Civil engineers are at the forefront of invention for a better future.

Best Bachelors in Civil Engineering

If you have a passion for innovation, a career as a civil engineer might be for you.

Civil engineers are arguable some of the most important individuals when it comes to engineering, problem-solving, and technological advancement. These individuals work to meet the challenges of society in regards to traffic, water, energy, development, and community planning.

Civil engineers utilize computer-aided design and the most advanced aspects of computer and mathematical engineering to develop technologies that make our world more efficient.

It is one of the oldest engineering disciplines, with its earliest practice originating between 4000 and 2000 B.C. Civil engineers must be interdisciplinary, team-oriented, and creative in order to become global leaders in building a better planet. As the world’s population grows, more pressure is placed on civil engineers to adapt technologies and structures to the changing needs of society.

The work of civil engineers is all around you, from the roads and bridges we drive on to get to work, to the buildings that we live in. Civil engineers have the ability to impart major change. Consider a degree in civil engineering if you are interested in making a difference that will last for centuries.

What kind of civil engineering degree should you get?

In most cases, only an undergraduate degree is needed for career success in civil engineering. Although many students go on to obtain advanced degrees (especially if they intend to pursue leadership or entrepreneurial positions), these are usually not necessary to obtain high-paying jobs.

In fact, civil engineering is listed as one of the highest paying undergraduate degrees in the country.

Thinking about studying engineering online? Take a look at our list of the Best Online Engineering Degrees.

How much money do people make with a civil engineering degree?

The average annual wage for civil engineers is $83,540. This is extremely high compared to other positions requiring a college degree. Few civil engineers earn less than $53,470, while the highest earn over $132,000.

Civil engineers who work for the federal government tend to make the most amount of money, although all positions have higher than average annual salaries. In addition, the job outlook for civil engineers is good. Employment is expected to grow about eleven percent, which is significantly higher than the national average.

What can you do with a degree in civil engineering?

Civil engineers work all around the world, in a wide variety of contexts. Many work at private consulting or construction firms, while others are employed in industry or for the government.

Civil engineers with advanced degrees or several years of experience often hold supervisory or administrative positions, or even go on to start their own businesses. They are in high demand across all sectors, whether that be in law, medicine, academia, or business. Common employers include AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, and GE.

What are the requirements for a degree in civil engineering?

To become a civil engineer, a bachelor’s degree is absolutely necessary. Students should prepare themselves in high school by taking courses in mathematics, statistics, and the natural sciences. Other helpful electives include engineering mechanics and systems.

Most undergraduate programs will require high SAT or ACT scores, especially in mathematics subsections, and may request letters of recommendations from science, technology, or mathematics teachers in secondary school. While enrolled in a civil engineering degree, students will take courses that cover the foundations and fundamentals of civil engineering, such as those in materials, the environment, statistics, computer science, and technical writing.

What are the best civil engineering degrees?

The best civil engineering degrees are those that are from an ABET-accredited department. This accreditation ensure that graduates will be able to obtain the professional engineer license in most states.

Good programs will also include a blend of hands-on experimental learning and theoretical foundational courses. The very best include a mix of traditional learning in laboratories and classrooms with cooperative programs that allow students to gain work experience. Others may include independent research with faculty members–another good bet for individuals hoping to go directly into research or the workforce upon graduation.

1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $21,576

School Website

Overview

Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a top-ranked, ABET accredited undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering. This program is our first pick for a reason–it offers a wide range of core courses in civil engineering that prepare students with strong fundamental knowledge of the sustainability of existing structures and future design. MIT involves students in groundbreaking research and hands-on experiences.

Program Features

Classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are taught and developed by industry leaders. Students will work in cutting-edge research laboratories, such as the Parsons Laboratory and Pierce Laboratory, to conduct studies for classes such as:

  • Computer Programming for Scientific and Engineering Applications
  • Multivariate Data Analysis
  • Senior Civil and Environmental Engineering Design
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Multiscale Characterization of Materials
  • Project Evaluation and Management
  • Principles of Energy and Water Sustainability
  • Water Resource Systems

Notables

The research and education programs at MIT are designed to equip students to serve the nation as professionals, scholars, academic leaders, and entrepreneurs. Students work to address fundamental issues that affect infrastructure, the environment, and systems. For this reason (and many others), MIT is a highly respected institution, earning the title of fifth best university in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

2

Stanford University

College Choice Score: 99.96

Average Net Price: $16,695

School Website

Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Stanford University combines superior research with core engineering education. Students in this program have the option to specialize in structures and construction, or environmental and water studies. These specializations train students to work effectively as critical professionals either alone or in teams. Upon graduating from this program, students are prepared to enter directly into the workforce, or to enter into other top graduate degree programs at Stanford.

Program Features

In addition to the coursework specializations listed above, Stanford also offers students the opportunity to diversify by taking courses in interdisciplinary fields such as Earth Systems, Huan Biology, and Urban Studies. Other required courses include:

  • Intro to Solid Mechanics
  • Environmental Science and Technology
  • Managing Sustainable Building Projects
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Computations in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Rivers, Streams, and Canals
  • Legal Principles in Design, Construction, and Project Delivery

Notables

Research at Stanford is critical, both working to advance the civil and environmental professions, and to prepare students for future careers in those field. Students conduct research focusing specifically on engineering for sustainability. This is conducted in multi-million dollar facilities such as the National Science Foundation-supported Engineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure. The university also features an overseas study program that allows students to apply concepts learned on campus to international settings.

3

Princeton University

College Choice Score: 95.46

Average Net Price: $17,732

School Website

Overview

Princeton’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering allows students the ability to concentrate in five different sub-plans, including studies in Architecture, Environment, Geology, Structures, or the Liberal Arts. The university places such a strong emphasis on independent research that it requires seniors to complete a year-long thesis project. Sophomores and juniors also are encouraged to participate in integrated research and development.

