Program Description

Department faculty provides instruction in statics and strength of materials, dynamics and mechanics lab, as well as our degree programs.

Civil Engineers design the infrastructure of our world, from bridges and freeways to sewer systems and libraries. Their work touches nearly every facet of our society’s everyday lives, including but not limited to structures, water supply, waste management, materials, construction, geotechnical, the environment and transportation. Their work is vital, particularly in Southern California where environmental, transportation and water issues are of major importance, and where structural problems, especially related to earthquakes, demand sound engineering solutions.

Civil Engineering majors at CSUN receive a solid, broad-based education. During the first two years and into the third year, all Engineering majors complete a common engineering core curriculum. Among the many topic areas in the core curriculum are mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering materials, electrical circuits, engineering mechanics, thermodynamics and engineering economy.

The junior and senior years in Civil Engineering build on the common engineering core curriculum. These two years include instruction in structures, vibration analysis, hydraulics, soil mechanics, surveying, computer-aided design and graphics, strength of materials, concrete and steel design, construction engineering and senior design.

Civil Engineering students take classes and work in the following facilities: the Applied Mechanics Lab, where students apply engineering techniques to the static and dynamic behavior of mechanical systems; the Civil Engineering Senior Design Laboratory is used in a two-semester course that simulates a professional civil engineering environment; the Geotechnical Laboratory, where students look at the behavior of soil as an engineering material; and the Structural Analysis Research Center, where students have the opportunity to work with faculty on such diverse projects as dams, buildings, towers and spacecraft.

Besides these facilities, students use Los Angeles itself as a laboratory, studying buildings, spacecraft, dams and other structures.

With the broad-based education students receive at CSUN, it is highly recommended that they prepare to take the EIT (Engineering in Training), now commonly referred to as the FE (Fundamentals in Engineering) Exam, before graduation. This is a national exam, 8 hours in length and covering the basic topics that comprise the common core in engineering. The EIT or FE exam is the first of two exams that are required to become a registered engineer in the state of California. To sit for the second exam, additional work experience is required beyond the bachelor degree. In today’s society, it is almost imperative that students, preparing for the Civil Engineering profession, become registered. CSUN has an excellent reputation of preparing students for this goal.

Program Requirements

The high school preparation program is based upon an expectation of adequate high school preparation in science, mathematics and English. High school courses should include algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry and chemistry or physics (both desirable), and four years of English. Beginning engineering students must take the Entry Level Mathematics Test (ELM), Mathematics Placement Test (MPT), Chemistry Placement Test (CPT) and English Placement Test (EPT) before registration in basic courses will be permitted.

Required Test Scores

  1. ELM (Entry Level Mathematics): A passing score is required to earn college credit for mathematics. Students are exempt from this exam if they score 550 or above on the SAT, 23 or above on the enhanced ACT, or a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP (Advanced Placement) Calculus AB or BC.
  2. MPT (Mathematics Placement Test): This is required to enroll in MATH 150A. Students with scores of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB or BC are eligible for MATH 150B and exempt from the MPT.
  3. CPT (Chemistry Placement Test): A minimum score of 40 is required to enroll in CHEM 101. All students who had high school chemistry and expect to enroll in CHEM 101 must take this test regardless of their score on the AP Chemistry exam.
  4. EPT (English Placement Test): A score of 147 or above is required to enroll in ENGL 115 or equivalent. Students with scores of 3, 4 or 5 on AP English Language and Composition receive college credit for ENGL 115 and a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP English Literature and Composition receive credit for ENGL 115 and ENGL 255.

Students who have not had an adequate background of pre-engineering classes in high school may be required to take some additional classes in their first year and may not be able to complete an engineering program in eight semesters.

Special Grade Requirements

  1. All students must pass the English Placement Test with a score of 147 or higher before enrolling in 200-level engineering courses.
  2. All students must complete the lower division writing requirement before enrolling in 300-level engineering courses.
  3. All students must attempt the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam before enrolling in 400-level engineering courses.
  4. Grade of “C-” or better is required in all courses in the major.
  5. Senior-level courses cannot be taken unless the student previously completed or is concurrently completing all freshman-, sophomore- and junior-level core requirements.

Course Requirements

1. Lower Division Required Courses (46-47 units)

Freshman Year
Sophomore Year

CE 240 Engineering Statics (3)
CE 280/L Computer Applications in Civil Engineering and Lab (1/1)
ECE 240 Electrical Engineering Fundamentals (3)
MATH 250 Calculus III (3)
MATH 280 Applied Differential Equations (3)
MSE 227 Engineering Materials (3)
MSE 227L Engineering Materials Lab (1)
PHYS 220B Electricity and Magnetism (3)
PHYS 220BL Electricity and Magnetism Lab (1)

2. Upper Division Required Courses (54 units)

Junior Year

AM 316 Engineering Dynamics (3)
AM 317 Mechanics Lab (1)
CE 308/L Surveying and Lab (2/1)
CE 315/L Construction Engineering and Lab (2/1)
CE 335/L Structures I and Lab (3/1)
CE 340 Strength of Materials (3)
CE 408/L Surveying with GPS Applications and Lab (1/1)
ME 370 Thermodynamics (3)
ME 390 Fluid Mechanics (3)
MSE 304 Engineering Economic Analysis (3)

Senior Year

AM 410 Vibration Analysis (3)
CE 426/L Soil Mechanics and Lab (3/1)
CE 438 Reinforced Concrete Design (3)
CE 439 Structural Steel Design (3)
CE 460/L Engineering Hydrology and Lab (2/1)
CE 488A/L Civil Engineering Senior Design I and Lab (1/1)
CE 488B Civil Engineering Senior Design II (2)
CE 526 Geotechnical Foundation Design (3)
ME 493 Hydraulics (3)

3. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog.

Civil Engineering majors follow a modified General Education program depending upon the year and their enrollment status as a college student. Returning and transfer students should consult an advisor before planning their General Education programs.

Civil Engineering students are required to take courses in the following GE sections: Analytical Reading and Expository Writing (3 units), Oral Communication (3 units), Social Sciences (3 units), Arts and Humanities (6 units), Comparative Cultural Studies (6 units) and U.S. History and Local Government (6 units). All other GE requirements are met through completion of courses in the major.

CE majors may count CE 101/L and CE 280/L in Lifelong Learning.

Total Units in the Major: 100-101

General Education Units: 27

Total Units Required for the B.S. Degree: 127-128


Chair: Nazaret Dermendjian
Jacaranda Hall (JD) 4507
(818) 677-2166

Student Learning Outcomes

Educational Objectives

To carry out the mission of the Civil Engineering program, the faculty has established the following educational objectives. During the first few years following graduation, the graduates of the Civil Engineering program will have the following qualities:

  1. Graduates will accept increasing levels of responsibility over time and obtain their desired professional registrations.
  2. Graduates will continue further studies in engineering and other professional disciplines as appropriate to their careers.
  3. Graduates will develop creative engineering solutions to project challenges that are cost-effective and environmentally sensitive.

Student Learning Outcomes of the Undergraduate Program

  1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering.
  2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  3. An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs.
  4. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
  5. An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.
  6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities.
  7. An ability to communicate effectively.
  8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
  9. A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in lifelong learning.
  10. A knowledge of contemporary issues.
  11. An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
  12. A proficiency in a minimum of four recognized major civil engineering areas.
  13. An ability to perform civil engineering design by means of design experiences integrated throughout the professional component of the curriculum.
  14. An understanding of such professional practice issues as procurement of work, bidding versus quality-based selection processes, how design professionals and construction professionals interact to construct a project, the importance of professional licensure and continuing education, and/or other professional practice issues.