The Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (B.S.C.E.) degree prepares students for careers in structural, geotechnical, transportation, environmental, water resources, and construction engineering. Civil engineers will help to solve the critical challenges of the 21st century, such as the rebuilding of our country’s infrastructure; incorporating sustainable, green building technologies into their designs; and helping to provide access to safe water to the almost 900 million people in the world (approximately one in eight people) who now lack that access.
The Civil Engineering program promotes project-based learning. As students learn the fundamentals of science, math, and engineering in their first two years, their courses include hands-on projects in which they use those fundamentals in real-world applications. For example, students in their sophomore engineering design course have worked with our Engineers Without Borders student chapter to develop and implement sustainable water supply solutions for villages in India and Kenya. Students in their surveying course have assisted the University in meeting a requirement of an Army Corps of Engineers permit each year by mapping out important features of a University conservation area. In their final two years, students take courses in the core areas of civil engineering: structural, geotechnical, transportation, water resources, environmental, and construction engineering. The curriculum continues to emphasize project-based learning, such as performing a traffic impact study for a magnet school in the city of Hartford or growing algae as a potential source of biofuel. The civil engineering curriculum culminates with a senior capstone design project. Students select a project in their area of interest and work as part of a design team mentored by a practicing engineer. The experience gained by our students working as junior engineers for their mentors has been extremely successful in helping our graduates make the transition from college to their professional careers.
The Civil Engineering program also provides students with opportunities to work on international interdisciplinary projects. Students have traveled to India and Kenya to work on water and energy projects and are involved in an industrial archaeology project in St. Vincent. In addition, we have a group of students collaborating with Indian students to develop a sustainable business solution or social enterprise to provide potable water to those who are too poor now to purchase clean water. We also work with students so that they can study abroad for one or two semesters. For example, our students have studied in Australia, India, Ireland, and Scotland.
Outside the classroom, students have the opportunity to participate in many different engineering clubs and work on projects such as the design and construction of a steel bridge. Our affiliation with the Construction Institute on campus provides students with numerous opportunities to visit construction sites around Greater Hartford. With our emphasis on undergraduate education, there are also many opportunities for undergraduate students to earn money by assisting faculty with their funded research. With the strong support of our alumni, there is a solid network available to help our students with paid internships during the school year and summer.
Candidates for the B.S.C.E. may elect the environmental concentration by taking elective courses that are related to the environment to supplement their broad-based civil engineering education. These courses are labeled in the course descriptions with the designation (ENV) following the number of credits.
The undergraduate Civil Engineering program seeks to prepare qualified students for entry-level professional practice in civil engineering and for entrance into appropriate graduate programs. During their careers, our alumni
- will be successful practicing engineers in the areas of design, analysis, and realization of design in one or more of the major areas of civil engineering, including environmental, geotechnical, structural, transportation, and water resources;
- will have an appreciation of the need for lifelong learning in order to practice effectively; and
- will successfully apply the fundamentals of engineering analysis and engineering design to the formulation and solution of emerging technical problems as contributing members of multidisciplinary engineering teams.
The engineering design experience is distributed over the entire engineering curriculum. Engineering design continues through the senior capstone design project. The majority of the design work is incorporated into the junior and senior years to ensure that the students have taken sufficient preparatory engineering science courses.
Basic concepts of physics, chemistry, and mathematics are the foundation on which all engineering education is built. Basic tools of engineering, such as graphic communication and computer usage and programming, are also required knowledge. The engineering sciences, such as solid and fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, complete the introductory phase of the program.
Civil engineering is generally considered to consist of several branches:
All Civil Engineering program graduates are required to complete at least one course in each of the branches except construction. Additional elective courses are available in each of the branches. Through choice of electives, a student may become specialized in one of the branches or remain a generalist.
Extensive laboratory experience enhances the course work. There are several required laboratory courses in the sciences, materials, engineering, and natural phenomena. Written communication of laboratory results is required.
Through participation in the All-University Curriculum and in additional elective courses in the humanities and/or social sciences, students are given the opportunity to broaden their perspectives and to take part in the larger learning community of the University. It is imperative that engineers understand and appreciate the special role that technology plays in our society and the interactions between and among the various components of our society.