University of South Carolina


Civil Engineering: What to Expect

As a Civil Engineering major at the University, you will benefit from small class sizes and faculty and staff who are dedicated to meeting your educational, professional, and personal needs. During your first two years, you will take a variety of courses to develop a foundation in mathematics, computer programming, the physical sciences, and basic engineering sciences as well as liberal arts courses to provide you with a well-balanced educational experience. You will have the opportunity to go on a variety of field trips, which will enhance the in-class learning experience. Challenging coursework and attentive faculty, provide you the knowledge and skills needed for successful entry to the civil engineering practice. Civil Engineering majors will be able to concentrate in a variety of areas including environmental, geotechnical, structures, transportation, and water resources.
The following courses fulfill some of the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a major in Civil Engineering:

  • Introduction to Engineering Graphics and Visualization
  • Statics
  • Computational Methods for Civil Engineering
  • Dynamics
  • Mechanics of Solids
  • Civil Engineering Materials
  • Structural Analysis I
  • Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering
  • Introduction to Transportation Engineering
  • Introduction to Environmental Engineering
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Introduction to Water Resources Management
  • Systems Applications in Civil Engineering
  • Civil Engineering Design

There is a 16 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. Civil Engineering majors have studied in a variety of locations including Belgium, Portugal, and New Zealand. While abroad, you will get the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art water resource laboratory facilities. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Website for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Civil Engineering major, you can get involved in the American Society of Civil Engineering, Civil Engineering Honors Society, Student Chapter of Institute of Transportation Engineers and a variety of other student organizations outside of the department including Engineers without Borders, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Tau Beta Pi, and Theta Tau. Joining these organizations will give you the opportunity to attend corporate sponsored meetings, network, get involved in community service, and fundraise. You may also wish to get involved in annual competitions between universities by joining the American Society of Civil Engineers student organization. Competitions include bridge design, concrete canoe design and race, quiz bowl, t-shirt design, surveying, and technical presentations. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. A combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science accelerated program is available to undergraduate Civil Engineering majors at USC with a 3.5 GPA or above and 90 or more hours earned toward their baccalaureate degrees. Graduates have also pursued graduate degrees in law and business.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Several Civil Engineering faculty members have received University recognition for their outstanding teaching including Dr. Charlie Pierce, Dr. Mike Meadows, Dr. Richard Ray, Dr. Steve McAnally, Dr. Paul Ziehl, and Dr. Juan Caiceido.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Scholarships that incoming freshman are eligible for include the Cassidy Fae Pendley Memorial Scholarship in Engineering; Engineering Faculty, Student, and Alumni Scholarship; Harold S. Wrenn Bicentennial Scholarship; and the Michelin North America, Inc., Endowed Scholarship. The College of Engineering and Computing offers more than 60 additional scholarships each year.
Associated Learning Communities are an integral part of the university experience. These communities provide you with the opportunity to live in an environment that promotes diversity, embraces excellence, encourages insightful faculty-student interaction and works to develop a strong sense of community. These academically themed communities also emphasize active service-learning experiences, study-abroad opportunities and undergraduate research. First-year students in the College of Engineering and Computing may choose to live in the Engineering and Computing Community. Students will benefit from increased interaction with faculty and go on excursions to places such as Bose and BMW’s plants in South Carolina.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The USC Career Center operates a satellite office in the College of Engineering and Computing providing convenient access for students to obtain career guidance, as well as to participate in employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Career Opportunities

Civil Engineering majors often seek jobs with federal, state, and municipal agencies as well as private consulting firms involved with aspects of planning, design, construction, or environmental control. Graduates have also pursued careers in education, business, and military. Graduates typically make between $40,000 and $50,000 within the first five years following graduation.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the College of Engineering and Computing

The College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina is composed of five departments: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.  The College offers nine undergraduate degree programs.  The College of Engineering and Computing has been undergoing an unprecedented growth in research and scholarship and its faculty excel in a variety of areas including Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, and Atomic Level Engineering.  The College also offers several options for graduate studies including a Certificate of Graduate Studies, Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering.

Points of Pride

  • A national report issued on September 28, 2010 shows that USC and the College of Engineering and Computing are home to some of the South’s best doctoral programs including Chemical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South), Electrical Engineering (ranked 7th nationally and first in the South), and Mechanical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South).

Additional Resources
Civil Engineering Website
College of Engineering and Computing Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin