Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What First-Year Civil/Environmental Engineering Students Can Expect

10:12 AM

The first year for any college student can be difficult, especially if their major is completely foreign to them. This blog post will help students who are taking first-year Civil Engineering (CE) and Environmental Engineering (EnvE) classes to understand what they should expect. 

Civil Engineering is about designing, constructing, and maintaining infrastructure. If something touches the ground and is in the city, it's civil. Civil engineers can work on a variety of things including buildings, bridges, and public transportation. 

Environmental Engineering is about preserving the natural environment using the principles of engineering, chemistry, biology, and soil science. People who are interested in EnvE care about the environment and sustainability. Some Environmental Engineers work to improve water and air quality, waste disposal, and recycling.

Nature and cities have large effects on each other, which is why Civil and Environmental Engineering are closely tied together. In fact, the first three suggested engineering classes for CE and EnvE at PSU are the same: CE 111, CE 112, and CE 115. Professor Evan Kristof teaches all of these three classes and was kind enough to answer a few questions for students interested in CE and EnvE as majors.

Q: What can first-year students expect to learn in intro classes?
A: We cover some basic civil/environmental engineering material in the CE111/112/115 classes.  This includes an introduction to the profession (example projects, project tours, office tours), graphics software (AutoCAD, ArcGIS), computation software (Excel, Mathcad, Matlab), and technical writing (memos, reports, etc).  We usually incorporate group projects in each course as well.

Q: How are your classes taught (e.g. hands-on, project-based etc)?
A: The intro courses are taught using a combination of traditional lecture, hands-on & in-class work, and group projects.

Q: Advice for first-year students?
A: I would recommend that first year students realize that they have enough experience already that we can put to use for real-world projects (and that we will expect them to do so). 

Learn more about Civil and Environmental Engineering.
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