What Is the Curriculum of a Civil Engineering Undergraduate Degree Program?

Civil engineers are responsible for planning, building and maintaining public infrastructures. While civil engineering degree programs vary between colleges, certain core courses are the same in all programs. These include courses in the theory of structures, structural design, soil mechanics, construction management, fluid mechanics and transportation planning and analysis. Read on to learn more about common courses in a civil engineering undergraduate degree program. Schools offering Civil Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Theory of Structures

Theory of structures courses cover the engineering behind constructing an efficient and properly designed structure. You can learn both the math and science necessary to create stable designs. This includes topics such as regular and indeterminate truss analysis, slope-deflection analysis, moment distribution, frame analysis, deflections of structures, idealization of structures, energy concepts, influence lines and column stability.

Important Facts About Civil Engineering Undergraduate Degree Programs

Specializations Environmental engineering; geotechnical engineering; hydraulic and water resources engineering; structural engineering; transportation engineering
Online Availability Fully
Possible Careers Civil engineer; bridge engineer; construction engineer; environmental engineer; highway engineer; sanitary engineer; urban planner
Continuing Education Required for Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineering (PE) licensure

Structural Design

A course in structural design may cover the basics of structural design, as well as the specifics of structural steel design. You'll learn how different steel components are incorporated into the building structure. This course also includes consideration of gravity and lateral loads in the design of a structure and methods to properly analyze a structure's design.

Soil Mechanics

Soil mechanics is necessary to understanding the properties and behavior of the soil underneath a building site. An introductory course will cover the strength, permeability and deformation of soil masses.

Construction Management

A course in construction management offers insight into some of the business aspects of civil engineering. The course covers such issues as cost control, project planning, the process of bidding for contracts, relevant preconstruction tasks and delivery systems for materials.

Fluid Mechanics

The behavior of fluids, both static and dynamic, is the focus of a course on fluid mechanics. A basic course covers the continuity, momentum, energy equations, dimensional analysis and flows in closed conduits. More advanced courses in this area cover turbulent flow in pipes, pipe networks and open channels. Some schools also include water waves and coastal engineering.

Transportation Engineering

A civil engineering course in transportation prepares you to analyze transportation problems and devise solutions. You'll learn to perform research and statistical analysis of transportation systems, including urban transportation, intercity passenger transport and freight movements. Such courses may also cover systems operations, including traffic flow theory, neighborhood traffic restraint, urban transit operations, vehicle capacity analysis and intersection performance and control.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • ECPI University

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  • The Art Institutes

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  • Stanford University

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    • California: Stanford
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    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

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    • North Carolina: Durham
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    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
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    • Indiana: Notre Dame