Jun 15, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Civil Engineering

Return to: School of Engineering and Applied Science: Departments/Programs  

Civil Engineering is the broadest of all engineering professions, and encompasses the application of science and technology to the planning, design, analysis, construction, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure and natural environment. The U.Va. Civil Engineering Program, which was founded in 1836 as the “School of Civil Engineering,” focuses on two main program areas: environmental and water resources engineering and civil infrastructure systems. Incorporating elements of sustainability, each program area features adaptive design with a strong focus on the incorporation of information technology.  The department offers a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering as well as a minor in civil engineering. Graduate students pursue Master of Engineering, Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering with a concentration in either environmental and water resources or civil infrastructure systems.

Civil engineers are the fabricators of modern society and the protectors of our environment. They deal with people and their management, materials and their use, designs and their application, and the problems of interweaving these factors to serve society. Typical civil engineering projects include environmental facilities, such as systems for water quality control, toxic and hazardous waste control and stormwater networks; structures, such as high-rise buildings, bridges, off-shore platforms, and dams; and transportation facilities, such as Intelligent Transportation Systems, airports, highways, and railways. Successful civil engineering improves human health and quality of life, while providing for a sustainable future.

Graduates with a BS degree in civil engineering may opt for employment with consulting firms; local, state, or federal governments; contractors or construction firms; public utilities; or industrial corporations. Many will attend graduate school to open up more advanced employment opportunities in government, consulting, construction, or industry, and to introduce new choices, including research and teaching. Our students participate in research on a global scale through the engineering thesis and faculty laboratories as well as a variety of exciting experiential programs, such as the minor in engineering business, the Science and Technology Policy Internship Program, study abroad programs, and interdisciplinary study within the School of Engineering and Applied Science and throughout the University.

For more information, visit the department’s web site at https://www.engineering.virginia.edu/ese.  To contact the department chair, assistant chairs, and academic coordinator email ese-programs@virginia.edu.

Program Objectives

  1. To provide graduates with the technical competencies and insight necessary to practice civil engineering and have an impact on the profession and pursue professional licensure.
  2. To provide a solid foundation for successful study at leading graduate and professional institutions.
  3. To promote a breadth of abilities and knowledge, including quantitative and analytical skills, communication skills and social insight, to allow graduates to pursue careers in a diversity of fields including engineering, business, management, and information technology.
  4. To prepare graduates for a lifetime of learning, for leadership, and for service to the profession and society.

Minor in Civil Engineering

Completion of fifteen hours of Civil Engineering courses, with no more than six hours at the 2000-level.

Civil Engineering Curriculum (128 Credits)

Minimum required for graduation:  128 credits

Civil Engineering

CE students share common degree requirements for the first two years or four semesters before selecting one of three tracks: Infrastructure Systems (IS), Environmental & Water Resources (EWR), or Structural Mechanics & Materials (SMM). Regardless of track, during the last two years, all CE students have 22 hours of the same required courses, plus 21 hours of electives in common. Thus there is effectively a set of 19 remaining credit hours that may differ between these tracks.

Footnotes follow the curriculum which is listed by semester and explain which electives are credited as Science I, Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS), Technical I and II, Civil Engineering, Technical, Unrestricted, EWRE Science II, and EWRE CE Breadth and SMM Breadth electives. All three tracks are designed to provide students with a solid foundation for the practice of civil engineering and for subsequent graduate study.

Infrastructure Systems (IS) provides a broad education that prepares a student for a career in a wide variety of civil engineering specialties. The motivation for this track is preparation of students to become practicing, licensed civil engineers. This track has a strong focus on structural design and materials, and on critically important areas such as life cycle engineering, transportation, water resources, and geotechnical infrastructure design and planning. This track emphasizes hands-on laboratory experience, and the integration of undergraduate course work into a group project that integrates with the senior thesis, and a capstone design project.

Environmental & Water Resources (EWR) track focuses on courses designed to provide a foundation for students interested in pursuing a career in environmental and water resources. The motivation for this track is the ever-increasing professional and societal emphasis on environmental quality and sustainability. Students interested in the environment can prepare more aggressively for a career in environmental and water resources engineering.

Structural Mechanics & Materials (SMM) is a joint track offered in conjunction with the Department of Materials Science and is designed to prepare students for graduate studies in structural mechanics and materials.

