Capt. John Riester, Jr.
Department Head

P: (540) 464-7331
F: (540) 464-7618

Virginia Military Institute
609 Nichols Hall
Lexington, VA  24450

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Bachelor of Science


Regardless of the specific concentration or course mix selected, graduates of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

The Civil Engineering curriculum includes 140 credit hours of which approximately 60 are for Civil Engineering courses. The non-Civil Engineering courses include 17 credit hours of mathematics, 16 credit hours of chemistry, physics and biology or geology, and 12 credit hours of required English and history. Other credit hours are required for ROTC, physical education, and general education electives.

To view a synopsis of the civil engineering curriculum, a list of CEE courses, or a list of technical electives for civil engineering, please click on the word Synopsis above, or click on the appropriate title in the left column of this page.

The Civil Engineering curriculum, which is approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), provides a broad background of courses in science, engineering, and the humanities.  Graduates are prepared to enter engineering or business directly or to continue their education in graduate school.

Program Educational Objectives 

Upon graduation from the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at VMI, graduates are prepared to: 

  1. Use their broad-based civil engineering backgrounds to perform as entry-level engineers in industry, the military, government, or other fields.
  2. Enter graduate schools in the disciplines of civil engineering or closely related areas, work training programs, self-study programs, military service schools, as well as other areas such as business schools. 
  3. Continue the process of life-long learning as required for long-term personal and professional growth. 
  4. Use their communication, computer, and teamwork skills to help them and their employers succeed. 
  5. Recognize their professional and ethical responsibilities to society as members of the professional engineering community. 
  6. Relate their personal and professional lives to moral and ethical practices.

Student Outcomes 

The Department program outcomes are taken directly from the 11 ABET program outcomes, many of which track closely with the VMI academic program outcomes.  By fulfilling the curriculum requirements for a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering, the department's graduates will attain the following:

  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 within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  4. An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.
  5. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  7. An ability to communicate effectively.
  8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  9. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
  10. A knowledge of contemporary issues.
  11. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Research and Independent Study  

The Departmental goal is to involve 50% of CEE cadets in a significant activity outside of the classroom in support of the academic program.  Qualifying activities would earn one to three independent study credits and count as a CE technical elective toward degree requirements.  Cadets would participate in their junior or senior years in a variety of projects under the direction of a faculty sponsor, all of whom have Ph.D. degrees and are Registered Professional Engineers.  Funding for these activities is currently available from VMI, departmental, and private sources. 

Examples of qualifying activities include research, engineering design and practice activities conducted with faculty, cadet leadership in multiple-day Timber Framer's Guild projects, and preparation and participation in student competitions.  The CEE Department head determines project qualifications and academic credits earned on an individual basis.

As a compliment or alternative to independent study projects, cadets are encouraged to participate in summer internships, although these are non-credit bearing.  Many CEE cadets receive internships and all CEE cadets who want an internship are able to acquire one; sometimes with department assistance and sometimes without.  More requests from interested employers for cadet interns are received than can be filled.

CE Laboratories 

Laboratory experience is vital to the education of an engineer and the departmental laboratories are equipped with a wide array of both instructional and commercial testing devices. Each cadet participates in laboratory work that demonstrates principles, develops skills, and provides experience with current methods in testing and measurement.

Within the curriculum, certain skills and topics receive special and continued emphasis. Use of the computer as a productivity tool and a sophisticated analytical tool is stressed throughout the curriculum. Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) and spreadsheet analysis are taught in introductory level courses and used throughout the upper level courses. Oral and written communication skills are likewise taught in lower level courses and exercised in the upper level courses. Ethics and professionalism are introduced during the first semester and woven into many of the engineering courses.