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The Undergraduate Calendar

Faculty of Engineering

Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Software Engineering Specific Degree Requirements

Civil Engineering
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The complex problems and needs of current and future societies have created challenges for Engineering unparalleled in our history. To interpret and satisfy these needs, Civil Engineers currently direct the spending of more than one tenth of Canada's gross national product – more than any other professional group. The Civil Engineer must deal with the human impact of engineering – the social, moral, and legal issues – to a far greater degree than ever before.

Historically, Civil Engineering is the oldest branch of engineering and dates back at least 5,000 years to the profession of "master builder" involving pyramids, temples, and irrigation projects. Civil Engineering has become an extremely diverse field with opportunities for graduates in many areas of application. Furthermore, the use of electronic data collection methods and the application of computers has revolutionized the practice of Civil Engineering. Consequently, our curriculum is being constantly reviewed in order to produce engineering graduates who can use advanced aids to solve complex problems.

The Civil Engineering program is designed to provide the necessary fundamentals of mathematics and the natural sciences as well as to provide perspectives from the fields of the social sciences and humanities.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Waterloo, being one of the largest in Canada, is able to offer elective courses in each of the following areas.

Structural Engineering

Deals with the design and construction of all types of structures including buildings and bridges. Emphasis is placed on mechanics and the behaviour of materials.

Construction Engineering and Management

Intended for students interested in project management, construction materials, construction engineering, and building engineering.

Water and Waste Management Engineering

Addresses water and waste water treatment, surface and ground water pollution and control, solid and hazardous waste management, contaminant transport and behaviour in the environment. Support areas involving aquatic chemistry, computer modelling, simulation, and laboratory experimentation as examples are also stressed.

Transportation Engineering

Deals with the planning, design, construction, traffic operation, and evaluation of streets, highways, airports, and transit systems.

Geotechnical Engineering

Familiarizes students with the engineering properties of soils, the fundamentals of soil mechanics, and the application of geotechnical data and fundamentals to the design of foundation elements, earth-retaining structures, excavations, earth embankments, and highway pavements.

Engineering Mechanics

For students with a strong interest in a rigorous study of mechanics, applied mathematics, and related fields. Leads to an understanding of advanced analysis and serving as a preparation for graduate study in structural engineering, hydraulics, mechanics of solids and fluids, or properties of materials.

Water Resources Engineering

Deals with the planning, management, design and operation of water supply and distribution systems, flood control and flood hazard mapping, hydrologic and hydraulic aspects of environmental issues, and application of remotely-sensed data to hydrologic and environmental problems.


Courses in this area are intended to provide students interested in structural engineering, mechanics, or properties of materials with a background in materials science.

Additional Areas of Study

Alternatively, the student can choose a more general pattern of study involving courses from several topic areas, or a program outside the traditional Civil Engineering field. For instance, with the approval of the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, the student may augment Civil Engineering course programs with elective courses from:
Public Administration
Management Science
Business Administration
Environmental Health, and others.

To this end, the Civil Engineering Curriculum has been designed to allow the maximum possible flexibility while still meeting the requirements for the professional degree. The curricula of the Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Geological Engineering programs are common in the first year to allow transfer among the three programs up to the end of first year. The Civil Engineering Curriculum enables the students to conduct engineering analysis and design, to perform risk and life cycle analysis, and asset management, and to evaluate the impact of engineering work on the environment.

The profession of Civil Engineering is involved with the creation, operation, and maintenance of structures associated with water resources, transportation, power generation, and a wide range of industrial, commercial and institutional buildings and complexes including whole urban structures. The activities include investigation, planning design, construction, and evaluation.

Vocationally, a Civil Engineer may focus in such areas as biomechanics, solid mechanics, fracture mechanics, elasticity, building structures, bridges, hydrology, hydraulics, sanitation (public health), industrial wastes, water resource structures, irrigation and drainage, inland waterways, harbours, aerospace, highways (roads and streets), railroads, pipelines, geology, meteorology, soil mechanics, foundations, tunnelling (rock mechanics), surveying and cartography, urban and regional planning and overall project planning. A Civil Engineering education may also be combined to advantage with another discipline or profession, such as Economics, Law, Medicine, or Biology.

The Civil Engineer, regardless of whether they are a generalist or a specialist, draws heavily upon the work of the physical and social sciences, other professions and other branches of engineering. Moreover, as engineers have become involved in many interdisciplinary activities over the last decade, the job demarcation between boundaries of engineering has become much less restrictive. Certainly one of the advantages of completing a Civil Engineering program is that it allows professional registration while simultaneously providing a basis for further study and professional development in a large variety of fields.

