Civil and environmental engineers apply basic principles of science, supported by mathematical and computational tools, to address the biggest challenges facing society: ensuring clean air, safe drinking water and sanitation; addressing our changing environment; protecting the population from natural and man-made hazards; designing a sustainable infrastructure that serves everyone; re-imagining human and commodity traffic for an automated future; and of course designing and constructing the world’s tallest buildings and most iconic bridges.
The civil engineering program comprises seven focus areas (construction engineering and management, construction materials, environmental engineering and science, geotechnical engineering, water resources engineering and science, structural engineering, and transportation engineering) and three interdisciplinary programs (sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems; energy-water-environment sustainability; and societal risk and hazard mitigation). Although each area and program has its own special body of knowledge and engineering tools, civil and environmental engineering projects often use knowledge and data from many of these topical areas together in order to address societal challenges.
For the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org, since 1936, the civil engineering curriculum is designed to develop engineers who have a strong background in mathematics and science, engineers who are articulate, and engineers who understand the nature of their special role in society and the impact of their work on the progress of civilization. The curriculum is designed to guarantee a certain breadth of knowledge in the civil engineering disciplines through a set of core courses, as well as to ensure depth and focus in certain disciplines through a primary and secondary area of specialization. The curriculum develops the basic engineering tools necessary to solve problems in the field of civil engineering, as well as opportunities to explore where the state-of-practice is headed in civil engineering.
The curriculum requires 128 hours and is organized into required courses, science electives, civil engineering technical courses, and other electives. The first two years of study for undergraduate students build the base needed for civil and environmental engineering education: students take physics, math, chemistry, theoretical and applied mechanics, and some general engineering courses. Students can also take several electives at this time. The last two years of study primarily involve civil and environmental engineering courses. Students elect primary and secondary areas of concentration within the department. Details of the curriculum are contained in the Civil Engineering Undergraduate Handbook.
Program Educational Objectives
Educational objectives for the civil engineering program reflect the mission of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the importance placed on successful professional practice, the ability to pursue advanced degrees, the assumption of professional and societal leadership roles, and a commitment to lifelong learning. University of Illinois Civil and Environmental Engineering graduates will:
- Successfully enter the civil and environmental engineering profession as practicing engineers and consultants with prominent companies and organizations in diverse topic areas it comprises;
- Pursue graduate education and research at major research universities and national laboratories;
- Pursue professional licensure;
- Advance to leadership positions in the profession;
- Engage in continued learning through professional development;
- Participate in and contribute to professional societies and community service.
The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department expects our graduates to have:
- an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
- an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
- an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
- an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
- an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
- an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
- an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
Program Review and Approval
To qualify for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, each student's academic program plan must be reviewed by a standing committee of the faculty (the Program Review Committee) and approved by the Associate Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering in charge of undergraduate programs. This review and approval process ensures that individual programs satisfy the educational objectives and all of the requirements of the civil and environmental engineering program, that those programs do not abuse the substantial degree of flexibility that is present in the curriculum, and that the career interests of each student are cultivated and served.
Civil and Environmental Engineering Career Paths
The career paths available to the civil engineer are many and varied and can involve a wide range of activities, tools, situations, clients, and venues – from conceptual design of facilities that do not yet exist to forensic study of facilities that have failed to perform as expected, from advanced simulation of complex systems to the management of people and projects, and from private consulting to public service. In addition to the educational objectives that apply to all engineering programs, civil engineers must be as well prepared for a career that traverses this considerable professional breadth as for a career focused on a single professional activity. The civil engineering curriculum is specifically designed to meet this educational challenge by emphasizing fundamental knowledge, transferable skills, and lifelong learning.