Top 10 Online Civil Engineering Programs

Civil engineering is a term that refers to the constructions of roads, canals, bridges, dams and other structures within the natural environment. A variety of machines—bulldozers, scrapers, graders, excavators and others—are widely used in modern civil engineering, which can be one of the highest-paying careers that anyone can get. Fifteen percent of all jobs in the United States are in this field. Civil engineers incorporate knowledge and skills in other subjects into their work, much of which involves environmental protection; thus, biology and geology necessarily form an integral part of the study plan for anybody who wants to make civil engineering his or her career. Indeed, the departments at many universities devoted to the subject also include environmental engineering under their umbrella. They also provide aid in the projects of architects, urban designers and others.

1) Auburn University

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University, in the city of the same name in Alabama, has the largest such program in that state. Its graduate programs have been highly rated by U.S. News and World Report. Students can specialize in any of the following seven areas:

  • Construction Engineering and Management—enhancing the effectiveness of tools and methods; covers basics of construction, both vertical and horizontal
  • Environmental Engineering—concerns itself with the protection of public health
  • Geotechnical Engineering—brings together disciplines like soil mechanics and pavement materials engineering
  • Hydraulic Engineering—solving water problems by applying the principles of fluid mechanics
  • Pavements and Materials Engineering—shows how to design, construct and maintain pavements; the student learns all about the materials used for paving and how they behave
  • Structural Engineering—improving “load resistance” when designing structures; students learn how deformable materials behave
  • Transportation Engineering—involves planning and designing facilities for all modes of transportation

Auburn also has two off-campus civil engineering programs, but only one of them counts towards a degree, although the other provides continuing education units.

2) Colorado State University

CSU’s Department of Civil and Economic Engineering has both undergraduate and graduate programs, with the latter divided into eleven disciplines:

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geoenvironmental Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Groundwater Engineering
  • Hydraulic Engineering/Stream Restoration and River Mechanics
  • Hydrologic Science and Engineering
  • Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
  • Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics
  • Water & International Development
  • Water Resources Planning and Management
  • Wind Engineering and Fluid Mechanics

3) Iowa State University

At Iowa State University, off-campus students can get take Engineering-LAS Online (ELO) Learning and Certificates. Four programs are available:

  • Construction Engineering and Management (endorsed by Associated General Contractors of America—only four other schools in the country have received such an honor)—focuses on construction operations and methods and management techniques
  • Environmental Engineering Graduate Certificate—This and the other certificate programs allow the student to use advanced study to perfect his or her technical skills without pursuing a degree.
  • Construction Management Graduate Certificate
  • Environmental Systems Graduate Certificate

4) Kansas State University

Both graduate and undergraduate studies in civil engineering are available. The undergraduate can take part in several curricula, each of which also includes courses from other departments—mathematics, biology, chemistry and others. Civil engineering classes, all of which may be taken online, include:

  • Economics of Design and Construction
  • Advanced Reinforced Concrete Theory
  • Responsibility in Engineering: Leadership and Development
  • Structural Dynamics
  • Waste water Engineering: Biological Processes
  • Pavement Design

5) Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University is right now in the middle of constructing a new Civil and Environmental Engineering Complex with the cooperation of two other schools. Its civil engineering department offers eight specialties, three of which are Materials Engineering, Urban Planning and Water Resources. The second of these covers various aspects of city design—where the sewers should be located, how the streets should run, determining where residential and industrial growth should take place and the design of utilities infrastructures.

6) North Carolina State University at Raleigh

North Carolina State offers the Master of Civil Engineering degree online; only students who will not be writing a thesis, however, may follow this plan. The individual who wishes to take the distance learning MCE degree program must register online at the page of the civil engineering department. It should be noted that the student does not need to be enrolled in a degree program in order to take online classes for credit.

7) Norwich University

Norwich University, in Northfield, Vermont, has an online MCE degree program, and the student taking it has a choice of four specialties to concentrate on:

  • Structural Engineering
  • Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
  • Construction Management Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering

It can take as little as eighteen months to complete the program. In the meantime, the student can continue actively with the career at which he or she is currently working.

8) Old Dominion University

Franklin Batten College of Engineering and Technology is part of Old Dominion University, which is located in Norfolk, Virginia. The university’s undergraduate programs in civil engineering include a B.S. degree and five-year accelerated BS/MS and BS/ME programs. There are also two schedules for the graduate—one in transportation engineering and one for a coastal engineering certificate, with the latter consisting of courses in dredging and beach engineering. Only the M.S. degree may be taken online, and a thesis is required. Information on the online curriculum may be found here.

9) Trine University

Trine University’s (formerly Tri-State University, located in Angola, Indiana) Allen School of Engineering and Technology is one of the most reputable institutes of its kind anywhere. The requirements for its M.S.C.E. program are based on the body of knowledge report of the American Society of Civil Engineers. To get information on the course of study, fill out the form at the university website.

10) University of Central Florida

Civil, environmental and construction engineering are all taught at the University of Central Florida. The three undergraduate civil engineering degrees awarded are:

  • B.S. in Civil Engineering—can be divided into four main areas: structures (analyzing the behavior of steel and concrete and the structures made from them, fiber reinforced plastics); geotechnical (soil dynamics, foundation design, subsurface testing, soil contamination); water resources (stormwater management and open channels are emphasized here, as are reservoirs, hydrologic characterization and groundwater systems); and transportation (planning and designing highways, airports and railroads, research in traffic safety and advanced traveler information systems).
  • B.S. in Construction Engineering
  • B.S. in Environmental Engineering

For the master’s degree, two options are available. The student can choose to pursue the research- or non-research-based program—if the latter, then no thesis is needed. Only those who are receiving a fellowship or a GRA from the department have the thesis option open to them.