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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > August 2004 > FHWA Course Provides Intensive Introduction to Highway Materials Engineering
August 2004Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-028

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FHWA Course Provides Intensive Introduction to Highway Materials Engineering

Applications are now being accepted for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) annual 6-week Highway Materials Engineering course. The course was developed primarily for State highway agency engineers who require a basic knowledge of highway materials. In Selecting participants, first priority is given to employees of State, local, and Federal agencies involved in highway construction. The course will be held January 31-March 18, 2005, at the University of Nevada, Reno, with a 1-week break from February 21-25.

Subject areas covered are:

  • Materials Control and Acceptance-Quality Assurance
  • Soils and Foundations
  • Steels, Welding, and Coatings
  • Aggregates and Unbound Bases
  • Asphalt Materials and Paving Mixtures
  • Concrete.

The course includes approximately 150 hours of classroom work and 50 hours of laboratory work, as well as reading and problem-solving assignments and examinations. "This course is a unique experience that is not available anywhere else," says Tommy Beatty, Director of FHWA's Office of Pavement Technology. Over a 14-year period, approximately 375 persons have attended.

The washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has sent two mid- or senior-level employees each year for the past 4 years to the course, and in the 4 to 5 years before that sent one employee a year. "By covering asphalt, concrete, steel, and geotech topics, the course gives our managers a well-rounded background in materials and materials acceptance," says Tom Baker, State Materials Engineer for WSDOT. "It also provides an excellent background in Statistics, which has become increasingly important. We plan to send all of our materials and construction engineers through the course."

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the characteristics and engineering properties of the materials used in highways.
  • Identify and describe the selection criteria and important design properties of highway materials.
  • Describe the important steps and considerations in mix design procedures.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of materials quality assurance and be able to develop an effective materials acceptance plan.
  • Describe the field and laboratory testing procedures and the significance of test results, along with their relationship to laboratory designs.
  • Describe the issues and trends of importance to State highway agency materials engineering personnel.

The fee for the course is $4,700. The application deadline is November 1, 2004, and applicants will be notified of their status by December 1, 2004. To obtain an application or for more information, contact Michael Rafalowski in FHWA's Office of Pavement Technology, 202-366-1571 (fax: 202-493-2070; email:

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Updated: 02/20/2015

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