Major in civil engineering
Civil engineering is the engineering of the constructed facilities we encounter every day:
- buildings, bridges, tunnels, and dams
- waterways, railways, and highways
- water power, irrigation, drainage, and water supply
- wastewater and hazardous waste disposal
- environmental health systems
As a civil engineering major, you'll learn how to plan, design, construct, and manage public and private infrastructure and facilities. You'll also be prepared to address emerging engineering issues related to sustainability, climate change, and new energy resources. You will be prepared to pursue a career in industry, government, research, or academia. Frequent interaction with the public is unique to the field of civil engineering.
The bachelor's degree program in civil engineering also offers a concentration in environmental resources engineering. Engineers in this field apply civil engineering principles and processes to solve problems relating to air pollution, water pollution, solid waste and hazardous waste management, renewable energy, and water resources engineering.
As a civil engineering major, you'll apply engineering, mathematics, and science skills to analyze and interpret data and to design and conduct experiments. Our world-class faculty recognize that both civil and environmental aspects of the curriculum are integral to the training of engineers who can address the complex problems of today and tomorrow.
The curriculum focuses on:
- Computing: access to software and hardware used by civil engineers for computer-aided design
- Communications: effective communications skills to help you work successfully with multidisciplinary teams
- Career preparation: design your program of study to pursue a career in environmental engineering, geotechnical and soil mechanics engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, or hydrology and water resources engineering
For the bachelor's degree in civil engineering, you'll complete 68 credits in general and civil engineering with a total of 122 credits overall.
- Intro to environmental engineering
- Fluid mechanics
- Soil mechanics
- Structural analysis
- Transportation engineering
Elective courses include advanced hydrology, geoenvironmental engineering, hazardous waste management, intelligent transportation systems, pavement design and management, structure materials, wastewater treatment, and water treatment.
All senior engineering majors participate in a capstone project where you will work as a team on a civil engineering project assigned by a practicing professional. The capstone course helps students gain a key understanding of all stages of the engineering design process and prepares them to become practicing engineers upon earning their bachelor’s degree.
As part of the capstone course experience:
- students work closely with a professional engineer from outside the university.
- professional sponsors lead students through a real-life engineering design project.
- the Senior Design experience begins in the fall with the selection of project managers and team formation.
- over the course of the academic year, students prepare four milestones that lead them through preliminary data collection, an alternatives analysis, a 50% design, and a final design.
- students also prepare a written report and oral presentation for each of these milestones.
"UMass Dartmouth’s ABET-accredited civil engineering program provided me with the resources I needed to begin a career in water resources engineering."
- AECOM (MA & RI)
- City of Newport
- CDM Smith (located worldwide)
- Mass Clean Energy Center
- Mass DOT
- McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners
- Rhode Island DOT
- Soil Mechanics Drilling Corp.
Graduate school placements
- UMass Amherst
- Worcester PolyTech
- CDM Smith
- GZA GeoEnvironmental
- Mass DOT
- Pare Corporation
- Rhode Island DOT
- Suffolk Construction Co., Inc.
- Tetra Tech
Entry-level civil engineering salary range in New England:$64,069
National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2021 Salary Survey
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth at 11% for civil engineering. Massachusetts is ranked as "one of the best states" for its strong economy.
- Capstone projects: senior engineering students work in small teams on real-world, industry-specific challenges that demand analysis, proposals, prototypes, and solutions.
- Community: participate in annual competitions; join student organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders.
- Experience: participate in co-op and internship programs with construction firms and government agencies—often while also earning money for college.
- New initiatives: collaborate, create, and explore at our IDEAStudio and the Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization Research.
- The Civil Engineering program is also offered as a minor.
- Honors College: take advanced courses, pursue research, and be part of a community of scholars
- Study Abroad: earn academic credits and gain a global perspective on your field
- Undergraduate Research: faculty work with students on cutting-edge research projects
- University Studies: gain the benefit of a broad university education to enhance your knowledge and skills