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Best Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Joana Ferreira - May 29, 2022


If you enjoyed playing with building blocks as a kid, you might be a natural-born civil engineer with an eye for construction design. To move from making buildings with Legos to concrete, you’ll need one of the best civil engineering bachelor’s degrees. Civil engineering bachelor’s degrees teach students how to apply knowledge in math and sciences to building designs and materials.

To help you find your dream degree, we’ve compiled below a list of the top 10 civil engineering programs in the country. Then, we’ll go over the types of civil engineering bachelor’s degree jobs you can expect to obtain once you have your degree in hand.

Where Can I Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

You can get a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering at schools like Arizona State University, Drexel University, Oregon State University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Penn State University. Other great options include Johns Hopkins University, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, Syracuse University, and the University of North Dakota.

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What Schools Offer the Best Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

  • Arizona State University
  • Drexel University
  • Oregon State University
  • Penn State University
  • University of Texas at San Antonio

What Are the Admission Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

The admission requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering require prospective students to have completed high school or have their GED and to pay an application fee. Some schools might require prospective students to submit SAT or ACT scores.

Beyond that, some schools have a minimum GPA of around 3.0 required of their applicants. Even if a school doesn’t have a set minimum, the prospective students that they typically accept can have a GPA much higher than 3.0, such as with Johns Hopkins University.

Schools may also require letters of recommendation from counselors or teachers, or require students to answer short essay prompts asking about a student’s interest in a particular school.

Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Admission Requirements

  • Complete high school or GED
  • Academic transcripts
  • Application fee between $50 and $100
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Letters of recommendation

How to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering

To get a civil engineering bachelor’s degree, you must complete the graduation requirements of the respective school. Though the specifics vary between schools, you’ll have to sustain a minimum GPA score as you complete your 120 credit hours of study.

Some schools will also require their seniors to complete either a capstone project or take part in an internship or co-op work experience. This ensures that students have a professional portfolio upon graduation that will help them get their first job.

How Many Credits Do You Need for a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

Typically, 120 credits are required for a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. This means taking 15 credit hours over eight semesters to finish in four years, which is a full-time course load.

Some schools operate on quarter semesters, with students studying three out of the four quarters in a year. In those instances, students will still study for four years, but will instead take 180 credits. That involves 12 quarter-semesters, with 15 credit hours of studying for each.

Civil Engineering Degree Requirements

  • Complete 120 credit hours
  • Maintain a minimum GPA, typically 3.0
  • Occasionally complete a senior capstone project or internship
  • Take lower-level classes in biology, chemistry, calculus, and physics
  • Take upper-level classes in fluid mechanics, environmental engineering, and structural analysis

Best Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Arizona State University Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Civil Engineering Higher Learning Commission
Drexel University Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Johns Hopkins University Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
North Carolina State University Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Oregon State University Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Penn State University Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Purdue University Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Civil Engineering Higher Learning Commission
Syracuse University Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Middle States Commission on the Higher Education
University of North Dakota Civil Engineering Degree Higher Learning Commission
University of Texas at San Antonio Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Schools for Civil Engineering: Top Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Programs

With so many programs available at universities across the country, it can be difficult to find the best civil engineering bachelor’s degrees . Below, we’ll discuss our list of the top 10 schools in the country with civil engineering programs.

1

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ

Originally founded in 1885 as a school for training teachers, agriculturists, and mechanical artists, what became Arizona State University has since grown to offer more than 400 degree programs. Arizona State University is known for its immense student body, with 77,000 in-person attendees and 57,000 online students in more than 150 different countries recorded in 2021.

Civil Engineering, BSE Degree

Arizona State University offers two civil engineering degrees. One is the typical BSE in Civil Engineering and the other offers a sustainability concentration. In both courses, students take introductory chemistry, engineering, calculus, linear algebra, and physics. After completing this degree, students are prepared to work in either the private or public sector through large or small companies or government agencies.