Program Features

In addition to core coursework taken at the university, students also participate in cooperative research and education at institutes both on-campus and off. These institutes include the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as well as the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. International internships, study abroad, and independent study opportunities are also available. Students will engage in classes such as:

  • Environmental Engineering Fundamentals I: Atmospheric and Surface Processes
  • Environmental Engineering Fundamentals II: Surface and Subsurface Processes
  • Introduction to Probability Modeling in Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences
  • Design of Large-Scale Structures: Buildings
  • Introduction to Finite-element Methods
  • Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

Notables

Princeton’s world-class faculty consists of twenty-six Nobel Prize winners. Seventy-six percent of the faculty at the university are tenured professorial staff, contributing to a five to one student to faculty ratio. This contributes to a high level of student success and involvement; in fact, twenty-two Princeton students have received the distinctive Rhodes Scholars Award in the last decade.

4

University of California-Berkeley

College Choice Score: 94.23

Average Net Price: $17,160

School Website

Overview

Students at the University of California at Berkeley receive hands-on education and leadership development, preparing them for work anywhere in the world. The university’s extensive and proud alumni network has earned distinctions working on projects such as Levi’s Stadium, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. As a result, the programs in civil engineering are ranked number two in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and the Engineering Department as a whole is ranked number one.  

Program Features

With fifty full-time prodigious faculty members, the Department of Civil Engineering at U.C. Berkeley prepares students for leadership in the profession. While seventy-five percent of its graduates go directly on to the workforce, with a very high job placement rate, the remainder enters into advanced studies in civil and environmental engineering. Coursework for the undergraduate degree includes:

  • Introduction to Computer Programming for Scientists and Engineers
  • Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • Thermodynamics
  • Transportation Systems Engineering
  • Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
  • Foundation Engineering Design
  • Design of Cyber-Physical Systems

Notables

Studying in the San Francisco Bay Area allows students world-class opportunities to engage in groundbreaking engineering projects and professional development. In addition, the on-campus civil and environmental engineering laboratories are among the best in the nation. All students–not just graduate students–receive some sort of hands on research education.

5

Georgia Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 92.55

Average Net Price: $13,340

School Website

Overview

Georgia Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering does not only prepare students for professional practice, it also contribute to society in numerous, influential ways. Graduates work in planning and design, construction, research, maintenance, law, banking, and many other fields. With an enormous alumni body of over 11,000 living members, the institute proudly hosts the statistic of one in ten civil engineering alumni serving as company founders, CEOs, or presidents.

Program Features

Undergraduate students may choose to specialize in a chosen track or to study a generalized civil engineering curriculum. Fields of study include Construction Management, Environmental Systems, Geotechnical Systems, Structural Systems, and Transportation Systems. Georgia Tech, located in Atlanta, provides students with studies in the number one U.S. city for engineers. Regardless of the track chosen, students will take classes such as:

  • Computing
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Differential Dynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics

Notables

The main facility dedicated to engineering studies at the institute, the Jesse W. Mason Building, is known as the “heartbeat” of the school and receives significant funding and resources. Students have access to eighteen plug-and-play computer workstations, teaching laboratories for geotechnical engineering and construction materials, and glass-paneled group project rooms. Students also have access to living research laboratories such as the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building, which promotes the importance of the relationship between technology and the environment, and the Structural Engineering and Materials Laboratory.

6

Harvard University

College Choice Score: 90.81

Average Net Price: $16,205

School Website

Overview

At Harvard, the Engineering Science program exists within the liberal arts environment. The curriculum emphasizes both science and mathematical analysis, along with a heavy core in general topics so that students can succeed in integrative areas of the field. Students work to apply engineering concepts to real-world problems and to utilize state-of-the-art technologies.

Program Features

Faculty at Harvard University are some of the most distinguished in the field, with eighteen active members of the National Academy of Engineering, and nineteen who are members of the National Academy of Sciences. Faculty teach a range of research- and theory- based courses to students, including:

  • Statistical Inference for Scientists & Engineers
  • Series Expansions & Complex Analysis
  • Ordinary & Partial Differential Equations
  • Systems Programming & Machine Organization
  • Mechanics & Materials
  • Engineering Physics & Chemistry

Notables

In addition to a wide body of qualified teaching staff, Harvard also boasts an impressive endowment of $1.2 billion. In addition, the university has over $46.8 million dedicated solely to sponsored research, allowing all students–not just graduate students–in civil engineering to conduct real-life, project-based learning and research.

7

Columbia University

College Choice Score: 88.06

Average Net Price: $22,973

School Website

Overview

Columbia is the fifth oldest university in the United States, with an active, robust civil engineering program offered since 1868. The department is one of the oldest in the country, originally offering courses through the School of Mines. The department continues to produce successful alumni who hold executive, technical, and educative positions at industries and engineering schools around the world.

Program Features

Students in the program have access to a wide range of courses, many of which prepare for both career success as well as for graduate-level studies. Recommended and elective courses include:

  • Hydrosystems Engineering
  • Engineering for Developing Communities
  • Sustainable Water Treatment and Reuse
  • Urban Ecology Studio
  • Independent Studies in Flight Sciences
  • Independent Studies in Environmental Engineering
  • Civil Engineering Reports
  • The Art of Structural Design

Notables

Columbia University continues to offer a range of interdisciplinary research and development opportunities for students. The Institute of Flight Structures is offered within the department that trains students in aerospace and aeronautical-aspects of structural analysis and design. The National Center for Infrastructure Studies puts together industry and government initiatives to allow students to practice tools and knowledges necessary for addressing infrastructure issues. The university also hosts an active chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a pre-professional organization that helps students find scholarships as well as part- and full-time jobs.

