Civil Engineering

Major: Civil Engineering
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCIV)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 189.5
Co-op Options: Three Co-op (Five years); One Co-op (Four years)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 14.0801
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 17-2051

About the Program

The civil engineering major prepares students in the fundamental principles necessary to practice this profession in any of its branches, including construction management, water resources, structural, transportation, environmental, geotechnical, and public facilities engineering.

Civil engineers are active in the planning, design, construction, research and development, operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of large engineering systems. A particular focus is the reconstruction of the nation’s infrastructure through solutions that minimize the disruption of social and natural environments.

Civil engineering graduates are grounded in the fundamental principles necessary for the practice of this profession in any of its modern branches, including construction management, water resources engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, and environmental engineering.

Seven of the required courses in the discipline include integral laboratories or field projects for both educational illustration and professional practice exposure.

Careful selection of the electives specified in the curriculum can lead to a wide variety of career objectives. For instance, students with an interest in water resources engineering may elect advanced courses in hydrology, ecology, and chemistry; select senior professional electives in the geotechnical and water resources areas; and choose appropriate topics for senior design and senior seminar. Seniors, with the approval of the department head, can elect certain graduate courses.

A special feature of the major is senior design. A group of students works with a faculty advisor to develop a significant design project selected by the group. All civil engineering students participate in a design project.

Mission Statement

The civil and architectural engineering faculty are responsible for delivering an outstanding curriculum that equips our graduates with the broad technical knowledge, design proficiency, professionalism, and communications skills required for them to make substantial contributions to society and to enjoy rewarding careers.

Program Educational Objectives

Civil engineering graduates will become responsible professionals who analyze, design, construct, manage or operate built and natural infrastructure and systems, and/or will have advance knowledge of the field.

Student Outcomes

The department’s student outcomes reflect the skills and abilities that the curriculum is designed to provide to students by the time they graduate. These are:   

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. 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
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of the engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. 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
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies

Additional Information 

The Civil Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

For more information about this major, contact the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering.

Degree Requirements

General Education/Liberal Studies Requirements
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
or ENGL 111 English Composition I
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
or ENGL 112 English Composition II
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
or ENGL 113 English Composition III
UNIV E101The Drexel Experience1.0
General Education Requirements *21.0
Free Electives6.0
Foundation Requirements
BIO 141Essential Biology4.5
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
ENGR 210Introduction to Thermodynamics3.0
ENGR 111Introduction to Engineering Design & Data Analysis3.0
ENGR 113First-Year Engineering Design3.0
ENGR 131Introductory Programming for Engineers3.0
or ENGR 132 Programming for Engineers
ENGR 220Fundamentals of Materials4.0
ENGR 231Linear Engineering Systems3.0
ENGR 232Dynamic Engineering Systems3.0
MATH 121Calculus I4.0
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
PHYS 101Fundamentals of Physics I4.0
PHYS 102Fundamentals of Physics II4.0
PHYS 201Fundamentals of Physics III4.0
Major Requirements
CAE 491 [WI] Senior Design Project I3.0
CAE 492 [WI] Senior Design Project II3.0
CAE 493 [WI] Senior Design Project III3.0
CAEE 202Introduction to Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering3.0
CAEE 203System Balances and Design in CAEE 3.0
CAEE 212Geologic Principles in Engineering4.0
CAEE 361Statistical Analysis of Engineering Systems3.0
CIVE 240 [WI] Engineering Economic Analysis3.0
CIVE 250Construction Materials4.0
CIVE 302Structural Analysis I4.0
CIVE 303Structural Design I3.0
CIVE 312Soil Mechanics I4.0
CIVE 315Soil Mechanics II4.0
CIVE 320Introduction to Fluid Flow3.0
CIVE 330Hydraulics4.0
CIVE 375Structural Material Behavior3.0
CIVE 430Hydrology3.0
CIVE 477 [WI] Seminar2.0
CIVE 478 [WI] Seminar1.0
ENVE 300Introduction to Environmental Engineering3.0
MEM 202Statics3.0
MEM 238Dynamics4.0
MEM 230Mechanics of Materials I4.0
Senior Professional Electives **18.0
Total Credits189.5

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Program. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term.

