Hero Image - The Best Online Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering Programs

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Search Colleges
TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

Civil engineers create, evaluate, and help maintain vital elements of infrastructure throughout society, often working behind the scenes to develop building plans, design roadways, and implement municipal projects.

Civil engineering is a lucrative and growing field that sees demand across industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that civil engineering jobs should grow 6% from 2018-2028. Most professional civil engineers earn median annual wages well above the national average.

This guide details the requirements to become a civil engineer. Designed for prospective learners, it answers frequently asked questions and outlines a typical online civil engineering curriculum.

Best Online Bachelor's in Civil Engineering Programs

Sort By
Rank School Location Apply More Information
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Online Bachelor's

Online Bachelor's in Civil Engineering Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

We ranked the following schools based on the quality of their academic programs and the range of courses provided. We also considered school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineers oversee, plan, and build infrastructure projects. They work in both the private and public sectors to build things like roads, buildings, tunnels, bridges, dams, airports, and water treatment systems.

What Is a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering?

An undergraduate degree in civil engineering develops core skills and technical knowledge. It lays the necessary groundwork for future employment or further study.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering?

Completion times vary and depend on factors like program objectives and enrollment status. Most learners complete their degrees in four years.

What Job Can You Get With a Civil Engineering Degree?

Recent graduates from online civil engineering programs usually find work as construction managers, surveyors, or urban planners. Graduates with advanced degrees sometimes work as landscape architects or geoscientists.

How Do I Get a Civil Engineering Degree?

Learners can earn a bachelor's degree in civil engineering by attending a four-year college or university with proper accreditation. They can also pursue additional areas of expertise as they earn their degrees.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering?

Most learners use their civil engineering degrees to find entry-level jobs. Others may use their degree as a stepping stone for further study or professional certification.

Which College Is Best for Civil Engineering?

Deciding which college is best for earning a civil engineering degree depends on personal and professional goals as well as program specifics. You can learn more further down the page.

Choosing an Online Civil Engineering Degree Program

Learners interested in earning an online civil engineering degree need to consider several factors when choosing a program. Below are a few of these factors.

Program Cost

Tuition rates vary across universities and programs. Some schools charge a flat rate or a per-credit rate for online learning, while others charge different rates for in-state and out-of-state residents.

Transfer Policies

Prospective students should pay close attention to transfer credit limits and GPA requirements. A generous transfer policy can mean you save money not having to re-take classes at your new school.

School Size and Type

Bigger universities often have larger classes, while smaller colleges usually offer lower student-to-faculty ratios. Degree-seekers should reflect upon their own learning styles and preferences to decide what size of school best meets their needs.

Program Length

Most learners complete their online civil engineering degrees in four years. However, some students may want to take advantage of accelerated options, which expedite graduation.

On-Campus Requirements

Some civil engineering programs require short, on-campus residences. Learners usually complete these components in about a week during the summer.

Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements

Prospective learners should consider whether they want to write a thesis or complete a practicum, which some schools require. Schools may also offer individual fellowships or require internships or work experience during the program.

What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is a broad but vital field. It builds on basic engineering principles and puts them to use in public works projects. Professionals in this discipline plan and design all the infrastructural elements we each rely upon every day, including roads, bridges, dams, and buildings. Civil engineers also create railways, pipelines, and public water channels, completing these projects with cooperation from local governments, construction contractors, and city planners.

Civil engineers often work in the public sector for cities and towns, though some work in private practice for individual property owners or architectural firms.

Most professionals focus on a single area within the discipline. For example, environmental engineers focus on the structural aspects of water treatment, sanitation, and public health. They use the same core skills as construction engineers, who work to ensure the integrity of building projects by analyzing materials, reviewing contracts, and overseeing daily operations. Additional subfields include structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, and forensic engineering.

Learners and recent graduates looking for civil engineering jobs can expect to work full time in office settings and on construction sites. Employers may ask civil engineers to travel periodically to assess projects and assist other professionals in planning and implementation. Civil engineers often work in the public sector for cities and towns, though some work in private practice for individual property owners or architectural firms.

Prospective students and aspiring engineers need advanced analytical and scientific skills. They should also have higher aptitudes in mathematics, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning. Civil engineers must often interact with key decision-makers outside their field, so they must be able to synthesize and communicate complex, technical information.

What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is a broad but vital field. It builds on basic engineering principles and puts them to use in public works projects. Professionals in this discipline plan and design all the infrastructural elements we each rely upon every day, including roads, bridges, dams, and buildings. Civil engineers also create railways, pipelines, and public water channels, completing these projects with cooperation from local governments, construction contractors, and city planners.

