THE SONNY ASTANI DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE)
Civil and Environmental engineers address many of the vital needs of our modern society. They improve quality of life, promote economic growth, and protect people from hazards of natural and human origins.
Civil and Environmental Engineers create, construct, and manage the infrastructure systems we use in our everyday lives: transportation, water, power distribution, waste disposal, environment, and residential, industrial, and commercial structures. Civil and Environmental Engineers support the global economy, secure the health and security of diverse communities, and operate our nations infrastructure – highways, bridges, wharf and harbor structures, industrial facilities – and address the challenges of ground water and air pollution as well as industrial and hazardous waste management. They monitor the quality of the air, water, and land, and enhance the protection of our environment.
The Student Perspective
Our students can get involved in research, internships, and student organizations related to their major. Hear from some current Viterbi students about their experiences.
“My experience at USC wouldn't be complete without my involvement in leadership for student organizations. As the Executive Director of The Environmental Student Assembly, I program different events and work on ways to make campus more sustainable.”Olivia PearsonEnvironmental Engineering '19
“Through my Civil Engineering classes I realized I had a passion for transportation engineering. Last summer I interned at BNSF this summer I had an internship with The Allen Group working on BART in the Bay Area.”Desiree JamesCivil Engineering (Structural) '19; Transportation Engineering '20
“I chose USC because of the unique Building Science program. I love that I can combine my passion for arts and architecture with the practicality of civil engineering and construction management. I've gained more experience through students orgs like CMAA!”Camila Salomon GneccoCivil Engineering (Building Science) '20
Listen while you scroll!
CEE Podcast Playlist
Check out all of our podcast episodes related to Civil and Environmental Engineering. Whether it’s Dr. Sanders discussing the energy-water nexus or the members of ASCE discussing their various design teams, this playlist was made for you.
Viterbi Voices: The Podcast is your chance to hear stories about research, classes, student life, and more directly from our faculty, students, and other members of our engineering community. Click the link below to see the rest of our episodes!
Curriculum and Emphases
A degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering prepares students to work in a variety of fields involving things that move. There are multiple degree options in the department – check them out here!
The Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering provides a broad base of core civil engineering courses and prepares students for both engineering practice and graduate studies. Students explore structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, construction, transportation, environmental engineering, and water resources.Course Plan
A Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering covers engineering approaches required to provide safe drinking water, maintain air quality, control water pollution, and remediate sites contaminated due to spills or improper disposal of hazardous substances. Our students are broadly educated and technically trained to address the spectrum of issues facing the environment.Course Plan
Civil Engineering (Structural)
The structural engineering emphasis focuses on the design of safe and efficient structural systems. Students will be prepared to design structures such as bridges, buildings, and offshore structures that can resist a variety of forces such as earthquakes and wind loadings.Course Plan
Civil Engineering (Building Science)
Building Science is a joint architecture and engineering program. Students will learn all aspects of building technology from site selection to building construction, in addition to gaining a holistic perspective of building design from architectural design to structural design, and from the artistic to the functional.Course Plan
Civil Engineering (Environmental)
The environmental emphasis includes study in both environmental and civil engineering topics. Students will learn engineering approaches required to provide safe drinking water, maintain air quality, and protect the environment.Course Plan
The civil and environmental engineering department takes part in state of the art research and has many hands on opportunities for students. Recently completed are brand new, state of the art labs for the environmental engineering department. Students also have access to the civil engineering lab, which contains a water channel, shake table, tools for tensile testing, and more.
Research highlights in the department include: sustainable development, water quality, access, and distribution, disaster and extreme event responses, complex systems, and more!
We have a balance of programs - theoretical, computational, and experimental – which exemplify the Viterbi School’s approach to intensive and collaborative research.
Faculty will be teaching all of your classes and leading research projects as well. Your opportunities to build relationships with your faculty will begin immediately in your first year, both in the classroom and the lab. Check out a few highlighted professors with whom you may work in the future:
Dr. Kelly Sanders
Her research focuses on the interdependent relationship of energy and water, coined the energy-water nexus. Dr. Sanders has degrees in 3 different engineering disciplines and when she's not winning awards for her research, she's advancing green initiatives on campus!
Dr. Constantinos Sioutas
His research investigates the underlying mechanisms that produce the health effects associated with exposure to air pollutants generated by a variety of sources, like traffic, harbor and airport operations, power pants, and photochemically induced atmospheric reactions.
Your engineering undergraduate degree will prepare you for many career and academic opportunities. Whether you have always known “what you want to do when you grow up” or are hoping to find out, we are here to help you plan for your future beyond USC. We provide dedicated career services starting in your first year to help you find internships, co-ops, and full-time positions post graduation.
When you graduate with a degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering, here are just a few of the future career paths that might lay before you.
- Become a structural engineer and build sustainable buildings
- Develop land and mitigate risks of natural and manmade disasters
- Manage civil infrastructure
- Design and build roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, and airports
- Develop environmental public policy
- Create waste removal systems and treatment processes
- Design transportation systems
Don't take our word for it. Ask some Viterbi alumni:
“I teamed up with two other alumni to devlop the Community Water Project, with the goal of bringing safe, clean water to a community of 200+ people in the rural town of Bwana, Rwanda using an innovative water treatment system.”Viv PitterB.S. Environmental Engineering
“I'm an Assistant Engineer at the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), a regional wholesaler of water. I'm currently working on a study for a 60-mile pipeline that will be designed to distribute recycled water to groundwater basins. I work with a bunch of other engineers to make sure its safe and efficient!”Tedman TranB.S., M.S. Civil Engineering '15
“Since graduation I have been working for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. Initially I began as a Structures Field Engineer and now I am a Segmental/Traveler Engineer. Currently I'm working on the SR 520 Evergreen Point Floating Bridge and Landing Project in Seattle!”Catherine CaiB.S. Environmental Engineering '12
We want students who like to work hard – both in and out of the classroom. Our students know that going to college is more than attending class and completing assignments. College is about making connections and joining a community of dedicated students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Our students want to work and play with people as interesting as they are, and we have a number of ways for you to do the same.
Your life can be designed how you like it. Join a design team like Concrete Canoe. Continue your passion for volunteering with Engineers Without Borders. Keep making art with Corpus Callosum. On this page, we have a few student organizations we think you might be interested in, but there are so many more you can get involved in!
American Society of Civil Engineers
ASCE seeks to enrich the lives of CEE students through social events, community service, industry interaction, and engineering competitions, students. It's comprised of multiple design teams including: Steel Bridge, Concrete Canoe, Geotechnical, and Environmental.
Engineers Without Borders
Students and professional mentors work together to deliver critical infrastructure projects to rural communities in developing countries. For each project, EWB collaborates with the local community members to design and implement sustainable engineering projects. They go as close as San Diego and as far as Guatemala!
Imagine yourself on campus.
Learn more about life at USC as an engineering student at Viterbi Voices:
More Engineering Disciplines
You just learned so much about Civil and Environmental Engineering, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond this department, Viterbi has ten academic disciplines spread across eight departments to make up more than thirty major combinations. Take some time to explore all of your interests.