The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enjoys an outstanding reputation for excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, and for research that improves the quality of life in our nation and around the world.
World-class reputation, Midwestern warmth
CEE at Illinois is widely known for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere where students, faculty and visitors come from Illinois, across the U.S. and worldwide to learn, study, and conduct leading research in civil and environmental engineering. The department is part of the University of Illinois College of Engineering.
CEE at Illinois consistently ranks among the most elite programs in the U.S. and worldwide for both undergraduate and graduate studies. The widely cited U.S. News & World Report rankings annually place Illinois very highly for our civil engineering undergraduate, civil engineering graduate and undergraduate environmental and graduate environmental programs.
The longstanding reputation of CEE at Illinois has enabled the department to attract world-class experts in all areas of study. Members of the CEE faculty are leaders in their fields, yet they remain highly accessible to and involved with their students. Most appear regularly on the University’s List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students.
Active student life
Numerous student organizations exist at Illinois, including an active student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which sponsors many events throughout the year. The famous Concrete Canoe races were invented here in the 1970s by CEE at Illinois Professor Clyde Kesler, now retired. From movie nights in the crane bay to service projects with Engineers Without Borders, Illinois engineering students are never bored.
Several high-profile research centers enhance the curriculum and offer students—both graduate and undergraduate—ample opportunity to participate in cutting-edge projects with significant societal impact. Faculty members in all areas of study have active research programs.
History of excellence
Since the founding of the department in 1867, Illinois civil engineers have made their mark on the nation. Illinois engineers have worked on numerous infrastructure landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the New York subway, the interstate highways, and drinking water and waste treatment systems in communities across the nation. Illini engineers continue to design, build and improve society’s infrastructure—in the United States and, increasingly, throughout the world.
Areas of study
There are seven primary areas of study available to both undergraduate and graduate students: Construction Engineering and Management, Construction Materials, Environmental Engineering and Science, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Water Resources Engineering and Science. Interdisciplinary programs in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems, Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability and Societal Risk Management give students a broad, systems-level perspective on the complex civil and environmental challenges facing the world today.
Engineering degrees awarded
At the undergraduate level, students work towards a bachelor of science (B.S) degree in civil engineering, selecting concentrations in two areas of study. The Master of Science (M.S.) degree is also offered in all seven areas with a thesis and non-thesis option. The non-thesis option is increasingly popular for students wishing to enter practice and can be completed in two semesters or in two-semesters and a summer session. The Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering and in Environmental Engineering are offered as well for students seeking advanced positions in academia, research and practice. Interdisciplinary studies (e.g., sustainability) are increasing popular at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels with programs customized for the goals of each student.
More than 70 undergraduate scholarships are awarded each year through the department’s internal scholarship program. The undergraduate blog routinely lists outside scholarships available to CEE students, for which Illinois students are always competitive. About half of our entering graduate students were awarded fellowships and/or research assistantships in fall 2008.
The laboratory facilities at Illinois are second to none, and some research equipment is available nowhere else. The world’s largest machine for testing of pavement and rail assemblies also is located in our department.
Students can take advantage of the $7 million M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Student Center, a 20,500-square-foot addition to Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory. Completed in July, 2011, the Yeh Center provides state-of-the-art classrooms, meeting rooms and informal gathering space for the department’s students.
Graduates of CEE at Illinois are always in high demand. The department hosts two career fairs each year in the spring and fall with approximately 75 companies at each one, ready to hire CEE students for their first professional employment, for summer positions and various internships. Throughout the year, various other activities such as networking events, resume workshops and professional development events help students prepare for the workforce while they are still in college. Students approaching graduation are enthusiastically recruited for full-time positions. Illini engineers hold positions of prominence in all areas of civil and environmental engineering, offering students the promise of countless, beneficial networking opportunities throughout their careers. View a video about our career fair.
Alumni of CEE at Illinois number 15,000 strong and can be found practicing engineering around the world. CEE alumni have led and participated in major civil engineering achievements recognized throughout the globe. They are also involved with the less visible but equally critical areas of civil engineering: developing new materials and improving the ones we use, building on technologies to keep our water supplies clean, ensuring the safety and durability of transportation systems, retrofitting buildings and bridges to withstand earthquakes, and so on. Many alumni continue close collaborations with our faculty in research and practice.