Civil engineers often work in the public sector for cities and towns, though some work in private practice for individual property owners or architectural firms.

Most professionals focus on a single area within the discipline. For example, environmental engineers focus on the structural aspects of water treatment, sanitation, and public health. They use the same core skills as construction engineers, who work to ensure the integrity of building projects by analyzing materials, reviewing contracts, and overseeing daily operations. Additional subfields include structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, and forensic engineering.

Learners and recent graduates looking for civil engineering jobs can expect to work full time in office settings and on construction sites. Employers may ask civil engineers to travel periodically to assess projects and assist other professionals in planning and implementation. Civil engineers often work in the public sector for cities and towns, though some work in private practice for individual property owners or architectural firms.

Prospective students and aspiring engineers need advanced analytical and scientific skills. They should also have higher aptitudes in mathematics, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning. Civil engineers must often interact with key decision-makers outside their field, so they must be able to synthesize and communicate complex, technical information.

What Is a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering?

Many learners who complete online civil engineering degrees do so at their own pace, depending on their current employment status and other responsibilities. Most online students finish their degrees in 4-5 years.

Most online students finish their degrees in 4-5 years.

In these programs, students learn how to plan, build, and implement large-scale infrastructure projects. A typical program instills technical knowledge in computer science, surveying, material fabrication, and statistics. It also develops core skills in project management and analytical problem-solving. Degree-seekers apply their knowledge and skills in practical scenarios that prepare them for future employment.

Learners currently in high school or pursuing a GED can prepare for a bachelor's degree in civil engineering by focusing on mathematics, statistics, and the natural sciences.

Typical admission requirements include a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. Prospective students must also satisfy secondary education requirements in English, lab sciences, math, and social studies. Additional requirements may include recent ACT or SAT scores, recommendation letters, and a personal statement.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering Degree?

Recent civil engineering graduates can put their degrees to use in several different ways. Some may proceed directly to the workforce by finding entry-level employment or earning professional certifications in civil engineering. Common careers at this stage include surveying, mechanical engineering, and mapping analysis. Most of these careers require a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. These jobs may also require specific licenses depending on the job and employer.

Degree-seekers interested in honing their skills, broadening their career prospects, or increasing their earning power may decide to pursue graduate education. A bachelor's degree in civil engineering qualifies learners for graduate study, and many employers look for candidates with advanced expertise. Earning a master's degree in civil engineering prepares learners for more professional responsibility.

Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's in Civil Engineering

An online civil engineering degree offers learners opportunities for exploration above and beyond foundational training through concentrations. Programs without specialized concentrations still generally provide broad course offerings designed to expand interest and expertise. To that end, most programs include both core coursework and free electives, which students can use to pursue their interests.

Civil Engineering Concentrations

  • Architecture: This concentration focuses on areas of overlap between architecture and civil engineering. Learners interested in careers in building design, construction, and landscape planning often choose this concentration. Degree-seekers learn about the foundations of architecture and its interaction with adjacent fields like science and art history.
  • Construction: Learners with a concentration in construction often find work as project managers, design engineers, and general contractors. This concentration focuses on building and implementing large-scale plans designed by civil engineers and other professionals. Degree-seekers study finance and budgeting, site safety, and material acquisition.
  • Environmental Engineering: This concentration develops additional expertise in implementing civil engineering projects that protect public health, benefit local ecosystems, and enhance human interaction with surrounding environments. Degree-seekers learn the basics of wastewater management and industrial pollution. They also examine applicable laws and government regulations.
  • Urban Planning: A concentration in urban planning teaches students about the development and use of land and infrastructure in large cities and municipalities. This field applies civil engineering knowledge to improve transportation, communication, and public welfare. Many professionals with these skills find work in local and regional governments.
  • Geotechnical: Civil engineers with expertise in geotechnical intervention apply scientific insights to develop better ways of extracting raw materials from the earth. They study geology and hydrology and design methods of managing or counteracting natural disasters and other hazards. They typically work for private companies or government agencies concerned with refinement and manufacturing.

