What do Civil Engineers do?

Civil Engineers (CEs) are trained to solve the design, construction, and maintenance concerns of the natural and physically built environment. They deal with public works including highways, railroads, bridges, buildings, and water and energy systems.

CEs seek to tackle some of the major problems facing engineering today and lead the industry in research discoveries and design innovations. They work in a variety of fields to develop solutions for challenges in design, construction, research, and education.

CEs are involved with projects on every level.

CEs are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining all of the structures that surround us—from buildings to transportation systems to water—in order to improve the needs of society. 

Civil Engineering is a broad field that influences policy and regulations.

CEs work in the public sector for government agencies or in the private sector at consulting or construction firms. Some civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, while others pursue careers in design, construction, or education.

CEs use engineering principles to protect the health of the environment and its people.

CEs aim to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.

We are:

  • Innovative leaders
  • Skilled problem solvers
  • Groundbreaking researchers
Headshot of Nathan Kiliany

Nathan Kiliany
2016 CEE graduate

“I chose Penn State because the multi-campus setup allowed me to commute from home for two years before diving into the large, main campus setting. The engineering program is also strong and connected, and the classes focus on relevant and useful information. Additionally, the instructors are incredibly helpful. They’ve educated me on professional career paths and given me tips for getting and keeping a job. While there will be a lot of on-the-job learning to do, I feel the foundation and familiarity with topics has already been laid out for me through studying at Penn State.”



The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084