Civil and environmental engineers are responsible for the sustainable design of facilities that protect the health and welfare of communities and the environment, while also ensuring society’s financial health. More specifically, they are responsible for the conception, design, and construction of public works such as:
- the highways, streets, and bridges that we walk, bike, and drive on
- the water systems and earthworks that treat the water we drink, manage the water we swim in and boat on, and protect us and our property from floodwaters
- the homes, schools, factories, theaters, and stadiums in which we live, learn, work, and play
- the airports, railways, waterways, and harbors that provide additional mobility for people and the materials they produce and consume
- the treatment and emission systems that ensure the safety of the air we breathe
- the recycling, reuse, and disposal systems used to minimize the production of and also provide for the containment of the solid and hazardous wastes we produce
- the production and transmission facilities for the electricity we use, including generation facilities for both conventional and renewable energy sources
Civil and environmental engineers are also responsible for the operation of these facilities, an aspect of the field that is being rapidly integrated into the Internet of Things with real-time “big data” collection systems for automated control. This makes it possible for society to rely on:
- autonomous cars, trucks, and mass transport systems, providing safer travel with reduced traffic congestion, improved roadway capacity, reduced energy consumption and air emissions
- smart water infrastructure, including systems that will reduce water consumption, save energy, and improve community resiliency in the wake of natural and human-caused disasters
- intelligent buildings, including systems that reduce energy consumption, improve employee and student comfort, and allow for adaptation of structural systems to changing wind and seismic loads
All of the above items require a core knowledge in mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, computer science and computer design tools, as well as breadth in the different civil and environmental engineering disciplines. These disciplines include construction engineering and management, environmental engineering, geological and geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering. Civil and environmental engineers perform their work in an interdisciplinary setting requiring strong written and verbal communication skills, understanding of professional and ethical obligations coupled with risk management and decision-making, and commitment to lifelong learning and professional licensure.
Develop and maintain a learning community that pursues new knowledge and understanding, and provides innovative and sustainable solutions to human and ecological needs.
Mission of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE) Program
Create, integrate, and transfer civil and environmental engineering knowledge and practice in the development of professionals, leaders, and citizens that help define and serve societal and environmental needs by applying this knowledge and practice in an effective and sustainable manner.
Civil Engineering Program Educational Objectives
Prepare BSCE graduates to contribute to their communities through the following career and professional accomplishments:
- Design and construct both natural and built processes and systems to efficiently meet determined needs using technical knowledge; modern tools; design principles; ethical practice; and communication, leadership, and team skills.
- Utilize measurement and analysis tools along with experimental data in investigating natural and built systems.
- Understand and incorporate economic, environmental, political, social, safety and global considerations in design, investigation and construction of natural and built systems.
- Engage in lifelong learning to keep pace with the continuous evolution of policies, procedures, technologies and tools for engineering analysis, design, and decision making.
- Serve others through participation in professional and/or civic activities and responsibilities.
Admission to the College as a Freshman
Students applying to UW–Madison need to indicate an engineering major as their first choice in order to be considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering. Direct admission to a major means students will start in the program of their choice in the College of Engineering and will need to meet progression requirements at the end of the first year to guarantee advancement in that program.
Cross-Campus Transfer to Engineering
UW–Madison students in other schools and colleges on campus must meet minimum admission requirements for admission consideration to engineering degree granting classifications. Cross-campus admission is competitive and selective, and the grade point average expectations may increase as demand trends change. The student’s overall academic record at UW–Madison is also considered. Students apply to their intended engineering program by submitting the online application by stated deadlines for spring and fall. The College of Engineering offers an online information tutorial and drop-in advising for students to learn about the cross-campus transfer process.
