Why Choose the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering?


USC is situated near the heart of Los Angeles, one of the best places for studying civil and environmental engineering. Los Angeles is a large modern city with an impressive civil infrastructure.

Los Angeles acts as a natural laboratory to test and apply modern concepts in earthquake engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, air pollution engineering, water resources, coastal engineering, as well as other fields of civil and environmental engineering.


US News and World Reports has consistently ranked the Viterbi School of Engineering, to which the department belongs, in the top ten engineering schools in the United States.

Job Opportunities

The Department has developed longstanding relations with leading engineering firms, which offer many job opportunities to USC graduates. Students may gain much needed experience by participating in practical training and internship positions.

With thousands of civil and environmental engineering firms and public agencies in the greater Los Angeles area, students have opportunities of getting professional internships, further enhancing their education and practical experience.

USC is the oldest university in Southern California. USC alumni are leaders in local engineering companies and agencies and create employment opportunities for USC graduates.

High-Tech Applications

The Department incorporates advanced technologies into the course work. Students are exposed to information technology and industry standard software systems.

Professional Programs

The Department offers a range of engineering programs, which are focused and emphasize professional practice. These programs involve comprehensive, real-life projects, and an interaction with practicing engineers.
USC's location is particularly suited for getting the practical training of engineering programs.

Management Programs

The Department has a long history of training leaders in engineering. It offers management-oriented programs that prepare engineers for management positions in civil and environmental engineering firms. It offers interdisciplinary programs build upon the strength of USC's well regarded schools of Law, Business, Architecture, and Policy, Planning, and Development.

Programs for Non-Engineers

The Department offers programs suitable for students that have a background other than engineering. These programs are in Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management. Students with undergraduate preparation in the sciences, planning, architecture, or the liberal arts may qualify for these programs.

Research Funding

USC is recognized for the quality and level of external funding in research. According to the National Science Foundation, USC ranks among the top ten, in terms of private universities receiving federal funds for research and development activities, and in the top 20 among all universities, with a total of $300 million.

The Viterbi School of Engineering, which ranks in the top 3 of all engineering schools throughout the United States in research funding, traditionally produces over $160 million in research funding per year. The Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering exceeds $5 million in research funding annually.

B.S. Programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering

There are four different tracks in the BS program in Civil Engineering (BSCE):

BSCE General Track

Broad coverage of the civil engineering field including structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, construction engineering, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, and water resources engineering.

BSCE Building Science

Covers civil engineering and architecture in collaboration with the School of Architecture.

Prepares students for building design, construction and architectural engineering.

BSCE Structural Engineering

Prepares students to design and build different types of structures, from high-rise office buildings to bridges and sports stadiums.

BSCE Environmental Engineering

Emphasis on both environmental and civil engineering topics.

Engineering approaches required to provide safe drinking water, maintain air quality, and protect the environment.

In addition, students can receive a BS in Environmental Engineering (BSENE), or a minor in Construction Planning and Management:
BSENE Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineers have to be broadly educated and technically trained to address the spectrum of issues facing the environment.

Minor: Construction Planning and Management

This minor program is rigorous enough to serve as an introductory credential for students subsequently electing to pursue advanced studies in development, urban planning, construction management, architecture or allied fields.

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M.S. Programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering


There are six different tracks in the MS in Civil Engineering (MSCE) that students can specialize in:

General Option (Environmental Engineering, Water Resources, and Geotechnical Engineering)
Construction Engineering and Management
Structural Engineering
Transportation Engineering
Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (interdisciplinary programs):  Transportation Systems or Water and Waste Management

In addition, students can receive a MS in Environmental Engineering (MSENE), a Master of Construction Management (MCM), or a MS in Transportation Systems Management.

Admission Requirements
  • A bachelor degree from an accredited American college or university, or from a foreign institution of acceptable standing
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0
  • GRE scores
  • Applicants to all Master programs (minimum quantitative score of 151 [650 on the old scale before August 2011])
  • Applicants to Master of Construction Management may also substitute GMAT scores for GRE scores (minimum GMAT score of 650)
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable. Please review the requirements here.
  • A minimum of two (2) letters of recommendation is required for Master programs
  • A statement of purpose
  • Additional requirements vary by degree program.
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Specialization Areas
Civil Engineering
  • Construction Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Informatics for Intelligent Built Environments
  • Structural Engineering and Design
  • Structural Mechanics
  • Water Resources Engineering, Coastal Engineering
Environmental Engineering
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Environmental Air Pollution
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Global Warming
  • Transport of Environmental Contaminants: Water, Air and Land
  • Water Quality Control

To learn more about departmental research, labs and centers, visit the research page here.

Admission Requirements
  • A bachelor degree from an accredited American college or university, or from a foreign institution of acceptable standing.
  • GRE General Test.
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable.  Please review the requirements here.
  • Applicants must demonstrate from their previous major studies that they
    • meet the level of academic achievement
    • will be successful in advanced study
  • Admission decisions are based on:
    • Grade Point Averages
    • GRE scores
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • a statement of purpose
  • The Ph.D. program in Environmental Engineering is open to students with degrees in engineering or sciences. Students with degrees in other fields may be admitted based on the recommendation of a Program Adviser.
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