B.S. in Civil Engineering

Senior Thrust Areas

Each civil engineering student is required to take 24 units of ATE (Approved Technical Electives). These electives can be any CE/ENVE 400/500 level coursework (not required as part of the major), some CE/ENVE 300 level coursework, or any one of a list of pre-approved elective options from outside CE/ENVE.

This freedom in the CE program allows students to specialize in a particular area (or two or three…) or develop a little deeper in all areas. Please consider your choices in the context of graduate school, the area in which you would like to practice, or the breadth of knowledge you would like to attain.

Below is information about each specialization area to consider as you plan your Senior Year.

Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineering is perfect for those who love problem-solving. Upon arrival at sites, geotechnical engineers perform site investigations to determine subsurface conditions and materials. This field works with the challenges of Earth’s natural resources in designing tunnels and structure foundations, creating slope repairs, and understanding soil mechanics. Geotechnical engineering is very hands-on and has a good balance between the field and office!

Geotechnical Engineering Advising Sheet (PDF)

Structural Engineering

Structural engineering is a great specialization due to its wide range of applications. One can work on traditional civil engineering projects like buildings, bridges, dams, offshore platforms, and towers, and also work on the structural aspects of products in different industries! Structural engineering focuses on what creates the form and shape of buildings. Jobs in structural engineering never get boring, as there is always more to learn about when it comes to design and analysis!

Structural Engineering Advising Sheet (PDF)

Transportation Engineering

This field works with the planning, design, operation, and management of transportation facilities. These facilities include roadways, railroads, air, pipelines, water, and even space transportation. Transportation engineers must be good at problem-solving through analyzing complex data. The main goal of this field is to create safe, but efficient traffic flow.

Transportation Engineering Advising Sheet (PDF)

Water Resources Engineering

844 million people around the world live without access to safe water. The specialization of water resources engineering works to combat this problem by planning and designing for water use and treatment. Water resources engineers work with water supply systems, irrigation, water transportation, and water removal. This field is ever-growing due to the constant demand for safe water and flood control. Jobs can be found within both public and private entities.

Water Resources Engineering Advising Sheet (PDF)

Construction Engineering

The construction industry is the largest single portion of our economy, and there is immense growth potential. Cal Poly’s construction engineering program is special because it transforms knowledge of engineering principals into a holistic skill set that includes business management and communication techniques. This profession enables one to understand the entire design and construction process. Popular career choices for construction engineers include property development, structural design, civil design, construction management, or planning!

Construction Engineering Advising Sheet (PDF)

General Civil Engineering

The specialization of general civil engineering is very broad and can be categorized by the type of projects designed: land development, transportation, or drainage. Land development encompasses the site design of new buildings, roads, and their associated infrastructure, whereas transportation engineers focus only on roads and pedestrian facilities. Drainage projects involve treating and moving storm water from the site to facilities like drainage basins, bioswales, infiltration wells, gutters, and storm drains. These fields often overlap, with specialists and generalists spread throughout the country, working at both public and private entities. There are so many things one can do with the general civil engineering specialization!

General Civil Engineering Advising Sheet (PDF

Senior Design

Students must complete a three-quarter course in senior capstone design. This course focuses on current civil engineering design procedures and requires the student to complete a major design project that incorporates appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints. Topics related to interpersonal communication, teamwork, leadership, ethics, and professional practice are also covered in this course so that students have an understanding of the non-technical issues and skills that must be mastered to become a successful design professional.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

In addition to the program requirements listed on this page, students must also satisfy requirements outlined in more detail in the Minimum Requirements for Graduation section of this catalog, including:

  • 60 units of upper division courses
  • 2.0 GPA
  • Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)
  • U.S. Cultural Pluralism

No major or support courses may be selected as credit/no credit.

CE 111 Introduction to Civil Engineering 1
CE 112 Design Principles in Civil Engineering 2
CE 113 Computer Aided Drafting in Civil Engineering 2
Select one of the following two options (CE 204 & CE 207) or CE 208 5

CE 204
CE 207

Mechanics of Materials I
and Mechanics of Materials II

CE 208

Mechanics of Materials 1  
CE 222 Introductory Experiments in Transportation Engineering 1
CE 251 Programming Applications in Engineering 2
CE 259 Civil Engineering Materials 2
CE 321
CE 322
Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering
and Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering Laboratory
CE 336
CE 337
Water Resources Engineering
and Hydraulics Laboratory
CE 352 Structural Engineering 4
CE 355 Reinforced Concrete Design 4
CE/CM 371 Construction Management and Project Planning 4
CE 381
CE 382
Geotechnical Engineering
and Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory
CE 465 Civil Engineering Professional Practice 1
Select from the following: 6

CE 466
CE 467

Senior Design Project I
and Senior Design Project II

CE 468
CE 469

Community Engineering Senior Design Project I
and Community Engineering Senior Design Project II
Technical Electives 2, 3 24
In consultation with faculty advisor, select from CE 356ENVE 325, any 400-500 level CE and ENVE courses not required in the major (maximum of 4 units from the following list):  