Off-Campus Transfer to Engineering
With careful planning, students at other accredited institutions can transfer coursework that will apply toward engineering degree requirements at UW–Madison. Off-campus transfer applicants are considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering by applying to the Office of Admissions with an engineering major listed as their first choice. Those who are admitted to their intended engineering program must meet progression requirements at the point of transfer or within their first two semesters at UW–Madison to guarantee advancement in that program. A minimum of 30 credits in residence in the College of Engineering is required after transferring, and all students must meet all requirements for their major in the college. Transfer admission to the College of Engineering is competitive and selective, and students who have exceeded the 80 credit limit at the time of application are not eligible to apply.
The College of Engineering has dual degree programs with select four-year UW System campuses. Eligible dual degree applicants are not subject to the 80 credit limit.
Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer Coordinator in the College of Engineering: email@example.com or 608-262-2473.
Second Bachelor's Degree
The College of Engineering does not accept second undergraduate degree applications. Second degree students might explore the Biological Systems Engineering program at UW–Madison, an undergraduate engineering degree elsewhere, or a graduate program in the College of Engineering.
University General Education Requirements
All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.
|General Education|| |
* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.
Summary of Requirements
The following curriculum applies to students who were admitted to the civil engineering degree program (classification changed to CEE) in fall 2016 or later.
|Introduction to Engineering||3|
|Mathematics and Statistics||19|
|Civil Engineering Mechanics||6|
|Civil Engineering Tools||6|
|Civil Engineering Breadth||21|
|Civil Engineering Design||10|
Introduction to Engineering
|INTEREGR 170||Design Practicum||3|
Mathematics and Statistics Requirement
|MATH 221||Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1||5|
|or MATH 217||Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II|
|or MATH 275||Topics in Calculus I|
|MATH 222||Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2||4|
|or MATH 276||Topics in Calculus II|
|MATH 234||Calculus--Functions of Several Variables||4|
|One of the following courses:||3|
|Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers|
|Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I|
|One of the following advanced mathematics courses:||3|
|Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations|
|Linear Algebra and Differential Equations|
Basic Science Requirement
|One of the following:||5|
| General Chemistry I|
and General Chemistry II
|Advanced General Chemistry|
|One of the following:||5|
|One of the following:||3|
|Introductory Geology: How the Earth Works|
|One of the following:||3|
Engineering Mechanics Requirement
|E M A 201||Statics (with a grade of C or better)||3|
|E M A 202||Dynamics||3|
|or M E 240||Dynamics|
|E M A 303||Mechanics of Materials||3|
|or M E 306||Mechanics of Materials|
|E M A/M E 307||Mechanics of Materials Lab||1|
Civil Engineering Mechanics Requirement
|CIV ENGR 310||Fluid Mechanics||3|
|CIV ENGR/E M A 395||Materials for Constructed Facilities||3|
Civil Engineering Tools Requirement
|M E 170||Civil Engineering Graphics||2-3|
|or M E 231||Geometric Modeling for Design and Manufacturing|
|CIV ENGR/G L E 291||Problem Solving Using Computer Tools||4|
Civil Engineering Breadth Requirement
|CIV ENGR 311||Hydroscience||3|
|CIV ENGR 320||Environmental Engineering||3|
|CIV ENGR/G L E 330||Soil Mechanics||3|
|CIV ENGR 340||Structural Analysis I||3|
|CIV ENGR 370||Transportation Engineering||3|
|CIV ENGR 494||Civil and Environmental Engineering Decision Making||3|
|CIV ENGR 498||Construction Project Management||3|
Civil Engineering Design Requirement
|CIV ENGR 578||Senior Capstone Design||4|
|Every student must take at least one class in at least two of the following CEE disciplines, for a total of 6 credits. One of the two classes MUST be completed BEFORE taking CIV ENGR 578 Senior Capstone Design.||6|
|Design of Wastewater Treatment Plants|
|Solid and Hazardous Wastes Engineering|
|Water Treatment Plant Design|
|Hazardous Waste Management|
|Steel Structures I|
|Concrete Structures I|
|Seepage and Slopes|
|Geometric Design of Transport Facilities|
|Advanced Pavement Design|
|Note: If a student takes three or more courses from the above list, two of those courses will count toward this civil engineering design requirement and the other classes will count towards the electives requirement (see section below).|
Engineering Electives Requirement
- Students must take at least 3 credits of coursework from an ABET-accredited degree-granting program outside of the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering program. INTEREGR and E P D courses do not qualify for meeting this requirement; any courses cross-listed with Civil Engineering (CIV ENGR) do not qualify for meeting this requirement.
