Civil Engineering

What do the Great Wall of China, pyramids of Egypt, Roman aqueducts, Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, Sears Tower in Chicago and the network of U.S. interstate freeways all have in common? They are all engineering marvels, true testimonies to the genius of people, monuments of changing civilizations on our small planet. They are all civil engineering projects.

Civil engineering is often called the "people-serving profession." Virtually all that surrounds us, buildings, highways, dams, harbors, airports, bridges and tunnels, pipelines and water systems are designed and constructed by civil and environmental engineers. It is hard to imagine the modern world today without complex systems that supply clean water to cities, remove sewage, control floods, transport people and goods, and reduce negative environmental impacts of pollution, noise, hazardous waste, etc.

Great opportunities will exist in the transportation engineering area, where new technologies that use `smart highways' and `smart cars' will revolutionize our ways of combating the increasing traffic in our cities. New fast trains are being developed to offer an alternative to automobiles.

Society is increasingly concerned about the negative environmental consequences of the rapid technological developments of our times. Good engineering should not harm the environment; it should respect it. In order to properly reflect these new concerns, the Department of Civil Engineering at San Diego State University has changed its name to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. New environmental engineering courses emphasizing sustainable design were developed throughout the curriculum and a separate degree in Environmental Engineering is now being offered by the CEE Department.

Program Overview

Civil and environmental engineering students face a program that is challenging, exciting, flexible and diversified. Because the engineer's work is predominantly intellectual and varied and not of a routine mental or physical character, the SDSU program places emphasis upon the mastery of a strong core of subject matter in the physical sciences, mathematics, and the engineering sciences. Woven through the pattern is a continuing study of the social sciences and humanities, because engineering graduates must expect to find their best expression as leaders, conscious of the social and economic implications of their decisions.

Special Features

  • Accreditation. The Civil Engineering Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 347-7700.
  • Completely equipped laboratories exist in all sub-fields of study. The environmental and geotechnical laboratories are among the best equipped anywhere. In addition to numerous computing facilities campus-wide, the department has its own Computer Lab using modern civil and environmental engineering software that is incorporated into coursework at all levels of study.
  • New equipment and facilities are continually being added to the department to keep abreast of current technological developments and to maintain its position of highest excellence in the California State University System. These include a new Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory and Soils Erosion Laboratory.
  • The MESA Engineering Program (MEP) provides assistance to ensure student success. The development of academic excellence is fostered through a coordinated program of advising, mentoring, tutoring, group study, professional development, and many other support services. In addition, the College of Engineering sponsors the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Pre-College Program, which operates in many local high schools to encourage entrance into math-based careers. For additional information, please contact MEP at (619) 594-5679. Recently, the College of Engineering developed Project Lead the Way aimed at assisting high school leaders to develop exciting pre-engineering programs for their students.
  • Student organizations include the Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the major's honorary society, Chi Epsilon. Our student chapter of ASCE is among the top 5% in the Western United States.

  • Many other active student chapters of professional and honorary societies, each with one or more faculty advisers, are housed within the College and the Department to support and enhance various academic endeavors. These include AGC (Construction), AEES (Environmental), and ITE (Transportation). When you join an organization, you will have an opportunity to develop leadership skills, learn teamwork, and participate in such student projects as Steel Bridge or Concrete Canoe and compete with students from other universities and be part of community outreach. Our Steel Bridge designs have reached the national finals eight times in the last twelve years. On one occasion, our SDSU team, representing the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, built the "most efficient bridge" in the United States of America, competing against 170 participating universities.

Career Opportunities

Civil and environmental engineering is a growing profession, with excellent job opportunities in any foreseeable future. Career opportunities in all specialties are bright, and perhaps the best exist in environmental and transportation areas. Both the private and public sectors will be looking for a new generation of well-prepared civil and environmental engineers.

The department maintains close links with industry through its Advisory Board to assure that our programs remain relevant and meet industry needs. These links also help to develop internship programs for our students.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Civil Engineering program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.