Civil engineers create, design, evaluate and maintain infrastructure: roads, bridges, tunnels, dams and other modifications to land and water. Civil engineers can work with government agencies or companies, and the job outlook for civil engineers is expected to grow 20 percent until 2020, according to the Department of Labor (Reference 1). Many schools throughout the United States offer civil engineering programs of study.
Large Public Universities that Offer Civil Engineering Programs
Civil engineering courses are available at many large public universities. The U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Illinois' civil engineering program first in the nation in 2013 (Reference 2). The university is also ranked in the top 100 in the Forbes Magazine list of top colleges (Reference 3). Undergraduates can choose from eight different concentrations within the civil engineering program, such as construction materials and management, hydrology and hydraulic engineering and geotechnical and structural engineering (Reference 4). Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, ranked seventh in the U.S. News & World Report 2013 list of top civil engineering colleges, has a distance learning program for students who want to obtain a master's degree (Reference 5).
Large Private Universities
Stanford University in Stanford, California, has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering. Stanford has a relatively new program for civil engineering students called "atmosphere and energy." In this specialization, engineers take courses in renewable energy construction, climate change and constructing environmentally friendly structures (Reference 6). Stanford was ranked first on the Forbes Magazine list of best colleges, and third for civil engineering by the U.S. News & World Report in 2013 (References 2 and 3). Carnegie Mellon University, located in Pittsburgh, ranked in the top 50 on the Forbes Magazine list of top schools, and tenth in civil engineering by the U.S. News and World Report in 2013 (References 2 and 3). Students at Carnegie Mellon can specialize in civil engineering, infrastructure systems, environmental engineering or structures, mechanics or geotechnical engineering. A minor in sustainable engineering is also available. The university also has a cooperative education program for students to work a year in the engineering industry before graduation (Reference 7).
Small Public Colleges
The Missouri University of Science and Technology, ranked 50th in civil engineering by the U.S. News and World Report in 2013, has a freshman engineering program designed to help freshman develop skills and relationships in the engineering field. The program also assists students choose the engineering field they want to specialize in (Reference 10). Michigan Technological University offers students the opportunity to study abroad and, as seniors, construct designs that will have real-world applications in developing countries. Students may also participate in research programs during the summer (Resource 1). Michigan Tech was ranked in the top 100 civil engineering programs by the U.S. News & World Report in 2013 and in the Forbes Magazine list of top schools in the nation (References 2 and 3).
Small Private Colleges
Lehigh University's civil engineering program offers multiple opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct research. The university and the National Science Foundation have a research internship available for student engineers during the summer. Also, the university participates in Engineers Without Borders, a program where student engineers help with construction projects worldwide (Reference 8). Lehigh was ranked 19th among engineering schools in the U.S. News & World Report. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was the first university to grant degrees in civil engineering in the United States. As undergraduates, students are expected to conduct research in the institute's engineering lab with one-on-one support from an advisor (Reference 9). Rensselaer was ranked 26th by the U.S. News & World Report.
- U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Forbes: America's Top Colleges
- University of Illinois: Civil and Environmental Engineering: Areas of Study
- Virginia Tech: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Distance Learning Program
- Stanford: Civil and Environmental Engineering: Prospective Students: Graduate Programs
- Carnegie Mellon University: Civil & Environmental Engineering: Undergraduate Education
- Lehigh University: Civil and Environmental Engineering: Undergraduate Research Programs
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Undergraduate Research Program
- Missouri University of Science and Technology: Freshman Engineering
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