- Students must take at least 3 credits of CEE coursework in addition to the civil engineering design requirement. Note: Students in the Construction Engineering Management or Environmental Engineering option programs must select from a set of CIV ENGR courses approved for those options. 1,2,3
- Students must take at least 7 credits of coursework that meets at least one of the following1,2,3:
- Any course offered by an engineering department, including but not limited to CIV ENGR.
- Any Intermediate or Advanced level course with a breadth designation of Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and/or Natural Sciences. These courses cannot also carry a breadth designation of Social Sciences, Humanities or Literature.
- Any of the following business courses: INTEREGR 303 Applied Leadership Competencies in Engineering, ACCT I S 300 Accounting Principles, FINANCE/ECON 300 Introduction to Finance, GEN BUS 301 Business Law, M H R 300 Managing Organizations, REAL EST/A A E/ECON/URB R PL 306 The Real Estate Process
Total Credits: 13
Up to three credits of CIV ENGR 1 Cooperative Education Program may be used towards Item 2 or 3.
Up to six credits of research work (CIV ENGR 299 Independent Study, CIV ENGR 489 Honors in Research, and/or CIV ENGR 699 Independent Study) may be used towards Item 2 or 3.
CIV ENGR 150 Introduction to Architectural Theory, CIV ENGR 151 Architectural Making I, CIV ENGR 152 Architectural Making II, CIV ENGR 155 Architectural Thinking, and CIV ENGR 250 Architectural Visualization cannot be used in Items 2 or 3 above.
|Communications A (choose one)||3|
|Introduction to College Composition|
|Science and Storytelling|
|Introduction to Speech Composition|
|Academic Writing II|
|Speech-Related Course (choose one)||2|
|Technical Presentations 1|
|Elements of Speech-Honors Course|
|Theory and Practice of Argumentation and Debate|
|Theory and Practice of Group Discussion|
|Writing-Related Courses (choose one)||3|
|Engineering Communication (was EPD 397 before Fall 2020)|
E P D 275 Technical Presentations and INTEREGR 397 Engineering Communication (was EPD 397 before Fall 2020) strongly recommended to satisfy these requirements.
Liberal Studies Requirements
|College of Engineering Liberal Studies Requirements|
|Complete Requirements 1||16|
|Requirements specific to Civil Engineering:|
|An economics course must be selected from the following list:|
|Principles of Microeconomics|
|Principles of Macroeconomics|
|Principles of Economics-Accelerated Treatment|
|A minimum of three credits of environmental studies course that meets the breadth designations of humanities, literature, and/or social science. Courses that also carry breadth designations of Biological Sciences, Natural Sciences, or Physical Sciences will not count towards this requirement.|
All liberal studies credits must be identified with the letter H, S, L, or Z. Language courses are acceptable without the letter and are considered humanities. An economics elective and an environmental studies elective are required.
Note: See a CEE advisor for additional information.
Honors in Research
Students in civil engineering that have completed at least two semesters on the Madison campus with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 may apply to participate in the Honors in Research program. Students may register for 1 to 3 credits per semester. A grade of P (Progress) will be assigned each semester until the student completes the honors in research program or drops out of the program, at which time a final grade is assigned (based on research progress and the written thesis, if completed). This becomes the grade for all credits taken in CIV ENGR 489 Honors in Research.
A senior thesis worth 3 credits of CIV ENGR 489 is required. The senior thesis is a written document reporting on a substantial piece of work that is prepared in the style of a graduate thesis. The thesis advisor determines the grade which the student receives for the thesis. A bound copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering office to complete the program.
