If you’ve ever found yourself fascinated by the built and natural environments around you, then Civil and Environmental Engineering might be a great path for you! Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) is a great way to use STEM and creative problem solving to make a difference in the world. Civil engineers design many of the systems we interact with on a daily basis, such as bridges, roads, water distribution systems, and so much more. Environmental engineers find ways to reduce the impact of these systems on the environment and explore new ways to promote sustainability in everyday design. This is just the tip of the iceberg; the CEE major at UIUC is incredibly broad and allows students to explore the intersection of many different facets of the field.
On the academic side, students in CEE can choose a primary and a secondary concentration in one of 10 different areas. Generally, CEE majors will start off by taking lots of foundational classes in math, physics, chemistry, and things like that, then really hone in on their primary and secondary areas during junior and senior year. There are also tons of opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom, such as research opportunities and engineering RSOs! Additionally, the CEE program at UIUC is currently ranked #6 in the country, which is something we’re incredibly proud of!
As a sophomore in CEE, I’ve already had tons of amazing opportunities within the department. From taking classes that pique my interest in sustainability and environmental conservation, to getting involved with research at the hydrosystems lab, majoring in CEE has really opened the door to so many incredible learning experiences. I asked a few other students in the department to share some of their favorite experiences as a CEE student. Here’s what they had to say:
Sophomore, planning to specialize in Construction Management and Structural Engineering
“One of my favorite things I’ve done in the civil department is participate in civil RSOs, such as Concrete Canoe. My favorite memory would definitely have to be the week of ‘build day,’ where we spent hours prepping concrete to build an almost 12-foot-long canoe. When the day came around, every sub-team of the process, from the design team to the paddling team, was there to help, and we built the canoe in under 4 hours. It was amazing to see something come together like that after working on it for so long. This was one of the few times the entire RSO got to hang out together at once and it was cool to see our hard work pay off. Because of this RSO, I got to learn more about how to use power tools, create concrete that can float and hold the weight of multiple people, and learned my way around a civil engineering lab.”
Sophomore, planning to specialize in Energy-Water-Environment-Sustainability and Environmental Engineering
“My favorite class I’ve taken was a freshman ENG 177 Global Sustainability course. We learned about the culture of Costa Rica and sustainability in a global context. Then, we got to travel to Costa Rica and experience what we learned about firsthand! I’m so happy I got this opportunity as a freshman; it has really shaped my college experience!”
Senior, specializing in Environmental Engineering and Energy-Water-Environment-Sustainability
“I chose this path [because] I loved chemistry and math in high school, and I wanted to combine that with my passion for sustainability! Through two different internships, I’ve had the opportunity to try out two different sides of Environmental Engineering: engineering consulting and industry. In consulting, I worked as a Water Resources Engineering Intern where I designed drainage systems and a bioswale for an Illinois Tollway project. On the other hand, in industry, I worked in the Environmental Group of an oil and gas company where I managed three projects all dealing with environmental compliance and regulation assurance.
“Deciding to attend the University of Illinois was one of the best decisions I have ever made due to all of the opportunities that can be found within UIUC and the Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department specifically. I landed my internships through both the UIUC Engineering Career Fair and the CEE specific Career Fair. Additionally, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland, and this experience did not affect my graduation date in the slightest. Plus, I’ve gotten the chance to be a part of so many amazing student organizations, including the Society of Women Engineers, and be a leader within the CEE Department as a student ambassador. This role allowed me to meet with distinguished alumni and professors and help fellow students in CEE decide what their primary and secondary focuses will be. Ultimately, I’m so glad I made the decision four years ago to attend UIUC as an Environmental Engineer, and I know that I’m prepared for my future!”