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Bridge The American Society of Civil Engineers defines civil engineering as “the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and physical sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the progressive well-being of humanity in creating, improving and protecting the environment, in providing facilities for community living, industry and transportation, and in providing structures for the use of humanity.”


What does a Civil Engineer do?

Several years ago a diverse group of civil engineering and other national and international leaders met to determine what civil engineering would look like in the future.  They envisioned a world with an ever-increasing global population that is becoming more urbanized and will require widespread adoption of sustainability.  Demands for energy, transportation, drinking water, clean air, and safe waste disposal will drive infrastructure development and environmental protection.  In addition, society will face threats from natural disasters and accidents (ASCE Body of Knowledge, 2008).


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This summit led to what is referred to as the ASCE Vision of 2025; that is, what would a civil engineering graduate of today expect to be doing in the middle of their career.  Civil engineers practice in both the public and private sectors.  They work on small communities, large cities, and are in demand globally.


The ASCE Vision of 2025 states that civil engineers will be entrusted by society to create a sustainable world and enhance the global quality of life.  They further write that civil engineers will serve competently, collaboratively, and ethically as master:

  • planners, designers, constructors, and operators of society’s economic and social engine, the built environment (i.e., infrastructure)


  • innovators and integrators of ideas and technology across the public, private, and academic sectors


  • managers of risk and uncertainty caused by natural events, accidents, and other threats;


  • stewards of the natural environment and its resources; and,


  • leaders in discussions and decisions shaping public environmental and infrastructure policy.

What is the Demand for Civil Engineers?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics consistently predicts civil engineering to have one of the largest rates of growth of any engineering profession.