Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is the most diverse engineering field.

female student using and optical survey device.

Civil engineers play a critical role in the development of the structural foundations of buildings, airports, bridges and indeed all structures that populate our world. Earning a Civil Engineering degree from Detroit Mercy will provide you with the skills, training and expertise needed to construct airports, bridges, buildings, canals, dams, engage in environmental cleanup efforts, excavations, harbors, highways, industrial facilities, landfills, construction or demolition, piers, pipelines, reservoirs, roads, site planning, tunnels, Navy Seabees and water and wastewater treatment plants. A degree in civil engineering provides you with a boundless future of opportunities.

And with Detroit’s ongoing resurgence, now is an exciting time to be an engineer in Detroit. You’ll receive access to many opportunities to make an impact on our city and be a part of the resurgence. Whether you're interested in designing structures, construction, transportation or helping to improve the environment, you’ll receive the chance to work with faculty mentors, network with professionals at major corporations and apply your Detroit Mercy degree immediately upon graduation.

By the time graduation rolls around, most of our students receive multiple offers for employment or graduate school.

All classes are Professor taught

Detroit Mercy’s Civil Engineering program will help you realize your potential by offering personalized attention from faculty who are practicing civil engineers and well-connected to some of the nation’s most successful industry partners. You will learn from full-time faculty committed to your success—never from teaching assistants!

$86K media pay for civil engineers in 2018
6% Job Growth for Civil and Architectural Engineers through 2028
3 paid semesters of coop

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    Undergraduate Programs

    Four-year Bachelor of Civil Engineering (BCE)

    Five-Year Accelerated Programs

    Advantages of an accelerated 5-year program:

    • Some courses during your senior year count towards both undergraduate and graduate requirements.
    • Ability to take some graduate courses at the undergraduate tuition rate
    • Some of your undergraduate financial aid is extended through your year of graduate study.

    Five-Year Bachelor/Master in Civil Engineering

    We offer a combined Bachelor and Master of Civil Engineering program for well-prepared high school school students entering as freshman. Learn more about the admission and degree requirements for this 5-year accelerated program.

    Five-Year Bachelor/Master in Civil and Environmental Engineering

    We offer a combined Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Master in Environmental Engineering program for well-prepared high school school students entering as freshman. Learn more about the admission and degree requirements for this 5-year accelerated program.


    Graduate Programs

    Master of Civil Engineering

    If you are a new Master students or Detroit Mercy undergrad students who did not qualify for the 5-year Bachelor/Master program, you may apply for graduate school either online or by completing a written application. Typical (but not absolute) minimum requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering or closely related discipline.

    Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering

    The Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering  requires 81+ hours beyond the bachelor coursework, including 30 hours of dissertation.

    Civil Engineering doctoral students take two qualifying exams:

    • Math qualifier. You must take and pass this with a grade of 70% within two tries to remain in the program. You should try it in your first term or year in the doctoral program. You must complete this before taking dissertation credit (CIVE 7990). View sample and past exam.
    • Departmental qualifier. (also called discipline specific qualifier). You must take and pass this with a grade of 70% to remain in the program. Talk to your doctoral advisor to arrange an offering of the departmental qualifier for you.
    • Description & Requirements
    • Course Descriptions
    • Dissertation / Thesis Requirements.

    For more information about the program, contact Dr. Utpal Dutta, Chairperson of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering. 313-993-1040,

What do students and alumni say?

Civil Engineering student, Emma Hagel talks about Detroit Mercy, American Society of Civil Engineers events, and how Michigan engineers can help our state.

"The required co-op program in the Engineering department ensured I was employed with a full year of experience upon graduation."

—Leslie Zawada '98
President, Civil Engineering Solutions, Inc.

"My co-op gave me a lot of insight and I graduated with a full year of experience in my field—a real resume builder and a tremendous opportunity to network and succeed."

—Elliott Fernandes ’16

Real projects with real impact

Studying Civil Engineering at Detroit Mercy gives you an opportunity to live the University mission to help people and communities in need. During your studies, you will be challenged to solve real engineering problems for a community partner through your senior capstone project. For example, students engaged in a project to help a local church with water treatment options.

You’ll also apply what you learn in the classroom at well-paid professional cooperative education assignments designed to refine your technical and collaboration skills. You can earn up to $26 an hour as a professional engineering starting sophomore year with one of our co-op partners. By the time you graduate, you will be professional grade with exceptional experience other students just don’t have under their belts!

And while in college, become a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and participate in the annual concrete canoe competition.

Multi-faceted, broad-based education

Detroit Mercy’s global vision and approach to problem identification, formulation and problem-solving in areas such as infrastructure, environment and facilities includes a strong base of knowledge in areas such as ethics, communication skills, team concepts and value judgment. These are the soft skills that employers look for in people they promote.

Not sure which program is right for you?

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    Compare Architectural with Civil Engineering

    Civil and Architectural Engineers both work on the design of buildings. You 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. Architectural Engineers 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. (Learn more: Civil Engineering)


    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. (Learn more: 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. Detroit Mercy's program is unique because the first year for Architecture and Architectural Engineering take the same 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. (Learn more: Architectural Engineering)


    Compare Environmental with Civil Engineering

    Environmental Engineering students study how to design pollution control systems and determine how to clean up environmental problems. Alternatively, Civil Engineers learn about diverse areas of engineering. They 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. At Detroit Mercy, Environmental Engineering students take many courses in Civil Engineering so that they have a very diverse background. This provides you 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.

    Not sure which path to follow? That's ok. The curriculum is similar during your freshman year. Your academic advisor can help you make that decision after you've taken some courses. Even seniors working on their final project can focus on the civil side, the environmental side or the whole scope of a project.

    Learn more about Environmental Engineering.


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