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Civil Engineering

A Christian focus on engineering. A team of professors who will help you understand and master the skills you need. Access to a civil engineering lab where you can test soil samples, analyze concrete supports, and more. It’s all part of developing your future through a civil engineering concentration at Dordt.

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A group of Dordt students with a piece of wood holding it down while one takes a saw to it, working a truss project

Program Overview

When studying civil engineering at Dordt, you'll plan buildings, bridges, and roads. You’ll design systems to clean the air and manage water resources. You’ll build and maintain the infrastructure for communities. And you’ll make a difference for Christ using your unique talents and abilities.

Our professors, with years of research and industry experience, create a rich learning environment. Our resources, facilities, and labs set us apart from other engineering programs. And our Christian foundation will prepare you to engage the engineering field from a uniquely Christian perspective.

A Top Undergraduate Engineering Program

Dordt's engineering program was listed as a top program within the "Undergraduate Engineering Programs (No Doctorate)" list by U.S. News and World Report. To qualify, a school must have an undergraduate engineering program accredited by ABET.

What You'll Learn

A concentration in civil engineering from Dordt University is designed to prepare you for a challenging and fulfilling future. Learning to create sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings and systems. Understanding how to improve and protect communities. And developing ideas and functions that can create a better world. Your coursework will include core engineering classes. It also includes more focused options such as environmental engineering, structural analysis, and reinforced concrete design.

What You Can Do With A Civil Engineering Emphasis

Civil engineers make an impact in industry, government, education, and many more fields. You may choose a career as a transportation engineer, helping move people and goods through streets, highways, tunnels, and more. You may choose to be a sanitation engineer, ensuring water and sewage are safely transported. Or maybe structural engineering is for you, helping to safely build bridges, buildings, and towers. Whatever you choose to pursue, your civil engineering concentration from Dordt will help you do it well. And with your identity firmly rooted in Christ, you’ll be equipped to live out your faith every day.

Civil Engineer

A Civil Engineer helps manage and design different infrastructure projects and systems.

CAD Technician

A Computer-Aided Design Technician uses computer software to develop different electronic design plans.

Surveyor

Surveyors deal with the measurements and boundary lines in order to prevent legal disputes while preparing a construction site.

Students who choose the civil engineering emphasis will complete nine engineering courses and choose two courses from a selection of engineering and construction management options, in addition to completing the general requirements for an engineering degree. This coursework includes at least one additional credit hour of lab work.

  • Mechanics of Materials: A solid mechanics course that examines the stresses, strains, and deformations that develop when various loads (tension, compression, torsion, bending, or any combination of these loads) are applied to deformable bodies. Elements of structural design are introduced using safety factors and failure criteria for ductile materials. The mechanics design laboratory provides an introduction to experimental methods, hands-on experience applying and using strain gages and investigating beam loading, and an introduction to finite-element analysis (FEA) software.

  • Fluid Mechanics: A comprehensive, introductory course in fluid mechanics covering: hydrostatics; control volume approach to the continuity, momentum, and energy equations; dimensional analysis, similitude, and modeling; introductory boundary layer theory; fluid drag and lift; flow through conduits, pumps and compressors; and hydraulics and open channel flow. All students participate in team design projects involving design of water supply, irrigation, air handling system, or other complex fluid dynamics system.

  • Hydrology and Hydraulics: An introduction to hydrology and hydraulics principles, including both classwork and hands-on laboratory work. Topics include basic hydrology (infiltration, runoff, detention, etc.) and basic hydraulics, pumping systems, water distribution systems, reservoirs, groundwater, and storm sewer collection.

  • Structural Analysis: A study of the analysis of trusses, beams, and framed structures. Students will learn how to determine loads on structures, including dead loads, live loads, and environmental loads. Shear, moment, and deflected shape diagrams will be considered. Deformation calculations, approximate analysis methods, flexibility methods, and stiffness methods for the analysis of indeterminate beams and frames will be considered. Influence lines for determinate and indeterminate beams will be introduced.

  • Soil Mechanics and Foundation Design: A study of the engineering principles relating to soil properties and foundation design. The material properties of soil including structure, index properties, permeability, compressibility, and consolidation will be explored. Methods of soil testing, identification, and remediation will be covered. Principles of settlement and stresses in soils will be considered. Slope stability, retaining walls, and bearing capacity of shallow foundations will be introduced. The soils lab will provide hands-on opportunities to determine water content, perform sieve analyses, and test liquid, plastic, and shrinkage limits. Soil classification, compaction, compression, and consolidation testing will be explored.

  • Environmental Engineering: An introduction to water supply and wastewater treatment, solid waste management, hazardous waste disposal, pollution control equipment, and other topics relating to the engineer’s role for ensuring clean air and providing clean water to communities. Methods and equipment for monitoring and testing air and water quality will be examined.