Academic Program

The following program is applicable to students entering Civil Engineering in the Fall 2015 term and beyond. Students admitted prior to 2015 should consult this Calendar pertinent to their year of admission for the applicable requirements. Note that a total of four approved Complementary Studies Electives (excluding CIVE 392 and CIVE 491) and eight approved Technical Electives (TE) must be completed as detailed in the following sections. 

Term 1A (Fall)

CHE 102 Chemistry for Engineers 
CIVE 100 Civil Engineering Concepts
CIVE 104 Mechanics 1
CIVE 115 Linear Algebra 
MATH 116 Calculus 1 for Engineering
CSE 1 Approved Complementary Studies Elective 

Term 1B (Winter)

CIVE 105 Mechanics 2
CIVE 121 Computational Methods 
CIVE 153 Earth Engineering
CIVE 199 Seminar
GENE 123 Electrical Circuits and Instrumentation 
MATH 118 Calculus 2 for Engineering

Term 2A (Fall)

CIVE 204 Solid Mechanics 1 
CIVE 221 Advanced Calculus
CIVE 224 Probability and Statistics
CIVE 241 Transport Principles and Applications 
CIVE 265 Structure and Properties of Materials 
CIVE 298 Seminar 

Term 2B (Spring)

CIVE 205 Solid Mechanics 2
CIVE 222 Differential Equations
CIVE 230 Engineering and Sustainable Development 
CIVE 280 Fluid Mechanics
CIVE 299 Seminar
CIVE 392 Economics and Life Cycle Analysis (List B-Engineering Economics CSE) 

Term 3A (Winter)

CIVE 303 Structural Analysis 1
CIVE 332 Civil Systems and Project Management
CIVE 341 Transportation Engineering Applications 
CIVE 353 Geotechnical Engineering 1
CIVE 382 Hydrology and Open Channel Flow 
CIVE 398 Seminar
CSE 2 Approved Complementary Studies Elective
WKRPT 200 Work-term Report

Term 3B (Fall)

CIVE 310 Introduction to Structural Design
CIVE 375 Environmental Engineering Principles
CIVE 399 Seminar
TE 1 Approved Technical Elective
TE 2 Approved Technical Elective
CSE 3 or TE 3* Approved Complementary Studies Elective or Technical Elective
WKRPT 300 Work-term Report

Term 4A (Spring)

CIVE 400 Civil Engineering Project 1
CIVE 491 Engineering Law and Ethics (List D-Other CSE)
CIVE 498 Seminar
TE 3 or CSE 3* Approved Technical Elective or Complementary Studies Elective 
TE 4 Approved Technical Elective
CSE 4 or TE 5* Approved Complementary Studies Elective or Technical Elective
WKRPT 400 Work-term Report

Term 4B (Winter)

CIVE 401 Civil Engineering Project 2
CIVE 499 Seminar
CSE 4 or TE 5* Approved Complementary Studies Elective or Technical Elective
TE 6 Approved Technical Elective
TE 7 Approved Technical Elective
TE 8 Approved Technical Elective

* Must be a Technical Elective (TE) if Complementary Studies Elective (CSE) is selected in a previous term, and vice versa


Each student is responsible for selecting their own program of electives, in keeping with the ultimate career objectives after graduation. The program must satisfy the requirements of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). This includes having to meet minimum requirements in:
Mathematical Foundations 
Natural Sciences
Engineering Sciences
Engineering Design
Complementary Studies

Technical Electives

Students are required to complete eight technical elective (TE) courses within the following requirements:

  1. At least three TEs must be from List A (Engineering Design Intensive Technical Electives)
  2. Up to four TEs may be from List B (Technical Electives)
  3. One TE must be from List C (Natural Science Technical Electives)

Up to two TEs may be technical courses from other programs; such courses must have sufficiently advanced technical content to be allowed, and will be counted as List B TEs. Further information is available from the CEE Undergraduate Office or CEE website. Some courses of interest may require prerequisite knowledge that is not part of the core program in Civil Engineering. Students may require extra courses or may need to seek enrolment approval from the course professor if the prerequisites have not been satisfied.

The Technical Elective Lists for the Civil Engineering program are provided below. Note that the offering of these courses is contingent upon sufficient demand and/or available teaching resources. There may be courses added and changes made to the content, term of offering, or meet times from what is listed below. Further information is available from the CEE Undergraduate Office or CEE website.

