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About Civil and Environmental Engineering

The innovative, dynamic work of civil and environmental engineers can be seen everywhere in today’s world. Civil and environmental engineers analyze, plan, design, and build structures such as buildings, bridges, and dams; infrastructure systems for transportation; water resources and natural hazard protection; and environmental control and remediation of both the natural and constructed environment.

The USC Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is at the forefront of education and research, expanding in areas such as hurricane and earthquake design, sustainable development, intelligent transportation systems, high-performance and novel materials characterization, bioelectrical remediation, life-cycle analyses, nondestructive evaluation, and cardiovascular flow.

While working on their degree, USC civil and environmental engineering undergraduate students also have the opportunity to participate in research projects and work with graduate students and professors as research assistants. Research projects stem from the five areas of civil and environmental engineering and are often conducted by multidisciplinary teams and researchers of different backgrounds.

Civil and environmental engineers enjoy high salaries and have a multitude of employment opportunities. Our graduates are prepared to enter the job market with federal, state, and municipal agencies; with private consulting firms involved with aspects of planning, design, construction, or environmental sustainability; and with the development of facilities, resources, and environmental control for industrial development.

Areas of Study

Within the field of civil and environmental engineering, the opportunities are numerous. USC students can choose fields of specialized study and research from a variety of areas.

Environmental Engineering focuses on sustainability and environmental applications and implications of nanotechnology, including water and wastewater reclamation, bioreactor landfills, waste conversion processes, treatment technologies for developing countries, application of nanamaterials for developing innovative remediation technologies, quantum modeling of nanomaterials, and understanding fate, transport, and toxicity of nanomaterials in the environment.

Geotechnical Engineering focuses on soil, rock and engineered geomaterials with specific concentrations on field and laboratory investigations using standard and novel testing technologies, design and performance of foundations and earth structures, slope stability analyses, soil dynamics and liquefaction, pavement design and performance, landfill design and instrumentation, and geoenvironmental studies.

Structural Engineering focuses on structural design, and analysis for buildings, bridges and other civil structures, materials characterization and modeling including concrete, steel and fiber reinforced polymers, multi-scale structural testing, advanced numerical simulations, structural health monitoring and prognosis, life-cycle and environmental performance analysis, and seismic engineering and design.

Transportation Engineering focuses on modeling transportation system operations, traffic sensing technologies and traffic data analyses, including intelligent transportation systems, modeling and simulation of large-scale transportation networks, weigh-in-motion systems, traffic studies, traffic signal simulation and pavement management systems and performance modeling.

Water Resources Engineering focuses on the study and computer modeling of natural and industrial flow and transport processes, both in the laboratory and in the field, including fluid mechanics, hydraulic transients, cardiovascular flow, river mechanics and marine sediment transport, scour, hydrology of landfills, storm water modeling and best management practices, and watershed scale hydrology.

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