What is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineers are instrumental in planning, analyzing, and designing the infrastructure we take for granted in rural and urban areas. This infrastructure includes structures, transportation systems, water supply systems, sewage disposal systems. Civil engineers work in a variety of different professional settings and may specialize in one of the following areas:CE logo

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering

Civil engineers also work as general civil engineers or managers of large projects with teams of civil engineers specialists. Many civil engineers work on design teams in the office to decide how a project should be built. The products are reports, drawings, and contract documents. Civil engineers may also work with construction managers to build the facilities after they have been designed. Other civil engineers plan, design, and implement projects to ensure that facilities are repaired as needed. Operations engineers (such as traffic engineers and water treatment plant engineers) keep systems work efficiently.

Careers: Opportunity, Variety, and Challenge

Together, the varieties of technical work, and types of work places, result in a wide range of choices for civil engineers. All civil engineering jobs involve both technical work and communication, which is vitally important on large projects requiring teamwork. Civil engineers are needed in all urban and rural areas and the challenges ahead for this field of engineering are exciting.

Today, civil engineers make use of modern technologies to find solutions to important problems such as mitigation of air and water pollution, management of hazardous waste, and the safety of facilities such as schools, bridges, roads, dams, and pipelines. If you are interested in a challenging career with good pay and benefits, if you want to work on projects that benefit people, if you like to solve problems and figure out how to make thing work better, civil engineering would be the right career for you.

The Program at Sacramento State

The Bachelor of Science in the Civil Engineering program is designed for students who wish to begin the professional careers immediately after obtaining a BS degree. At the same time, the program enables students to prepare for advanced study though a graduate program. Our program strengths lie in the practical approach to civil engineering. Laboratory facilities are well-equipped. A hands-on approach is taken instruction throughout the curriculum, with emphases on the solution of civil engineering problems in practical and socially acceptable ways. Most facility have been licensed to practice in their field and have had experience as professional engineers before joining the Department.

In lower division courses, students develop math and science skills, taking four courses in calculus, one in chemistry, and two in calculus-based physics. Lower division work also includes general education courses and introductory courses in civil engineering.ABET Accreditation logo

Upper division courses include five major areas of civil engineering (environmental, geotechnical, structures, transportation, and water resources) and lab courses that supplement theory with hands-on experience. The upper division program culminates in a senior design project and three elective courses in which students can obtain greater breadth or depth. The BS in Civil Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Faculty and Students

The Civil Engineering program has eleven full-time faculty and several emeritus faculty and part-time instructors. The faculty have expertise in all major areas of specialization in civil engineering. Many are currently involved in scholarly activities which support teaching by enhancing currency in their field or enhancing utilization of modern technologies in the delivery of instruction. All of the faculty have doctorate degrees in civil engineering, and most of the faculty have obtained board registration as professional engineers.

Students enter the program either directly from high school or as transfer students from a community college. Civil Engineering is one of the largest majors in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.  Many students work part-time in their field of interest, and most students are active in student chapters of professional organizations. The student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is among the largest and most active student organizations in the college. One of the highlights for students during recent years has been success in competitions for the design, construction, and racing of a concrete canoe, and the design and construction of a steel bridge. Participation in student professional organizations provides students with the opportunity to develop teamwork, organization, and project management skills as well as to interact with professional engineers.