Key for List A, B, and C:

Term courses are offered: F=fall term, W=winter term, S=spring term

List A - Engineering Design Intensive Technical Electives (choose at least three)

Term Course Title
F CIVE 343 Traffic Simulation Modelling and Applications
F CIVE 354 Geotechnical Engineering 2
W CIVE 415 Structural System Design 
W CIVE 460 Engineering Biomechanics
W CIVE 512 Rehabilitation of Structures
W CIVE 542 Pavement Structural Design
W CIVE 554 Geotechnical Engineering 3
W CIVE 583 Design of Urban Water Systems 
W ENVE 577 Engineering for Solid Waste Management
S CIVE 413 Structural Steel Design
S CIVE 414 Structural Concrete Design  
S CIVE 596 Construction Engineering

List B - Technical Electives (choose a maximum of four)

Term Course Title
F CIVE 306 Mechanics of Solids 3
F ENVE 277 Air Quality Engineering
F ENVE 279 Energy and the Environment
W CIVE 422 Finite Element Analysis  
W CIVE 440 Transit Planning and Operations  
W CIVE 505 Structural Dynamics
W CIVE 507 Building Science and Technology
W ENVE 383  Advanced Hydrology and Hydraulics  
W ENVE 573 Contaminant Transport  
S ARCH 277 Timber: Design, Structure and Construction for Engineers
S CIVE 484 Physical Infrastructure Planning
Note 2 CIVE 497 Special Topics in Civil Engineering (as offered)
Notes on List B:
  1. Up to two List B TEs may be technical courses from other programs subject to the approval of the CEE Undergraduate Office. Further information is available from the CEE Undergraduate Office or CEE website.
  2. Special Topics Courses (CIVE 497) are offered as resources and faculty interests permit. Students should consult the CEE Undergraduate Office or CEE website for upcoming topics.

List C - Natural Science Technical Electives (choose one)

Term Course Title
F BIOL 150 Organismal and Evolutionary Ecology
F CHEM 209 Introductory Spectroscopy and Structure
F CHEM 217 Chemical Bonding
F,W CHEM 262 Organic Chemistry for Engineering
F,W,S BIOL 240 Fundamentals of Microbiology
W EARTH 270 Disasters and Natural Hazards
W EARTH 281 Geological Impacts on Human Health
W KIN 100 Human Anatomy: Limbs and Trunk
W,S BIOL 273 Principles of Human Physiology 1
W,S CHE 161 Engineering Biology
W,S EARTH 221 Geochemistry 1
W,S ENVS 200 Field Ecology
W,S SCI 238 Introductory Astronomy

Complementary Studies Electives

Four complementary studies elective (CSE) courses in approved non-technical subjects, must be taken. The CSEs are in addition to those courses which are part of the core program and contain complementary studies material, such as CIVE 392 (List B) and CIVE 491 (List D). The CSE courses are organized on a Faculty basis and detailed in this Calendar, under the Complementary Studies in the Faculty of Engineering page. The four CSE courses are to be chosen according to the following constraints:

  • One course from List A - Impact Courses,
  • Two courses from List C - Humanities and Social Sciences Courses
  • One course from any of List A, List C, or List D - Other Permissible Complementary Studies Courses

Students may take up to one language course as a CSE (counted as a List D CSE). Language courses need approval by the CEE Undergraduate Office to be considered as complementary studies electives.

Faculty Options

Complete details of designated options available to engineering students are provided in this Calendar in the Engineering section entitled Options, Specializations and Electives for Engineering Students. Students who satisfy the option requirements will have the appropriate designation shown on their transcript. The following three options are of primary interest to Civil Engineering students. (Note: To qualify for these options, the student must achieve a grade of at least 50% in each course and must obtain a cumulative average of 60% or more in these courses.)

Option in Environmental Engineering

The Option in Environmental Engineering is for students who wish to pursue their education with an emphasis on environmental concerns, assessment of the environmental impact of new or existing products or processes, methods for solving problems resulting from pollution in the air, in the water, or in the earth, and on the management of resources in order to minimize pollution in the environment. This is a Faculty option and includes course material related to all of the disciplines but applied specifically to environmental concerns. The Option is described earlier in this section of this Calendar, within the Options, Specializations and Electives for Engineering Students page.

Option in Water Resources

The Option in Water Resources is a designated Engineering Faculty Option available to Civil Engineering students interested in the development, management and protection of our water resources. Students may choose from the water and waste management elective courses or the water resources engineering elective courses as well as from a list of approved courses from other departments. Students who complete the Option will have both a Water Resources and a Civil Engineering designation on their transcript. The Option is described earlier in this section of the calendar within the Options, Specializations and Electives for Engineering Students page.

Option in Management Sciences

The Option in Management Sciences provides an understanding of the issues, concepts and techniques related to the management of technology. The Option consists of a sequence of six courses. A student who wishes to follow the Management Sciences Option must declare their intent before starting the 2B term. For further details see the Engineering Management Sciences page.

Accelerated Master's Program in Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering offers an Accelerated Master's Program. See Accelerated Master's Programs in Engineering for more details.


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