The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics focuses on two broad areas of instruction and research.


The Department aims to provide students with a technical foundation anchored in theory together with the breadth needed to follow diverse career paths, whether in the profession via advanced study or apprenticeship, or as a base for other pursuits.

The first, the classical field of civil engineering, deals with the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of structures and the infrastructure. These include buildings, foundations, bridges, transportation facilities, nuclear and conventional power plants, hydraulic structures, and other facilities essential to society.

The second is the science of mechanics and its applications to various engineering disciplines. Frequently referred to as applied mechanics, it includes the study of the mechanical properties of materials, stress analysis of stationary and movable structures, the dynamics and vibrations of complex structures, aero- and hydrodynamics, micro- and nanomechanics, and the mechanics of biological and energy systems.

Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University

Program Educational Objectives (BS in Civil Engineering)

  1. Graduates with a broad and fundamental technical base will be able to enter the professional civil engineering work force either with a BS to develop specialized expertise by way of apprenticeship or through the increasingly common path of a specialized MS.
  2. Graduates with a firm foundation in the basic math, science, and engineering science which underlie all technological development will be well equipped to adapt to changing technology in the profession.
  3. Graduates equipped with a broad technical background will be able to follow other technical or non-technical career paths.
  4. Graduates will practice their profession with effective writing and communication skills, with professional ethics, as well as with awareness of societal issues.

Student Outcomes (BS in Civil Engineering)

  1. Ability to apply knowledge fundamentals of civil engineering field
  2. Ability to apply math (differential equations, statistics, calculus) and science (physics, chemistry, earth science)
  3. Ability to design and conduct experiments and analyze and interpret data in more than one of the four civil engineering practice areas: Structural Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Construction Management, and Water Resources/Environmental Engineering
  4. Ability to design a system, component, structure, or process to meet desired needs
  5. Ability to function as a member of a multi-disciplinary team
  6. Ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  7. Demonstrate understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  8. Ability to communicate effectively in written reports
  9. Ability to communicated effectively through public speaking
  10. Demonstrate understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
  11. Demonstrate ability to appreciate and engage in life-long learning
  12. Demonstrate understanding of contemporary issues
  13. Ability to utilize techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for civil engineering
  14. Demonstrated proficiency in the four civil engineering practice areas: Structural Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Construction Management, and Water Resources/Environmental Engineering
  15. An understanding of professional practice issues such as procurement of work, bidding versus quality based selection processes, interaction of design and constructions professionals in the construction of a project, the importance of professional licensure and continuing education, and/or other professional practice issues