Undergraduate Program Civil Engineering

Student in the city doing engineering work

Civil Engineering Bachelor's Degree Overview

As a civil engineering major you will work toward a career as a professional engineer. Civil engineers plan, design, operate and construct the infrastructure in our communities. This includes transportation, water and wastewater systems, energy systems, buildings, bridges and dams.

You will learn:

  • Design for infrastructure and geotechnical systems
  • Design practices that keep the public safe from seismic and other natural disasters
  • Methods for protecting our environment
  • Design processes to clean drinking water and wastewater

Our alumni go on to careers at engineering firms or governmental agencies. They also pursue advanced degrees in civil and environmental engineering.

We offer:

  • Foundational civil engineering courses in the main areas of the field. You will learn structural, geotechnical, environmental and water resources and transportation practices.
  • Community service projects that support and improve the municipalities in the Portland metro.
  • Access to internships in the Portland metro. Get real-world experience in paid positions to help you get a job after graduation.
  • Expert faculty who bring the best research and real-life perspectives into the classroom.
  • A degree tailored to your interests. In your senior year you will select from a variety of elective courses.
  • Scholarships and grants for students majoring in civil engineering.
  • An involved alumni network made up of leaders in the Oregon engineering community.
  • Student groups that engage in networking, career support, leadership and team building.

Our environmental engineering program's curriculum is similar to the civil engineering program. It includes courses in chemistry, mathematics, statistics, environmental science, physics, geology and biology.

There are about 370 students in the undergraduate civil and environmental engineering programs.

This program attracts students from diverse backgrounds and interests:

  • 34% women
  • 44% underrepresented minorities
  • 31% international
  • 45% first-generation college students

Many of our students are seeking a second bachelor’s degree. Half have transferred from another college or university.

Our quarter term system allows you to:

  • Meet ABET requirements
  • Gain foundational skills in civil engineering
  • Choose from a large list of elective courses

All admitted civil engineering students receive a degree plan and are guaranteed access to required courses in the major.

PSU's civil engineering curriculum is rigorous, supportive and flexible. 85% of our students pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam the first time. We exceed the national average by 17%.

90% of our students have a job within six months of graduation.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
Online:
100% online
Flexible:
Combination of online and on campus
  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    Locations
    On campus
    Total Credits
    187
    Start Term
    Any

Civil Engineering Bachelor's Degree: Why PSU?

Students in this program experience civil engineering innovation as they’re studying it. PSU is in the heart of Portland, Oregon, one of the most innovative and industrious cities in the nation. The infrastructure in the Portland metro shows the real-world impact of civil engineering. PSU is itself a civil engineering and urban planning marvel. Unique and sustainable buildings line the Park Blocks. Public transportation routes weave through the middle of campus.

With the city as a testing ground, faculty are able to thrive. They engage in their research and are attentive to their students' needs. Our faculty receive more than $3 million in research funding each year. Thus, civil engineering students are able to experience research before they graduate. They also enjoy small class sizes and build connections with faculty.

Civil engineering students get to design and put in place a real project. For example, one civil engineering student’s capstone design project created a temporary traffic control plan. The plan allowed for more pedestrian and bicycle activity along a busy Portland road. The student obtained the permits and installed the temporary traffic control barriers. The project was a test to help pave the way for conversations around permanent solutions. The student now works for a private engineering firm in Portland, Oregon.

The Portland metro region is home to some of the world’s top engineering employers. Our department has connections with leaders in private industry and government agencies. These organizations hire our students for internships and full-time positions.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering?

Graduates of Portland State University’s civil engineering program are analytical and critical thinkers. They learn skills to solve problems with creative, sustainable and innovative solutions. Civil engineers design infrastructure and systems to keep people safe and healthy.

PSU civil engineering graduates:

  • Design structures using concrete, steel, wood, masonry and composites
  • Predict the amount of water available for human use, improve the water quality in bodies of water
  • Use rock and soil mechanics to design foundations, earth structures, and pavement sub-grades
  • Develop methods to improve air quality contaminated by industrial and transportation sources
  • Collaborate with clients and stakeholders to apply technical skills to practical problems


Graduates of the program go on to pursue specialized or advanced degrees. They also earn their professional engineering licenses.

Civil engineers are in high demand by employers. PSU's location in Portland, Oregon, gives you opportunities for internships and networking. You will graduate with an advantage over other candidates. Most of our alumni are working at consulting engineering firms or governmental agencies. The starting annual salaries are over $60,000.

Featured Courses

  • CE 351 Intro to Transportation Engineering
  • CE 364 Water Resources Engineering
  • CE 444 Geotechnical Design
  • CE 432 Structural Steel Design
  • CE 434 Principles of Reinforced Concrete

Electives

  • ESM 479 Toxins in the Environment
  • CE 550 Transportation Safety Analysis
  • CE 543 Intro to Seismic and Site Evaluation
  • CE 417 Timber Design

Accreditation

Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

ABET Accredited