What Do Civil & Environmental Engineers Do?

Our standard of living depends on our civil infrastructure, a sophisticated system of buildings, bridges, dams, airports, transportation networks, water and power distribution systems, and environmental protection systems.

Civil and environmental engineers are responsible for designing, maintaining and enhancing our civil infrastructure. They help to sustain the living standards and quality of life of the population. Civil engineers are also master builders. They create structures that stand as timeless symbols of our civilization. Environmental engineers identify and design solutions for problems involving the environment. To do so, they have to be broadly educated and technically trained to address a wide spectrum of issues.

Civil & Environmental Engineering @SC

Fall 2016


Research Labs
and Centers


Resources for
Current Students


Featured Research Assistant

Yun Li

Research Focus: The impacts of urbanization on urban climate and air quality in the Los Angeles basin
Advisors: Dr. George Ban-Weiss
Expected Graduation: 2021
Previous Education: Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Peking University
Hobbies: Playing badminton, and cycling around the city
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Research Areas

Sustainable Development

Sustainability in the context of civil engineering targets long-term viability of natural resources and engineered civil systems.

Water Quality, Access, and Distribution

Providing an adequate supply of potable water, considering population growth and climate variability.

Disasters and Extreme Events

All aspects of an event, from a fundamental understanding of the physical processes controlling its evolution to the resulting environmental and social reaction.

Coupling of Complex Systems

Efforts aim to integrate research across the Sonny Astani Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, as well with all outside disciplines that interact with civil systems.


Featured Research Assistant for August 2017: Yun Li

Yun Li is a second year PhD student in environmental engineering, advised by Dr. George Ban-Weiss. Her research focuses on the impacts of urbanization on urban climate and air quality in the Los Angeles basin. Currently, she is working on incorporating high-resolution satellite-observed land surface data into a regional climate-chemistry model, and evaluating how these model advances improve simulated urban … Read More

Costas Synolakis Featured in Nature.com’s international Weekly Journal of Science

CEE professor Dr. Costas Synolakis is featured in an article on Nature.com, discussing the Greenland tsunami. Read more here

Daisy Benitez Named a 2017 Switzer Fellow

USC Environmental Engineering Masters student Daisy Benitez is a recipient of the 2017 Switzer Environmental Fellowship. Each year, 20 promising environmental leaders are awarded by the Switzer Foundation to complete their masters and doctoral degrees in New England and California to advance their skills and develop their expertise to address critical environmental challenges. The Switzer Fellowship Program recognizes the achievements … Read More

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“Work With Your Mind”

Through academic clubs, research, and fellowships from GEM, AAUW and the Switzer Foundation, master’s student Daisy Benitez works towards creating a sustainable future

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Tsunami CSI

Waves as high as the Space Needle wreaked havoc in uninhabited Taan Fiord, Alaska and a group of scientists find out how it happened and what to look for before the next one hits

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