Sample Plan of Study 

4 year, 1 co-op 

First Year
CHEM 1013.5CHEM 1024.5BIO 1414.5VACATION
COOP 101*1.0CIVC 1011.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0ENGR 131 or 1323.0ENGR 1133.0 
ENGR 1113.0MATH 1224.0MATH 2004.0 
MATH 1214.0PHYS 1014.0PHYS 1024.0 
UNIV E1011.0   
 15.5 16.5 18.5 0
Second Year
CAEE 2023.0CAEE 2033.0CAEE 2124.0CIVE 2504.0
ENGL 103 or 1133.0CIVE 2403.0CIVE 3203.0CIVE 3304.0
ENGR 2204.0ENGR 2103.0ENVE 3003.0MEM 2384.0
ENGR 2313.0ENGR 2323.0MEM 2304.0Free elective3.0
PHYS 2014.0MEM 2023.0General Education elective**3.0General Education elective**3.0
 17 15 17 18
Third Year
CIVE 3024.0CIVE 3154.0  
CIVE 3124.0CIVE 3753.0  
CIVE 4303.0General Education elective**3.0  
General Education elective**3.0   
 17 13 0 0
Fourth Year
CAE 4913.0CAE 4923.0CAE 4933.0 
CIVE 4772.0CIVE 4781.0Free elective3.0 
Professional elective**6.0Professional elective**6.0Professional elective**6.0 
General Education elective**3.0General Education elective**3.0General Education elective**3.0 
 14 13 15 
Total Credits 189.5

5 year, 3 co-op

First Year
CHEM 1013.5CHEM 1024.5BIO 1414.5VACATION
COOP 101*1.0CIVC 1011.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0ENGR 131 or 1323.0ENGR 1133.0 
ENGR 1113.0MATH 1224.0MATH 2004.0 
MATH 1214.0PHYS 1014.0PHYS 1024.0 
UNIV E1011.0   
 15.5 16.5 18.5 0
Second Year
ENGL 103 or 1133.0CIVE 2403.0  
ENGR 2204.0ENGR 2103.0  
ENGR 2313.0ENGR 2323.0  
PHYS 2014.0MEM 2023.0  
 17 15 0 0
Third Year
CIVE 3203.0CIVE 3304.0  
ENVE 3003.0MEM 2384.0  
MEM 2304.0Free elective3.0  
General Education elective**3.0General Education elective**3.0  
 17 18 0 0
Fourth Year
CIVE 3024.0CIVE 3154.0  
CIVE 3124.0CIVE 3753.0  
CIVE 4303.0General Education elective**3.0  
General Education elective**3.0   
 17 13 0 0
Fifth Year
CAE 4913.0CAE 4923.0CAE 4933.0 
CIVE 4772.0CIVE 4781.0Free elective3.0 
Professional elective**6.0Professional elective**6.0Professional elective**6.0 
General Education elective**3.0General Education elective**3.0General Education elective**3.0 
 14 13 15 
Total Credits 189.5

Co-op/Career Opportunities

When students complete their co-op jobs, they are asked to write an overview of their experiences. These brief quotes are taken from some recent student reports:

Engineering construction inspector, state department of transportation: Supervised daily activities involved in the roadway construction of the [interstate] bypass. Recorded daily visual inspection reports for soil sub-base and materials placed on site. Aided senior roadway engineers in approving grade prior to asphalt placement. Used various instruments to check temperature and depths for asphalt placement. Took part in on-site discussions with contractor to clear up any daily construction problems that would hinder quality of construction. ”

Construction inspector, municipal department of public property: “Inspected work performed by private contractors on city public works construction and rehabilitation projects for adherence to contract plans and specifications. Projects included health centers, police and fire stations, libraries, city hall, transit concourses, and prisons. Responsible for daily inspection reports and overall coordination for each respective project. Also responsible for reviewing bills and writing contract modifications and amendments. . .the variety of work was excellent. ”

Environmental co-op, chemicals manufacturer: “Compiled data and wrote monthly regulatory reports, in charge of hazardous waste management and small projects as needed. . . . I had my own responsibilities that had an impact on the entire company. Employer was really interested in my opinion and gave me a chance to demonstrate my abilities, but also knew when to step in. Everybody was willing to answer any questions I may have had."

