Degree Programs

The Department offers long-established and highly regarded Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering. In addition, the Department manages an ever-growing graduate program that offers a Master of Science degree along with various specializations. For more information on our degree programs, please follow the links below.

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is often referred to as the "people serving profession" because of the direct impact that civil engineering works have on the well-being of individuals. Graduates of a civil engineering program must, therefore, have the engineering skills needed to plan, design, construct, and maintain infrastructure and industrial facilities. In addition, graduates must have the broad education necessary to effectively communicate with other engineers, architects, planners, administrators, government officials, and the general public. The faculty of the Civil Engineering Program at Cal Poly understand these needs and take pride in preparing its students for the challenges associated with engineering practice.

The undergraduate curriculum in civil engineering is designed to support the program's mission and educational objectives. Therefore, the curriculum includes broad coverage of mathematics, engineering and basic sciences, liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences. The curriculum includes a number of required civil engineering courses that are designed to ensure that students become proficient in six different civil engineering emphasis areas: geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering, construction engineering and environmental engineering. In addition, students must complete a two-quarter course in senior 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.

Finally, a unique level of flexibility within the curriculum allows students to take 24 units of upper division civil engineering technical electives. A student may use these electives to focus in one of the four civil engineering emphasis areas noted above. In lieu of choosing a particular emphasis area, students are given the opportunity to design a "general" curriculum allowing for a broad range of civil engineering interests. Students must formally consult with a faculty advisor prior to selecting and enrolling in upper division civil engineering technical electives.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering are found in the Cal Poly Catalog.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering

Cal Poly offered one of the very first undergraduate environmental engineering degree programs in the U.S. (1968). The degree program focuses on the interrelation of people, materials, and processes in a complex and changing environment. Important topics addressed by the program include the control of air and water pollution, industrial hygiene, environmental health and safety, solid waste management, hazardous waste management, and pollution prevention.

The environmental engineering curriculum is designed to support the program's mission and educational objectives. This curriculum offers a sound background in the fundamentals of mathematics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and mass transfer. In addition, upper division courses cover important environmental engineering design topics as well as introductory civil engineering topics like water resources and geotechnical engineering.

A primary focus of the undergraduate environmental engineering program is to prepare graduates for professional practice. Thus, Cal Poly's "learn by doing" philosophy is emphasized and design is integrated throughout the curriculum. Environmental engineering students are provided with many opportunities to work in well-equipped, state-of-the-art laboratories. Also, these students are required to take a two-quarter senior design capstone course. In this course, students demonstrate their understanding of essential engineering skills as well as their ability to solve practical, real-world design problems.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering are found in the Cal Poly Catalog.

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program as well as a blended B.S. + M.S. program. Links to these programs are provided below.

In addition, the Department offers M.S. degree programs with specializations in Transportation Planning and Water Engineering. These specialized degree programs are offered in cooperation with the College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, respectively.

Questions regarding the Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Program should be directed to the Department's Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Bing Qu.

Requirements for the Masters of Science Degrees are found in the Cal Poly Catalog.

Degree Options

List of Graduate Courses by Specialization

Applying to the Graduate Program

A complete application to the MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering requires:

Application deadlines are posted ( The statement of purpose is where students declare which topic they want to focus on (Environmental, Geotechnical, Structures, Transportation, Water) and can highlight information about themselves that is not quantified in their GPA and GRE scores.

Applying to our blended B.S. + M.S. Program

The Blended program is for current Cal Poly undergraduates in the Civil and Environmental Program. This application requires students to develop a research plan with a faculty advisor prior to applying . Once a research plan is developed the application process is:

  • Submission via Interfolio ( of unofficial transcripts, contact information for 3 people who will be submitting letters of recommendation on your behalf, and a statement of purpose that lists the faculty advisor and the research plan you have developed with that faculty advisor.
  • Applications are due the end of the second week prior to the quarter the student would like to be in the program.  Students are eligible once they have completed all 300-level courses.   Students must be in the program no later than the quarter prior to when they would be graduating with their BS.

Applying to our other Graduate Programs

For MCRP students interested in applying to the dual MCRP/MSE program they should discuss this option with the grad coordinator in MCRP after they are admitted.  Information on this degree can be found at (

For students interested in applying to the MS with a specialization in Water Engineering, they should contact the grad coordinator in BRAE (

A FAQ covering additional information can be found here.  All further questions should be directed to the grad coordinator, Dr. Bing Qu.