Undergraduate Degree Program for Civil Engineering

Civil engineers are innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs. They design and build buildings, bridges, dams, roller coasters, space structures, and sound stages for rock concerts. They devise complex systems, such as transportation and water-supply networks, or information systems for design and management of engineering projects. They also design water treatment and wastewater treatment systems and hazardous waste remediation projects that protect the environment.

If you enjoy science and math and would like an opportunity to serve society by creating, maintaining, and upgrading the infrastructure we all rely on, this is a field you should investigate. Civil engineers know how to evaluate risk and ensure the high reliability of their designs. Any creator of a stadium, suspension bridge, wind farm, or drinking water system will tell you that failure is not an option.

As a civil engineering student at Cornell, you will work with some of the world’s top engineering faculty and fellow students. You will not only learn engineering theory and how to apply it, you will also learn to navigate the ins and outs of today’s complex business and regulatory arenas. Many civil engineering graduates go on to take leadership positions in established companies or start their own firms. You may also decide to continue on for an additional year to participate in Cornell’s graduate-level management program, which is taught by Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) faculty members.

Civil engineers strive for harmony and balance between the constructed human environment and the natural world. At Cornell, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize in one or more areas of civil engineering, including: environmental fluid mechanics; geotechnical engineering; hydrology; structural engineering; transportation engineering; environmental processes; and water resources. If you are most interested in environmental engineering, there is a degree program devoted to that specialty area (see the environmental engineering flyer), or you can work with an advisor to plan a more general civil engineering program that suits your interests.

You will have ample opportunity to participate in community activities by joining the award-winning chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Every year the ASCE chapter participates in national competitions to build and race a concrete canoe and to design and build a steel bridge. The group also sponsors community service projects. In addition, ASCE hosts several intramural teams, organizes social outings, and sets up study sessions for the professional-licensing exam. Students can also participate in the multi-disciplinary program AguaClara, which involves students in the design of sustainable water treatment systems for underdeveloped countries. Systems designed by Cornell students currently provide safe drinking water to more than 50,000 people in Honduras, Nicaragua, and India.

Outcomes

Civil engineers are innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs. They design and build buildings, bridges, dams, and devise complex systems, such as transportation and water-supply networks, or information systems for design and management of engineering projects. They innovate new technologies for natural disaster detection and preparedness, and discover new methods for building technologies that are more sustainable and have greater longevity. Many civil engineering graduates go on to take leadership positions in established companies or start their own firms.

Master of Engineering Degree Program

The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a master of engineering ( M.Eng.) degree in civil and environmental engineering and in engineering management. The M.Eng. in civil and environmental engineering allows students to deepen their understanding of one of the field’s specialty areas and is excellent preparation for a career with an engineering firm.

Engineering management is for students who seek leadership positions in management of projects, people, and organizations. It combines engineering competency with managerial skills to bring about the efficient development of technology. Engineering managers play a key role in advancing technology through strategic and operational decision-making. They guide the development of technology with high-level expertise and a broad perspective on how technology impacts economies, enhances social structures, and affects the larger global environment.

Some Areas of Faculty Research

  • civil engineering materials
  • contaminant transport, behavior and treatment
  • engineering management
  • geotechnical engineering
  • remote sensing
  • structural engineering
  • structural mechanics
  • transportation engineering and planning
  • transportation systems

Civil Engineering by the Numbers

Number of Civil Engineering undergraduate students: 95

Starting salaries of B.S. Civil Engineering graduates (for 2019):

  • Median: $62,500
  • High: $75,000

Post-graduate plans for civil engineers graduates at the time of graduation (2019):

  • Employed 72% 72%
  • Attending Graduate School 28% 28%