Jul 18, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2019-2020 
Rensselaer Catalog 2019-2020 [Archived Catalog]

Civil Engineering

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After completing the core engineering sequence, a student enters this curriculum and follows a baccalaureate program leading to the B.S. degree or a professional program leading to the M.Eng. degree as well as the B.S.

Undergraduate concentrations include environmental, geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineering. Following the sample four-year schedule is the recommended collection of courses for each of these concentrations.

Subject to other requirements, students may use core engineering electives to accelerate their entrance into the program. Students also may take courses in related fields. Courses bearing the following codes are suggested for particular consideration in consultation with the student’s adviser: ARCH, ECSE, MANE, ENVE, MATH, CSCI, ERTH, and ISYE.

The following represents a typical four-year civil engineering program. Students who are convinced that they want to become civil engineers are urged to follow this plan of study in lieu of the general core engineering program presented earlier. Required or strongly recommended core engineering electives are shown for optimum scheduling.

First Year


  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4


  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

Second Year

Third Year

The Arch Summer Semester*

*For students who have applied for and been granted an exception, The Arch Summer courses would be taken during the fall semester. For listing of the exception process go to:  http://info.rpi.edu/arch/students/#ExceptionProcess.

  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fall OR Spring*

*If following the B.S. in Civil Engineering curriculum, students must select the spring term as their “on-campus” semester.

  • CE Design Elective Credit Hours: 3
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fourth Year


  • CE Design Elective Credit Hours: 3
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • CE Technical Elective Credit Hours: 3
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Math and Science Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 6 below)
  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4


  • Basic Science Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 7 below)
  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

A minimum of 128 credit hours is required for this curriculum.

Additional Requirements

Non-engineering courses graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory are not included within this 128-credit-hour requirement. The Pass/No Credit option can be used only for free electives with something other than a CIVL or ENVE code and the humanities, arts, and social sciences electives. All other courses used to satisfy the degree requirements must be taken on a graded basis.

Civil Engineering Design Electives and Concentrations

At least two civil engineering design electives are required in one of the following concentrations: structural, geotechnical, transportation, or environmental. These must be selected from the list below to fulflll the prerequisite requirements for CIVL 4920 (Civil Engineering Capstone Design).  Students should note that design electives are only offered once a year.  Students interested in taking the Environmental Engineering capstone design course (ENVE 4180 Environmental Process Design) should consult with their adviser.

List of Design Electives


Structural Engineering

Geotechnical Engineering

Students must take:

  • CIVL 4010  Foundation Engineering Credit Hours: 3

And must choose a second course from the following:

Transportation Engineering

Students must choose two of the following courses:


  1. CIVL 1200 may be replaced with ENGR 1200.
  2. CIVL 1100 may be replaced with ENGR 1300.
  3. CSCI 1190 may be replaced with CSCI 1100.
  4. Allowable courses are listed under Design Electives and Technical Electives.
  5. This course will be fulfilled from a list published at the start of the semester.
  6. Any 4-credit course in the School of Science with a prefix of ASTR, BCBP, BIOL, CHEM, ERTH, MATH, or PHYS.
  7. Any 4-credit course in the School of Science with a prefix of ASTR, BIOL, or ERTH.

Civil Engineering Technical Elective

Any of the design electives listed above can be taken as a CE technical elective, provided the necessary prerequisites are met. The following other civil engineering courses can also be selected:

Additional Courses

To satisfy the CE Technical Elective requirement, students may choose an additional CE Design Elective within any concentration or, with adviser approval, courses from related disciplines. These related disciplines include architecture, environmental engineering, earth and environmental sciences, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, and operations research. A representative list of such courses is as follows:


Humanities, Arts, or Social Sciences Electives

In this area, the electives are based on the Institute and School of Engineering requirements. Students are urged to select humanities, arts, and social science sequences through which they will obtain adequate breadth and depth in subject areas. Students desiring minors in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences must consult the school or department in which the courses are offered to obtain further information and specific requirements.

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