Jump to main page content
Purdue signature

College of Engineering

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a remarkably broad field of study. Students can elect to prepare for professional careers in planning, design or construction in a variety of areas:

  • Architectural Engineering
  • Construction Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geomatics (surveying) Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Hydraulic and Hydrologic Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering

The curriculum accommodates this breadth by providing a fundamental set of required courses complemented by sufficient flexibility to allow students to concentrate portions of their studies in some meaningful combination of the specialty areas that are of particular interest to them. Students develop plans of study that meet their career objectives with the help of interested faculty advisors.

The goals of the civil engineering program are to provide students who qualify for the program with:

  • An outstanding engineering education from a nationally and internationally recognized institution.
  • A program of study that accommodates the individual's interests and career goals.
  • Teaching and advising by talented faculty who are accessible and available for interaction with students.
  • Opportunities to solve practical engineering problems and communicate effectively.
  • The opportunity to join the vast family of Purdue civil engineering graduates who are leaders in the practice of civil engineering worldwide.
  • A solid foundation for those students who wish to pursue graduate studies.
  • The ability to engage in lifelong learning.

The educational experience in civil engineering provides students with a solid foundation of technical knowledge; an appreciation of the social, economic and political implications of civil engineering projects; the ability to make decisions based on these implications as well as on technical, ethical and humanistic considerations; and finally, the capacity to effectively communicate not only these decisions but ideas in general.

This four-year program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (B.S.CE) degree. Graduate programs leading to Master of Science and Doctoral degrees are open to outstanding students who wish to undertake advanced study. It is also quite common for civil engineering graduates to pursue further study in other professions such as business or law.

The civil engineering profession encompasses a wide range of projects: buildings and bridges; tunnels, dams and levees; harbors, waterways and irrigation facilities; water supply systems; contaminant flows, waste treatment facilities and air and geoenvironmental remediation; airports, highways, railroads and intelligent transportation systems; and pipelines and power lines. In short — the infrastructure of the world. These often-monumental projects, coupled with the changing needs of our civilization and the need for sustainable development, provide unlimited challenges and opportunities. In meeting these challenges, civil engineers use a variety of advanced technologies, including high-performance computing, geographic information systems, imaging and automation.

Employment opportunities for civil engineering graduates include engineering consulting firms; construction firms; industrial firms; federal, state and municipal agencies; and the military. Additionally, however, civil engineering graduates often become involved in activities that are far removed from traditional civil engineering endeavors, such as the aerospace industry, research laboratories, the automotive industry, software developers and management consultancy.

While studying for the bachelor's degree in civil engineering, a student may elect to obtain a minor in any of a number of disciplines within the University. For example, a minor in management typically requires one additional semester of study beyond that required for the B.S.CE degree.


The Lyles School of Civil Engineering sponsors and administers a broad array of need-based and merit-based scholarships. Some scholarships have been established by alumni and bear their names. There are many benefits to being awarded a Civil Engineering named scholarship — to name one, there is an increased opportunity to network with the civil engineering community. Eligible candidates — incoming sophomores through senior civil engineering students — are invited in early spring to submit a single online application. Scholarship dollars are applied to fees for the fall and spring terms for which selected. These scholarships are applied in addition to the University’s Trustees and/or Presidential scholarships the student may receive.

Throughout the year, the school also receives information about scholarships provided to civil engineering students by outside organizations. A list of these opportunities is maintained under the “Scholarships” link on the CE website. Various professional civil engineering organizations, companies and affiliations offer these scholarships. A separate application is typically required for each external scholarship. Processes and deadlines vary by individual scholarship. Applications can be obtained via the sponsoring organization’s website unless otherwise indicated.


Study Abroad

Purdue University’s Program for Study Abroad Office currently offers more than 300 different programs in over 50 countries around the world. Programs vary in length from one week to one academic year. These programs allow students to earn academic credit that can be used to fulfill their general education requirements and/or academic course requirements in their major or minor area of study.

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering offers a global experience through short-term summer courses. More detailed information about international opportunities is available through Purdue’s Global Engineering Program as well as through Purdue’s Study Abroad Office. Students who have an interest in study abroad should contact the Undergraduate Office in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering.