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BS Civil Engineering

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Civil Engineering Major (ABET-Accredited)

The Civil Engineering Degree is ABET accredited. Civil engineers plan, design, construct and sustain the built environment including buildings and bridges, transportation and utility lifeline systems, energy and industrial facilities, and ports and waterways.

The civil engineering profession is concerned with the built environment. Civil engineers plan, design and construct the built environment including buildings, bridges, water systems, transportation systems, energy systems and other civil infrastructure. Civil engineers help manage our air, water, and energy resources. They help protect society from natural and climate-induced hazards such as earthquakes and storms while also protecting our natural environment.

The civil engineering field is both technical and people-oriented, requiring excellent communication skills and an ability to manage both people and multi-faceted projects. Students in the major learn to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and the primary areas of civil engineering to conduct experiments, design systems to solve engineering problems, and communicate their ideas effectively to the scientific community.

What is ABET accreditation, and should I care about it?

A degree accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) is a first step toward a professional engineering license. In California, you must accrue 6 years of work experience under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer before being allowed to take the licensing exam. An ABET-accredited B.S. degree counts as 4 years of this required work experience. Earning a M.S. degree from a department (like our CEE Dept.) that offers an ABET-accredited B.S. degree will give you credit for a total of 5 years of work experience in California, regardless of whether or not your B.S. degree is ABET-accredited. This policy regarding the M.S. degree can be found in the official document issued by the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists, titled “Board Rules and Regulations Relating to the Practices of Professional Engineering...” (PDF, see p. 20, item (b)(4) for policy, and p. 2, item (h) for definition of term).

If you envision a career providing, supervising or managing professional engineering services (e.g. engineering investigations, design), you will likely need to become a licensed professional engineer and should aim, via your chosen BS and/or coterm (or MS) degrees, to earn ABET credit for 4-5 years of work experience.

Requirements for the major are are provided in the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs