Civil engineers apply science in planning, designing, constructing, operating, or managing airports, buildings, bridges, harbors, highways, flood control structures, transit systems, water supply and distribution systems, waste collection and storm drainage, and other public works. Today, civil engineers are asked to meet the challenges of pollution, deteriorating urban infrastructure, traffic congestion, energy needs, urban development, and community planning.
Civil engineering offers an unlimited range of career opportunities to satisfy individual interests, aptitudes, and goals. Civil engineers can specialize in one field or a combination of many technical specialties. They can direct their efforts into planning, design, construction, research, teaching, sales, or management.
The University of Alberta curriculum provides the preparation required for a career in civil engineering. All students take a core program that provides the basis for professional practice in the Civil Engineering disciplines of construction, environmental, geotechnical, structural, surveying, transportation, and water resources. Students then select elective courses in the fourth year to permit some specialization in these disciplines.
Disciplines in Civil Engineering
Construction engineers combine engineering and management disciplines to plan and execute projects. They apply their knowledge of construction methods and equipment to ensure that work is completed on time, within budget, safely, and in accordance with design specifications. Construction engineers lead a team of financial planners, technicians, tradespeople, and professional engineers from other disciplines.
Environmental engineers apply principles of chemistry, physics, biology, microbiology, mathematics, civil engineering, and chemical engineering to provide technological solutions to environmental challenges. Environmental engineers are active in such areas as water and air pollution control, water treatment, industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, disposal or recycling of solid wastes, hazardous waste management, remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater, waste to energy, as well as environmental and health risk assessment.
Geotechnical engineers analyze, in the field and in the laboratory, the properties of soils and rock that support and affect the behavior of structures, pavement, and underground facilities. They evaluate potential settlement of buildings, stability of slopes and fills, analysis of landslides, groundwater seepage, and effects of earthquakes. Geotechnical engineers and structural engineers design the construction of dams, foundations of buildings, and tunnels.
Structural engineers plan and design various structures, including buildings, bridges, storage tanks, containment facilities, and towers. They analyze the forces that each structure must resist, select the appropriate construction materials (concrete, steel, timber, or other materials) and proportion all members and connections to produce a safe and economical structure. Structural engineers also plan and supervise the construction of these structures.
Surveying engineers make precise measurements of the earth's surface to obtain reliable information for locating and designing engineering projects. They use data from satellites, aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry, and computerprocessed satellite imagery. Their maps give accurate information for building highways and dams, boring tunnels, plotting flood control and irrigation projects, and for all other areas of civil engineering.
Transportation engineers plan and design the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. They construct and manage all types of transportation facilities.
Water Resources Engineering
Water resources engineers use their expertise in areas such as hydraulics, hydrology, fluid mechanics, coastal and river engineering, water resources management and planning, and mathematics and computer analysis to solve problems associated with the control and use of water. This includes flood control and protection, water distribution and wastewater collection systems, hydroelectric power development, road and pipeline river crossings, irrigation, drainage, coastal and bank erosion protection, and marine and river navigation facilities.
Environmental Engineering Option in Civil Engineering
This option will prepare students to work as environmental engineers, civil engineers or at the cross roads of both disciplines. Environmental Engineering Option courses in the Civil Engineering Program cover topics such as drinking water supply, environmental systems modelling, water and wastewater treatment, contaminated soil and groundwater remediation, air quality engineering, and exposure and risk assessment. These courses apply principles of chemistry, physics, biology, microbiology, mathematics, civil engineering, and chemical engineering to provide a solid foundation in environmental engineering. This option will better prepare students to work in areas of safe drinking water provision, water pollution control, industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste management and treatment disposal and recycling, soil and groundwater remediation, air quality assessment, and air pollution control in industrial and municipal environments.
Enrolment is limited.
Biomedical Engineering Option in Civil Engineering
This option is intended to provide students with the background necessary to start their career in Civil Engineering with a good basic understanding of the Biomedical Engineering disciplines. Core courses in the Civil Engineering Program (surveying, construction engineering and management, transportation engineering and engineering law) are replaced by fundamental courses in biology and medicine. This option is intended to better prepare students for graduate studies in biomedical engineering and for employment in the health care industry, especially in the area of biomechanical engineering, bone engineering and biological processes. The curriculum has also provided necessary requirements to allow successful students to apply to the MD program.