Established in 1947, the McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University is the second oldest construction education program in the United States. With more than 3,000 graduates worldwide, the BSCI program has prepared many Auburn students to become prominent leaders in the construction industry.

Undergraduate Building Science prospects must meet rigorous academic standards to be admitted into the Professional BSCI program and earn a degree in that field. Only thirty applicants are chosen in rank order for fall and summer admittance, and 60 applicants are admitted for spring semesters.

The BSCI program provides many opportunities for students learn practical and professional skills that they will directly apply to future jobs. Each year, Structures III classes participate in concrete community service projects for clients in the Auburn area. Students are also required to complete a surveying camp between the summer and fall semester, at which they learn surveying techniques, construction layout, use of equipment and dimensional controls for buildings.

For the past two years, the Building Science Study Abroad Program has provided senior BSCI students with international and unique hands-on learning opportunities. This summer, 24 students will participate in a five-week thesis program in China.

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In December 2005, construction was China’s fourth-largest industry and consumed approximately 50 percent of the world’s cement supply. China is argued to be the world’s leading market for industrial design and construction services.

“We feel as though studying abroad is an invaluable experience: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in a foreign country, to experience its customs and culture, and to adapt to new surroundings,” said BSCI professor John D. Murphy Jr.

The students leave for Shanghai on May 19, where they will visit design and construction firms and attend cultural events and architectural tours. One week later, they will travel on a bullet train to Beijing. In Beijing, they will visit the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Olympic venues. On days they aren’t site seeing, the group will either visit firms or work on actual construction projects.

They will then spend three weeks at SIAS International University, the first solely American-owned university in central China. Auburn professor Peter Weiss developed the master plan and designed 33 buildings for the campus, which is 300 miles south of Beijing.

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