8

Carnegie Mellon University

College Choice Score: 87.32

Average Net Price: $35,250

School Website

Overview

Carnegie Mellon’s engineering programs are highly ranked and widely accredited, with the civil engineering undergraduate degree ranked twelfth overall in the entire country. Students are encouraged and assisted in independent research, internships, and study abroad programs. Many students also choose to diversify their studies by double-majoring in fields such as Biomedical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy.

Program Features

In addition to a popular major in civil engineering, the college also offers programs in chemical, electrical and computer, mechanical and materials science and engineering. This wide range of offerings exposes students to a breadth of coursework, including:

  • Principles of Computing
  • Integration and Approximation
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Project Management for Construction
  • Structural Design
  • Special Topics: Fundamental Concepts and Methods of Structural Mechanics

Notables

The curriculum in Civil Engineering at Carnegie Mellon is highly diversified, allowing students to pursue areas of personal interest. Students work carefully with a close academic advisor to develop meaningful experiences that emphasize design, teamwork, and hands-on experience in laboratories. Students take coursework that emphasizes environmental sustainability and the understanding of the evolution of technology. Students take several courses in computer methods, and also engage in programming that prepares them for other professional fields, such as business, law, or medicine.

9

Cornell University

College Choice Score: 86.66

Average Net Price: $30,014

School Website

Overview

Cornell University’s civil engineering program emphasizes leadership and sound business decision-making. Many graduates of this program go on to take leadership roles in established companies or even to start their own businesses. The university educates some of the country’s top engineers, and provides the opportunity to specialize in one or more areas, including civil infrastructure, transportation engineering, environmental fluid mechanics, hydrology, or water resources, and others.

Program Features

In addition to an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering, the school also offers master’s degrees in both civil and environmental engineering, along with one in engineering management. Coursework at the undergraduate level prepares students for either goal, offering classes such as:

  • Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
  • Statics and Mechanics of Solids
  • Engineering Computation
  • Remote Sensing for Environmental Resource Inventory
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Case Studies in Environmental Fluid Mechanics
  • Retaining Structures and Slopes
  • Laboratory Research in Environmental Engineering

Notables

The university also offers a broad variety of community activities, such as the award-winning student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This group sponsors community service projects and participation in national competitions. The student group has won multiple awards in competitions such as building steel bridges or concrete canoes. The chapter also hosts intramural teams, outings, and study sessions for the professional civil engineering licensing examination.

10

Dartmouth College

College Choice Score: 86.51

Average Net Price: $21,177

School Website

Overview

The Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering at Dartmouth prepares students for professional practice and career success. Civil engineering students at Dartmouth have access to superior student resources, including over two hundred computer workstations. Freshmen are introduced to computing right away, and basic training on all systems is available to students free of charge. Students also have access to powerful computers with specialized software in the civil engineering laboratory. These computers include software typically used for modern computer-aided design.

Program Features

With a student to faculty ratio of just sixteen to one, students at Dartmouth have close access to some of the best instructors in the world. The campus offers over eighty different undergraduate programs, allowing the ability to engage in interdisciplinary learning while at the same time receiving in-depth theoretical understandings of civil engineering. Classes include:

  • Civil Engineering Design Graphics
  • Engineering Mechanics II: Dynamics
  • Differential Equations
  • Fluid Mechanics Lab
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Engineering Economy

Notables

Faculty members are heavily involved in externally funded grants and research projects, allowing students to work alongside some of the most cutting-edge projects in the world. Many students go on to apply for internships at institutions such as the Massachusetts Military Reservation, treatment plants, and consulting firms. Students also have the ability to participate in student organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers. These organizations allow students to network with students from other schools, become published in monthly journals, and obtain access to exclusive career, internship, and scholarship opportunities.

11

Duke University

College Choice Score: 86.08

Average Net Price: $19,950

School Website

Overview

Duke’s program in civil engineering is highly ranked by a wide variety of reporting agencies. It is one of the top ten best schools for engineering majors, according to Salary Potential, providing graduates with an average $78,400 in pay upon graduation. It is also ranked sixth in the U.S. for environmental science and engineering. Students have access to multiple dual major opportunities as well as a fast track 4+1 bachelor’s and master’s degree program. This allows students to obtain degrees in just five short years of study.

Program Features

Classes at Duke are taught by interactive, hands-on faculty. Teachers know each student’s name, and work closely with them to develop intensive, hands-on research. Students also have the option to engage in independent study courses. Other required courses include:

  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Reinforced Concrete Design
  • Structural Analysis
  • Probability & Statistics
  • Systems Optimization & Economics
  • Structural Steel Design
  • Integrated Structural Design

Notables

A tremendous amount of flexibility is offered through the engineering programs at Duke. Students may study abroad or engage in professional internships to help them advance their careers and future opportunities. Undergraduates at Duke also have access to unique research fellowships and scholar programs, opportunities that are usually only afforded to graduate students. The Pratt Undergraduate Research Fellows, Grand Challenge Scholars, and Duke Smart Home Fellows programs allow students to engage in independent study and training in entrepreneurship to enhance their resumes.

12

Rice University

College Choice Score: 84.96

Average Net Price: $22,061

School Website

Overview

Rice University is a leading research university with a profound dedication to educating undergraduate engineers. It is one of the most renowned and smallest research universities in the world, allowing students access to a broad range of activities across the campus’ interdisciplinary centers. The engineering department offers two bachelor’s degrees, a non-thesis graduate degree, and a doctorate degree in civil engineering.

