Civil Engineering historically encompassed all engineering endeavors not associated with military activities. Because of its origin and history, civil engineering still embraces a wide variety of technological areas. These include environmental engineering, hydrotechnical engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, and structural engineering.

Civil engineers work with problems that directly impact the health and economic vitality of people and communities. These problems include waste disposal, environmental pollution, transportation systems analysis, and design, water resource development, and the design, construction, and rehabilitation of constructed facilities such as dams, bridges, buildings, and highways. Thus, the challenges and opportunities for a civil engineer lie in combining technical competence with a human concern for the applications of technology. To help students understand their role in the community, to be effective in written and spoken communications, the curriculum attempts to give a meaningful educational experience in the humanities, social studies, English, and economics.

The goal of the undergraduate curriculum in civil and environmental engineering is to prepare graduate civil engineers to meet the present and the future infrastructure and environmental needs of society. This requires an education based on scientific and engineering fundamentals as well as one that incorporates experience in engineering design using modern technology. Because the systems they design impact the public directly, civil engineers must be aware of the social and economic consequences of their designs. Graduates must be prepared to work and communicate with other professionals in a variety of associations and organizations. Ethics and life-long learning are essential components in the education of civil engineers. During the course of study, civil engineering students are given a solid grounding in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Added to this is extensive development of the fundamentals of materials science, environmental, soils, hydrotechnical, structural, and transportation systems engineering. This broad base of knowledge is provided to insure that civil engineers are educated in all braches of the profession and to permit continuous learning throughout a professional lifetime. Throughout the program, each student works with an academic advisor in the selection of electives. Specialization in one or more of the braches of civil engineering is possible by selection of a sequence of technical electives during the junior and senior years.