Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

Benefits of a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

A civil engineering bachelor’s degree offers numerous benefits. The field of civil engineering is in high demand, providing excellent job stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 5% between 2022 and 2032, which is above the average for all jobs.

As a civil engineer, you will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects in various settings. This can include construction, geotechnical work, structural design, and transportation projects. This exposure to different areas of civil engineering will help you develop versatile skills that are transferable across many industries.

On a personal level, civil engineering jobs offer a sense of fulfillment because the work you do contributes to society. As a civil engineer, you will be responsible for building roads, bridges, buildings, and other infrastructure that improves people’s lives.

What Is the Main Focus of a Civil Engineer?

Civil engineers have a holistic approach to their work. They recognize the importance of understanding various disciplines and their interactions. By having this broad perspective, civil engineers can ensure the success of projects as the field moves into the future.

Civil engineers are involved in designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures. They also prioritize public and environmental health while upgrading neglected structures and systems. Civil engineering encompasses the natural and constructed environment, with an emphasis on sustainability.

In addition, civil engineers study atmospheric and energy sciences. They analyze climate, air pollution, and weather, and explore renewable energy systems. This research includes examining renewable resources such as wind, hydropower, and solar energy, as well as studying the effects of alternative fuels on air pollution.

What Types of Degrees in Civil Engineering Are There?

Universities offer many types of engineering degrees, including civil engineering degrees. Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs focused on civil engineering provide students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for careers in civil engineering or advanced study in the field.

What are the Prerequisites for a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

Prerequisites for a civil engineering bachelor’s degree can vary among schools. Typically, universities offering civil engineering programs require students to complete courses in subjects such as English composition, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and introductory engineering in the first two years. This foundation is then followed by more advanced engineering courses in subjects like mechanics, hydraulics, and environmental engineering.

It is important to meet all the prerequisite requirements and achieve acceptable grades in math, physics, chemistry, and engineering courses in order to obtain a civil engineering bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering Full Program Overview

A typical curriculum for a B.S. in civil engineering spans four years. Full-time students who successfully complete their coursework can expect to graduate in this timeframe.

Civil Engineering Degree Requirements

To earn your bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, you must complete a four-year program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The program usually requires 128-141 credits, including liberal arts and humanities courses.

The engineering courses within the program cover various disciplines, including mathematics, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, fluid dynamics, hydraulics and hydrology, structural design, geotechnical engineering, construction, environmental engineering, civil engineering materials, and transportation engineering.

After completing your bachelor’s degree, you will need to obtain licensure in your state. This typically involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination and gaining several years of experience in the field.

You also have the option to pursue further studies in civil engineering through a master’s or Ph.D. program.

Civil Engineering Classes

Here is a sample curriculum from UC Berkeley:

Freshman Year

  • Chemistry
  • Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Introduction to Applied Computing
  • Mathematics (Calculus)
  • Physics
  • Reading and Composition
  • Free Electives

Sophomore Year

  • Basic Science Elective
  • Introduction to Solid Mechanics
  • Structure and Properties of Civil Engineering Materials
  • Engineering Data Analysis
  • Engineering Science and Sustainability Elective
  • Mathematics (Calculus, Linear Algebra and Differential Equations)
  • Physics
  • Humanities/Social Studies
  • Free Electives

Junior Year

  • Elementary Fluid Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Structures
  • Elective Core Courses
  • Engineering Science Elective
  • Humanities/Social Studies

Senior Year

  • The Art and Science of Civil and Environmental Engineering Practice
  • Design Elective
  • Engineering Electives
  • Humanities/Social Studies
  • Free Electives

How Long Does It Take To Be A Civil Engineer?

Becoming a civil engineer involves completing a four-year, accredited bachelor’s degree, passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination, and gaining several years of experience to earn your state’s engineering license.

If you decide to pursue further education in the field, the time required will vary. Earning a master’s degree typically takes two years of full-time study. A doctorate program can take four to six years of full-time study, depending on the program and your chosen pace. A doctorate opens up opportunities for university-level teaching and high-level consulting roles.

Can I Get a Civil Engineering Bachelor Degree Online?

Although online schools offer B.S. degrees in engineering, they might not provide the necessary laboratory and field classes required for civil engineering. When considering an online degree, it’s important to carefully review the course requirements before making a decision.

Typical Civil Engineering Jobs

Civil engineers can focus on various infrastructure systems. For example, structural engineers specialize in the design and analysis of buildings and bridges, while geotechnical engineers design and build tunnels, pipelines, and foundations.

Environmental engineers analyze and solve problems related to air and water quality and the management of waste and hazardous materials. Water resources engineers work on improving water sources through hydrology, meteorology, and fluid dynamics. Construction engineers manage projects for erecting buildings, digging tunnels, and laying roads. Transportation engineers design, construct, and maintain highways, railways, airfields, and ports.

Civil engineers can find employment with nongovernmental organizations, private companies, government agencies, research laboratories, or educational institutions. While master’s degree graduates can contribute to research through projects or assignments, research in this field is primarily conducted by those with a Ph.D.

Typical Civil Engineer Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, civil engineers earn competitive salaries. In 2011, the mean annual wage for civil engineers was $82,710. It’s worth noting that this data includes civil engineers specializing in various fields, including geotechnical, architectural, structural, traffic, and ocean engineering. Hydrologists are not included in this data.

How to Become a Civil Engineer

To become a civil engineer, you must start by earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related specialty. The program you choose should be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Your coursework will cover subjects such as mathematics, statistics, fluid dynamics, engineering mechanics and systems, and introductory courses in different disciplines within civil engineering.

Once you’ve obtained your bachelor’s degree, you must obtain a professional license in the state where you wish to work. This involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination and gaining several years of experience in the field.

A master’s or Ph.D. degree in civil engineering will further enhance your career prospects, opening up opportunities for management roles, teaching positions in universities and colleges, and high-level consulting positions.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Civil Engineer?

The total cost of becoming a civil engineer includes tuition for the bachelor’s degree, the fee for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination, and associated costs like travel and accommodation.

The exact cost of a civil engineering bachelor’s degree depends on factors such as the school, location, and your residency status. As a rough estimate, in-state students can expect to pay around $10,000 per year, while out-of-state students may pay around $30,000 per year.

According to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the cost of taking the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination is $175. Travel to the testing center and accommodation, if needed, can add an additional $400 to $500. If you choose to invest in a review course, that could cost another $500 to $1,000.

How to Choose the Best School for Your Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

When selecting a program for your bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, consider important factors like accreditation, school ranking and reputation, location, and cost. Accreditation by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology ensures quality and industry recognition for the program.

Look for schools with reputable civil engineering programs, as well as a strong demand for civil engineers in the surrounding area. Consider the availability of internships, job experiences, and other hands-on opportunities. Cost is also a crucial factor, so explore tuition rates, scholarship options, and financial aid opportunities.

Professional Organizations

Joining professional organizations can provide significant benefits for civil engineers. These organizations offer career resources, research opportunities, databases, publications, conferences, and networking opportunities.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a prominent global organization with over 150,000 professionals representing 177 countries. They provide various resources to support civil engineers at all stages of their careers. Other notable professional organizations include the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES).

Regardless of your stage in the field, there are numerous resources available to support your career as a civil engineer. With a civil engineering degree, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact and contribute to society throughout your professional journey.

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