The designation “Honors in Research” will be recorded on the student’s transcript if the following criteria are met:
- Satisfaction of requirements for an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering.
- A cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.3.
- Completion of a total of at least 8 credits in CIV ENGR 489.
- Completion of a senior honors thesis with a final grade of B or better.
Students interested in the Honors in Research program should contact their advisor or the BSCE chair for more information. Applications to the program are to be submitted to the BSCE chair with a supporting letter from the student’s academic and thesis advisors. Decisions regarding acceptance are made by the BSCE chair.
Note: Beginning Fall 2023, admission to the Environmental Engineering named option for the Civil Engineering, B.S. will be suspended. Students interested in Environmental Engineering and planning to graduate in 2023-24 or later may apply for the Environmental Engineering, B.S. program beginning Fall 2022. Please consult your academic advisor.
University Degree Requirements
|Total Degree||To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.|
|Residency||Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.|
|Quality of Work||Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.|
- an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
- an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
- an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
- an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
- an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
- an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
- an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies
- an ability to explain basic concepts in management, business, and public policy
- an ability to explain the importance of professional licensure
- an ability to understand common failure mechanisms of a component, process, or system and their causes and prevention
SAMPLE FOUR-YEAR PLAN
|MATH 221||5||MATH 222||4|
|CHEM 109||5||E M A 201||3|
|INTEREGR 170||3||M E 170 or 231||2|
or LIBERAL STUDIES
|LIBERAL STUDIES or||3|
|GEOSCI 100 or 106||3|
|MATH 234||4||MATH 319 or 320||3|
|E M A 202||3||E M A 303 or M E 306||3|
|CIV ENGR 320||3||E M A/M E 307||1|
|BIOLOGY ELECTIVE||3||E P D 275||2|
|STAT 324 or 311||3||CIV ENGR 310||3|
|ECON 101, 102, or 111||4|
|CIV ENGR 311||3||CIV ENGR 340||3|
|CIV ENGR/G L E 330||3||CIV ENGR/E M A 395||3|
|CIV ENGR/G L E 291||4||CIV ENGR 498||3|
|ETHNIC STUDIES||3||CIV ENGR 370||3|
|INTEREGR 397 (was EPD 397)||3||PHYSICS 202 or 208||5|
|CIV ENGR DESIGN ELECTIVE||3||CIV ENGR 578||4|
|ENGR ELECTIVE||3||CIV ENGR DESIGN ELECTIVE||3|
|CIV ENGR ELECTIVE||3||ENGR ELECTIVE||3|
|CIV ENGR 494||3||LIBERAL STUDIES||3|
|ENV STUDIES ELECTIVE||3||ENGR OUTSIDE OF CIV ENGR||3|
|Total Credits 128|
Each College of Engineering program has academic advisors dedicated to serving its students. Program advisors can help current College of Engineering students with questions about accessing courses, navigating degree requirements, resolving academic issues and more. Students can find their assigned advisor on the homepage of their student center.
Engineering Career Services
Engineering Career Services (ECS) assists students in identifying pre-professional work-based learning experiences such as co-ops and summer internships, considering and applying to graduate or professional school, and finding full-time professional employment during their graduation year.
ECS offers two major career fairs per year, assists with resume writing and interviewing skills, hosts workshops on the job search, and meets one-on-one with students to discuss offer negotiations.
Students are encouraged to utilize the ECS office early in their academic careers. For comprehensive information on ECS programs and workshops, see the ECS website or call 608-262-3471.
William Likos (Chair)
Gregory W. Harrington
James P. Hurley
Steve P. Loheide II
Katherine (Trina) McMahon
James Jay Schauer
Chin H. Wu
See also Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty Directory.
Licensure as a Professional Engineer is expected of civil engineers. Information on steps needed to obtain licensure is available from the National Council for the Examination of Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) at https://ncees.org/engineering/.
Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.
Note: Undergraduate Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes are made publicly available at the Departmental website. (In this Guide, the program's Student Outcomes are designated by our campus as "Learning Outcomes.")