Student in hardhat, protective eye gear, in lab

A Civil Engineering degree leads to a profession that addresses the infrastructure of society and impacts many aspects of your everyday life.

From the roads and bridges you use every day to the drinking water that comes out of your tap, to leveraging technological breakthroughs to improve mobility services and enable smart and connected communities, UWM’s Civil Engineering major provides students with the tools to develop safer, more efficient and sustainable improvements to our infrastructure.

Program Type

Major

Program Format

On Campus
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Career Outlook

Our students have gone on to lead departments of transportation, launch their own companies and make positive impacts locally and and farther afield.

A Civil Engineering degree has additional benefits:

U.S. News & World Report lists Civil Engineer as one of the top five jobs in the engineering sector for 2021.

In 2020, the median annual wage for civil engineers was $88,570*

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Andy Kowske
Hear from civil engineering alum, Andy Kowske, about his work on the Milwaukee Zoo Interchange.

What to expect

Increased speed to graduation

Our new and redesigned curriculum makes it easier and faster for you to complete your degree. You’ll also find greater flexibility in the electives available to customize your experience. 

What makes our program stand out

The mission of the UWM Undergraduate Civil Engineering degree program is to educate students to become civil engineering professionals who plan, design, build, and manage the infrastructure systems needed for a modern urban society and the environment.

This major will provide you a broad technical background in Civil Engineering with options to develop a strength in one of the following concentrations:

  • Geotechnical Engineering utilizes the disciplines of rock and soil mechanics to investigate subsurface and geologic conditions. These investigations are used to design and build foundations, earth structures and pavement sub-grades.
  • Structural Engineering uses the disciplines of structural analysis and mechanics to design structures, such as buildings, bridges, pipelines, industrial, tunnels, vehicles, ships, aircraft and spacecraft. Structural engineers need to understand the behavior of materials such as concrete, steel, wood, masonry, alloys and fiber reinforced composites.
  • Municipal and Transportation Engineering is the application of technology and scientific principles to the planning, functional design, operation and management of facilities for any mode of transportation. The goal is to provide for the safe, efficient, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and environmentally compatible movement of people and goods.
  • Water Resources and Environmental Engineering (Environmental Engineering is also available as a major): Water resources engineering includes engineering for both water supply management and water excess management. Environmental engineering uses the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems.

Honors

You will be eligible for these honors in the major during your studies and upon completing your civil engineering degree.

Students at UWM have many opportunities to earn honors recognition.

UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science program provides many opportunities to pair classroom learning with hands-on experiences outside the classroom. The college’s location in Wisconsin’s largest city, with a broad network of industry partnerships, gives you easy access to well-paid internships and co-ops, as well as other important opportunities to enhance your resume. 

Did you know? 

  • 93 percent of UWM engineering and computer science students complete paid, work-related experiences including internships, co-ops and research opportunities 
  • 91 percent land a job or commit to graduate school before graduation. 

SOURCE: UWM First Destination Survey, December 2019  

My co-op experience with Foth has allowed me to become more confident in my abilities as an upcoming engineer.


Kevin (Foth Co-op)Senior, Civil Engineering

Internships and Co-ops

Civil Engineering degree studentshave had many hands-on opportunities to develop their skills, determine what type of career experience they would like after graduation, while often earning a significant paycheck over summer breaks and even during the academic year.

Here are some of the businesses where our civil engineering students have had internships, co-ops or careers:

  • AECOM
  • City of Milwaukee
  • CSD Structural Engineers
  • GRAEF
  • HNTB
  • Jacobs
  • JP Cullen
  • RA Smith
  • WEC Energy Group
  • Wisconsin DOT
Capstones/Senior Design Projects

In your senior year you’ll team up with other civil engineering students to complete a Capstone Project, sometimes known as a Senior Design Project, where you’ll apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to address a real-world need.

Senior Design is the most critical course to the civil engineering program because it integrates the whole educational experience and includes consideration for technical, legal, environmental, ethical, safety and economic factors. It’s the only course in which students’ work is juried by outside evaluators.

In past projects, student roles have included geotechnical, transportation, structural, water resources and leadership responsibilities as they worked collaboratively to solve the problem.

Student Organizations

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

ASCE at UWM is chapter of Wisconsin ASCE that presents students with the opportunity to participate in engineering related activities and competitions, and network with other engineering students and professionals.

American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC)

AISC members have the opportunity to learn about structural design, fabrication, and more things related to steel construction as they prepare for the Student Steel Bridge Competition each Spring.

Construction Leadership Council – Student Chapter (CLC)

CLC provides young professionals with an opportunity to observe and develop their skills with current industry leaders.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB@UWM)

The humanitarian work of EWB@UWM brings running water to impoverished villages in the Ixil Triangle of Guatemala and aims to improve the sustainable use of energy in Wisconsin.

Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

ITE is an international society of transportation professionals who are responsible for meeting mobilty and safety needs.

Structural Engineering Society at UWM (SES-UWM)

SES-UWM expands the experience and knowledge of members in structural engineering-related fields through relevant events and technical workshops featuring notable speakers.

For full descriptions and contact information of all engineering and civil engineering related student organizations and clubs, click here.

