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When civil engineers enroll in classes, they have are challenged to learn the skills necessary to excel. These skills include planning, designing, operating, inspecting, and managing. Civil engineers have significant liability in their jobs. If their designs go awry, they may put people's lives in danger. They build structures such as buildings, rail roads, highways, waterways, and dams.

During the first few years of undergraduate study, you'll be building a foundation for your career. You'll be taking a host of classes in math, science, and engineering. In your junior or senior year of study, you'll be introduced to the principles of analysis and design. Some of the specific classes include structural engineering and transportation engineering. Classes for graduate degrees tend to get even more specific, and involve specific test case scenarios within civil engineering.

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Online Civil Engineering Degree Options

civil engineering degrees

Online Civil Engineering Degrees are available for a civil engineering degree at nearly every degree level. Many civil engineers looking to advance their career will decide on pursuing an online Master’s in Civil Engineering, a Master’s in Project Management, or an MBA with some sort of engineering focus. Online courses offer flexibility for the working professional or the student who prefers more autonomy. Online learning is preferred by many people considering civil engineering.

Civil Engineering Quick Navigation

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Types of Civil Engineering Degrees

civil engineering

There are many subcategories of civil engineering – be sure to check with you the university engineering department to figure out which one might be best for you. Some of the most popular areas of concentration in the field of civil engineering are highlighted below.

Structural Engineering Degree

Structural engineering focuses on the building of non-building structures (non-building structures are defined as structures that lack occupancy – bridges, aqueducts, dams, water culverts, railroads, roads, and tunnels are a few examples). Structural engineering is one of the oldest forms of civil engineering and has been around for hundreds of years. Structural engineering jobs tend to be in high demand due to the necessity of non-building structures no matter what the population is.

Construction Engineering Management Degree

Those interested in the building of residential or commercial building structures tend to go down the construction management engineering degree route. The principles of structural engineering are similar to a structural engineer, but focused on the building of homes, houses, or office buildings. Most projects are shorter term (relatively speaking) depending on the size of the building. Career options for construction engineering managers tend to go up or down depending on the housing and commercial building vertical.

Environmental Engineering Degree

Civil engineers interested in focusing on solving environmental issues tend to focus on an environmental engineering route. Helping design better water systems, purification systems, or reducing waste within a construction site would be a few tasks. Read more on environmental engineering degrees here.

Architectural Engineering Degree

Like structural engineering and construction engineering, architectural engineering focuses on the building of structures. Architectural engineering, however, tends to focus more on the aesthetic side of the structure. This is not only focused on looks, however – sometimes architectural engineers need to design new structures that fit into an era of construction. Revamping many the downtown area of a Victorian-style town, for instance, would likely require the expertise of an architectural engineer. Check out our more detailed article on architectural engineering degrees.

Engineering Project Management Degree

Nearly every engineer works with a project manager, but project managers are a necessity and most common within civil engineering. This is why many civil engineers continue their education with a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Project Management. Their technical civil expertise combined with the education on managing projects helps make them an excellent option as a project manager. Project managers help work with multiple processes, companies, and engineering specialties (architects, drafters, structural engineers, electricians, etc.) to complete large projects. Below are a few options for online project management degrees.

View Project Management Degree Information

Additional Civil Engineering Degree Concentrations

These are just a few areas of concentration, but they are some of the most common areas. Inquire with your college of choice to find the best field of study for you.

  • Engineering Management
  • Drafting
  • Surveying
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Roads, Bridges, and Infrastructure
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Transportation Engineering

Civil Engineering Schools to Consider

If you are interested in this field of study, you’ll want to get the best education possible to avoid lawsuits and harm to another person’s life. Here are several universities that offer civil engineering degrees.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – This school is preferred by students because it’s affordable and has a low student teacher ratio. The college also graduates 68 percent of the students it accepts.

Georgia Institute of Technology – Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the most selective schools in terms of civil engineering. It is a popular school that is affordable and prepares students well for their careers int the future.

University of California – Berkeley – This school has the most selective acceptance process available. It is one of the best schools available, however. Though it’s more expensive than others on the list, it is still relatively affordable and offers a quality civil engineering education.

Purdue University – If you want an near equal mix of men and women, try enrolling in Purdue. They have a great program at an affordable price. The in-state costs are some of lowest. The quality of education is high, and the students excel after graduating from the school.

Stanford University – Stanford is a private institution with a near equal male-to-female ratio. The university is private so the cost of the education is almost four times of the most affordable colleges.

Civil Engineering Courses and Classes

Classes in civil engineering generally teach prospective civil engineers about reducing air, water, and soil pollution, particularly within an environmental concentration of civil engineering. They learn how to develop alternative energy sources and improve congested transportation systems. They will also work to prevent or minimize natural disasters. The degree prepares them work for consulting forms, government agencies, or construction sites.

There a several classes that a student may take in the industry. The classes may include:

  • Introduction to Civil Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering Design
  • Civil Engineering Materials Laboratory
  • Uncertainty in Engineering
  • Project Evaluation
  • Project Management
  • Frameworks and Models in Systems Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Masters of Engineering Concepts

These classes are designed to prepare students for the design world and give them the foundation they need to become successful in their field of study.

Civil Engineering Careers

civil engineering job description

Civil engineers can work in a variety of fields. They can be engineering managers on construction sites, or they can work for consulting firms. Many civil engineers obtain their professional engineering licenses and design in their own firms after they gain experience.

There is a a lot of liability. So, it’s important to have the licensing in place to practice. Civil engineers may also work in government jobs, which means more job security. We have an extensive write-up of the job description and career choices for a civil engineer here.