Visit the Drexel Steinbright Career Development Center page for more detailed information on co-op and post-graduate opportunities.


The Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department laboratories provide students with fully equipped space for education and research opportunities. 

Structural and Geotechnical Research Laboratory Facilities and Equipment

The geotechnical and structural engineering research labs at Drexel University provide a forum to perform large-scale experimentation across a broad range of areas including infrastructure preservation and renewal, structural health monitoring, geosynthetics, nondestructive evaluation, earthquake engineering, and novel ground modification approaches among others.

The laboratory is equipped with different data acquisition systems (MTS, Campbell Scientific, and National Instruments) capable of recording strain, displacement, tilt, load and acceleration time histories. An array of sensors including LVDTs, wire potentiometers, linear and rotational accelerometers, and load cells are also available. Structural testing capabilities include two 220kips capacity loading frames (MTS 311 and Tinius Olsen), in addition to several medium capacity testing frames (Instron 1331 and 567 and MTS 370 testing frames), two 5-kips MTS actuators for dynamic testing and one degree of freedom 22kips ANCO shake table. The laboratory also features a phenomenological physical model which resembles the dynamic features of common highway bridges and is used for field testing preparation and for testing different measurement devices.  

The Woodring Laboratory hosts a wide variety of geotechnical, geosynthetics, and materials engineering testing equipment. The geotechnical engineering testing equipment includes Geotac unconfined compression and a triaxial compression testing device, ring shear apparatus, constant rate of strain consolidometer, an automated incremental consolidometer, an automated Geotac direct shear device and a large-scale consolidometer (12” by 12” sample size). Other equipment includes a Fisher pH and conductivity meter as well as a Brookfield rotating viscometer. Electronic and digital equipment include FLIR SC 325 infrared camera for thermal measurements, NI Function generators, acoustic emission sensors and ultrasonic transducers, signal conditioners, and impulse hammers for nondestructive testing.

The geosynthetics testing equipment in the Woodring lab includes pressure cells for incubation and a new differential scanning calorimetry device including the standard-OIT. Materials testing equipment that is available through the materials and chemical engineering departments includes a scanning electron microscope, liquid chromatography, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

The Building Science and Engineering Group (BSEG) research space is also located in the Woodring Laboratory. This is a collaborative research unit working at Drexel University with the objective of achieving more comprehensive and innovative approaches to sustainable building design and operation through the promotion of greater collaboration between diverse sets of research expertise. Much of the BSEG work is simulation or model based.  Researchers in this lab also share some instrumentation with the DARRL lab (see below). 

Environmental Engineering Laboratory Facilities and Equipment

The environmental engineering laboratories at Drexel University allow faculty and student researchers access to state-of-the-art equipment needed to execute a variety of experiments. These facilities are located in the Alumni Engineering Laboratory Building and includes approximately 2000 SF shared laboratory space, and a 400 SF clean room for cell culture and PCR.

The major equipment used in this laboratory space consists of: Roche Applied Science LightCyclerÔ 480 Real-time PCR System, Leica fluorescence microscope with phase contrast and video camera, Spectrophotometer, Zeiss stereo microscope with heavy duty boom stand, fluorescence capability, and a SPOT cooled color camera, BIORAD iCycler thermocycler for PCR, gel readers, transilluminator and electrophoresis setups, temperature controlled circulator with immersion stirrers suitable for inactivation studies at volumes up to 2 L per reactor, BSL level 2 fume hood, laminar hood, soil sampling equipment, Percival Scientific environmental chamber (model 1-35LLVL), custom-built rainfall simulator.

The Drexel Air Resources Research Laboratory (DARRL) is located in the Alumni Engineering Laboratory Building and contains state-of-the-art aerosol measurement instrumentation including a Soot Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (Aerodyne Research Inc.), mini-Aerosol Mass Spectrometer, (Aerodyne Research Inc.), Scanning Electrical Mobility Sizer (Brechtel Manufacturing), Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (TSI Inc.), Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (TSI Inc.), Centrifugal Particle Mass Analyzer (Cambustion Ltd.), GC-FID, ozone monitors, and other instrumentation. These instruments are used for the detailed characterization of the properties of particles less than 1 micrometer in diameter including: chemical composition, size, density, and shape or morphology. 