Program Features

Approximately ninety-five credit hours are required to graduate, most of which are a mix from General Math and Science courses, core coursework, and specialization electives. Students may choose to specialize in Urban Instructure, Reliability, and Management, Structural Engineering and Mechanics, Environmental Engineering, or Hydrology and Water Resources. Required classes include:

  • Matrix Analysis
  • Earth Structure and Deformation
  • Ordinary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Sustainable Design
  • Introduction to Air Pollution Control
  • Sustainable Water Purification for the Developing World

Notables

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice offers over $25,000 worth of scholarships each year. Scholarships are awarded to students who plan to perform research or design, or those who have already made significant creative contributions. The university also sponsors a chapter of Engineers Without Borders, as well as a variety of other engineering clubs, organizations, and competitions. Organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers Student and Chi Epsilon help promote the status of the field of civil engineering and to connect students with site visits, industry experiences, internships, and social events.

13

Lehigh University

College Choice Score: 84.07

Average Net Price: $27,478

School Website

Overview

The civil and environmental engineering program at Lehigh is one of the university’s largest and oldest, with laboratories on campus launching thousands of careers in engineering. Graduates from this department go on to become highly successful in industry and academia, contributing to decades of advanced research in engineering. Students at Lehigh receive rigorous training in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and scientific methods. Students graduate with broad technical knowledge and application skills, as well as the skills necessary to solve problems and think critical.

Program Features

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lehigh is small, hosting just over fifty graduate students, and around a hundred undergraduate students. Roughly one hundred and thirty credit hours are required to graduate. Sample coursework includes:

  • Applied Engineering Computer Methods
  • Engineering/Architectural Graphics and Design
  • Civil Engineering Statistics
  • Strength of Materials
  • Civil Engineering Materials
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Fundamentals of Structural Concrete Design

Notables

Lehigh offers several integral resources to undergraduate engineering students. The Fritz Engineering Laboratory is considered the department’s headquarters, and houses a seven-story structural lab featuring a five-million pound universal hydraulic testing machine, a field-scale hydraulics lab, and a cutting-edge geotechnical sensor laboratory. The STEPS building is also located on campus and features state-of-the-art, LEED-certified facilities. Students may use these facilities and others to conduct National Science Foundation-sponsored research and integrated learning experiences.

14

University of California - Los Angeles

College Choice Score: 84.03

Average Net Price: $14,236

School Website

Overview

The civil engineering undergraduate program at the University of California–Los Angeles provides a superior technical and theoretical foundation for students hoping to enter into professional practice in civil engineering. The university also offers graduate and doctoral degree programs in the areas of engineering materials, environmental and geotechnical engineering, hydrology and water resources engineering, and structures. Students have the opportunity to conduct research into one or more of these topics, blending interdisciplinary approaches and studies.

Program Features

The undergraduate program in civil engineering is designed as a capstone major. Students will work individually and with teams to complete original design projects. These projects are heavily researched and resolved, and are ultimately applied to real systems. Other required courses include:

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Civil Engineering Materials
  • Introductory Thermodynamics
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Environmental Health Sciences
  • Structural/Earthquake Engineering

Notables

The university’s unique location just outside Los Angeles affords its students multiple opportunities to network and research in one of the most advanced technological hubs in the world. Students have access to relevant labs and resources. For example, the Building Earthquake Instrumentation Network operates over one hundred earthquake strong motion instruments on campus to measure the response of buildings during earthquakes. Students work with the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor the impact of earthquakes and to develop solutions to building integrity issues.

15

The University of Texas at Austin

College Choice Score: 81.14

Average Net Price: $16,010

School Website

Overview

At the University of Texas at Austin, aspiring civil engineers can choose from bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees in the field. With over 10,000 alumni spread around the world, the program has an excellent reputation as one of the most distinguished of its kind. Civil engineering students are taught and advised by fifty internationally-recognized and wholly supportive faculty members.

Program Features

Undergraduate students will take two years of foundational courses in scientific and engineering principles. During the second two years, students will branch out, taking courses that allow them to gain strengths and emphasize in specific research areas. Required courses include:

  • Structural Analysis
  • Transportation Systems
  • Introduction to Computer Methods
  • Elementary Mechanics of Fluids
  • Sequence, Series & Multivariable Calculus
  • Engineering Professionalism
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Applied Thermodynamics

Notables

The university has several strategic partnerships with other universities and organizations, making Austin a working laboratory for many students. Aside from the city’s built-in opportunities for experiential learning, the university also hosts a wide variety of interdisciplinary centers on campus. These include the Center for Construction Industry Studies, the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, the Center for Water and the Environment, and the Center for Transportation Research.

16

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

College Choice Score: 80.76

Average Net Price: $16,107

School Website

Overview

Students in the Civil Engineering program at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor receive the broad-based education and extensive skills preparation necessary to pursue a variety of careers and graduate fields of study. Students may choose to specialize in several focus areas, including (but not limited to) construction engineering and management, geotechnical engineering, water quality and health, and earth systems.

Program Features

Throughout the duration of each student’s studies at the university, he or she will work on open-ended design problems. These projects are tackled in interdisciplinary teams and independently, and provide a beneficial supplement to the research project experiences students may choose to undertake on their own ta the university. Students who succeed in these endeavors are often encouraged to consider graduate study. Other required classes include:

  • Statics and Dynamics
  • Thermodynamics and the Environment
  • Sustainable Engineering Principles
  • Computational Methods for Engineers and Scientists
  • Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering Principles
  • Statistical Methods for Data Analysis and Uncertainty Modeling

Notables

The university offers over a thousand undergraduate research opportunities both on campus and beyond, with a new company launched nearly every month based on University of Michigan technologies. It is ranked the best and most collaborative U.S. college, as well as one of the most affordable for undergraduate study.

