Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of the buildings and infrastructure that make up our world: roads, bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, transit systems and water treatment facilities. They are problem solvers meeting the challenges of pollution, clean drinking water, climate change, energy and transportation needs, and urban development.
As a civil engineer, you could help to build a school that could withstand an earthquake, a road system that puts an end to chronic traffic jams or a sports stadium that offers everyone a great view. Civil engineers have made possible some of most spectacular and high-profile of all engineering feats, including the world’s tallest building, Burj Kalifa in Dubai, and the 31-mile Chunnel beneath the English Channel.
CU Boulder’s civil engineering undergraduate program emphasizes global awareness and undergraduate research. Professor Bernard Amadei is the founder of Engineers Without Borders-USA, and we are also home to the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities.
We also provide a high degree of faculty-student interaction and host department-specific career fairs twice each year to help our students find internships and full-time positions. You can gain further professional exposure through student chapters of the Associated General Contractors, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of Environmental Engineers on campus.
The department is home to state-of-the-art laboratories that allow for testing related to earthquakes, water quality, soil behavior, environmental transport and more. In addition to working in our laboratories, some of our undergraduate students have recently conducted field research work in appropriate technologies for water quality for developing communities, highway construction safety, and structural applications for disaster management after earthquakes.
Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue research opportunities through independent study, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship program, or research assistantships with faculty.
Most civil engineers are employed in engineering consulting firms or state or federal governmental agencies. They also are employed in construction, public utilities, transportation, mining, business consulting, software development and manufacturing. CU graduates can be found at Mortenson Construction, Accenture, S.A. Miro Inc., J.R. Harris & Co., Tetra Tech, Halliburton, RJH Consultants, URS Corporation, J.R. Butler, McCarthy Building and MWH.
About 20 percent of CU-Boulder engineering bachelor’s graduates (college-wide) continue onto graduate school, gaining admittance to top schools such as MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, University of California Berkeley and the University of Texas at Austin.
Civil engineers are expected to have an average growth rate of 8 percent through 2024. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The average starting salary nationally for civil engineering graduates with a bachelor's degree in 2015 was $57,368 (National Association of Colleges and Employers). The median annual wage for civil engineers in 2015 was $82,220 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).