Civil Engineering, BSE Degree Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $784/credit (in state); $1,248/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters at 13 - 16 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 66%

Civil Engineering BSE Degree Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0, or minimum 1120 in SAT or 22 in ACT, or top 25% of high school graduating class
  • Application Fee: $50 (AZ residents); $70 (nonresident but US citizens); $85 (international)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma

Applying to Arizona State University

  1. Complete online application either through Common or Coalition Application
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Send in either official or unofficial high school transcripts
  4. Submit ACT or SAT scores; optional if GPA above 3.0 or were in top 25% of high school graduating class
  5. Fill out FAFSA for financial aid

2

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

Initially founded in 1891, Drexel University didn’t begin offering bachelor’s of science degrees until 1914. Since then, the university has expanded astronomically with more than 23,569 students across its 80 undergraduate and 120 professional or graduate programs.

Drexel University is known for its cooperative studies, with students gaining real-world, full-time work experience before graduation. In fact, Drexel is ranked the second-best school in the country for its internships and co-ops by US News & World Report.

BS in Civil Engineering

In this program, students complete core math, physics, and engineering credit hours. They can further opt to take concentration elective classes in geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, water resource engineering, transportation engineering, or construction engineering and management. General education classes include English composition and civic engagement.

For their major, students of this BS program take advanced courses like structural analysis and ensign, soil mechanics, hydrology, and environmental engineering. To graduate, students must complete a nine-credit senior capstone project and a full-time co-op internship.

BS in Civil Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and Fees): $18,865/term
  • Required Credits: 189 credits
  • Program Length: 4 - 5 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

BS in Civil Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.73
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT optional
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: 250- to 650-word essay, 2 letters of recommendation

Applying to Drexel University

  1. Complete online application
  2. Pay $50 application fee
  3. Write an essay between 250 and 650 words
  4. Send in official transcripts
  5. Get two letters of recommendation
  6. Look into financial aid options

3

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

This private research university is a top 10 national university, and its engineering bachelor’s degree ranks in the top 20 across the country, according to US News & World Report. Opened in 1876, this school got its start from a $7 million endowment from philanthropist Johns Hopkins with the intention to start a hospital and research medical school.

Civil Engineering Bachelor of Science

Students at Johns Hopkins University will study fundamental major courses that teach structural systems, oil mechanics, Python programming, risk modeling natural disasters, and designing foundations, among others. After graduation, students either enter either the private or public work sector, gain experience towards a professional engineering license, or continue their education with an advanced engineering degree.

Civil Engineering Bachelor of Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $60,480/year
  • Required Credits: 127 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters taking 15 - 18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 94%

Civil Engineering Bachelor of Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT optional through 2026
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: recommendation letter from counselor and two teachers

Applying to Johns Hopkins University

  1. Fill out online application
  2. Pay $70 application fee
  3. Submit SAT/ACT scores, optional
  4. Get letter of recommendation from school counselor and two teachers
  5. File your FAFSA for financial assistance

4

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC

North Carolina State University is a great choice for civil engineering, as it is ranked 36th in the country for its undergraduate engineering programs . This public research university has a student body of 36,000 enrollees across its 300 degree programs.

Civil Engineering (BS)

Students studying this Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering take classes focusing on topics including molecular science, economics, Python, solid mechanics, and concrete design. Senior year, students take electives in the fields of their choosing, such as energy and climate, highway design, airport planning, hydraulics, or aerodynamics.

Graduates of this program will be prepared to work in construction, geotechnical, structures, mechanics, water resources, environmental, or transportation engineering. Depending on the job type, grads may work either in the field or entirely in an office.

Civil Engineering (BS) Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $272/credit (in state); $1,178 (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 124 - 126
  • Program Length: 8 semesters at 15 - 18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 84%

Civil Engineering (BS) Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.5 minimum
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT optional through 2024, subject to change thereafter
  • Application Fee: $85
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: Mark your top two choices for majors on application, write essay 650 words or less, answer short questions

Applying to North Carolina State University

  1. Submit the application online
  2. Mark on application fee two top intended majors
  3. Pay the application fee
  4. Submit your SAT or ACT scores
  5. Write 650 essay
  6. Complete two short answer questions
  7. Submit high school transcript

5

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

Having been granted 90,000 acres in 1896 by the state legislature, Oregon State University today offers over 300 degree programs for its 32,312 students. The school is proud of its earth science program accolades, having been recognized by the prestigious scientific journal Nature as having one of the top 60 best programs in the world for the field .

