Civil Program Overview

The Civil engineering program at Waterloo is both challenging and fulfilling, with a great deal of flexibility: students get to customize their degree with a large number of technical electives in structural, transportation, geotechnical, and water/environmental engineering. Of course, the co-op advantage is here, too: students can work in a number of different organization to determine what 'flavour' of civil engineering employment they like best, all while learning critical on-the-job skills.

First Year

The first year in Civil is common with the Geological and Environmental degree programs. The first year program is designed to facilitate your transition to university life while at the same time providing you with a solid foundation in Engineering Science.


  • Calculus
  • Algebra
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Programming
  • Physics

In addition, you will take one concept course. This first concept course will cover the basic methods and principles used by engineers. It has a special emphasis on field skills, such as surveying, and technical communication skills, such as technical report writing and computer aided design.

Please visit our First Year Engineering site for more information.

Second Year and Beyond

In second and third year you begin specialized courses to acquire knowledge in specific area. Some of the areas of study include:

Statics and Structures

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Steel and Concrete Design

Fluids & Hydraulics

  • Pipe network flow
  • Open channel hydraulics
  • The Hydrological Cycle

Geotechnical Engineering

  • Soil Mechanics
  • Foundation design

Transportation Engineering

  • Transportation system principles
  • Pavement engineering

Third Year

Areas of Interest

Starting in third year, Civil Engineering students start to focus in one of four main areas: Structural Engineering, Water Resources/Environmental, Transportation engineering, or Geotechnical engineering.

Fourth Year

By fourth year, you will have five co-op work terms under your belt and a breadth of real-world civil engineering experience to add to the theoretical and applied knowledge learned in the classroom. All of your experience will be brought to bear in your full-year 4th year design project, where you will work with a group three or four of your classmates to design an engineering solution to a complex problem. The topic is yours to choose.