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Civil Engineering, BS

At South Dakota Mines, undergraduate students interested in a career in civil engineering follow a curriculum that culminates in an ABET-accredited Civil Engineering (BS) degree. Students take courses in a variety of areas, including environmental, geotechnical, water resources, structural, construction, and sustainable engineering.

Construction Engineering and Management

Construction engineering and management involves the application of construction methods and knowledge of construction equipment, as well as the implementation of the principles of management, scheduling, and planning to turn designs into reality. Construction engineers and managers are involved in the construction of a wide range of facilities and infrastructure systems that serve the public. Construction engineers are at the forefront of the green building movement and the development and use of sustainable design principles in new construction.   

Environmental Engineering

Checking water quality

Environmental engineering is an important emphasis area in the broad field of civil engineering. Environmental engineers design systems and solve pressing global problems in all areas related to the environment and public health: sustainable design of drinking water treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment, and solid and hazardous waste disposal systems; development of air quality monitoring and pollution prevention programs; design of site remediation and mining reclamation programs; and development of ecosystem protection and restoration efforts, among others.


Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineering involves working with and understanding the engineering properties of earth materials, including soil, rock, and groundwater. Geotechnical engineers interface with professionals in many other civil engineering subdisciplinary areas, as well as with geological engineers, geologists, and hydrologists to solve complex infrastructure, construction, and remediation problems. Geotechnical engineers also are involved in mitigating the risk of geologic hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and hurricanes. Geotechnical engineers design dams and levees for water supply and flood control, tunnels and mines, containment systems for hazardous and municipal waste, foundations for buildings, and bridges and sub-grades for highways. Geotechnical engineers are increasingly involved in geo-environmental projects such as brownfields redevelopment and contaminated site characterizations.


Structural Engineering

Structural engineering includes the design and optimization of the built environment - be it bridges, buildings, transportation facilities, or habitats for the moon and beyond. Structural engineers analyze structures for applied loads that include forces from gravity, wind, earthquakes, and other extreme conditions. Structural engineers develop innovative methods and building materials to provide safe and reliable designs for society's infrastructure needs. Structural engineers work with geotechnical engineers, architects, builders and other engineers and professionals to find solutions that satisfy multidisciplinary requirements. Increasingly, structural engineers must incorporate the principles of sustainable design in selecting materials and construction methods.

Sustainable Engineering

Sustainable engineering describes a new approach for solving complex classes of social problems that result from the rising competition for increasingly limited supplies of resources, water, and land. Sustainable engineering seeks to transform engineering practice to meet these challenges. Interdisciplinary in nature and application, sustainable engineering involves the application of life cycle assessment and other innovative techniques to determine the long term implications of a proposed design solution with the ultimate goal of minimizing overall environmental impacts from products, services, businesses, communities, and nations. A sustainable engineering approach seeks to create engineering solutions that are fair and just in a global societal context.


Water Resources Engineering

Water resources engineering involves protecting and managing water resources in a sustainable and environmentally appropriate manner for the good of society. This subdisciplinary area of civil and environmental engineering includes the evaluation and development of ground water and surface water supplies for municipalities, irrigation and industry, design of flood control systems, development of storm water management systems, design of reservoirs and water distribution systems, development of watershed management programs, restoration of river channels, and development of policies for the stewardship and enhancement of water resources. Water resource engineers will play an important role in developing sustainable solutions for the increasingly unmet global demand for access to clean water. Water resource engineers commonly interact with professionals from other civil and environmental engineering subdisciplinary areas as well as hydrologists and hydrogeologists to solve complex groundwater contaminant transport and remediation problems.


Students may select an emphasis area, or take courses in several areas. At South Dakota Mines, undergraduate students start collaborating with faculty on research, an honor often reserved only for graduate students. 

As an undergraduate Civil Engineering student at Mines, you will be encouraged to take advantage of award-winning instructors, small class sizes, and ready access to undergraduate research opportunities, co-ops and internships, and activities and organizations.

Environmental Engineering Specialization

Students who wish to study environmental engineering at Mines follow a curriculum that culminates in an ABET-accredited Civil Engineering (BS) degree with a specialization in environmental engineering. Students who chose the Environmental Specialization take additional science, chemistry, and chemical and biological engineering courses relevant to environmental engineering.