Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Civil engineers use their knowledge of science and engineering to design and maintain much of our world's infrastructure. They also apply their expertise to improve our quality of life, whether it's by designing safer buildings, reducing our carbon footprint or just shortening your commute. Their work helps solve many of our planet's most serious problems, including decaying roadways, clogged highways, polluted water and hazardous wastes.

Civil engineers generally specialize in a particular area. Our department offers five areas of specialization for students:

  1. Earthquake and structural engineering involves the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads, such as bridges or buildings.
  2. Environmental engineering uses science and engineering principles to improve the environment, with a special focus on air, water and land resources.
  3. Geotechnical engineering is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials such as soils, foundations and earth structures like tunnels, dams or levees.
  4. Pavements/materials engineering focuses on pavement design and materials as well as vehicle pavement interaction.
  5. Transportation engineering involves all aspects of planning, functional design, operation and facilities management for any mode of transportation.

Two cooperative training programs are available for civil engineering students. Both programs offer financial assistance through summer employment with the participating organizations.

When I toured the campus, I was able to see a testing session take place in the large-scale structures lab. I was amazed by the size of the project and all the aspects that went into creating the infrastructure around my community. The extensive opportunities in the department prompted me to pursue civil engineering.

-- Kristin Kramer, bachelor's degree in civil engineering, 2014

What will I learn in a civil engineering degree program?

Our program teaches students to make engineering and design decisions while considering a broad range of factors such as sustainability, aesthetic values, and environmental, economic, legal and technical limitations.

Graduates of the bachelor's degree in civil engineering are trained to:

  • Apply their engineering knowledge and problem-solving skills in a professional environment
  • Analyze and design civil infrastructure systems
  • Work as members or leaders of multidisciplinary teams
  • Continue their education through graduate studies or ongoing professional development hours
  • Understand and communicate technical, social, environmental and ethical issues to society at large
  • Be aware of contemporary issues and engage in life-long learning

Requirements for the B.S. in civil engineering

Successful engineering students arrive at the University with a strong background in math and science. We recommend students have taken physics and chemistry courses in high school and are prepared to take calculus as freshmen.

In addition to University core curriculum requirements, the bachelor's degree in civil engineering requires coursework in four areas:

  • Math and physical sciences
  • Engineering sciences
  • Engineering design
  • Technical electives

Your technical electives will depend on your area of emphasis. All students must complete at least two elective courses that cover design, one of which must be either CEE 480, Structural Concrete Design, and/or CEE 481, Structural Steel Design.

Students are also required to take two capstone classes in the senior year. Capstone classes are a chance for you to synthesize the knowledge you've gained during your degree program and apply it to the engineering design process.

Students must also take the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination administered by the Nevada Board of Professional Engineers. This exam is generally taken during the spring of your senior year. Register for ENGR 490 in order to have the exam recorded on your transcript.

Please note that requirements and course offerings may change, and you should consult your advisor to ensure your course schedule meets your individual needs.

Careers in civil engineering

A civil engineering degree can lead to a wide range of career paths. Civil engineers may find employment in supervisory and administrative positions, ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer to an executive role.

A civil engineering degree prepares you to work in teams with other engineers and scientists in a range of settings, such as the following:

  • Private industry
  • Engineering consulting firms
  • Federal, state, county and city governments
  • Public utilities and educational institutions

Many of our department's past graduates work with or have their own consulting firms and often hire graduates from the department.

U.S. News and World Report ranked civil engineering number 7 on its 2015 list of the top 11 best technology jobs, and the profession was number 22 on the overall list of 100 best jobs. According to the report, civil engineers enjoy above average upward mobility and a promising job outlook. Civil engineering majors had a median starting salary of $55,468, according to a 2016 report by the National Association of Colleges & Employers.

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