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Civil and Environmental Engineering


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.

Hear From our Faculty

Check out our recent faculty roundtable discussion  that was held with four of our Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Faculty members – Dr. Burcin Becerik-Gerber, Dr. Roger Ghanem, Dr. Adam Smith, and Dr. Chukwuebuka Nweke. This roundtable will discuss what the major is, the courses each faculty teach, research they conduct and the discipline of  join us to discuss the courses they teach, the research they conduct, and the discipline of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at USC Viterbi

CEE On The Podcast

CEE Student Blog

Learn more about the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering  (CEE) at USC through our student blog. These posts were written by USC Viterbi CEE students during their time at USC to help you better understand the discipline and their life.


Why USC? By Sejal

Hello everyone! Today, I am going to answer one of the most important questions about my education: Why USC?  …
Sejal SharmaSejal Sharma

Environmental Engineering with Sejal

Hello everyone! I am here to share a little about my winter break, my Spring semester, and some information about…
Sejal SharmaSejal Sharma

What is Civil Engineering? According to Mitchell Kirby

What do Civil Engineers do? This is a great question and one that I did not truly know the answer…
Mitchell KirbyMitchell Kirby

Why Environmental Engineering?

Picking your major is a tough choice, especially at Viterbi where every major offered has new resources, new challenges, and…
Vidya IyerVidya Iyer

Kevin’s Take on Civil Engineering

What is Civil Engineering? Civil Engineering is the branch of engineering tasked with designing, constructing, and maintaining infrastructure. Yes, civil…
Kevin KumarKevin Kumar

Civil Engineering Building Science

Building Science is one of the best Viterbi majors that anyone can choose to study (in my very unbiased opinion…
Salma MohamedSalma Mohamed

Winter Break Post!!

Hi guys! I hope the past month has been amazing for you readers!   I wanted to give a little…
Sejal SharmaSejal Sharma

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!

Environmental Engineering

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.

Course Plan

Civil Engineering

The Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering provides a broad base of core civil engineering courses..  Students explore structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, construction, transportation, environmental engineering, and water resources.

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 (Construction Engineering and Management)

The Construction Engineering and Management emphasis provides students with additional courses in design and construction. Students can further hone their understanding of structural design, sustainable construction, methods and equipment, and other elements of construction.

Course Plan

Civil Engineering (Water Resources)

The Water Resources Engineering emphasis focuses on approaches required to provide safe drinking water, treat and properly dispose of wastes, control water pollution, and remediate sites contaminated due to spills or improper disposal.

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


We have a balance of programs – theoretical, computational, and experimental – which exemplify the Viterbi School’s approach to intensive and collaborative research.

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!


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

Sanders Sustainable Systems Group

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. Lucio Soibelman

Innovation in Integrated Informatics

His group focuses on user-centered built environments, and the design of novel algorithms to improve environment efficiency and user satisfaction. Basically, they're making houses adjust the temperature and lights to your needs automatically!

Dr. Amy Childress

ReWater Center

The solutions Dr. Childress and her research team seek will balance water and sanitation as well as the NAE Gran Challenge of providing access to clean water.

Dr. David Gerber


iLab research focuses on the acquisition, modeling and analysis of the data needed for user-centered built environments and the design of novel algorithms and visualization techniques to improve built environment efficiency, while increasing satisfaction.

Don't stop here.

CEE Dept. Website


Your engineering undergraduate degree will prepare you for many career and academic opportunities.

Your future with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering can see you pursue a number of future career paths at companies serving a variety of industries.

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.

Become a structural engineer and build sustainable buildings

Develop environmental public policy

Develop land and mitigate risks of natural and manmade disasters

Create waste removal systems and treatment processes

Manage civil infrastructure

Design transportation systems

Design and build roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, and airports

Student Life

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

Professional Organization

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

Service Organization

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!

Construction Management Association of America

Professional Organization

CMAA gives students greater interaction with the Construction Management (CM) industry including individuals that are recent alumni and seasoned professionals, as well as CM firms and related companies.

Imagine yourself on campus.

Learn more about life at USC as an engineering student at Viterbi Voices:

Viterbi Voices


At the Viterbi School of Engineering, our students can do it all. From start-ups to research, everything is available to them to bring their dreams to life and succeed post graduation. See what our alumni have to say about the Viterbi program.

More Engineering Disciplines

This area of the Viterbi School is just one of the many areas of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  Beyond this area of study, we have ten academic disciplines spread across eight departments to make up more than thirty majors and areas of emphasis. Take some time to explore all of your interests before you apply by clicking on any area below.

Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Design for Movement.

Astronautical Engineering

Build for Beyond.

Biomedical Engineering

Help Others Live Better.

Chemical Engineering

Make the Stuff of Tomorrow.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Design. Build. Improve.

Computer Science

It’s Way More Than Coding.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Power Up.

Industrial & Systems Engineering

Engineering Better Businesses.

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