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Civil Engineering

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Engineering

Freshmen applying to the Columbus campus must submit their complete admission application by November 1 to be considered for this major. 

Civil engineers plan, design and build the structures and systems essential to American civilization: buildings, bridges, tunnels and dams; harbors and airports; waterways, railways and highways; water treatment plants; irrigation and drainage systems; landfills; and wastewater treatment plants. This is one of the few areas of engineering in which the engineer deals directly with the public in every phase of the job.

Civil engineering at Ohio State offers the prospective student an exciting academic program enhanced by experiences in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. We offer a challenging environment designed to provide students with the resources and background necessary to pursue activities in the many different areas of civil engineering. The department’s professors are internationally recognized as leaders in their respective areas.

Upon admission to the university, students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, direct enrollment is selective. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33 and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.

Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see

All engineering students have a similar first-year plan of study, the college core, that provides fundamental courses in math, science and engineering. View a sample first-year plan of study.

Civil engineering students take courses in surveying, transportation engineering and analysis, construction management, geotechnical engineering, water resources engineering, structural design, fundamentals of environmental engineering, and economics and planning.

All engineering students also take additional select core courses and general education courses.

Engineering students have several opportunities for global education, including service learningsemester abroad, international internships, engineering-specific study abroad programs or the Global Option in Engineering program

Whether it be installing solar panels on Haitian schools, researching biomedical optics in China, devising solutions for sustainable food production in Honduras, or setting speed records on the Isle of Man, Ohio State engineering students venture beyond classrooms and labs to find success in every corner of the globe. 

Students work with Engineering Career Services (ECS) to find both paid internships and co-op jobs across the United States and around the world. Nearly 90 percent of career-employed graduates complete at least one semester of engineering-related experience before they graduate. 

Honors and scholars offer students an opportunity to pursue academic rigor (Honors) or foster passion through community (scholars). Engineering students can enhance their experience by getting involved with one of the following engineering-based programs.

Engineering Honors

The Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program is an optional course sequence that is offered to University Honors-designated engineering students. This accelerated program is designed to challenge students and provide them with a foundation in engineering principles that are necessary for success throughout their academic careers.

Engineering Scholars

Engineering Scholars presents students with a new lens through which to view engineering through two available tracks:

  • Green Engineering Scholars have a community theme of green engineering, innovation and social responsibility. Students examine areas such as alternative energy development, sustainable products and systems, and green manufacturing and building. 
  • Humanitarian Engineering Scholars learn about and engage in engineering activities that impact underserved areas by addressing pressing problems. 

At Ohio State, engineering students conduct research alongside top faculty from across the university—doctors, physicists, designers, artists and experts in many other fields—to advance our knowledge and improve the world around us. Students enjoy multiple outlets to share their work, including Ohio State's annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum each spring. Learn more about engineering research.

CIvil engineering research topics:

  • smart bridges and structures
  • quality control and risk analysis, construction safety
  • airport and aviation system planning, design, operations, and management
  • soil mechanics modeling
  • beneficial use of coal fly ash
  • traffic engineering, highway location and design

Civil engineering students choose from more than 50 engineering student organizations, including American Society of Civil Engineers, Chi Epsilon, Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio, Big Beam Team, Concrete Canoe and Ohio State Steel Bridge Team.

As environmental concerns mount, the technological revolution expands and we pioneer into space, the demand for civil engineers will rise. They will design, build and maintain the facilities essential to our civilization. This demand will be augmented by the effort to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, including highways, bridges, water and wastewater treatment plants, and other public buildings.

Employment in various government agencies, the aerospace industry, consulting, engineering marketing or sales, and private industry provides career opportunities, which are many and varied depending upon the type of civil engineering pursued.

Some employers of civil engineering graduates include American Electric Power (AEP), Burgess & Niple, Corna Kokosing Construction Co., Grunley Construction, Kiewit Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp., Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Ohio EPA, Turner Construction Co., U.S. Navy, and Woda Group.