17

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

College Choice Score: 79.58

Average Net Price: $17,190

School Website

Overview

The civil engineering department at Virginia Polytechnic offers a wide range of studies in all major aspects of the practice, including construction engineering, land development, and transportation. Students are taught by a devoted group of faculty, nine of whom are endowed professorship holders, and six of which are members of either the National Academy of Engineering or National Academy of Construction. With nearly a five to one student to faculty ratio, students receive the utmost attention and hands-on advising.

Program Features

Virginia Tech emphasizes experiential learning and research focused on the future. The campus offers an inclusive, proud culture and alumni body that cultivates an environment for learning. Required classes include:

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering Measurements
  • Civil Engineering Drawings and CAD
  • Construction Management
  • Introduction to Land Development Design
  • Fluid Mechanic for Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Theory of Structures
  • Design of Steel Structures

Notables

The program is one of the top-ranked in the nation, with the ninth best undergraduate program in civil engineering according to the 2016 U.S. News and World Report. Because the campus is located in the capital region of Washington, D.C., students have exclusive access to some of the best and most influential career and internship opportunities in the country.

18

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College Choice Score: 79.54

Average Net Price: $16,683

School Website

Overview

The civil and environmental engineering program at Illinois is well-known for its welcoming atmosphere. With a large national and international population, the department consistently ranks among the best programs in the United States and worldwide for both undergraduate and graduate studies. Courses are taught by world-class experts who are leaders in their fields, and who also support a wide variety of student organizations. These organizations include active student chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Engineers without Borders.

Program Features

The civil engineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a top-ranked, comprehensive curriculum. Students take one hundred and twenty-eight hours of coursework, with the first two years building a solid base of mathematical and scientific understandings. The third and fourth years of study contain civil and environmental engineering courses, as well as a primary and secondary area of study from seven different concentrations. Required coursework includes:

  • Introductory Matrix Theory  
  • Introductory Dynamics
  • Written Communication
  • Engineering Graphics and Design
  • Systems Engineering & Economics
  • Engineering Risk & Uncertainty

Notables

The university offers a range of scholarships for qualified second-semester and beyond students. These awards are established through donations of private individuals, industry partners, and alumni. The university also features a unique civil and environmental engineering research experience for undergraduates. This experience provides candidates with the funds necessary to conduct a twelve-week, multi-semester research experiment.

19

Vanderbilt University

College Choice Score: 79.13

Average Net Price: $23,150

School Website

Overview

The Vanderbilt University School of Engineering is internationally acclaimed for its research and scholarship efforts. Faculty share expertise with students across disciplines to address four research initiatives, including health and medicine, energy and natural resources, security, and entertainment. The university has strong partnerships with neighboring institutions, partner schools, and the community. Located centrally near Nashville, Tennessee, the university benefits from its proximity to a city named one of the fifteen best American cities for work and family, according to Fortune magazine.

Program Features

Courses are broad-based and taught exclusively by faculty members who are world leaders in engineering, not just teacher assistants. Students move beyond basic technical competence to establish the foundations necessary for lifelong learning and success in industry, law, government, academia, and research. Required courses include:

  • Sustainable Design in Civil Engineering
  • Methods of Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Transportation Systems Engineering
  • Structural Analysis
  • Strength and Structure of Engineering Materials
  • Risk, Reliability & Resilience Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering  
  • Construction Project Management

Notables

Vanderbilt features a unique Engineering School Summer Research Program for Undergraduates. This approach allows students to integrate educational experiences across academic departments and to obtain close faculty and industry connections. Students may research individual areas of interest and customize their schedules to accommodate for varied interests and career plans. In addition, Vanderbilt runs the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation, a program working to advance strategic and cost-effective cleanup of nuclear facility waste sites.

20

Colorado School of Mines

College Choice Score: 79.11

Average Net Price: $25,097

School Website

Overview

The College of Engineering and Computational Sciences at the Colorado School of Mines is home to research and outreach programs that are both high-quality and educational. These programs, including the bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, prepare students to make major impacts in engineering and science. The department houses over three hundred students and one hundred and twenty faculty members, leading to a close-knit, innovative society that has been around since the 1870s.

Program Features

The campus houses five state-of-the-art research facilities. Through the use of these facilities, students develop a strong basis for graduate study, independent research, and career success. Roughly one hundred and thirty-five credits are required for graduation, including coursework in:

  • Calculus for Scientists & Engineers
  • Earth & Environmental Systems
  • Electromagnetism & Optics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Civil & Construction Engineering Materials

Notables

The Colorado School of Mines places a strong emphasis on developing curriculum for students that is both enriching and rewarding, inside the classroom and out. Students engage in summer internships to establish contacts, identify strengths and weaknesses, and apply coursework. The school also hosts over one hundred and seventy student organizations, clubs, and recreational activities, including an active student chapter of the American Water Works Associate/Water Environment Federation, and regular membership in the concrete canoe competition.

21

Purdue University-West Lafayette

College Choice Score: 78.53

Average Net Price: $11,693

School Website

Overview

Graduates from Purdue’s civil engineering program are highly sought after as top leaders in the profession. Students are heavily recruited and regarded as having some of the best work ethic in the country. Purdue hosts a lofty status as a major research institution, which offers significant advantages to undergraduate students.

Program Features

Students have access to a dedicated laboratory experience to strengthen hands-on learning, and may pursue specialty areas such as construction, geomatics, hydraulic and hydrological, and materials engineering. Other classes students might select include:

  • Graphics for Civil Engineering and Construction
  • Principles and Practice of Geomatics
  • Contemporary Issues in Civil Engineering
  • Electricity and Optics
  • Engineering Materials
  • Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Technical Communication in Civil Engineering
  • Civil Engineering Design Project

Notables

The Purdue campus hosts over twenty research and teaching laboratories, with research program opportunities including SURF and JTRP.  Students have exclusive access to a large array of course offerings and the ability to become extensively involved in state-of-the-art research. This involvement, along with the ability to engage in summer internships and cooperative learning experiences, provides students with excellent networking and communication skills before they ever leave campus.

