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Comparing Design Thinking Traits between National Samples of Civil Engineering and Architecture Students | Journal of Civil Engineering Education


Civil engineers and architects are both trained in design thinking, but they approach the process of design from differing perspectives largely due to the divergence in their educational curriculums. With an interest in the effect of differing educational perspectives on design thinking outcomes, comparisons were made between the self-identified design thinking abilities of students in their final year of undergraduate civil engineering or architecture programs. Perceived design thinking ability was evaluated through a survey that was distributed to students enrolled in 4-year institutions across the United States. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) test was used to compare responses between the civil engineering (


) and architecture (


) student samples. There is a significant difference in perceived design thinking ability between the groups. Architecture students score higher than civil engineering students on all design thinking traits. Based on these results, the civil engineering curriculum may benefit from the incorporation of pedagogy that emphasizes design thinking, like studio-based learning.

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