Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is the most diverse engineering field.

female student using and optical survey device.

With a Civil Engineering degree, you'll be able to work on airports, bridges, buildings, canals, dams, environmental cleanup, excavations, harbors, highways, industrial facilities, landfills, construction or demolition, piers, pipelines, reservoirs, roads, site planning, tunnels, Navy Seabees and water and wastewater treatment plants. The possibilities are almost endless.

This is an exciting time to be an engineer in Detroit. There are plenty of opportunities now and well into the future for you to make a difference in our city. Whether you're interested in designing structures, construction, transportation or environmental, a civil engineering degree from Detroit Mercy will train you for your career.

By the time they graduate, almost all of our students have multiple employment or graduate school offers waiting.

All classes are Professor taught; no weed-out classes

At Detroit Mercy, we'll help you realize your civil engineering potential with personalized attention from faculty well-connected to industry partners. Our classes are never taught by graduate students.

$87,620 Median 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,

Hands-on, real problem solving with clients

As part of Detroit Mercy's mission, you'll solve real engineering problems for a community partner with your senior Capstone project. One such project assisted a local church with water treatment options.

You'll also gain professional experience in our mandatory co-op placements. You'll have the opportunity to earn a salary while working as an engineer with one of our industry partners beginning after your freshman year. By the time you graduate, you'll be able to confidently indicate - "I have experience."

Outside of the classroom, you can become a student 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 solving in areas such as infrastructure, environment and facilities includes a management knowledge base 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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You may also be interested in related engineering programs. Compare Civil Engineering with Architectural Engineering and Environmental Engineering

Student Projects

  • Sustainable bricks
  • Analysis of Qline
  • Community based projects right away as part of Freshman design course
  • Concrete canoe competition

What do students say?

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

What do alumni say?

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