Major Resource Kit

Civil & Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers its undergraduates the option of earning the degree of Bachelor of Civil Engineering or the degree of Bachelor of Environmental Engineering. Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of bridges, highways, railroads, dams, buildings, airports, harbors, flood control systems, and a vast array of projects that affect the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. They are also planning for computer-controlled traffic systems as well as structures and habitats in space and on the moon and planets. Environmental engineers work to protect the environment from the urban and industrial waste products of our civilization. They are trained to understand the chemical, physical, and biological processes underlying pollutant transport and control so that they can improve and maintain the quality of the earth's atmosphere, land areas, and water resources. Because of their vital role in building and maintaining our society's infrastructure, a large fraction of civil and environmental engineers serve the public by working in local, state, and federal government agencies. In the face of serious environmental and urban problems, civil and environmental engineers are being called on to design solutions that are workable and cost-effective for our society. Few other careers have such immediate and direct impact on our daily lives.

For further information, contact the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 301B DuPont Hall, (302) 831-2442.

Career Caveat: Engineering

One of the frequent tendencies that students in technical disciplines have is to inextricably link their career possibilities with their academic major. They seldom realize that a major is largely an administratively convenient tool used by a college or university to categorize students.

There is not always an obvious parallel between your engineering major and an occupational field. In the same way that accountants are used as computer information systems analysts along with those having computer science backgrounds, engineers work in capacities other than hands-on engineering. Said in another way, just as the same job can be filled with individuals from a variety of academic backgrounds, so individuals with the same major can qualify for many different jobs.

While the realization that more career options are open to you as a technical major than you previously were aware of can be uplifting, it also poses the dilemma of identifying and narrowing down the appropriate options. To remedy this confusion, it is helpful to approach your career selection in terms of the types of functions you wish to perform within an organization. An example might be a mechanical engineer who determines that he/she would like to function in a sales or marketing capacity instead of in a manufacturing role due to his/her interests, persuasive skills, and outgoing personality.

Job titles differ from industry to industry and company to company. Because job classifications are not standardized, trying to determine your fit among seemingly endless lists of titles can be very confusing and frustrating. Thinking of jobs in functional terms provides a way of organizing the multitude of job titles you will encounter in company literature and employment ads. Thinking in terms of functions will, therefore, allow you to clearly indicate to potential employers exactly what you want to do regardless of what the job title is.

Sample Concentrations

Structural Engineer: Plans and designs all types of structures as well as support for equipment. Analyzes the forces that a building or structure must resist.

Urban Planning Engineer: Combines construction engineering and community and urban planning. Plans each job from beginning to end, determining the equipment, plant, and workers required, as well as estimating costs.

Environmental Engineer: Designs and supervises systems that provide safe drinking water and prevent and control pollution in the air, land, and groundwater supply. Plans and designs pollution control and waste treatment facilities. Develops and administers regulations established to protect human health and the environment Develops long-range community or facility plans to serve the public and protect the environment. Conducts research to develop new processes or new applications for existing environmental processes.

Railroad and Transit Engineer: Designs and maintains railroad and/or mass transit system track and structures.  Can include design of new track and new lines, redesign or upgrade of existing lines, or maintenance of existing track and structure facilities.

Transportation Engineer: Designs and maintains all types of transportation facilities, including highways, streets, mass transit systems, railroads, airports, and ports and harbors. Geotechnical Engineer: Analyzes the properties of soil and rock that support and affect the behavior of structures, pavements, and underground facilities.

Check the Dictionary of Occupational Titles under section 005 for additional related careers.

Enhancing Employability

Some Employers of Civil Engineering Majors

Other Sources of Information

Candid Careers

Resources for Finding Employment

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The Blue Hen Career Guide will also provide you with helpful career tools including: Skills to Develop, Strategies for Contacting Employers, Interview Strategies, and Graduate School Information.

Remember Career liaisons are available to assist with your quest for employment. Schedule an appointment with your liaison today!

Visit the Sharf & Townsend Career Library & Resource Center at 401 Academy St, Newark, DE 19716