Carnegie Mellon University

Civil and Environmental Engineering is a profession that applies technology to meet society's needs. Civil and environmental engineers are essential to provide buildings, clean water, roadways, and the protection of the natural environment.

With the advent of new information technologies, civil and environmental engineering is at the intersection of the built, natural and information environments. The information environment for civil and environmental engineering includes computer-aided design, remote sensing, environmental monitoring, field robotic control, and models of complex natural and built systems.

The challenge of civil and environmental engineering is to meld the built, information and natural environments effectively to meet society's needs.

Civil engineers conceive and manage the physical infrastructure and environmental protection systems of our society. They design, plan, construct and manage physical facilities, including roadways, dams, buildings and pipelines. They may own a construction firm, be a partner in a consulting company, or work for a government agency or corporation. They can find work anywhere in the world, because there are needs for physical facilities everywhere.

Graduates with a civil engineering degree also enter other professions or career paths. These graduates have a broad, problem solving background from their civil engineering studies, which can provide an excellent preparation for many careers. Indeed, engineering might be considered to be the "liberal arts" of the 21st Century. Civil engineering alumni have pursued careers in engineering fields as well as medicine, law, military service, management and software industries.

Environmental engineering developed as an area of civil engineering and now is important in all civil engineering activities. Environmental engineers identify and design solutions for environmental problems. They provide safe drinking water, manage wastes, maintain air quality, control water pollution, and clean sites contaminated by spills or improper disposal of hazardous wastes.

Increasingly, pollution prevention is as important a concern for environmental engineers as treatment and management of wastes. Environmental engineers may work for government agencies, private industry or a variety of non-governmental, non-profit organizations.

Carnegie Mellon offers a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and an undergraduate engineering minor in Environmental Engineering and Sustainability. The Bachelor of Science program in Civil Engineering is an accredited and widely recognized degree program for entry into the civil engineering profession.

The minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies is offered for any engineering students interested in focusing on this important specialization area.

The Civil Engineering curriculum is flexible, allowing students to pursue specializations in a variety of areas such as structural engineering or industrial management.

While the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering is adequate for entry into professional work, it is advisable for engineering professionals to continue learning throughout their careers. In most cases, a post-graduate degree such as a Master of Science is an important goal at some point during a career. A Master of Science in Environmental Engineering is often required for even entry-level positions in this specialization area.

Carnegie Mellon's Civil and Environmental Engineering is distinctive:

  • First year engineering courses provide an early introduction to civil engineering and a chance to apply your mathematics and science tools to real problems.
  • We provide more flexibility in course selection than most other civil engineering programs in the United States. This flexibility allows students to pursue their own interests, but still remain within the framework of an accredited program.
  • As a small program, students and faculty know each other very well. Students receive personal attention. Opportunities for leadership and involvement abound, including participation in research projects.
  • The regular faculty teaches required courses, while many elective classes are offered by professional practitioners to provide a different viewpoint. We pride ourselves on excellence in teaching throughout the department.
  • Our faculty is passionately interested in both educational and research innovation. Most faculty have received support from sources such as the National Science Foundation to develop new course materials or to disseminate new teaching techniques.
  • Computer use and information technology are integrated throughout the curriculum. Graduates are prepared for the modern workplace, which places a premium on effective use of information technology. We maintain a computer cluster for the exclusive use of our undergraduates.
The minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to environmental and sustainability issues beyond a traditional engineering major degree program.

Six courses are required with offerings from a wide range of disciplines, including architecture, business, engineering and public policy, english, history, and philosophy.

Yes. A variety of double majors and minors are available at Carnegie Mellon. A double major in Engineering and Public Policy is the most popular.

Other common double major programs include Biomedical Engineering, Business, Economics, Mathematics and Modern Languages. Popular minors include Business, Global Engineering,  Architectural Technology, and Environmental Engineering and Sustainability.

Certainly. Civil engineers have played all of the varsity sports at Carnegie Mellon. As a Division III NCAA program, academics and athletic participation are designed to be compatible.
Nearly all civil engineering students finish within four years of starting their program. With seven free elective courses, there is ample opportunity to pursue specific interests such as a double major or minor. Students pursuing these programs need to plan ahead in selecting elective courses.

Yes. Many Civil Engineering students have spent either a semester or a year abroad in countries such as Australia, Japan, Germany, England, South Africa and Switzerland.

The College of Engineering has a long-standing exchange program with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The availability of seven free elective courses in the undergraduate curriculum gives considerable flexibility for overseas study.

For co-op industrial experiences, students can undertake internships over the summers or opt for a semester and summer combined industrial internship. However, these longer co-op experiences will delay graduation.


Undergraduates have worked on research projects ranging from acid mine drainage to construction robots to computer aided design methods. Courses require hands-on project work in each of the four years of study.

Each undergraduate student in Civil Engineering meets with Andrea Francioni Rooney, Director of Undergraduate Programs, for academic advising. Students are also assigned to a faculty mentor with whom they discuss career and research interests.