The Department of Civil Engineering provides an exciting mix of research and teaching. Our teaching staff makes significant contributions to the field of Civil Engineering in research, teaching and knowledge transfer. Civil Engineering was originally defined simply to distinguish nonmilitary engineering but it actually represents a lot more. Without civil engineers we wouldn’t have a constant supply of clean water, roads or trains to get to work in the morning, or substantial energy help us to save our planet.
Civil Engineering is concerned with the control of the environment for the benefit of humankind. It is the oldest professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like bridges, roads, canals, dams and buildings. If you live in a house or an apartment, work in an office building, use the transportation system, energy, water or other utilities you are touched by a civil engineer’s creativity. Civil Engineers provide modern society with vital infrastructure and lifeline systems such as cities, roads, buildings, bridges, railroads, water systems, etc. In addition, they protect society from extreme forces of nature such as high winds, earthquakes and floods.
Civil Engineering has traditionally used imagination, judgment, reasoning and experience to apply science, technology, mathematics and practical experience to develop that which was only a concept. WEC Civil Engineering ties these foundations to a diverse program - one that uses knowledge from a variety of engineering disciplines to work on the complex technical challenges faced by society in the 21st Century.
We teach both fundamental principles and practical applications. Considerable emphasis is placed upon practical work, in the form of laboratory classes, physical and computational modeling exercises, project work, surveying fieldwork, design projects and site visits.
Civil engineering is a profession that offers plenty of visual payoff. Take a look around, and you'll see the work of civil engineers everywhere - from buildings and bridges to roads and reservoirs. "To create things, to actually see them being built ... it's very rewarding to see the results of what you saw on paper. It gives you a lot of personal satisfaction," says Andrew Herrmann, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Principal with the engineering firm Hardesty & Hanover. These professionals design and oversee the construction and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure such as highways, tunnels, rail systems, airports and water supply and sewage systems. The job includes analysis - especially in the planning stage - studying survey reports and maps, breaking down construction costs and considering government regulations and potential environmental hazards. Civil engineers also may test soils and building materials, provide cost estimates for equipment and labor, and use software to plan and design systems and structures.
There are many career paths within this field. Specialties include architectural, structural, transportation, traffic, water resources and geotechnical engineering. Civil engineers may work for state or local governments or in the private sector at consulting or construction firms. Some civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, while others pursue careers in design, construction or teaching.