Bachelor's in Civil Engineering Curriculum

  • Fluid Mechanics: This course provides learners with a high-level introduction to fluid mechanics and its use in civil engineering. Instruction covers core concepts and principles like hydrostatics and buoyancy, mass conservation, open systems, and control volume analysis. Degree-seekers formulate models, analyze their peers' models, and apply learned concepts in accordance with best practices.
  • Computing and Engineering Applications: Learners in this lab-based course practice common techniques for designing computer programs that solve engineering problems. Degree-seekers also plan, assess, and implement abstract simulations. Potential topics include software programming, debugging, maintenance, modularity, and encapsulation. This course generally does not require previous computer programming experience.
  • Mechanics of Materials: This class gives learners a working overview of the common materials used in civil engineering efforts. Degree-seekers study the mechanical properties of metals, polymers, ceramics, and microstructures, plus issues like continuum stress and strain, beam bending, truss forces, and circular torsion. Learners also design engineering projects from a material mechanics perspective.
  • Legal Principles: This course looks at civil engineering from a legal perspective. Degree-seekers learn about contract management, corporate partnerships, professional liability insurance, and dispute resolution. The class also covers risk management strategies and property law.
  • Solid Mechanics: This course examines the basic laws and requirements of statics and stress strain. Learners develop practical knowledge of how solids interact when exposed to outside forces and deformations. Additional topics include fracture and yield criteria, elastic properties, and bending theory. Most degree-seekers must satisfy course prerequisites before enrolling.

Civil Engineering Jobs

Earning an online civil engineering degree qualifies learners for a variety of careers both in the field and beyond. Graduates generally find employment with private companies, local or federal government agencies, or nonprofit organizations. While no degree can guarantee employment, earning a bachelor's in civil engineering satisfies the first initial step toward landing one of the jobs listed below. Many employers require additional professional certifications or advanced study in civil engineering.

Engineering Managers

These professionals oversee the daily operations of their employers and often manage long-term engineering projects. They typically manage a large team of engineers and analysts and implement quality assurance measures that ensure the integrity of their projects. They also develop budgets and solve problems.

Most engineering managers work full time in offices, research laboratories, production plants, construction sites, and other manufacturing facilities. Qualified candidates need a relevant bachelor's degree and significant work experience. Some employers may require additional certifications or an advanced degree.

Median Annual Salary

$140,760

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

3%

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers build and design infrastructure systems and related projects. They analyze survey reports, long-range plans, maps, and other materials that help them make informed decisions. They also prepare budgets and cost estimates and work closely with authorities to secure proper building permits. As projects near completion, civil engineers examine and implement safety measures designed to mitigate hazards. Most work within a larger team of project managers, contractors, and architects.

Civil engineers tend to split their work time between office settings and construction sites. They work full time and may clock more than 40 hours a week during high-activity periods.

Median Annual Salary

$86,640

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

6%

Architectural Managers

Architectural managers plan and design building projects for cities, governments, and private corporations. They oversee research and development, personnel hiring, and equipment maintenance. They also propose budgets and check the technical accuracy of their colleagues' work.

Architectural managers must hold a relevant bachelor's degree and often earn graduate degrees. They also have significant professional experience in the field along with additional licenses and certifications. Most architectural managers work full time in office settings alongside their colleagues and employees.

Median Annual Salary

$140,760

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

3%

Civil Engineering Professional Organizations

Professionals organizations in civil engineering offer vital resources that can help with continuing education and career advancement, including networking and additional training opportunities. They often manage local chapters, host job boards and conferences, and administer certifications. Many working civil engineers rely on these organizations to stay informed on the most recent developments in the field.

American Society of Civil Engineers

First established in 1852, ASCE is the oldest civil engineering organization in the U.S. The society provides continuing education opportunities and hosts regular conferences and professional events. It also sponsors publications in the field and supports various advocacy efforts on behalf of local professionals.

American Society for Engineering Education

Based in Washington, D.C. and founded in 1893, ASEE promotes educational excellence in civil engineering. It provides education and career resources for working professionals, current learners, and recent graduates. The organization also recognizes innovative work in the field through awards and fellowships.

American Society for Engineering Management

A global society dedicated to advancing technical management in engineering, ASEM facilitates conferences and supports local outreach programs. The society also administers professional certifications for management and leadership roles, hosts a job board, and sponsors several field-specific publications.

American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, AIA drives positive change in the architectural industry through advocacy, professional development, and ethical excellence. It primarily offers resources for civil engineering professionals with additional expertise in architecture. It also offers employment tools for recent graduates and continuing education credits for current professionals.

Society of Women Engineers

Based in Chicago, Illinois, SWE supports women in the engineering profession by expanding the industry's public image and promoting diversity. It offers scholarships for students and recognizes exceptional work designed by women engineers. It also maintains an extensive career center and hosts regional events.

Take the next step towards your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

Woman working at desk