  • Reinforced Concrete Design: Analysis and design of reinforced concrete beams, columns, one-way slabs, and frames. The design of members for axial load, flexure, shear, deflections, bond, and anchorage will be considered. Design will be based primarily on ACI strength design methods.

  • Structural Steel Design: A study of design and behavior of steel members and structures. The design of steel beams, columns, tension members, frames, trusses, and simple connections will be considered. Design will be based primarily on AISC specifications related to the load and resistance factor design method. Allowable stress design will be introduced.

  • Introduction to Transportation Engineering: An introduction to transportation engineering and design. Students will study geometric design of highways, pavement design, traffic flow theory, highway capacity, traffic control devices, and transportation planning. A primary aim of the course is to introduce students to fundamental principles and approaches in transportation engineering. Secondary objectives of the study include gaining a better understanding of how to be an active steward in God’s creation, how to care for the safety of fellow citizens, and learning the basic concepts behind transportation and why it is so important in our culture today.

  • Dynamics: A mechanics course that examines the kinematics and kinetic analysis of particle systems and rigid bodies.

  • Computational Mechanics: A senior-level computational modeling and design course focused on the application of finite element analysis (FEA) and other computer simulation tools for stress, deflection, thermal, kinematic, or dynamic modeling.

  • Principles of Construction Management: An introductory survey course in construction management that begins by building a Christian perspective on the task and calling of a construction manager or construction engineer. The course introduces methods of construction project planning, scheduling, delivery, quality, and control. It also introduces construction contract types, construction cost estimating and accounting, along with an overview of construction method, practice, and safety.

  • Construction Communication and Architectural Graphics: This lab studio course introduces architectural and construction communication by practicing methods of construction documentation and preparation. The course will introduce students to basic plan reading. Construction planning computer applications and architectural computer-aided drafting will be explored and practiced.

  • Geographic Information Systems and Surveying: Even An introduction to the acquisition, analysis, display, manipulation, and management of geographic information. Course topics will include geographical data input, storage, maintenance, analysis, and retrieval. Students will utilize common GIS software and associated hardware. An overview of survey methods used to gather and quantify features of physical geography will be included. The course will meet in two studio lab classes to provide an integral learn-by-doing experience applying GPS technology, survey methods, and GIS applications. Application of GIS to agriculture, business, environmental management, and other disciplines will be provided in this course.

  • Construction Materials and Methods: A comprehensive study of the properties, sources, processing, methods, sequences, and equipment used in residential and commercial construction projects. Planning and managing of the construction process, including an introduction to structural and finish systems that make up building structures, are investigated. Appropriate application and responsible use of materials for design and functional intent is investigated. The environmental impact of construction is discussed.

  • Mechanical and Electrical Systems: A study of the construction of mechanical and electrical systems, emphasizing principles of heating, cooling, ventilation, water supply, waste disposal, and electrical distribution. An introduction to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing codes and design software included. Energy conservation issues, sustainable design principles, and use of renewable energy are addressed.

  • Project Management: This course is an introduction to the field of project management. The primary objective is to acquaint students with a broad basic overview of project management and the role of a project manager throughout the five primary processes of managing projects. The course will also cover common agile methodologies and principles because of how they relate to project management. The agile project management process encourages frequent inspection and adaptation, teamwork, accountability, self-organization, best practices that allows for rapid delivery and high quality, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

  • Construction Estimating: An introduction to construction estimating and bid preparation with an emphasis on quantity takeoff. Includes a detailed study and application of pricing, subcontract evaluation, and bidding techniques using blueprints and specifications. Project types studied include residential, light commercial, and commercial building projects.

*Students interested in a civil engineering concentration with an interdisciplinary environmental emphasis may substitute Environmental Studies 251 and 252 for either Engineering 351 or 352; and Environmental Studies 201 or 202 for the Engineering/Construction Management elective.

See the course catalog for more information.

Environmental Option

Students who are passionate about the well-being of the environment and it's balance with society should consider taking the alternative environmental engineering track for the civil engineering concentration. Environmental engineers focus on bringing shalom by ensuring people have clean, safe drinking water, combatting climate change, or ensuring proper disposal of hazardous waste.

See the course catalog for more information.
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Faculty

With experience in a variety of fields, our faculty members are equipped and ready to help you succeed.

Science and Technology Center

While studying civil engineering, you'll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt's Science and Technology Center. Informally known as the "Science Building," the Science and Technology Center is home to labs for mechanical engineering, electronics, electrical engineering, and computer-aided design.

Learn more
A front exterior view of the Science and Technology Center

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