In addition to the analytical instrumentation in DARRL, the laboratory houses several reaction chambers. These chambers are used for controlled experiments meant to simulate chemical reactions that occur in the indoor and outdoor environments. The reaction chambers vary in size from 15 L to 1 m3, and allow for a range of experimental conditions to be conducted in the laboratory.

Computer Equipment and Software

The Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) Department at Drexel University has hardware and software capabilities for students to conduct research. The CAEE department operates a computer lab that is divided into two sections; one open access room, and a section dedicated to teaching. The current computer lab has 25 desktop computers that are recently updated to handle resource intensive GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and image processing software. There are a sufficient number of B&W and color laser printers that can be utilized for basic printing purposes.

Drexel University has site-licenses for a number of software, such as ESRITM ArcGIS 10, Visual Studio, SAP 2000, STAAD, Abaqus and MathworksTM Matlab. The Information Resources & Technology (IRT) department at Drexel University provides support (e.g., installation, maintenance and troubleshooting) to the above-mentioned software. It is currently supporting the lab by hosting a software image configuration that provides a series of commonly used software packages, such as MS Office and ADOBE Acrobat among others. As a part of ESRI campus license (the primary maker of GIS applications, i.e. ArcGIS) the department has access to a suite of seated licenses for GIS software with necessary extensions (e.g., LIDAR Analyst) required for conducting research.  

