Undergraduate Overview | Civil and Environmental Engineering | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics

Undergraduate Overview | Civil and Environmental Engineering | SIU


Our undergraduate civil engineering program is designed to provide the students with the broad educational background essential to civil engineering practice with emphasis in the area of environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, water resources engineering, and structural engineering. Students may choose to specialize in the area of environmental engineering.  The program offers sufficient number of courses in the structural engineering area to qualify for a structural engineering license.

Areas of Study

Environmental: Environmental engineering is the application of engineering principles to the protection of human health and the environment. After graduation, environmental engineers work for consulting engineering firms, regulatory agencies, industry, federal, state, and local government and others. Tasks environmental engineers perform include design of environmental facilities, remediation of contaminated sites, review of permit applications, and development of environmental standards. 

Geotechnical: Geotechnical engineers analyze the properties of soil and rock that support and affect the behavior of structures, pavements and underground facilities. They evaluate the potential settlement of buildings, the stability of slopes and fills, the seepage of ground-water and the effects of earthquakes. They take part in the design and construction of earth structures (dams, levees, etc.), foundations of buildings and such structures as offshore platforms, tunnels, and dams, and developing excavation techniques and construction methods for tunnels and other works. 

Water Resources: These civil engineers deal with all aspects of the physical control of water: hydraulics, waterways, irrigation, ports, coasts, and ocean. They analyze and predict water demand, supply and run-off. They work on the planning, design and operation of facilities such water supply and distribution networks, sewer systems, flood control (river-dam-reservoir systems), irrigation projects, hydroelectric power systems, canals, locks, port facilities and offshore structures. They work to protect beaches and to manage and direct rivers and on many other engineering projects where the environmental needs of the society necessitate judicious solutions to water related problems. 

Structural: Structural engineers are planners and designers of structures of all types; buildings, bridges, dams, power plants; supports for equipment, offshore projects, transmission towers, and many other kinds of projects. Structural engineers analyze the forces that a structure must resist (its own weight, wind forces, temperature forces, earthquake forces, etc.), and develop the combination of appropriate materials (steel, concrete, plastic, timber, etc.). Structural Engineering involves analysis and design of steel, concrete and wood structures, with particular attention to design specifications and practical considerations. Structural engineers usually work within a team that includes architects, mechanical and electrical engineers, contractors, owners of the project, bankers, lawyers and officials of local government.