Prospective Undergraduate Students
Admission to Department
- All students must request admission to the civil engineering department after their freshman year.
- The process of changing majors into degree-granting majors in the College of Engineering is managed by the Engineering Education Department. Detailed information regarding dates and the process is available here.
The first year, all College of Engineering students are enrolled in the General Engineering program. This provides a common first year, after which students select the major that they wish to pursue. The second year of the curriculum requires basic science, engineering mechanics, and continuing mathematics training. In the junior and senior years, each student selects fundamental and advanced coursework across several specialty areas within the civil engineering discipline according to their personal interests. Regardless of the specialty areas selected, the required variety in technical content ensures that all students receive a strong fundamental civil engineering education.
A brief overview of the eight specialty areas within the Via Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech is provided below.
Specialty Areas within CEE
Construction Engineering and Management — The specialty area of construction offers opportunities through course work and faculty research interests, for students to acquire expertise in all phases of the construction life cycle. Leading industry trends and technological innovations are hallmarks of this internationally prominent program.
Environmental— Environmental engineering draws heavily upon the applied sciences of biology for biological treatment processes, chemistry for chemical treatment and contaminant fate and transport, and physics for air pollution. Computer programming is a useful skill in many advanced courses, especially for students considering advanced degrees.
Geotechnical — Geotechnical engineering is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the design and construction of structures built on, in or with the earth. Examples of projects where geotechnical engineering principles are applied include: foundation systems, earth slopes, earth dams, retaining walls, embankments, tunnels, levees, wharves, landfills, land development, energy exploration and resource recovery. Geotechnical engineering is also vital for the assessment and mitigation of natural hazards such as earthquakes, liquefaction, sinkholes, rock falls and landslides.
Land Development — In the last decade, land development design (LDD) has emerged as a discipline of critical importance in civil engineering education. LDD encompasses a number of unique topics, many of which are typically not addressed in the traditional undergraduate curriculum. These topics can generally be categorized into feasibility, planning and policy, conceptual design, and site engineering.
Materials — Materials engineering focuses on the natural and manufactured substances used to construct human infrastructure. Although engineers employ a wide range of materials, those of primary significance to civil engineering are steel, concrete, and asphalt pavements.
Structural— Structural engineering concerns the analysis and design of buildings, bridges beams, columns, and other components of the structural environment employed in all aspects of human social development.
Transportation — Transportation course content provides students with the ability to recognize the primary role that civil engineers play in ensuring the continuing adequacy of the transportation infrastructure to meet human needs. Courses include all areas of systems engineering, assessment of transportation system operations, optimization of transportation systems, infrastructure engineering including assessment of existing conditions and performance, planning and design of transportation systems.
Water Resources — Water Resources engineering deals with the movement of water through the hydrologic cycle and the ways that humans intervene in those natural processes. These interventions include efforts to enhance contributions such as water supply and to control negative aspects such as flooding. Increasingly, these efforts encompass projects to protect and rehabilitate natural aquatic environments impacted by human activities.
For advising questions, please contact:
Ms. Kara Lattimer, Academic and Career Advisor
Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (MC 0105)
750 Drillfield Drive, Rm. 200
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone: 540.231.7148, email: karalatt(at)vt.edu