Civil Engineering Major

Civil engineers apply their knowledge to tackle such diverse fields as mass transportation, smart structures, environmental engineering and urban planning for sustainability.


What is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is about community service, development and improvement. It involves the conception, planning, design, construction and operation of facilities essential to modern life, ranging from transit systems to offshore structures to space satellites.

Civil engineers are problem solvers, meeting the challenges of pollution, traffic congestion, drinking water, energy needs, urban redevelopment and community planning.

Civil engineers apply their knowledge to tackle such diverse fields as mass transportation, smart structures, environmental engineering and urban planning for sustainability. Civil engineering related projects contribute over $200 billion to the annual economy of our country.

It is a major favorable contributor to the well-being of our nation and its citizens. Civil engineering has taken on roles in service to mankind and will play a vital role in sustaining and improving the quality of life for humanity in the 21st century.

Future challenges for civil engineers include pollution control, mitigating traffic congestion, providing safe drinking water, addressing the energy needs of an ever-increasing world population, urban redevelopment and community planning. Our civil engineering education prepares you to be a part of this challenging future.

The Civil Engineering Major

The civil engineering degree program provides a solid foundation of coursework in the engineering sciences, including graphics, mechanics of solids, fluid sciences, vibrations and electronics.

Students pursuing a civil engineering major will then be able to specialize in such areas as smart structures, smart transportation, structural design and analysis, and green engineering. Electives in transportation, smart structures and structural design will provide opportunities for greater depth of study.  Modern and well-equipped laboratories emphasize experimental methods and measurement techniques. Students may also enroll in the Saint Louis University Honors Program.

In keeping with the Jesuit tradition of promoting the development of the whole person, the civil engineering program includes the core curriculum of Parks College. This core provides a broad foundation of knowledge in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. At the same time, the core fosters intellectual inquiry, ethical decision making and the ability to effectively communicate across disciplines.

As engineers are problem solvers, you will experience design problem solving throughout the civil engineering curriculum, culminating in a two-semester capstone design sequence.

With this experience, you will become aware of the impact of design decisions, not only on the technical aspects of your design, but on society as a whole. In addition, the senior year prepares the student to take the Fundamentals in Engineering (FE) exam administered by the National Society of Professional Engineers.

The civil engineering curriculum is designed in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (EAC of ABET) and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Unique Features of this Program

The curriculum is designed so that theoretical studies are complemented with laboratory “hands-on” approaches. Solid modeling using state-of-the-art computer software is introduced during the freshman year.

As you advance, you will use other computer software for structural analysis and fluid flow analysis. Our modern civil engineering laboratory facilities include a variety of equipment. In addition to the existing laboratory facilities in Oliver Hall, such as universal testing machines, vibration apparatus, and a fluid dynamics laboratory, a modern composite materials laboratory is also available. A state-of-the-art soil mechanics laboratory and a concrete laboratory are currently under development.

Another unique offering is that our civil engineering majors have the opportunity to specialize in environmental sciences through courses and projects offered by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Well-qualified students can participate in an accelerated program, earning both their bachelor’s and master’s in civil engineering from Parks College in five years.

And students who graduate with a civil engineering degree from SLU’s Parks College can pursue a master’s of sustainability (MA or MS) from the Saint Louis University Center for Sustainability, one of few programs of its kind in the country.

Internships & Research Opportunities

Competitive summer internships and cooperative education programs are available within the industry and with government agencies. Independent study on a civil engineering topic can be arranged under the direction of a faculty member. This affords the opportunity to pursue individual theoretical or experimental research.

Research and teaching assistantships are available for the advanced undergraduate student. These may involve assisting a faculty member with their research work or an engineering course or laboratory. 

In addition to a stipend, assistants gain valuable experience and the opportunity to interact with and help others in their civil engineering coursework.