What is Civil Engineering?
Civil engineering is the oldest branch of engineering. The Roman aqueducts and the
pyramids of Egypt are early examples of civil engineering works. Originally, the name
"civil" was used to distinguish this type of "civilian" project from those done for
Today, civil engineering encompasses a wide range of projects and activities for the
welfare and safety of the general public. Civil engineers are responsible for the
planning, design, and construction of such projects as bridges, buildings, highways,
traffic control systems, and facilities for the treatment of water supplies and waste
water. Civil engineers are also involved in solving the problems of hazardous waste
and air pollution.
Specialized areas within the discipline of civil engineering include structural engineering, construction engineering, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, water resources engineering, and foundation engineering. Civil engineers are also active in such diverse fields as urban planning and aerospace
The broad background provided by a civil engineering education is preparation for
a wide range of careers, In addition to the traditional areas of civil engineering
such as structural design, construction, and environmental engineering, men and women
trained as civil engineers can be found in the aerospace industry, the computer industry,
and almost every field of endeavor in both government and the private sector. Civil
engineers can work as planners, designers, or both. Some work in sales, and many experienced
engineers are in management positions.
The Civil Engineering Program at The U of M
At the undergraduate level, the Department of Civil Engineering at The University
of Memphis offers the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. A student can specialize in structural, environmental, construction, foundation,
water resources, and transportation engineering by taking the appropriate elective courses.
The faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering represent a wide range of experience, both as educators and as professional engineers.
Some are authors of engineering textbooks, and some are actively engaged in research
projects to further the state of knowledge in civil engineering.
Because the program in Civil Engineering is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), The University of Memphis is authorized to have a student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This group provides for interaction among students and between students and faculty
outside the classroom and helps instill a sense of professionalism through contact
with the national organization.
Graduates of the department can be found all over the world, working at all levels
of government and with consulting firms, industry, major computer manufacturers, and
construction companies. Some of our graduates are owners of their own engineering
firms or hold top management positions. Some have returned to school to obtain advanced
degrees and now teach at major universities.
The Civil Engineering curriculum at The University of Memphis is based on a solid foundation of mathematics and science, and students interested
in any field of engineering should obtain a strong background in these areas in high
A copy of the 2003 ABET Report is available.