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Faculty

Abieyuwa Aghayere, PhD (University of Alberta). Professor. Structural design - concrete, steel and wood; structural failure analysis; retrofitting of existing structures; new structural systems and materials; engineering education.
Ivan Bartoli, PhD (University of California, San Diego). Associate Professor. Non-destructive evaluation and structural health monitoring; dynamic identification, stress wave propagation modeling.
Robert Brehm, PhD (Drexel University). Teaching Professor. International infrastructure delivery; response to natural catastrophes; risk assessment and mitigation strategies; project management techniques.
Shannon Capps, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Atmospheric chemistry; data assimilation; advanced sensitivity analysis; inverse modeling.
S.C. Jonathan Cheng, PhD (West Virginia University). Associate Professor. Soil mechanics; geosynthetics; geotechnical engineering; probabilistic design; landfill containments; engineering education.
Eugenia Ellis, PhD, AIA (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor. Natural and electric light sources and effects on biological rhythms and health outcomes; ecological strategies for smart, sustainable buildings of the nexus of health, energy and technology.
Yaghoob (Amir) Farnam, PhD (Purdue University). Assistant Professor. Advanced and sustainable infrastructure materials; multifunctional, self-responsive and bioinspired construction materials; advanced multiscale manufacturing; characterization, and evaluation of construction materials; durability of cement-based materials.
Patricia Gallagher, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Professor. Geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering; soil improvement; soil improvement; recycled materials in geotechnics.
Patrick Gurian, PhD (Carnegie-Mellon University). Professor. Risk analysis of environmental and infrastructure systems; novel adsorbent materials; environmental standard setting; Bayesian statistical modeling; community outreach and environmental health.
Charles N. Haas, PhD (University of Illinois-Urbana) L. D. Betz Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Department Head, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering. Water treatment; risk assessment; bioterrorism; environmental modeling and statistics; microbiology; environmental health.
Ahmad Hamid, PhD (McMaster University). Professor. Engineered masonry; seismic behavior, design and retrofit of masonry structures; development of new materials and building systems.
Simi Hoque, PhD (University of California - Berkeley). Associate Professor. Computational methods to reduce building energy and environmental impacts, urban metabolism, thermal comfort, climate resilience.
Y. Grace Hsuan, PhD (Imperial College). Professor. Durability of polymeric construction materials; advanced construction materials; and performance of geosynthetics.
Joseph B. Hughes, PhD (University of Iowa). Distinguished University Professor. Biological processes and applications of nanotechnology in environmental systems.
L. James Lo, PhD (University of Texas at Austin). Assistant Professor. Architectural fluid mechanics; building automation and autonomy; implementation of natural and hybrid ventilation in buildings; airflow distribution in buildings; large-scale air movement in an urban built environment; building and urban informatics; data-enhanced sensing and control for optimal building operation and management; novel data gathering methods for building/urban problem solving; interdisciplinary research on occupant behaviors in the built environment.
Joseph P. Martin, PhD (Colorado State University). Professor. Geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering; hydrology; transportation; waste management.
Franco Montalto, PhD (Cornell University). Professor. Effects of built infrastructure on societal water needs, ecohydrologic patterns and processes, ecological restoration, green design, and water interventions.
Nariman Mostafavi, PhD (University of Massachusetts - Amherst). Assistant Teaching Professor. Simulation tools for analyzing urban metabolism; environmentally responsive design; urban resilience; engineering economics; industrial ecology.
Mira S. Olson, PhD (University of Virginia). Associate Professor. Peace engineering; source water quality protection and management; contaminant and bacterial fate and transport; community engagement.
Miguel A. Pando, PhD (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Associate Professor. Laboratory testing of geomaterials; geotechnical aspects of natural hazards; soil-structure-interaction; geotechnical engineering.
Michael Ryan, PhD (Drexel University) Associate Department Head of Graduate Studies. Associate Teaching Professor. Microbial Source Tracking (MST); Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA); dynamic engineering systems modeling; molecular microbial biology; phylogenetics; metagenomics; bioinformatics; environmental statistics; engineering economics; microbiology; potable and waste water quality; environmental management systems.
Christopher Sales, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Associate Professor. Environmental microbiology and biotechnology; biodegradation of environmental contaminants; microbial processes for energy and resource recovery from waste; application of molecular biology, analytical chemistry and bioinformatic techniques to study environmental biological systems.
Sabrina Spatari, PhD (University of Toronto). Associate Professor. Industrial ecology; development and application of life cycle assessment (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA) methods for guiding engineering and policy decisions; specific interest in biomass and bioenergy, biofuels, and urban infrastructure.
Robert Swan Teaching Professor. Geotechnical and geosynthetic engineering; soil/geosynthetic interaction and performance; laboratory and field geotechnical/geosynthetic testing; data acquisition and instrumentation; test equipment development and test method standardization; Quality System Management (QSM) and continuous improvement.
Sharon Walker, PhD (Yale University) Dean of the College of Engineering. Distinguished University Professor. Water quality systems engineering.
Michael Waring, PhD (University of Texas-Austin) Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Programs; Director of Architectural Engineering Program. Professor. Indoor air quality and building sustainability; indoor particulate matter fate and transport; indoor chemistry and particle formation; secondary impacts of control technologies and strategies.
Jin Wen, PhD (University of Iowa). Professor. Building energy efficiency; building-grid interaction; building control and operation; fault detection and diagnosis; human-building interactions; dynamic building system simulation; big data.
Aspasia Zerva, PhD (University of Illinois - Urbana). Professor. Earthquake engineering; engineering seismology; structural reliability; system identification; advanced computational methods in structural analysis.

Emeritus Faculty

A. Emin Aktan, PhD (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) John Roebling Emeritus Professor of Infrastructure Studies. Professor Emeritus. Structural engineering; health monitoring of large infrastructure systems; infrastructure evaluation; intelligent systems.
Harry G. Harris, PhD (Cornell University). Professor Emeritus. Structural models; dynamics of structures, plates and shells; industrialized building construction.
James E. Mitchell, MArch (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus. Architectural engineering design; building systems; engineering education.
Joseph V. Mullin, PhD (Pennsylvania State University) Associate Department Head. Teaching Professor. Structural engineering; failure analysis; experimental stress analysis; materials of construction; marine structures; engineering education.
Richard Weggel, PhD (University of Illinois) Samuel S. Baxter Professor Emeritus; Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Emeritus. Coastal engineering; hydraulics engineering; hydrology.
Richard Woodring, PhD (University of Illinois) Dean of Engineering Emeritus. Professor Emeritus. Structural engineering, reinforced concrete.
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