar

2013-2014 Orientation Guide
  • New Student Orientation
    Thursday, September 19
  • Safety Training
    Friday, September 20
  • First Day of Quarter: Instruction Begins
    Monday, September 23
  • Class Photo First CEE 258 Seminar Meeting
    Wednesday, September 25
  • New Student Welcome Party for Grad Students
    Friday, September 27, 3-6 p.m., Y2E2 Courtyard
  • CIFE Open House including presentation on internship option
    Wednesday, September 25, 5:15 - 6:45 pm, Y2E2, 292A
  • PhD Program Orientation
    TBD, Y2E2 292A
  • Welcome BBQ
    Sunday, September 29, SCRA
  • PBL Open House
    Tuesday, October 1, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, Y2E2 292A
  • GPC Open House
    Wednesday, October 23, 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.