BS Civil Engineering

Those taking this program will start with foundational classes in calculus, chemistry, English, and physics, before moving on to advanced classes like hydraulic engineering, surveying theory, and designing steel structures.

Upon graduation, students will be prepared to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, which is required to become professional engineers. For an additional 16 quarter hours in geomatics classes, students can also take the Professional Land Surveying license test.

BS Civil Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition: $362/credit (in state); $1,043/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 181 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years, taking 15 credits across 12 quarter-semesters
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 69%

BS Civil Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0 minimum recommended
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT optional
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: High school or GED
  • Other Requirements: Language proficiency scores if applicable

Applying to Oregon State University

  1. Submit an online application
  2. Have a recommended minimum GPA of 3.0
  3. Turn in official transcripts
  4. Apply for Financial Aid
  5. Send in SAT or ACT scores (optional)

6

Penn State University

University Park, PA

The Keystone State’s only land-grant institution, this circa 1855 school equally supports its surrounding community, having contributed over $11.6 billion towards Pennsylvania’s economy . Penn State University is a massive school with 89,816 students across 24 campuses. It offers more than 160 bachelor’s, 90 associate’s, and 190 graduate degree programs.

Civil Engineering, BS

Whether you want to be working in construction, researching, designing, or educating, this degree from Penn State will allow you to be an engineer in either the private or public sectors. General education requirements include classes in English, chemistry, physics, and calculus. Major credit hours cover topics such as structural analysis, highway engineering, water quality chemistry, and open-channel hydraulics.

Civil Engineering, BS Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and Fees): $612/credit (in state), $1,198/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 127 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters at 15 - 18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 73%

Civil Engineering, BS Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.60
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT optional through fall 2023, subject to change thereafter
  • Application Fee: $65 (US residents); $75 (international)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma
  • Other Requirements: Select which campus you wish to study in for your general education and lower-level classes

Applying to Penn State University

  1. Create an account to apply online
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Choose which campus you want to start studying at (will wind up in University Park further along your degree)
  4. Submit SAT or ACT scores, optional through fall 2023
  5. Self-report your high school academic record

7

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

Those wishing to join the other 46,655 studying at Purdue University will get great value out of their degree, as Purdue ranks tenth on US News & World Report’s list of the country’s best engineering bachelor’s degrees , and sixth in the country for its civil engineering program.

Civil Engineering, BSCE

When studying at Purdue, incoming freshmen first complete the school’s general first-year engineering program, and upon completion, are then admitted into the Lyles School of Civil Engineering. Students in this civil engineering program will take 56 credits worth of classes in electricity and optics, hydraulics, statistics, and geomatics and 30 credits of technical electives.

As a culmination of their studies, students complete a senior design project mimicking real-world problem-solving and innovation. Those with a degree from Purdue will be able to specialize in a wide range of engineering disciplines, working as everything from an architectural, construction, and environmental engineers to a structural, transportation, geomatics, and geotechnical engineers.

Civil Engineering, BSCE Overview

  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $348/credit (in state); $948/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 130
  • Program Length: 8 semesters at 15 - 18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 83%

Civil Engineering, BSCE Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT, optional through spring 2023, subject to change thereafter
  • Application Fee: $60
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma
  • Other Requirements: Not required

Applying to Purdue University

  1. Complete online application
  2. Self-report high school transcripts
  3. Send in ACT or SAT scores
  4. Pay application fee
  5. Answer Purdue’s specific application questions

8

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private research university that offers more than 200 degree programs to an enrollment of more than 20,000 students. The university is known for its reputation and robust engineering and business programs.

Civil Engineering, BS

Within this program, students first take foundational math and science classes before moving on to upper-level classes in earth science and systems, sustainability, fluid and materials mechanics, and statics. Further on in their bachelor’s degree path, students can choose career-oriented elective concentrations in either environmental, structural, geotechnical, or construction engineering.

Civil Engineering, BS Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $58,440/year
  • Required Credits: 127 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters at 15 - 18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 83%

Civil Engineering, BS Overview Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Application Fee: $85
  • Minimum Education: High school
  • Other Requirements: Letter of recommendation from a STEM teacher; need to have taken four years of math and a laboratory science in high school

Applying to Syracuse University

  1. Submit an online application
  2. Send in transcripts
  3. Optionally send in SAT or ACT scores
  4. Letter of recommendation from STEM teacher
  5. File your FAFSA for financial aid

9

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

Founded in 1883 before North Dakota was even a state, the eponymous university was co-ed from the start, with its first graduating class comprised of six women and two men. Despite a current enrollment of 13,616, the University of North Dakota (UND) maintains a personable class size of just 25.

Civil Engineering Degree

This 128-credit program prepares graduates for careers in a variety of fields, including environmental regulation, water resources engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and construction management.

After completing the necessary calculus, physics, biology, and chemistry classes students jump right into major classes like hydraulic engineering, hydrology, and steel design. This program is under UND’s College of Engineering & Mines division, which will also require a technical elective alongside classes on earth dynamics, statics, and engineering economy, to name a few.

Civil Engineering Degree Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $428/credit (in state); $642/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 128 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters at 15 - 18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 61%

Civil Engineering Degree Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.75 recommended
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT waived through summer 2023; subject to change thereafter
  • Application Fee: $35
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: Submit application by February first to be automatically awarded the freshman scholarship if admitted the following fall semester.

Applying to University North Dakota

  1. Complete online application through Common App or directly through the university
  2. Request official high-school transcripts
  3. Optionally send in SAT or ACT
  4. If pursuing the freshman scholarship, submit application by February first for admission in the next fall semester
  5. File your FAFSA for financial assistance

10

University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio, TX

The University of Texas at San Antonio strives to offer an accessible education that helps build a bright future for its students. The school ranks 26th in the US for its rate of student social mobility , per the US News & World Report, with 45 percent of its 34,742-strong student body being first-generation college students. The university is also known for its research, having a $140 million expenditure in 2021 alone across its 32 institutes and research centers.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering

Through this program, students will take classes on structural analysis, mechanics of solids, steel design, and fluid mechanics, and learn different branches of engineering including civil, water resources, and highway.

UTSA also offers special topics classes that change between semesters, including timber design and structures in Mesa Verde National Park, for example. To complete the degree, students will complete a senior capstone project in civil engineering design.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $365/credit
  • Required Credits: 128
  • Program Length: 8 semesters at 15 - 18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 46%

Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum, but guaranteed admissions if in the top 25-percent of high school class
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT; no minimum if in the top 25-percent of high school class, if not, 1170 SAT or 24 ACT guarantees admission
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Minimum Education: High school
  • Other Requirements: One or two letters of recommendation suggested

Applying to the University of Texas at San Antonio

  1. Complete online application
  2. Submit $70 application fee
  3. Self-report your high school transcripts
  4. Send in SAT or ACT scores
  5. Get one or two recommendation letters

What Is a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

A civil engineering bachelor’s degree is a four-year program that teaches students the math, science, and design underlying natural and constructed settings. Students first learn the foundations of physics, chemistry, calculus, and biology to then build skill sets in various forms of engineering, including geotechnical, transportation, environmental, structural, and water resources.

After 120 to 180 credits within this degree, students take licensing exams to become certified civil engineers and jump right into the workforce in either private or public sectors. They often work in either federal government organizations, small consulting firms, or large corporations.

How Important Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

A Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering is very important as it teaches the essential knowledge necessary to land a job within a civil engineering department. Most bachelor’s degrees also require students to specialize in a specific civil engineering department, ensuring they have the technical knowledge and skills to design their own infrastructure in the real world.

What Types of Bachelor’s Degree Can You Get in Civil Engineering?

The main type of bachelor’s degree you can get in civil engineering is a Bachelor of Science. However, if you know that you want a specific job in the civil engineering industry, you might be able to find a school that specializes in that civil engineering department. Possible subjects degrees cover include architecture, construction, environment, drafting, or surveying.

