We’ll be at the Viterbi New Student Luau tomorrow (Thursday, August 22nd, 2013) to greet all of the incoming civil and environmental engineers and tell you more about ASCE. Be sure to stop by our table and say hi!
I recently received an email from an incoming student regarding a common question and felt that since so many people ask this, it would be good to share a response:
How closely linked are civil and environmental engineering? I am much more interested in environmental. Do the two overlap very much?
Disclaimer: The ideas expressed in this article in no way reflect the views of the university, civil/environmental engineering department, or ASCE. They are one person’s opinions based on one life experience.
In my experience, you only share a couple of classes with civil engineering (CE) (general track) majors, like statics, fluid mechanics, risk analysis, etc. Those are kind of “core” engineering classes anyway, but each engineering department has its own version of the class. You will share the most classes with CE (environmental emphasis) majors, and barely any with CE (structural/building science) majors. As an environmental engineering major (ENE), you will not have to take classes in dynamics, materials, transportation, concrete, or steel. However, you will take much more biology and chemistry than CE majors. The heart of ENE lies in water and wastewater treatment, with some air pollution and solid waste management.
This summer, I am interning at a civil engineering consulting firm in Hawaii. In Hawaii, most of the “environmental engineering” jobs are covered by civil firms because there isn’t enough environmental engineering work to warrant entire companies that only focus on that. As a result, I learned many transportation, construction, and project management concepts on my own because I didn’t take those classes in school. I’m still figuring things out, but it seems to me that unless you’re interested in research, a lot of the chemistry and biology might not be used too often in design.
All in all, it just depends on what you want to do. I think that if I had known the relationship between college classes and the work situation before I started, I might have chosen a different major. I love taking the classes in the ENE major, but if I had known I wanted to return to Hawaii after graduating, I might have chosen to major in civil engineering with an environmental emphasis, just so I had that broader background. I know there are definitely environmental engineering firms out there, so it just depends on where you want to end up. Just keep in mind that many “environmental engineering” jobs are hidden within civil engineering firms. Other schools don’t even offer ENE as a separate major from CE, so some companies might think that the ENE degree limits your knowledge in areas besides water and wastewater treatment.
With just a little less than 4 weeks before classes start, we are starting to think about school again! We would like to welcome our incoming freshmen and transfer students to the Sonny Astani Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering with our Big Buddy Program! Program details are available on our Big Buddies page. In brief, the program matches incoming students with upperclassmen to provide new students with a mentor-like resource that they can utilize as much as desired.
Email us at email@example.com if you are interested in becoming a Big Buddy!
We hope you enjoy your last few weeks of summer and look forward to seeing you all soon! For more updates, keep reading our blog and like our Facebook page!
Congrats to our recent graduates! Our outgoing eboard deserves a huge round of applause for putting together an awesome year, capped off with co-hosting PSWC. Have a good summer everyone, we’ll see you in August!
View the 2011 USC ASCE Annual Report here.
View the 2010 USC ASCE Annual Report here.