Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering

civil arch enviro




How do you know which one to choose?  Civil or ArchitecturalEnvironmental or Civil

All three programs share several things in common such as being exciting fields where you can make a difference.  Also, employers for all three areas have great work environments.

It is not necessary to decide right away which major you would like among these three.  They all take many courses in common.  For example, the Freshmen Design course has a project that connects all three areas.  (Civil, Architectural, Environmental)  That course might help you decide which major to take.

Civil or Architectural Engineering?

Civil and Architectural Engineers both work on the design of buildings.  civil and environmental engineeringYou can work in building design and construction with any of these degrees: Architecture, Architectural Engineering, or Civil Engineering.  All focus on different aspects of building design.  Architects focus on comfort, and aesthetics.  Engineers focus on how to construct the structures. Both focus on economics and usefulness, but in different ways.  AE's do both.

Historically, Architecture and Structural Civil Engineering were the same field.  Structures is a focal area within Civil Engineering that focuses on buildings and bridges.  Architectural engineering is bringing together the architectural and engineering aspects of building design.

Civil Engineering:

Buildings or structures is only one area of Civil Engineering.  Civil Engineering is very diverse.  CE graduates can design water treatment facilities, dams, roads, transit systems, and bridges in addition to buildings.  If you liked your math and science courses in high school more than the other courses, then you may enjoy engineering more than architecture.  You can focus within any of those areas of CE or take a general set of courses.  (See more about CE.)


Architecture can be more than buildings.   It can be designing and renovating spaces within buildings or working with community groups to create neighbor revitalization plans.  If you least enjoyed math and science in high school, but most enjoy art and the other courses, then you may enjoy architecture the most.  (See more about Architecture.)

Architectural Engineering:

Architectural Engineering is for students who liked their math/science in high school, but also have a creative side in art or etc.  The UDM program is unique because the first year for Architecture and Architectural Engineering uses the same ARCH courses.  If you go into Architectural Engineering, you will also see what it is like to be an Architecture student.  This will help in deciding.

Within Architectural Engineering, there are three main areas: Structural, Mechanical & Electrical, and Construction.  If you like working outside, then think about managing construction.  If you like doing calculations, but also visioning what buildings look like, then think about the structural area.  If you want to create energy efficient designs then think about the mechanical & electrical area.  You may focus in one of these areas or take a general set of courses.  (See more about AE.)

Environmental or Civil Engineering?

civil and environmental engineering

Environmental Engineers students study how to design pollution control systems, and determine how to clean up environmental problems.  Alternatively, someone studying Civil Engineering would learn about diverse areas of engineering.  CE graduates can design , dams, roads, buildings, and transit systems, in addition to traditional environmental areas such as water treatment facilities or landfills.

Environmental Engineers can sometimes become very specialized.  However at UDM, Environmental Engineering students take many courses in Civil Engineering so that they have a very diverse background.  This opens up more possibilities for career placement after graduation compared to other environmental engineering programs.  If an environmental student wants to deeply specialize, then they can take graduate level courses in specific areas such as water or ground/land pollution.

Since the Environmental and Civil Engineering areas have much in common at UDM.  Freshmen students don't need to make a final decision until they have taken a several courses that help them decide which they like more.  Even seniors working on their final project can focus on the civil side, the environmental side or the whole scope of a project.  See more about Civil Engineering.   See more about Environmental Engineering.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Alan Hoback
Chair of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering
E-mail :
Telephone: (313) 993-1578

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