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Civil Engineering Major

Civil engineers are innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs. They design and build structures such as bridges, buildings, dams, and even roller coasters. They also devise complex systems such as transportation and water supply networks, and information systems for design and management of engineering projects.

Students drawn to civil engineering enjoy science and math, and the opportunity to serve society by creating, maintaining, and renewing the infrastructure on which we all rely. Civil engineers know how to evaluate risk and ensure the high reliability of their designs. (As creators of skyscrapers, suspension bridges, and drinking water systems, failure is not acceptable.) Cornell’s undergraduate program in civil engineering delivers the skills required to make sound business decisions. Many civil engineering graduates go on to take leadership positions in established companies, or start their own. At Cornell, we are educating some of the top engineers in the country, and teaching our students how to use their intellect to participate in the business arena.

Photo of Addie Lederman

My favorite part of the CEE major is the broad range of classes offered. I also really appreciate the opportunity to learn from leaders in our field. The people—faculty, staff, and students—are all great to learn from and work with!

— Addie Lederman '16

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photo of Bruno Fong Martinez

I was invited to visit Cornell through the Diversity Hosting Weekend during my senior year of high school. This experience was the defining factor that led me to choose Cornell. I was amazed by the beauty of campus (granted I visited in October, well before the snow takes over most of campus). However, what really blew me away were the people. I had never been surrounded by so many brilliant minds before, many of which I am grateful to now call my friends.

— Bruno Fong-Martinez '15

Students in the undergraduate program have the opportunity to specialize in one or more areas including civil infrastructure, transportation engineering, environmental fluid mechanics/hydrology/water resources, or they may plan a more general civil engineering curriculum. CEE also offers a distinct major in Environmental Engineering. In addition, students in CEE can earn a minor in Engineering Management. The coursework required for the minor aligns well with other required courses in CEE and will prepare students for leadership and management positions upon graduation.

Students have ample opportunity to participate in community activities by joining the award-winning student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This student group participates annually in national competitions to build and race a concrete canoe, and design and build a steel bridge. The group also sponsors community service projects which have included building a neighborhood playground, constructing a pedestrian bridge in Ithaca, and creating an educational demonstration for the Ithaca Sciencenter. ASCE also hosts several intramural teams, social outings, and study sessions for the professional licensing exam.