Is It Better to Get a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree or a Construction Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

It is better to get a civil engineering degree if you want to focus on the science and math behind designing and drafting construction projects. You’ll have extensive knowledge in physics, calculus, biology, and chemistry to know how to design infrastructure literally from the ground up.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Engineering, by contrast, is more focused on implementing the designs made by civil engineers and they work on-site either making or managing the construction of projects. Often, they are in charge of making stability structures such as scaffolding commonly used in construction.

What Is the Difference Between a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree and a Civil Engineering Certificate?

The difference between a civil engineering bachelor’s degree and a civil engineering certificate is that the bachelor’s degree is the baseline education needed to work within the field. A certificate, however, simply shows that someone has furthered their education to specialize in a specific civil engineering topic or area.

You can’t become a civil engineer with a certificate alone, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement. Once students graduate with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree, they take licensing exams to become certified civil engineers. One cannot take a certification without prior baccalaureate education.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

The average tuition cost per year for a bachelor’s degree is $19,081 , according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This price tag changes depending on the type of university you choose.

The cheapest option is to study at a public, in-state college of engineering, with $9,425 being the base tuition. A private, for-profit college costs $19,085 per year, while a private non-profit college costs $36,689 in annual tuition.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

It usually takes four years to get a civil engineering bachelor’s degree. Students typically take 120 credits total, split across eight semesters, with 12 to 15 credits being completed each semester.

For schools that operate on quarter semesters, as opposed to just two typical fall and spring semesters, students complete 180 credits spread across 12 quarter semesters. They study three out of the four quarters in a year, taking 15 credits per quarter semester, taking four years total.

How Hard Is It to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

It is not hard to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering so long as you are proficient in math and science. The introductory classes within the major involve taking complicated physics, chemistry, biology, and calculus classes, so if your skills are not STEM-related, this might not be the degree for you.

However, if you are skilled in STEM classes, civil engineering is a fairly easy degree to get. It will take four years to complete and you’ll likely have the opportunity to specialize in a specific type of civil engineering. To culminate your studies, you may need to design a project that would mimic the kinds you hope to produce in the real world.

Why Should You Get a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

You should get a civil engineering bachelor’s degree if you hope to work within the field, as a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement to become a professional engineer. After completing a baccalaureate education, you must take a licensing exam to become a certified civil engineer.

Upon graduation, you’d be able to work within the civil engineering field, a sector that is expected to grow by eight percent between 2020 and 2030 , according to the Bureau of Labor Statiatics. Careers that await you include geotechnical engineer, structural engineer, transportation engineer, water resources engineer, or environmental engineer.

What Courses Do You Need to Take in a Bachelor’s Degree Program in Civil Engineering?

The courses you need to take during a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering cover foundational math and science classes in calculus, physics, biology, and chemistry classes in the first semesters. Further into the degree, you’ll begin to take courses in more complex construction-related classes. These advanced, civil engineering-focused courses are listed in detail below.

Introduction to Civil Engineering

Introduction to Civil Engineering teaches foundational knowledge of engineering design, construction methods, and the makeup of construction materials. In addition, you’ll gain the critical-thinking skills needed to apply this knowledge, and learn the ethics and decision-making behind designing.

Fluid Mechanics

This is a physics class that teaches how fluids act and how different forces affect how they behave. You’ll learn how fluids flow through open channels and porous materials and move around constructed pipes to make the most effective designs.

Steel Design

The literal backbone of most construction projects, you’ll learn the physics behind this durable, strong, and versatile building material. Professors will go over the types of steel mediums, including tension cords, columns, welded connections, and beams.

Environmental Engineering

This class is essential to learning how to create designs that minimize the negative environmental impact of construction projects. Those studying a civil engineering major learn how to monitor and protect different ecosystems and natural resources, as well as learn how to fix environmental problems when they arise.

Structural Analysis

This is a form of solid mechanics that looks at how different building materials are expected to behave when constructed. Students will analyze how various materials affect one another, the effect of weight on their strength and their joints, as well as how to create structures to move loads.

