Civil Engineering

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A picture of Lowry Hall where many Civil Engineering courses are held each semester.

Civil Engineering is probably the oldest engineering profession in the world. Dr. Lansford Bell (Professor, Construction Management) is noted for saying, "Civil Engineering: 5000 years of guess and check." It's basically true. Without equations and calculators, the engineers of antiquity were left guessing which walls were load bearing, and just how large those stone blocks should be. The great advantage, however, is that bad Civil Engineers were crushed under the weight of failed projects. Now they just get sued out of existence.

Civil Engineers are involved in the design and building of buildings.

Major Areas of Study

Structural Engineering

Includes steel, masonry, concrete and wood structural design and analysis. See Dr. Scott D. Schiff for more information about structural engineering or for an advising meeting.

Fluid Mechanics

Design of sanitary sewers, storm water drainage and piping and flow systems. See Dr. Nadim Aziz for more information about Fluid Mechanics.

Construction Materials

Design of pavements and analysis of the materials involved in construction. Clemson University has recently gained national recognition for the ARTS facility (Asphalt Rubber Technology Service) which is funded to determine the mechanics of using recycled tires in asphalt pavement. Contact Dr. Prasad Rangaraju for more information.

Geotechnical Engineering

No project starts without digging a big hole in the ground. Geotechnical engineering focuses on soil mechanics and the design of foundation, drainage and retaining structures. It is an interesting blend of Structural Engineering and Materials Engineering. Contact Dr. Ronald Andrus for more information.

Construction Management

Engineers also work on the building side of construction, meaning that creating project schedules and cost estimates fall to the engineers. While this area isn't as math intensive as the others, it requires tremendous logic skills and analytical thinking. Contact Dr. Jim Burati for more information.

Environmental Engineering

Deals with the protection of the environment through water and wastewater treatment, air quality control, and remediation projects.

Student Groups

The student group for Civil Engineering is the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers). The Clemson chapter holds bi-monthly meetings and sponsors the Steel Bridge Team, Concrete Canoe Team and the Carolina's Conference Team. The ASCE also hosts guest lecturers and seminars on finding jobs and writing resumes.

The honors society of ASCE is Chi Epsilon. Initiates must have a 3.0 GPA in Civil Engineering. Chi Epsilon offers tutoring in General Engineering as well as tutoring in some Civil Engineering classes.

Job Prospects

Civil Engineering is a very broad major, and graduates very rarely have trouble finding a job, even with only Bachelor's Degrees. While starting salaries for Civil Engineers are generally lower than in other majors, the job market for Civil Engineering has always been robust, and Civil Engineering design services are less likely to be outsourced to other countries in the future.