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2023 Civil Engineering Degree Guide

Civil Engineering encompasses anything to do with building. In this major you will learn how to design, plan, and run large building projects, whether that be bridges, buildings, roads, dams, airports, tunnels, and water supply systems. Civil engineers use modern technology to build fascinating projects and help construct the modern world. If you decide to major in civil engineering, you could work on incredible projects such as the English Channel Tunnel or even the Sears Tower.

Courses that you may be required to take could include: bridge engineering, calculus and analytical geometry, geology, physics, materials of construction, construction management, hydraulics, surveying and measuring, earthquake engineering, civil engineering ethics, transportation engineering, and reinforced concrete design.

Some of the concentrations in this major include: Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation and Highway Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering.

Civil Engineering Degrees Remain Stable

#50 Most Popular Major
21.4k Degrees Awarded
-0.8% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, civil engineering was the 50th most popular major nationwide with 21,388 degrees awarded. This is approximately the same as the 21,561 graduates the prior year.

Our 2023 Best Civil Engineering Schools ranking analyzes 238 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for civil engineering students. Explore this or one of our many other custom civil eng rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Civil Engineering
2023 Overall Best Civil Engineering Colleges >

Best Civil Engineering Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Civil Engineering
Bachelor's Degrees in Civil Engineering
Master's Degrees in Civil Engineering
Doctorate Degrees in Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering Degree Requirements

Did you love playing with Legos when you were younger? This major is idea for innovative problem-solvers who like to take things apart and put them back together. Not only will math and science become part of your daily work, but writing will also be necessary. You need to have good communication skills to explain your work to others, especially to those who are not in your field. You will also learn how to read blueprints and how to work within building codes.

Both in college and in your career as a Civil Engineer, you will work on a lot of team projects. Learn to become a team player, listening to others ideas while at the same time promoting your own vision. You may have to make tough decisions on whether a plan is feasible both regarding safety and finances.

Civil Eng Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most civil eng degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic civil engineering program qualifications, to serve in some civil eng careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Civil Engineering Degrees

There are various different levels of civil eng degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a in civil engineering to something that takes less time like a . The type of civil eng degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

DegreeCredit RequirementsTypical Program Length
Associate Degree60-70 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateProgram required coursework including thesis or dissertationAt least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to civil eng, with approximately 58.9% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to civil eng tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of EducationPercentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree61.8%
Master’s Degree18.9%
Doctoral Degree6.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate6.7%
Post-Master’s Certificate1.8%

About 97.9% of workers in careers related to civil eng obtain at least bachelor's degrees. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in civil engineering have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which civil eng career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Civil Eng Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$63.4k Average Starting Salary
9% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Although you only need a bachelor's degree in order to become a civil engineer, many civil engineers have a master's degree. This is necessary in order to become a job manager as well as obtain a license. Civil Engineers can decide what interests them the most and follow that direction. You can design roller coasters, build bridges, create eight lane highways or erect earthquake-safe buildings. The possibilities are endless.

Civil engineers are needed to help create and maintain the nation's infrastructure like roads, bridges, and dams. As population continues to grow, water systems need to be maintained and civil engineers will play a key part in it all.

Solid Growth Projected for Civil Eng Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your civil eng degree? Civil Engineering careers are expected to grow 8.9% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to civil engineering.

Occupation NameProjected JobsExpected Growth
Civil Engineers335,70010.6%
Architectural and Engineering Managers190,0005.5%
Environmental Engineers58,3008.4%
Engineering Professors54,60014.7%

How Much Money Do Civil Eng Grads Make?

Recently graduated civil engineering students earned an average of $63,357 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $46,376 to as high as $92,655. As you might expect, salaries for civil eng graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Civil Eng Majors

Salaries for civil engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers civil eng grads often go into.

Occupation NameMedian Average Salary
Petroleum Engineers$156,370
Architectural and Engineering Managers$148,970
Engineering Professors$113,680
Mining and Geological Engineers$98,420

Getting Your Civil Engineering Degree

With over 810 different civil eng degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased civil eng school rankings to help you with this.

Civil Engineering is one of 40 different types of Engineering programs to choose from.

Civil Eng Focus Areas

MajorAnnual Graduates
General Civil Engineering20,711
Structural Engineering332
Trasportation Engineering131
Civil Engineering131
Water Resources Engineering71

View All Civil Eng Focus Areas >

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering46,178
Electrical Engineering28,844
Computer Engineering17,987
Chemical Engineering12,917
Biomedical Engineering12,811

View All Civil Eng Related Majors >


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