Home > Find Your Major > Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering

Vanderbilt’s B.E. in civil engineering prepares graduates to begin their exciting professional engineering careers in one of the many specialty areas of civil engineering, including structural, environmental, or infrastructure sustainability engineering, or have successful alternative careers in areas such as business or law. Earning the B.E. requires completion of a minimum of 125 hours in diverse areas such as math, basic sciences, computing and engineering fundamentals, civil engineering core courses plus liberal arts, program, technical, and open electives.

Course Work/Recently Offered Courses

Engineering problem-solving is intentionally interwoven in the first-year classes and throughout a student’s four-year experience. Why wait until your junior year to learn what civil engineers really do to solve society’s challenges?  Although the first two years of study must emphasize math and basic science fundamentals, several true engineering classes teach students valuable professional skills early in a student’s studies. The junior year heavily emphasizes introducing core civil engineering courses in all the many specialty areas of civil engineering, while the senior year allows maximum flexibility for students to particularly tailor their courses more to their selected interests. The senior design project is a real world, capstone experience.

Newly added, exciting courses such as the following illustrate our diverse curriculum:

  • Sustainable Design in Civil Engineering (sophomore year)
  • Risk, Reliability, and Resilience Engineering (junior year)
  • Infrastructure Systems Engineering (senior year)
  • Energy Systems Engineering (senior year)

See engineering.vanderbilt.edu/cee/Undergraduate/ClassProjects.php to review recent interesting class projects.

The Vanderbilt civil engineering graduate will have broad knowledge of structural, environmental, transportation, water resources, geotechnical and construction engineering, while still gaining more in depth, specialized knowledge in one or more of these civil engineering specialization areas through their choice of upper level courses.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students certainly have opportunities to hone their research skills in conjunction with faculty and graduate students working on sponsored research during their undergraduate studies. A summer research program for those interested in furthering their research skills has been popular and beneficial since summer academic classes are not typically taken. The required Senior Design sequence of courses definitely allows further research opportunities and working partnerships with practicing engineers.

Visit engineering.vanderbilt.edu/summer-research/SummerReOpps/CEESummerResearch/index.php to view a list of recent summer project opportunities.

Example student research topics include:

  • Smart materials that automatically detect damage
  • Damage diagnosis in concrete structures
  • Freight economic vulnerabilities due to flooding events
  • Nano-modified concrete for next generation of nuclear waste storage
  • Evaluating water system sustainability and resilience

Additional Academic Opportunities

Our recent graduates have earned second majors and numerous minors. The number of hours taken per semester and the number of Advance Placement hours a student has initially determine the ease with which a second major in areas such as mathematics, physics, and economics can been earned. Minors in these same areas plus minors in Engineering Management, Energy and Environmental Systems, and Environmental Engineering are definitely feasible and popular.

Other Special Opportunities

Summer internships are encouraged and even fostered by our CEE faculty. All faculty, plus a designated CEE Faculty Career Adviser, work with students to maximize internship opportunities to shape and refine interests for future careers. Many students arrange their courses so that they can study abroad one semester during their undergraduate years. Studying abroad is a very valuable experience and is strongly encouraged. Further efforts by faculty have resulted in 95-100% of our graduating seniors each year for the last twelve years knowing exactly what their post-graduate plans were as they walked across the graduation stage on Alumni Lawn in May.

Vanderbilt’s unique efforts to avoid huge student debts at the time of graduation offers enhanced freedom and opportunities upon graduation.

Membership in student organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, Engineers without Borders, Society of Women Engineers, Institute of Transportation Engineers, and others offer a wide variety of opportunities for our students.

After Vanderbilt

Approximately 25-35% of our CE graduates will begin work to earn advanced degrees soon after graduation, while 65-75% go directly into full-time employment. Others will earn advanced degrees years later after earning their B.E. An estimated total of 35-45% of our CE graduates earn some type of advanced degree during their successful careers.

Leading civil engineering consulting firms, construction companies, petroleum firms, business consulting firms, CE graduate programs, MBA and law programs across the U.S. and internationally clamor to attract our graduates. Civil engineers are very conscious of societal needs, they want to make society better, and they certainly are making differences in many arenas.

Visit engineering.vanderbilt.edu/cee/celebrate-alum.php for more specifics about some of the great accomplishments and exciting work of our alumni. A lifetime of learning is a recurring theme throughout our program because learning does not stop upon graduation and our graduates continue to be successful while “making a difference” in society.

Faculty

Thirteen tenure/tenure-track faculty, combined with thirteen teaching and research faculty, provide a nice teaching/research balance among our talented faculty. Our professors are caring and knowledgeable and consistently rank among the Engineering School’s most highly respected educators.

Our departmental research is cutting-edge and is improving society and all our lives in areas such as:

  • Risk, reliability and resilience of infrastructure and environment management
  • Systems optimization under uncertainty
  • Cyber-physical systems for smart cities and intelligent infrastructures
  • Multi-functional nanoscale engineered materials behavior
  • Performance and durability of advanced materials and structures in extreme environments
  • Big data science and engineering
  • Energy and water resources environment
  • Nuclear environmental systems
  • Fracture mechanics and computational solid mechanics
  • Computational solid mechanics

Clean water using recycled materials, multifunctional materials, green energy sources and green concrete, sustainability, reliability, resilience, infrastructure improvements, 3D printing of infrastructure (some of which even store energy), smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and other exciting innovations are emerging. Our graduates will be leaders in advancing these innovations and discovering new ones.

For information about faculty and their research, visit vu.edu/cee.

Contact

Robert E. Stammer, Jr., Ph.D., P.E.
Professor Emeritus and Professor of the Practice
Director of Undergraduate Studies
VU Station B 351831
Phone:  (615)343-8060 
Office:  Jacobs Hall, Room 294  
Email:  bob.stammer@vanderbilt.edu


Civil Engineering Website