22

University of Southern California

College Choice Score: 78.48

Average Net Price: $32,932

School Website

Overview

The University of Southern California offers students the option of pursuing five different tracks in Civil Engineering. Students may emphasize in construction planning and management, general track, building science, structural engineering, or environmental engineering. This program is well-rounded and offers optimal flexibility. Since the department was established in 1096, the department has been a leading source of qualified, exceptional civil engineers.

Program Features

In addition to courses specific to their chosen tracks, all students will pursue a general course of study while enrolled in the undergraduate civil engineering program. Students will study the following technical areas within the general course of study at the university:

  • Structural Engineering and structural mechanics
  • Geology and geotechnical engineering
  • Water resources engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Transportation engineering
  • Computer methods in engineering
  • Structural systems design

Notables

University alumni are highly successful, with nearly 400,000 living members in positions of leadership around the world. Nearly half of them still reside in California, making the campus a hub for technological advancement and career networking. With an overall endowment well over $5 million, students have access to the university’s superior resources and academic support.

23

Texas A & M University-College Station

College Choice Score: 77.61

Average Net Price: $15,455

School Website

Overview

Texas A&M’s civil engineering department is ranked among the top in the country. It is the eighth best undergraduate civil engineering program among public institutions, and its graduates are highly recruited before even finishing their coursework. With over seven hundred undergraduate students the department of civil engineering has all the benefits of large-campus prestige, such as scholarship, research, and professional service. At the same time, the small student to faculty ratio of ten-to-one allows students to work closely with excellent faculty and to develop work readiness skills before even leaving campus.

Program Features

In addition to traditional and advanced study undergraduate programs, Texas A&M also offers students access to its programs via the Engineering Academies. These co-enrollment programs allows students to take relevant coursework at two-year institutions before moving to Texas A&M. Regardless of the pathway chosen, each student will complete a set of core liberal arts and foundational courses before moving on to more advanced classes in civil engineering. Required classes include:

  • Engineering Mechanics: Statics
  • Principles of Statistics
  • Communication for Technical Professions
  • Computer Applications in Engineering and Construction
  • Civil Engineering Measurement
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Differential Equations
  • Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics

Notables

Texas A&M also hosts a wide range of study abroad, internship, and cooperate experiences. The university offers cooperative education in which students study-work, alternating periods of attendance on campus with employment in related industry. Students receive income and the ability to apply acquired skills and understandings to a real-world setting.

24

Stevens Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 77.44

Average Net Price: $37,168

School Website

Overview

At Stevens Institute of Technology, engineering students pursue a broad curriculum that provides experience in engineering, humanities, business, mechanics, and management. Students study in the heart of the tristate area, gaining skills at top firms in the area. The institute partners with industrial and engineering consulting firms, as well as construction contractors and government agencies. Students learn how to manage natural resources, address hazards, and develop modern marvels of engineering.

Program Features

In addition to high-quality coursework in civil engineering, students also receive hands-on industry experience. This is developed through internships, design projects, cooperative education, and sty abroad. The Stevens Cooperative Education Program is a five-year educational program that allows students to alternate between full-time work and full-time study. Other required classes include:

  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Mechanics of Solids
  • Circuits and Systems
  • Engineering Design
  • Probability and Statistics for Engineers
  • Materials Processing
  • Structural Steel Design

Notables

Stevens’ graduates are highly successful upon graduation, enjoying an average starting salary of over $67,000. A majority of students finalize their career or education plans before graduation, with over three hundred companies recruiting directly on campus. Over ninety-six percent of graduates secured their career outcomes six months before graduation–a stellar figure that attests to the outstanding network and career services support provided at the institute.

25

University of Virginia

College Choice Score: 77.10

Average Net Price: $15,945

School Website

Overview

The University of Virginia is an ever-changing campus that is continually reinvesting in its laboratories. Recently, it upgrade their instrumentation for structures, material testing, and environmental analysis, expanding the research opportunities available to students on campus. The department of civil engineering develops and manages essential research in sustainable futures. Students learn how to address community needs by collaborating across disciplines.

Program Features

In addition to an exceptional undergraduate program in civil engineering, the university also hosts a professional master’s degree that is designed to provide accelerated knowledge in the skills most in-demand for today’s civil engineers. Required courses for the undergraduate program emphasize water, infrastructure, and the environment, with topics such as:

  • Engineer, Ethics, and Professional Responsibility
  • Water Resources
  • Transportation Infrastructure Design Workshop
  • Structural Mechanics
  • Strength of Materials
  • Ordinary Differential Equations

Notables

Students are provided with outstanding opportunities to conduct interdisciplinary research. The university offers travel grants that allow students to attend national professional conferences, leading many to finding full-time positions at leading companies and universities.  The community at the University of Virginia is small and close-knit, allowing students to form close bonds with each other and professors as they study, work in labs, and travel for research. The university also features intercollegiate civil engineering competitions and a profound chapter of the American Society of Engineers.

26

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

College Choice Score: 76.10

Average Net Price: $37,434

School Website

Overview

The Civil Engineering program at Rensselaer dates back to 1835, as the institute was the very first in the United States to issue a degree in civil engineering. Graduates have been highly successful, going on to such accomplishments as building the Brooklyn Bridge and the Ferris Wheel. Now, Rensselaer graduates are found at all levels in both private and public employment around the world. This program prepares students for lifelong learning as well as for successful careers in academia, government, industry, and more.

