Prospective Students

Graduate Students

A New Paradigm for Civil and Environmental Engineering

Leaders of the Profession

At the graduate level, the CEE department combines academic course work with research to prepare students in specialized areas within Civil and Environmental Engineering. But the educational experience at Stanford's CEE department goes beyond the development of the knowledge and skills for a successful professional career. Our aim is to produce the next generation of leaders of the profession who will help solve some of the most challenging problems stemming from the interaction between the built and natural environments.

Coming to Stanford means learning and helping to develop innovative ways to address these problems by taking advantage of a breadth of increasingly interdependent disciplines.

Traditional Approaches are Inadequate

Historically, the civil engineering profession was concerned with the built environment, including the planning, designing, building, and managing of facilities important for a well-functioning society, while the environmental (sanitary) engineering profession focused on the provision of wholesome and plentiful water supplies and the treatment of wastewaters.

Our work now requires us to deal not just with technical issues and efficient design, but all the more so with the larger social, economic, and environmental aspects of our work. Related to this is the challenge of unprecedented global industrialization and urbanization in developing countries who seek increased wealth and living standards. Some of the issues that lie ahead include the following.

  • Engineers must be able to work with and within other cultures.
  • Our civil infrastructure (transportation and lifeline systems) is decaying at an increasing rate.
  • Providing adequate supplies of fresh water to the public continues to be a great concern globally.
  • Protecting the environment and sustaining our future is becoming increasingly critical.
  • Energy shortages and impacts of energy use are becoming more acute.
  • Design and construction processes must be implemented in ways that consider the sustainability of proposed structures in an integrated and timely fashion.

Sustainable Solutions Require Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Today, the affiliation between the different disciplines that make up a civil and environmental engineering program is less obvious and many civil and environmental engineering departments nationwide are experiencing an identity crisis. Often, sub-programs within civil and environmental engineering departments act more-or-less independently with little interaction.

The interdisciplinary nature of the sustainability issues identified above suggests that civil and environmental engineering departments with strong interaction between different research groups within the department and ties to other engineering and science disciplines will be better able to educate future generations of engineers to address these issues.

Stanford CEE is Positioned to Meet the Coming Challenges

Our department is pro-active and has a vision that is consistent and supportive with the major, current initiatives of Stanford University – energy and the environment, and international studies. Our department already has strong ties to other engineering and science departments at Stanford University and at other universities around the world. Consequently, we believe that we are in a position to take the lead in educating civil and environmental engineers for the challenges of the 21st Century.

Related Topics

CEE Mission, Goals and Vision

Our full Mission document is available for download in PDF form by clicking on the cover image below. This twenty-seven page document outlines what we stand for and how we intend to accomplish our aggressive goals for the structure of our programs, the further integration and collaboration of our major disciplines and how the university-wide sustainability initiatives apply to our department.

CEE Mission, Goals and Vision Cover