Select a maximum of 4 units from the following:


ARCE 305

Masonry Design  

ARCE 372

Steel Structures Design Laboratory  

ARCE 403

Advanced Steel Structures Laboratory  




Applied Finite Element Analysis  

BRAE 345

Aerial Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing  

BRAE 447

Advanced Surveying with GIS Applications  

BRAE 532

Water Wells and Pumps  

CHEM 341

Environmental Chemistry: Water Pollution  

CM 334

Construction Law  

CRP 420

Land Use Law  

CRP 435

Transportation Theory  

CRP/NR 404

Environmental Law  

CRP/NR 408

Water Resource Law and Policy  

ERSC 442

Applied Environmental Groundwater Hydrology  


Field-Geology Methods  


Geologic Mapping  

GEOL 415

Structural Geology  

IME 314

Engineering Economics  

MATE 425

Corrosion Engineering  

MATE 450

Fracture and Failure Analysis  

MATH 344

Linear Analysis II  

SS 423

Environmental Soil and Water Chemistry  
BIO 213 Life Science for Engineers (B2) 4 2
BMED/BRAE 213 Bioengineering Fundamentals (B2) 4 2
BRAE 239 Engineering Surveying 4
CHEM 124 General Chemistry for Physical Science and Engineering I (B3/B4) 4 4
CHEM 125 General Chemistry for Physical Science and Engineering II 4
ENGL 149 Technical Writing for Engineers (A3) 4 4
ENVE 331 Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering 4
GEOL 201 Physical Geology 3
MATE 210 Materials Engineering 3
MATE 215 Materials Laboratory I 1
MATH 141 Calculus I (B1) 4 4
MATH 142 Calculus II (B1) 4 4
MATH 143 Calculus III (Add'l Area B) 4 4
MATH 241 Calculus IV 4
MATH 244 Linear Analysis I 4
ME 211 Engineering Statics 3
ME 212 Engineering Dynamics 3
ME 341 Fluid Mechanics I 3
PHYS 141 General Physics IA (Add'l Area B) 4 4
PHYS 132
PHYS 133
General Physics II
and General Physics III
STAT 312 Statistical Methods for Engineers (B6) 4 4
Approved Engineering Science Elective 2, 5  
Select from the following: 2-4

CM 280

Building Information Modeling  

CSC 231

Programming for Engineering Students  

CSC 234

C and Unix  

EE 201

Electric Circuit Theory  

IME 314

Engineering Economics  

MATH 304

Vector Analysis  

MATH 344

Linear Analysis II  

ME 302

Thermodynamics I  
(See GE program requirements below.) 40
Free Electives 0
Total units 190-192

Transfer students take CE 208 in the Fall Quarter.


Consultation with advisor is recommended prior to selecting technical electives or approved electives; bear in mind your selections may impact pursuit of post-baccalaureate studies and/or goals.


Additional guidelines for technical electives:

  1. More than 4 units of coursework outside CE/ENVE is only permitted in special/ unusual cases and requires written justification by the student, and approval by the Department Chair.
  2. No more than 4 combined units of CE 400CE 500 and ENVE 400ENVE 500 can count towards the degree.
  3. No more than 8 combined units of CE 470 / ENVE 470CE 471 / ENVE 471CE 570 / ENVE 570CE 571 / ENVE 571 can be credited.
  4. Co-op, graduate seminar, senior project/design, and thesis courses are not permitted.
  5. Only one course can be credited for CE 458 / CE 558CE 459 / CE 556.

Required in Support; also satisfies GE


The courses selected to satisfy this requirement may not be used to satisfy other major or support requirements (no double counting of coursework).

General Education (GE) Requirements

  • 72 units required, 32 of which are specified in Major and/or Support.
  • See the complete GE course listing.
  • Minimum of 8 units required at the 300 level.
Area A Communication  
A1 Expository Writing 4
A2 Oral Communication 4
A3 Reasoning, Argumentation and Writing (4 units in Support) 1 0
Area B Math, Science, and Quantitative Reasoning  
B1 Mathematics/Statistics (8 units in Support) 1 0
B2 Life Science (4 units in Support) 1 0
B3 Physical Science (4 units in Support) 1 0
B4 One lab taken with either a B2 or B3 course  
B6 Upper-division Area B (4 units in Support) 1 0
Additional Area B units (8 units in Support) 1 0
Area C Arts and Humanities  
C1 Literature 4
C2 Philosophy 4
C3 Fine/Performing Arts 4
C4 Upper-division elective 4
Area D Society and the Individual  
D1 The American Experience (Title 5, Section 40404 requirement) 4
D2 Political Economy 4
D3 Comparative Social Institutions 4
Area E Lifelong Learning and Self-Development  
E Lower-division elective 4
Total units 40

Required in Support; also satisfies GE

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