Program Features

Each student must complete one hundred and twenty-eight credit hours. Upon completion of this program, another thirty credit hours are required for an additional Master of Engineering degree. Other required courses include:

  • Steel Design
  • Concrete Design
  • Experimental Soil Mechanics
  • Matrix Structural Analysis
  • Traffic Engineering
  • Construction Management
  • Design for Constructability

Notables

Rensselaer hosts several unique, cutting-edge research facilities and laboratories right on campus. One of the most prominent is the geotechnical centrifuge facility, which is the fourth largest in the United States and one of the twenty largest in the world. This National Science Foundation initiative contributes to some of the most significant earthquake engineering research in the world. The university also hosts a 1 g seismic shaking table, a water quality laboratory, and an environmental colloid and particle laboratory.

27

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

College Choice Score: 75.79

Average Net Price: $40,666

School Website

Overview

Worcester Polytechnic employs a unique project-based learning curriculum. Through this approach, students learn how to become stronger and more ingenuous leaders and will collaborate with faculty and industry partners. Through this collaborative, project-based learning program, students will become immersed in local and worldwide communities, working in teams to solve a specific problem that connects science to social need.

Program Features

Students may choose from several concentrations or apply a broad approach to their curriculum design. Available concentrations include Environmental, Transportation, Urban and Environmental Planning, Structural and Geotechnical, or Construction Engineering and Project Management. Regardless of the track chosen, each student will take classes such as:

  • Resilient Infrastructure for a Changing Climate
  • Legal Aspects of Professional Practice
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Traffic Engineering
  • Hydraulics
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Transport and Transformations in the Environment
  • Land Use Development & Controls

Notables

Students have an ongoing opportunity to become part of the community at Worcester Polytechnic. The institute hosts several academic groups for students to join, including chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Associated General Contractors of America, and Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society. The institute also hosts a variety of creative minors that students may pursue for additional resume power, including Industrial Engineering, Materials, and Manufacturing Engineering.

28

Tufts University

College Choice Score: 75.69

Average Net Price: $28,076

School Website

Overview

Tufts University offers a customizable, tailored program for future civil engineers. Coursework emphasizes basic science, mathematics, and computing, but modifies them so that they are relevant for the educational needs of an engineer. Civil and environmental engineering students at Tufts have access to a wide range of resources and special opportunities. All undergraduate programs can be completed with a one or two semester study abroad experience. Popular civil engineering programs are available in Hong Kong, Ghana, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Program Features

The curriculum at Tufts is divided into four functional areas, giving students the option to specialize their studies for a professional degree program. These concentrations include environmental, geosystems, structural, and water resources engineering. On campus, required and recommended classes include:

  • Structural Analysis
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Nonlinear Analysis of Material
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Principles of Biostatistics
  • Special Topics: Advanced Data Analysis
  • Subsurface Fluid Dynamic

Notables

Tufts offers a unique FAST-TRAC program that allows students to obtain both a bachelor’s and master’s degree within five years. This program offers extensive financial support, in the form of scholarships and fee waivers, to low-income students. Qualified candidates can receive up to $20,000 between the university’s GRE scholarship and low-income assistance via this exclusive program.

29

Lafayette College

College Choice Score: 73.86

Average Net Price: $26,208

School Website

Overview

Lafayette College offers a one hundred and fifty year tradition in technical education. Students and faculty alike collaborate to explore emerging technologies and develop solutions to new and existing engineering problems. They work and study in laboratories for structural systems, geotechnical engineering, geographical information systems, and many other well-designed research facilities.

Program Features

Students engage in a well-developed curriculum at Lafayette, learning the fundamental principles of engineering along with ethical considerations for professional practice. The curriculum includes extensive use of cutting-edge computer systems. Required classes include:

  • Civil Engineering Computing
  • Advanced Structural Analysis
  • Design of Concrete Structures
  • Structural Dynamics
  • Independent Study or Research

Notables

At Lafayette, students benefit from a curriculum that emphasizes the liberal arts, while at the same time studying at one of the greatest research institutions in the country. With a small campus population of under 2,500 students, each individual in the civil engineering program has the privilege of working one-on-one with faculty members to conduct original research. This can be conducted through independent study, departmental honors, or even Lafayette’s unique EXCEL Scholars program. Students also have the opportunity to participate in clubs such as the American Society of Civil Engineering, Engineers Without Borders, and the Green Building Club.

30

Washington University in St. Louis

College Choice Score: 73.10

Average Net Price: $28,824

School Website

Overview

The undergraduate engineering program at Washington University is one of the only of its kind, a pioneering partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis. This partnership allows nontraditional students to enjoy the flexibility of courses that are offered at several times throughout the day (and week). Through this partnership, students can easily and inexpensively complete their pre-requisite courses at a community college, online, or at another campus.

Program Features

This unique program is designed for individuals with little to no experience in engineering. This education, though beneficial for traditional and experienced students as well, prepares graduates with professional skills and technical knowledge. Most upper division courses are offered on Saturdays and during the evening to allow students to engage in cooperative experiences at local engineering departments. Required classes include:

  • Engineering Ethics
  • Mechanics of D-Bodies
  • Materials Science
  • Structural Analysis
  • Intro to Computing
  • Technical Writing
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Construction Operations & Management

Notables

The university offers a range of scholarships based on merit and need. The Citizen’s Committee for Engineering Scholarship Fund provides awards to qualified engineering students in varying amounts, while other students are typically awarded anywhere between $250 and $3,000 per semester. The cooperative education program allows students to save money as well, as they can work up to thirty hours a week while completing engineering coursework. Cooperative placements are available at companies such as AT&T, Boeing, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and many more.

31

Northwestern University

College Choice Score: 72.95

Average Net Price: $29,326

School Website

Overview

The ABET-accredited undergraduate program in civil engineering at Northwestern University allows each student to devise a plan of study that suits his or her individual interests. Many students take courses outside of the department as they learn how to address the social, physical, and financial challenges of engineering.