Continuing Education Paths for Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

Students can continue their educational path beyond their civil engineering bachelor’s degree through additional certifications or pursuing a graduate degree such as a master’s degree . If your undergraduate program didn’t offer concentrations within the field, you can go to other civil engineering schools that offer graduate degrees in specific types of construction.

The advantage of getting a graduate degree is that you’re can focus your studies on a type of engineering you’re passionate about. It also makes you a more competitive job applicant with higher earning potential.

To gain additional certifications to practice a particular subset of civil engineering, you can take courses through external organizations or through your prior undergraduate institution. For example, Oregon State University allows students to also become licensed as surveyors while completing their undergraduate program if they take a few additional college classes.

Related Civil Engineering Degrees

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What to Look For in the Best Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Programs

The things to look for in the best civil engineering bachelor’s degree programs are the school’s accreditation, the courses, the location, costs, and employment outcomes. Below, we’ll discuss why these are important aspects to consider when searching for your dream school.

Accreditation

Accreditation is confirmation from an independent organization that verifies if a program meets certain educational standards. You need to make sure that the college of engineering you attend is accredited both so that you can get a good education and get a job upon graduation.

Curriculum

The curriculum of a prospective engineering program should cover basic courses in physics, biology, chemistry, and calculus. It should also delve further into complicated classes, such as the mechanics of different building materials, to ensure you’d be able to apply that math and science knowledge in the civil engineering field.

Concentrations

Consider if prospective schools offer degree concentrations to specialize in different branches of engineering such as transportation, construction, water resource, structural, environmental, or geotechnical. By choosing a specialization, you’d be able to learn whether or not you’d want to pursue that discipline post-graduation.

Employment Outcomes

To ensure your degree has a good return on investment, you need to look into the employment outcomes of a school’s graduates. Most universities boast about these statistics on their websites. Good universities will also offer career services like counseling and resume prep to prepare graduates for the workforce.

Cost

The cost of an institution is an important consideration when choosing between prospective schools. The prices can vary astronomically between institutions, especially if some schools on your list are public and others are private. If there are schools that are financially out-of-reach, you can either file a FAFSA for financial aid or look into a school’s scholarship opportunities.

What Is the Most Affordable Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

The most affordable civil engineering bachelor’s degree from the schools on our list is offered through North Carolina State University. The school’s tuition comes in at just $272 per credit for in-state students and $1,178 per credit for out-of-state students. This totals about $10,020 per year for in-state students and $37,200 per year for out-of-state students.

That makes the actual tuition nearly identical to that of Oregon State University, which is $362 per credit for in-state engineering students and $1,043 for out-of-state engineering students. This comes out to about $10,860 per year for in-state students and $31,290 per year for out-of-state students.

Salary and Job Outlook for Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

A Civil Engineer Discusses Their Designs with a Colleague
Civil engineering students are responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical infrastructure of our society.

Civil engineering graduates have high earning potential and diverse career options. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general civil engineers earn an annual salary of $88,050 , and the field is projected to grow eight percent between 2020 and 2030. After graduating and passing the necessary certification exams to become licensed, in-demand jobs in civil engineering are within reach.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

It’s not hard to get a job with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree once you pass your licensing exam to become a certified engineer, a requirement for every state in the US. With a license in hand, you’ll be able to land a variety of jobs within civil engineering, as the need for those in construction is constant, making engineers high-demand.

With a bachelor’s degree alone, you’d be able to get jobs in the private or public sector, working in governmental agencies, large corporations, or even small consulting firms. You can even earn a higher salary by advancing to managerial positions as you gain more hands-on experience.

What’s the Average Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Salary?

The average salary of a civil engineer is $88,050, according to BLS. The amount of money a civil engineer can earn also varies depending on the engineering specialty, job location, educational level, and years of experience. As you gain more professional experience or pursue higher degrees, you’d likely be able to earn much higher than average.

What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree?

The type of jobs you can get with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree are in the fields of construction, environmental engineering, structural, highway, water quality, and transportation engineering. There’s so much you can do with a civil engineering degree , and below we’ll discuss some of the highest-paying jobs within the field.