Second Semester Credits: 17

      Science I elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 1 below)

      HSS elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 2 below)

Fourth Semester Credits: 16

      STS 2xxx/3xxx elective Credits: 3

      Technical Elective I Credits: 3  (See footnote 3 below)

Select a Track for Years 3 and 4


IS Seventh Semester Credits: 15

      Civil Eng elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 4 below)

      Technical elective II Credits: 3  (See footnote 5 below)

      Unrestricted elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 6 below)

IS Eight Semester Credits: 16

      Civil Eng elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 4 below)

      Technical elective II Credits: 3  (See footnote 5 below)

      Unrestricted elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 6 below)


EWR Fifth Semester Credits: 17

       EWRE Science II elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 7 below)

       Unrestricted elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 6 below)

EWR Sixth Semester Credits: 15

      Env Engineering elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 9 below)

      EWR CE Breadth elective Credits:3  (See footnote 8 below)

      HSS elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 2 below)

EWR Seventh Semester Credits: 15

      Civil Eng elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 4 below)

      Unrestricted elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 6 below)

      Water Resources elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 10 below)

EWR Eighth Semester Credits: 16

      Civil Eng elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 4 below)

      Technical elective II Credits: 3  (See footnote 5 below)

      Unrestricted elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 6 below)


Students on this SMM track must take MSE 2090, which is a prerequisite for all subsequent MSE courses. This can easily be accommodated using the Science 1 elective in the spring of the first year, or the Science/Technical elective in the spring of the second year. 

Students in this track are also encouraged to use a subset of their electives to complete a MSE minor. This would entail taking MSE 3050 Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Materials (a requirement for the MSE minor), combined with an additional MSE course.  Suggestions for this course are: MSE 3080 - Corrosion, Batteries and Fuel Cells and MSE 3101 Materials Science Investigations.

SMM Fifth Semester Credits: 16

       HSS elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 2 below)

SMM Sixth Semester Credits: 16

      Technical elective II Credits: 3  (See footnote 5 below)

      Unrestricted elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 6 below)

SMM Seventh Semester Credits: 15

      Civil Eng elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 4 below)

      Technical elective II Credits: 3  (See footnote 5 below)

      Unrestricted elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 6 below)

SMM Eighth Semester Credits: 16

      Civil Eng elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 4 below)

      SMM CE Breadth elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 11 below)

      Unrestricted elective Credits: 3  (See footnote 6 below)


(1) Science I elective – chosen from: BIOL 2100 - Introduction to Biology with Laboratory: Cell Biology & Genetics ; BIOL 2200 - Introduction to Biology w/Laboratory: Organismal & Evolutionary Biology ; MSE 2090 - Introduction to Materials Science ; EVSC 2800 - Fundamentals of Geology ; EVSC 3200 - Fundamentals of Ecology ; EVSC 3300 - Atmosphere and Weather .

(2) Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) elective: chosen from the approved list available in Thornton A122.

(3) Technical elective I - chosen from all technical courses 2000-level and higher, where technical courses are defined as all SEAS courses (with the exception of STS courses, ENGR 2595 Spanish for Engineers, and any other courses that count as HSS), BIO, CHEM, MATH, PHYS, EVSC, EVGE, EVEC, EVHY, PLAN, PLAC, LAR, ARCH, COMM)

(4) Civil engineering elective – chosen from all 3000- and above Civil Engineering courses.

(5) Technical elective II – chosen from all technical courses 3000- and higher.  See footnote (3) for definition of technical courses.

(6) Unrestricted electives - chosen from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310 - Calculus I  and courses that substantially duplicate any others offered for the degree, including PHYS 2010 - Principles of Physics I , PHYS 2020 - Principles of Physics II ; CS 1010 - Introduction to Information Technology ; or any introductory programming course. Students in doubt as to what is acceptable to satisfy a degree requirement should get the approval of their advisor and the dean’s office, located in Thornton Hall, Room A122. APMA 1090 - Single Variable Calculus I  counts as a three-credit unrestricted elective.

(7) EWRE Science II elective; (8) EWRE Civil Engineering Breadth Elective; (9) Environmental Engineering Elective; (10) Water Resources Engineering Elective; (11) SMM Civil Engineering Breadth Electives - See full list of approved courses for these electives on the Curriculum page of our Engineering Systems and Environment Department web page: https://www.engineering.virginia.edu/ese.


Public Professional Licensure Disclosure

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the UVA School of Engineering, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).