Program Features

Graduates of this program are highly successful, going on to careers in consulting, project management, energy, finance, and more. Popular employers include Amazon, Boeing, and the National Forest Service, while many other graduates go on to continue their studies at top-ranked universities. For individuals not seeking a full-time bachelor’s degree the school also offers a certificate program in architectural engineering and design. Required classes for the degree program include:

  • Theory of Structures
  • Introductory Soil Mechanics
  • Fundamental of Environmental Engineering
  • Reinforced Concrete
  • Construction Management
  • Fluid Mechanics II
  • Introduction to Transportation Planning & Analysis or Transportation System Operations

Notables

The faculty at Northwestern are highly interdisciplinary and professionally accomplished. The university hosts eight members of the National Academy of Engineering or the National Academy of Sciences. With an average class size between ten and sixty students, each individual receives a great amount of attention from faculty members. The university also features cooperative education programs, study abroad, undergraduate research opportunities, and foreign externships.

32

Cooper Union

College Choice Score: 72.01

Average Net Price: $34,754

School Website

Overview

Cooper Union, in the bustling and diverse East Village of New York City, prides itself on being small and close-knit. With just ninety total students enrolled in the civil engineering program, students receive constant access to cutting-edge research opportunities and facilities, as well as to devoted faculty attention.

Program Features

In addition to core coursework and studies in the liberal arts, students may also choose to take electives in a broad range of disciplines. Other required courses include:

  • Engineering Design and Problem Solving
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Urban Transportation Planning
  • Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations
  • Fluid Mechanics and Flow Systems
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Design of Steel Structures
  • Civil Engineering Experimental Projects

Notables

The college, founded on industrialist and philanthropic principles, is dedicated to getting civil engineering students involved in the field. The department hosts weekly events, such as company visits, career development, educational lectures, and networking opportunities. The department also promotes membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers, which offers access to professional literature and scholarship opportunities.

33

Northeastern University

College Choice Score: 71.62

Average Net Price: $29,998

School Website

Overview

The Civil Engineering curriculum at Northeastern is dynamic and diverse, allowing students to begin their formal education by acquiring a common set of core knowledge and understandings before moving on to a semester-long capstone design project. During this time, most students also participate in six-month cooperative experiences in which they may apply their experiences to paid real-world applications. Three, four, and five-year cooperative experiences are also available.

Program Features

Students may choose from a variety of courses to satisfy their general education and core coursework requirements. Several specializations are available, including Construction Management, Environmental Health, Civil Infrastructure Security, and Environmental and Water Systems Engineering. Required courses, regardless of track, include:

  • Statics and Strength of Materials
  • Reinforced Concrete Design
  • Energy Systems: Science, Technology, and Sustainability
  • Highway Engineering
  • Alternative Project Delivery Systems in Construction
  • Organic Pollutants in the Environment
  • Sustainable Design and Technologies in Construction
  • Sustainable Engineering Systems for Buildings

Notables

The hundred-year old department of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern continues to experience booming growth. As more students join this exemplary program, the campus continues to expand its research facilities and to modernize its curriculum based on industry feedback. Countless opportunities are available to students, including access to the student chapter of Engineers without Borders, which allows students to become real-world engineers solving real-world dilemmas, and the Dialogue of Civilizations. Both groups allow students to study and work off campus and to contribute to global change.

34

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

College Choice Score: 69.90

Average Net Price: $25,055

School Website

Overview

Pennsylvania State University offers an exceptional civil engineering program on its main campus. It was established in 1881, and continues to be internationally recognized for its efforts to increase and enhance student opportunity for discovery and engagement. Most students go on to successful, high-paid positions in the workforce, while others continue their studies right at Penn State. All of the university’s graduate programs are ranked in the top twenty-five nationally by U.S. News and World Report.

Program Features

The civil engineering department includes thirty-five full-time faculty members, offering a wide course across the span of civil and environmental engineering. Students conduct high-impact research on critical topics for society. Required classes include:

  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Environmental Engineering

Notables

Penn State operates campuses throughout the entirety of Pennsylvania, as well as online. Students are supported by extensive advising, counseling, diversity, social media, safety, and emergency services. In addition, each student has access to specifically targeted career services. As a result, Penn State alumni are proud ones–with a network of over half a million alumni, most make themselves easily accessible to students for advice, networking, and mentor opportunities.

35

Johns Hopkins University

College Choice Score: 69.30

Average Net Price: $27,352

School Website

Overview

Johns Hopkins program is committed to preparing future engineers for the integral role they play in the overall safety and security of society. Students experience a range of educational opportunities beginning right in their freshman year. The department is small, providing students with the benefits of being part of a supportive community while at the same time enjoying the advantages of a large research institution. Students enjoy class averages of just fifteen students per course, as well as the attention of an individual faculty mentor.

Program Features

Students are connected with the tools and resources they need to be successful in the industry. Alumni are highly involved in recruitment and career building activities. Students gain teamwork and problem-solving skills, as well as the power of independent inquiry, through their coursework. Required classes include:

  • Civil Engineering Analysis  
  • Solid Mechanics & Theory of Structures
  • Foundations of Materials Science & Engineering  
  • Linear Algebra & Differential Equations
  • Probability & Statistics in Civil Engineering
  • Structural Design
  • Introduction to Fluid Mechanics
  • Engineering Business & Management

Notables

Programs at Johns Hopkins are hands-on, allowing students to partake in everything from field trips to historic buildings to department barbeques to team projects. Most students are encouraged to contribute to research and gain access to new materials, facilities, systems, and tools. Finally, all students are encouraged to pursue career and internship opportunities via their academic advisors and the career center. Study abroad is also available, and many students obtain significant funding through the Vredenberg Travel Fund.

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