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Should I major in civl or environmental engineering?


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#1 CivilEngr

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 12:09 AM

I am a junior thinking about what area I want to focus my courses on. I am interested in water resources/treatment. I am currently in civil engineering but I am considering switching to environmental engineering. Both have ABET. I am taking an environmental engineering class that all CivE students have to take. Kind of a crash course on the main areas of environmental engineering. So far I have really enjoyed it. We are beginning to talk about environmental remediation and groundwater remediation. I found both these topics interesting. All my classes I have taken and am taking count towards both majors so I will lose no time if I switch.

I think civil sounds a little more versatile and recognizable but it also does not include nearly as much chemistry/biology. If I stick with civil I can take the majority of the major environmental engineering courses but I will have no time to take any chemistry or biology. Civil's are only required to take chem 1. Are those chemistry classes important?

So which do you think would be better? I am Doing co-op interviews this semester and I am shooting for a company that does both water resources and environmental engineering.There are a couple coming. That should help with my decision but I figured I could ask on here too.

Thanks for any help.

#2 ALBin517

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 03:01 PM

Civil majors get environmental jobs, but the opposite rarely happens.

#3 CbusPaul

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 05:25 PM

I would second that point. By choosing the civil road you are not closing any doors on yourself. By choosing the environmental road, you have closed several options off.

#4 Jacob_PE

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 05:38 PM

Where I work, the Civil Engineering Dept. has several PEs and EITs, the Environmental Dept. is much smaller and it can perform all it's work without a PE.

#5 new_injuneer

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:54 PM

QUOTE (CivilEngr @ Sep 11 2011, 01:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am a junior thinking about what area I want to focus my courses on. I am interested in water resources/treatment. I am currently in civil engineering but I am considering switching to environmental engineering. Both have ABET. I am taking an environmental engineering class that all CivE students have to take. Kind of a crash course on the main areas of environmental engineering. So far I have really enjoyed it. We are beginning to talk about environmental remediation and groundwater remediation. I found both these topics interesting. All my classes I have taken and am taking count towards both majors so I will lose no time if I switch.

I think civil sounds a little more versatile and recognizable but it also does not include nearly as much chemistry/biology. If I stick with civil I can take the majority of the major environmental engineering courses but I will have no time to take any chemistry or biology. Civil's are only required to take chem 1. Are those chemistry classes important?

So which do you think would be better? I am Doing co-op interviews this semester and I am shooting for a company that does both water resources and environmental engineering.There are a couple coming. That should help with my decision but I figured I could ask on here too.

Thanks for any help.


I've been in the Environmental Consulting industry for years, and I think you should go with Civil. Most firms will probably hire you with a Civil degree to do Environmental work. As a matter of fact, you can usually get away with Chemical and Mechanical too.

#6 Peele1

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE (ALBin517 @ Sep 12 2011, 11:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Civil majors get environmental jobs, but the opposite rarely happens.

Agreed.
Double major if you want. Or, just take Env electives...



#7 EnvEngineer

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:21 PM

I was a BS Environmental and then MS Civil and now PE. Go civil, there is no downside. Environmental has some clout but no advantage in most states, in CA you must be a Civil we dont have a environmental stamp. I agree with the chemical - biology needs, I got mine with the BS but you can take extra units, chemistry is good to have I dont use biology much.

#8 DS58

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:48 PM

I also work for an environmental consultant. The engineers here are originally from a number of different disciplines: Civil, Biological, Mechanical, Chemical and EE. Funny...no actual Enviro Eng majors.

#9 FLBuff PE

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:28 PM

I majored in civil with a water resources and environmental emphasis. I am a practicing environmnetal engineer, but also a geotechnical. I learned the second at my current job. I have a feeling that I would not have my current job if I was a straight enviro. The civil degree opens a lot more doors to you career-wise than the environmental degree does. Just my $0.02.




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