Civil and Environmental Engineering

O-Week FAQs

Why should I study Civil and Environmental Engineering?

Civil and environmental engineering at Rice addresses important societal problems that impact the urban and natural landscape in a variety of ways. We have focus areas in Environmental Engineering, Hydrology and Natural Disasters, Structural Engineering & Mechanics, and Urban Infrastructure & Risk. We are one of the few engineering departments that address climate change and natural disasters in detail.

What do students do when they graduate with a Civil and Environmental Engineering degree?

Work in consulting, education, industry, federal laboratories, or go onto graduate school, law school, med school. We have never failed to place a graduate within the long-standing field of civil and environmental engineering.

If I am considering this major, what classes do I have to take this year?

Freshmen should take required math, physics and chemistry courses (or use AP credit accordingly) and also sign up for CEVE 101 to learn all about the field of civil and environmental engineering.

If I have AP credit, should I use it or are there classes I should consider retaking anyway?

That depends on your background, but I generally think that the Physics and Chemistry taught at Rice is exemplary and one might consider taking those at Rice.

How should I decide whether or not to use my AP credit?

Contact the registrar and/or department and college advisors for more details on use of AP credits.

Can I study abroad? If so, when is the best time?

Study abroad is available and encouraged for engineers and ENVI scientists to broaden their horizons and learn from other cultures. One such program is offered through CEE and LSU and jointly taught in Amsterdam and London (summer after freshman or sophomore year) – the Study Abroad Office has lots of information.

What kind of research opportunities are available to your students?

Research opportunities abound in the CEE department for both undergraduate and graduate students who work closely with faculty in a variety of settings. They perform experiments in state-of-the-art laboratories and solve important water treatment problems in developing countries. They develop and implement novel computational techniques, work in areas of dynamic structures and aging infrastructure, and run models to address sea level rise and increasing risk from severe storms.

What extracurricular activities or projects do students in your program normally participate in?

There are a number of student groups such as the student ASCE chapter and Engineers without Borders that are very attractive for students to socialize in and to get exposure to outside alumni and friends that often come to speak at seminars.

What do classes in Civil and Environmental Engineering normally look like?

Classes are usually small, averaging between 25-40 students. As you progress through the curriculum, courses become more specialized and intimate. We have the largest percentage of female students of any major in engineering. There are a few required lab classes, but many field trips are included in the classes for on-site educational experiences (treatment plants, reservoirs, construction sites, etc.)

Is the curriculum flexible enough for students to pursue other interests? i.e. Can I complete a minor, take classes outside the major or specialize further within the major?

The Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability provides students majoring in CEE or other departments additional sustainable development principles. Sustainable development is a societal goal that challenges traditional ways of thinking and requires alternative approaches and solutions to balance environmental, economic, and social interests.

Double majors are possible but require a lot of AP credit coming in.

The B.S. program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, and recommended for those interested in graduate studies or careers as licensed professional engineers.

The B.A. degree is recommended to students interested in graduate studies outside of engineering such as policy, law or medicine, or those interested in pursuing a double major or a minor, such as the one in energy and water sustainability

Are there any other things I should know about Civil and Environmental Engineering?

We have never failed to place a graduate within the long-standing field of Civil and Environmental Engineering due to the great need nationally and internationally to continue to address infrastructure, resiliency, and climate change problems.