Resource Rooms & Teaching Labs

Concrete and Construction Materials Lab

Students use this lab to test and determine properties of various types of cement.

Engineering Mechanics and Composites Research Lab

This lab is used to study the manufacturing, testing, characterization and nondestructive evaluation of polymer and non-polymer based composite materials.

Hydraulics Lab

Students use this lab to conduct experiments of groundwater flow theory and Darcy’s law, steady uniform open channel flow, non-uniform open channel flow, sediment transport, HEC-RAS river flow analysis, and stormwater management modeling.

Pavement Materials Lab

This lab uses the Triaxial test for resilient modulus determination of soils and aggregates, California Bearing Ratio, Micro-Deval abrasion test, and specific gravity and absorption of aggregates.

Soil Mechanics Instructional Lab

Students use this lab to perform various tests on soil to determine their physical, engineering, and mechanical properties. Apparatus and tools such as soil crushers and sample splitters are used to prepare soil specimens.

Structures & Mechanics Lab

This lab is used to perform load testing, as well as to test tension and compression, flexure, bend, fatigue and creep testing for reinforced concrete beams, steel and bolted connections.

Surveying Lab

Civil engineering students will use equipment and tools from this lab to measure distance and angles in order to perform a topographic survey,

Virtual Reality Infrastructures Lab

UWM is the first non-military user of this Euclideon hologram table in the U.S. It is unique in allowing multiple people to simultaneously view 3D digital objects from different perspectives without bulky headgear. Students are able to solve design problems here before the product shows up in a shop or in the field.

Water Quality Lab

Students will use this lab and its state-of-the-art equipment to perform various water quality tests including pH, turbidity, conductivity, and acidity.

UWM students have a wealth of additional resources available to them within the College of Engineering & Applied Science. From computer labs and tutoring resources to teaching labs and spaces to create or collaborate. Details here.

Research Opportunities

As a top tier R1 research university, our students have the opportunity to work with faculty engaged in cutting-edge research and to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program which has a profound impact on students’ preparation and advancing to graduate programs. The SURF program helps students to improve professional preparation through research by closely working with our faculty to explore, discover, and transform ideas into reality.

Both graduates and undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in the annual Student Research Poster Competition to see who can best represent their research visually on a poster and verbally by describing it to judges.

Student Startup Challenge

Directed by the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, the UWM Startup Challenge is an optional, co-curricular program that fosters our students’ innovative and entrepreneurial ideas. You can work alone or as part of a team as you gain the skills that come from entrepreneurial experience. More detail here.

We’re Here to Help

We have a dedicated Career Services Department at the College of Engineering & Applied Science who works exclusively with our students to prepare them for a career after graduation.

What You’ll Do

You’ll find Civil Engineers in all levels of government and throughout the private sector.

Civil engineers typically split their time between working indoors and outdoors, planning, designing, building and managing both public works and private enterprise projects. They are also good stewards of the natural environments in which they construct manmade environments—putting them in an excellent position of serving society.

Some career possibilities:

  • Design and maintenance of public works like bridges, tunnels, roads, railways, dams, and airports.
  • Private sector opportunities in design of industrial facilities, factories, refineries and housing.
  • Oversee and manage infrastructure projects.
  • Plan and implement public water-supply systems.
  • Develop smart mobility technologies, including using big data analytics.

Alumni Stories

Hear from a few of our notable who have gone on to start and or lead engineering firms and make a difference in our community.

Carrie Bristoll-Groll, BS Civil Engineering ’94, started her own business and is Principal Civil Engineer/CEO Stormwater Solutions Engineering, LLC

Alumnus John Kissinger, BS Civil Engineering ’79, CEO of GRAEF, receives high honors for contributions to engineering profession and dedication to student education.

Advising

Current, Tina
  • Senior Advisor, Undergraduate Advising
  • Students with last names beginning I-O
  • Prospective Transfer Student Liaison
Kaempfer, Sharon
  • Senior Advisor, Undergraduate Advising
  • Students with last names beginning A-H
Klumpp, Jennie
  • Senior Advisor, Undergraduate Advising
  • Students with last names beginning P-Z
  • Prospective Student Liaison

Tutoring Center

Steven Anderson
  • Retention Coordinator, Tutoring
  • Tutoring & Mentoring Center Coordinator
  • Freshmen Orientation Instructor

Faculty

Andy Dressel
  • Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering
Rani Elhajjar
  • Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Department Chair, Civil and Environmental Enginering
Andrew Graettinger
  • Associate Dean for Research, Engineering & Applied Science Office of the Dean
Sam Helwany
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jin Li
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Qian Liao
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
faculty image xiao qin
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Adeeb Rahman
  • Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Konstantin Sobolev
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Habib Tabatabai
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Director, Structural Engineering Lab
  • ht@uwm.edu
  • Engineering and Mathematical Sciences E332
Hani Titi
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
faculty member yin wang
  • Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jian Zhao
  • Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Accreditation

The Civil Engineering program is accredited by Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET.

Contact
Civil & Environmental Engineering

Contact Info: ceas-cem@uwm.edu

Street Address
College of Engineering & Applied Science
3200 North Cramer Street
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Mailing Address
College of Engineering & Applied Science
P.O. Box 784
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0784