Civil Engineering Degree Jobs

  • Architectural and Engineering Manager
  • Construction Manager
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Transportation Engineer

Potential Careers With a Civil Engineering Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

You can earn between $80,000 and $100,000 in careers that require a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. This annual salary can go up to $150,000 as experience is gained and professionals move into management positions in architecture or construction. Engineers can earn even more if they pursue further education through certification programs or by earning a graduate degree.

Highest-Paying Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Jobs Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Manager $152,350
Construction manager $98,890
Environmental Engineer $96,820
Civil Engineer $88,050
Transportation Engineer $88,050

Best Jobs for Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Grads

The best civil engineering bachelor’s degree jobs include being an architectural and engineering manager, construction manager, environmental engineer, civil engineer, and transportation engineer. Below, we’ll discuss these jobs further as well as their annual salary potential.

1

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Average Salary: $152,350

Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for overseeing the different aspects of construction projects, from research and designing to planning and directing the actual building of structures.

2

Construction Managers

Average Salary: $98,890

Civil engineers that want to work in commercial or residential construction will often take the managerial role in a range of activities. Construction management, a subset of civil engineering, often involves being on-site on construction projects, overseeing the actual building of structures, and ensuring they meet the time constraints, budget, and quality necessary.

3

Environmental Engineers

Average Salary: $96,820

Those working in this subset of civil engineering devise ways to either lessen the negative environmental impact of construction projects or devise their own projects for improving the environment. They work to maintain air and water quality, ensure wildlife habitats aren’t destroyed, restore degraded ecosystems, and safely dispose of hazardous wastes.

4

Civil Engineers

Average Salary: $88,050

Civil engineers are responsible for designing infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and buildings. They require extensive knowledge in math and science to understand how to most safely and effectively use construction materials to build structures.

5

Transportation Engineers

Average Salary: $88,050

This type of civil engineer is involved in creating designs and meeting federal construction policies for roadways. They devise improvements for current highways and streets, altering or expanding structures to make the flow of traffic more efficient.

Best Jobs According to Your Major

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Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering Worth It?

Yes, a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering is worth it. After completing their four-year degree and taking their licensing tests, graduates can enter the workforce and immediately make annual wages of nearly six figures. Job openings related to civil engineering are projected to grow eight percent between 2020 and 2030 meaning that a degree is a good investment.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering opens the door for further education, such as completing a master’s or doctoral degree in a civil engineering specialization, which can increase your annual salary further. Even without pursuing further education, you can make a good living in a successful career in this in-demand field, literally building the world of tomorrow.

Additional Reading About Civil Engineering

[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/online-civil-engineering-programs/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/civil-engineering/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/jobs-for-civil-engineering-majors/

Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree FAQ

Can civil engineers work as environmental engineers?

Yes, civil engineers can work as environmental engineers. Environmental engineering is a subset of civil engineering, so those studying the latter have experience learning about the former.

In fact, many schools with civil engineering academic programs offer concentrations in environmental engineering. They require the same sort of technical skills and foundational knowledge, so even if you don’t take environmental engineering as a concentration, you can still pursue it as a career.

What do civil engineers do?

Civil Engineers use their extensive knowledge in math and science to draft plans used for infrastructure projects. They know to a molecular level the materials used in building and calculate how those materials will function in artificial structures.

Is civil engineering a BA or BS?

Civil engineering is nearly always a BS degree. Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees involve taking numerous humanities and liberal arts classes, such as English and history, which are not particularly relevant to the field of civil engineering. Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in civil engineering, by contrast, jump right into math and science classes with introductory courses in chemistry, physics, biology, and calculus.

Are you an “engineer” with a bachelor’s degree?

Yes, you are an engineer with a bachelor’s degree. The degree involves extensive training in a wide range of math and science classes combined with teaching students the technical skills needed for various engineering jobs. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree take certification tests to become licensed civil engineers, and once they are, they can enter the workforce and start earning nearly six figures.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Joana Ferreira

About the author: Joana is an expert content writer and world traveler. Experienced in content optimization and other tech topics, she contributes to the Career Karma blog's informative technical content. Joana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism.

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