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What is General Civil Engineering?

General civil engineers plan, design, supervise the construction of, operate, maintain, inspect and manage many of the physical facilities and systems in both public and private sectors. These facilities include buildings, commercial facilities, industrial facilities, power transmission facilities, transportation facilities, tunnels, water collection facilities, water treatment facilities and waste disposal facilities, to name a few. General civil engineers are often responsible for site design (grading), facility location studies, utility design, environmental compliance issues, code enforcement, public decision making and project management issues. Some general civil engineers also become registered professional land surveyors and are engaged in land surveying as well as civil engineering professional activities. As such, general civil engineers must have broad-based education with knowledge of the several civil engineering specialties.

Those civil engineers who graduate in the general civil engineering specialty are often employed in the general areas of land development, public works and military engineering. They work for consulting engineering firms, the energy industry, cities, counties, state agencies, federal agencies, utility agencies, various industries and the military services. The general civil engineering option provides a strong foundation for graduate study in any of the other specialty areas in civil engineering and other non-engineering fields such as law and management.

Degree Information

Civil engineering includes several specialties, and the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M offers students the option to specialize their education in eight of these; however, for the students interested in a broader civil engineering education that includes knowledge in most of the specialties, the department offers an option in general civil engineering. 

Students who pursue the general civil engineering specialty take breadth courses in environmental engineering, engineering measurements (surveying), transportation, water resources, materials of construction, geotechnical engineering, structural analysis, design of steel and concrete structures and project management. 

Although there are no advanced degrees offered in this specialty, it provides a strong foundation for graduate study in any of the other specialty areas in civil engineering for those students interested in pursuing an advanced technical degree. It also provides a strong foundation for further study in non-engineering fields such as law and management.

Undergraduate Requirements

To fulfill the common civil engineering program degree plan, undergraduate students declaring a specialty in general civil engineering are required to complete a technical elective plan. See the undergraduate advising page for more information.