Civil Engineering Online Degree: Is This For You?

Civil engineering is a branch of engineering that governs the design, development, construction and maintenance of sustainable public infrastructure and transportation. Civil engineers are considered a very vital part of the society because they are responsible of the design and safety of public infrastructures like buildings, houses, bridges and national roadways and highways. Their specialization may include, but not limited to building dams, transit systems, airports, tunnels, irrigation systems, waste water treatment facilities and industrial and commercial buildings.

Since civil engineering is a broad branch of engineering and there exist a very comprehensive array of specialties needing keen focus and maintenance thus the course is subdivided to different specialties.

Civil Engineering Subdivisions:

  • Geo technical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Highway Engineering
  • Hydraulic Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering

Civil Engineer

On a traditional academic setup in a state college or university, it usually takes five years to finish bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. A Master of Science degree is granted to a student who will take a specialized study in a specific area in civil engineering. The prerequisite of this accreditation is a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and takes two years to finish. A Doctoral program requires a completion of 120 units of specialized study.

Like any other engineering branch, civil engineering requires a strong foundation in mathematics and general engineering and applied sciences subjects that includes but not limited to physics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and material engineering.

Basic curriculum in Civil Engineering includes:

  • College Algebra
  • General Chemistry
  • College Physics
  • Differential Calculus
  • Integral Calculus
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Vector Analysis
  • Elementary Differential Equation
  • Fundamental Circuits
  • Statics of Rigid Bodies
  • Dynamics of Rigid Bodies
  • Energy Conversions
  • Material Engineering
  • Mechanics of Deformable Bodies
  • Numerical Analysis

After completion of basic curriculum, it is expected that the student already built a good foundation required for the higher level of subjects.

Major technical subjects in Civil Engineering include:

  • Elementary Surveying
  • Higher Surveying
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Safety Management
  • Basic Mechanical Engineering
  • Structural Theory
  • Geotechnical Engineering (Soil Mechanics)
  • Building Design
  • Construction Materials and Testing
  • Routes Surveying
  • Mechanics of Fluids
  • Structural Engineering (Reinforced Concrete)
  • Hydraulics
  • Hydrology
  • Highway Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Steel Structural Design
  • Engineering Management
  • Timber Structural Design
  • Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Construction Method and Project Management
  • Geotechnical Aspect of Landfill Design
  • Geosynthetics in Geotechnical Engineering

An On-the-Job training of 300 – 500 person-hours is required to complete as a partial fulfillment of this course. Students are encouraged to work with a company where they can acquire technical skills and develop their knowledge about their course. And on the senior year, they are required to present an original thesis based on their own research. Depending on the school, sometimes students are required to present a prototype that best represents their written thesis.

Online Degree Accreditation

All over the US, many state colleges and universities offer online degree accreditation. The government to operate and offer the same curriculum offered in a traditional academic set up accredits these schools. Some units may not be included. Nevertheless, the concepts of civil engineering are still intact. Oftentimes students who avail this kind of set up are working individuals with unpredictable working schedules or people who travel a lot.

According to statistics, engaging on this rather set up costs more than the traditional academic arrangement. Nevertheless, if offers guaranteed convenience since the student will never have the hassle of going to the school and he will have the full liberty of managing his own time.

Before enrolling on an online university, have a brief research about the school you are planning to enroll to. Government accredited schools are much more prepared but it would be better if the open university is internationally known so that the civil engineering principles you learned and the degree you earned will be accredited to other countries if ever you decide to work abroad.

Some of the top performing online universities are as follows:

  • Stanford University – Rank 3rd
  • Columbia University in the City of New York – Rank 4th
  • University of California – Berkeley – Rank 6th
  • University of California – Los Angeles – Rank 7th
  • Princeton University – Rank 8th
  • University of Southern California – Rank 10th
  • Northwestern University – Rank 11th
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Rank 12th
  • Duke University – Rank 15th
  • University of Virginia – Main Campus – Rank 16th
  • Vanderbilt University – Rank 17th
  • The University of Texas at Austin – Rank 18th
  • Johns Hopkins University – Rank 19th
  • California Institute of Technology – Rank 21st
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison – Rank 23rd
  • Tufts University – Rank 24th
  • University of Washington – Seattle Campus – Rank 26th
  • Rice University – Rank 28th
  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities  – Rank 31st
  • Ohio University – Main Campus – Rank 33rd

These schools are the top US Civil Engineering universities. The ranking is based upon the performance of the school both on campus and online. They are guaranteed government accredited and some of them are recognized all over the world.

Careers in Civil Engineering

Usually, civil engineers are found working in construction fields, as they are educated and trained to make sustainable infrastructure and monitors the development of the projects. They govern every milestone of the project from the groundbreaking up to completion. They can also be the project manager and make sure that the costs of the project do not exceed the agreed budget and the timeline must follow the standard level agreement. They also determine and anticipate the possible risks for both workers and users of the infrastructure.

Civil engineering technicians can also be found on field assisting civil engineers. They read blue prints, in charge of monitoring of the individual works of every construction workers and write reports at the end of the day. They may not be authorized to supervise the projects but they can help in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating the progress.

They can also be found in schools pursuing a teaching career and educate future civil engineers.

According to the US Bureau of Labor, a civil engineer can earn an average annual salary of $ 82,000. Civil engineering technicians, on the other hand, can earn an average annual salary of $47,000. Choosing a career as a civil engineer can be fulfilling and rewarding at the same time.





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