Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is the application of science and technology to the planning, design, analysis, construction, operation, and maintenance of the physical facilities required by society. Whether the challenge is creating more efficient transportation, coping with sea level rise, modernizing the built environment or providing clean water, our students, faculty and staff create resilient systems that meet the needs of our communities.

Undergraduate Program

Graduate Program

Why Study Civil Engineering?

1. Civil engineering is a service-oriented profession. Civil engineers provide much of our infrastructure:

  • Waste treatment and pollution prevention to protect the environment
  • Water supply and distribution for communities and agriculture
  • Transportation networks for travel and commerce
  • Buildings where we work, live and play

2. Demand for civil engineers is steady. Civil engineering is one of the most stable professions, since it provides the basic infrastructure of our society, which is always present and always advancing.

3. Demand for Civil Engineers is high! Of positions offered to new grads (all majors, all schools), the National Association of Colleges and Employers (2005) reported that Design/Construction Engineer was one of the top ten most often offered positions.

4. Civil engineers are prepared to succeed in a wide range of positions. Seventy-five percent of our recent graduates are working in the field of civil engineering, including in consulting firms, government agencies, and industry. Other career paths of our recent graduates include education, information technology, marine engineering, aviation, law, and environmental policy.

5. Civil engineering offers excellent preparation for becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer. The passing rate of our students and alumni on recent Fundamentals of Engineering Exams is 97 percent.

6. Civil engineering provides excellent preparation for graduate and professional school. More than 40 percent of our recent graduates have pursued or are pursuing advanced degrees, in fields including: engineering, law, business and management, medicine, environmental planning and policy, education, landscape architecture, and applied mechanics. A quarter of these students are studying within top-20 ranked engineering programs.

7. Our department has award-winning faculty. Faculty recognitions include:

  • Memberships in the National Academy of Engineering
  • National Science Foundation Career awards for research and teaching
  • NASA Innovation Awards
  • University of Virginia Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Awards
  • Wilbur S. Smith Distinguished Transportation Educator Award
  • AEESP National Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering

8. Our students have undergraduate thesis projects and undergraduate research experiences. Every student in the school of engineering completes a bachelor’s thesis project, offering an opportunity to interact closely with faculty members, and many complete research experiences.

9. UVA Engineering attracts outstanding students, with:

  • A focus on diversity: The School of Engineering has the largest percentage of women earning engineering degrees among public universities in the country, and the highest four-year graduation rate for students of all demographic groups among public engineering schools in the country.
  • A focus on success: Our retention and graduation rates are among the highest of any public university – 9 out of 10 students graduate with their degree from UVA.
  • A focus on involvement: Our civil students are active in many organizations, including the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, fraternities and sororities, sports clubs and teams, service organizations, and honor societies.

10. UVA Engineering emphasizes communication skills and impact on society. The Science, Technology, and Society (STS) courses throughout the curriculum and the undergraduate thesis project push UVA engineering students to become proficient in oral and written communication and to appreciate the broad  impacts of engineering. Recent civil graduates rank communication skills as the number one strength of our program, helping them succeed on many career paths.