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Academic Guide


In order to satisfy the requirements for the civil engineering baccalaureate degree in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, a student must:

  • take and pass or gain credit in an approved manner, all courses specified in the curriculum,
  • take and pass or gain credit in an approved manner, all elective courses in the specified subject area,
  • have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0, and
  • comply with all requirements of the University of Notre Dame.

In addition to registering for and completing with a passing grade courses offered at Notre Dame, other means of gaining credit "in an approved manner" include:

  • advanced placement credit,
  • credit by exam,
  • taking, passing and causing an official transcript to be sent to the College of Engineering Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, a course at an accredited institution of higher learning which had been previously approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and
  • courses taken at another institution prior to enrollment at the University of Notre Dame, which have been evaluated and accepted for transfer credit by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Credit obtained by any means other than enumerated above requires petition and justification by the student and approval by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A Course Acceptance Petition form is included in the Appendix.

New Course Numbering

Beginning with the 2005 summer session, the University adopted a new 5-digit course numbering system to replace the old 3-digit system. This document uses the new numbers.

The first digit in the 5-digit course number is to indicate the level of the course, as follows: 1-first year level; 2-sophomore level; 3-junior level; 4 senior level; 5-5th year senior and advanced undergraduate course; 6-1st year graduate level course; and 7-9 for upper level graduate courses. The second digit is be used to indicate the category of course being taught, as follows: 0-regular classroom; 1-laboratory, drill, or studio; 2-tutorial or discussion; 3-seminar; 4-study abroad; 5-internship, fieldwork, or community service; 6-directed readings; 7-special studies; 8-thesis, research, or dissertation; and 9 is reserved for future use.

The last three digits are used by the department to identify category. Our department has defined these as follow

Civil Engineering (CE) Course Category  Numbers
Math type courses 100-149
Mechanics and materials  150-199
Structures  200-299
Environmental, chemistry, water & wastewater, solid wastes 300-399
Water resources, hydrology, and hydraulics  400-499
Geotechnical engineering and engineering geology 500-599
Others, service, transportation, legal, construction 600-699
Reserved for future 700-999
Geosciences (ENVG) Course Category Numbers
Introductory 100-199
Rocks and Minerals 200-299
Environmental  300-399
Geomechanics 400-499
Analytical  500-599
Reserved for future  600-999

Degree Requirements

A copy of the current civil engineering undergraduate curriculum is included in the Appendix.

Elective Courses are indicated by subject area and may be classified as follows:

  • Arts and Letters Courses or Humanities and Social Science Courses
  • CEEES Electives
  • Technical Electives

Arts and Letters Electives

Arts and Letters Electives must include eight (8) three-credit courses and must be distributed as indicated in the Academic Code in the following areas:

  • University Seminar one course
  • Composition one course
  • History one course
  • Social Science one course
  • Literature or Fine Arts one course
  • Philosophy two courses
  • Theology two courses

A University Seminar course taken during the First Year of Studies satisfies a distribution requirement in history, social science, literature or fine arts, philosophy or theology, depending on the subject matter of the University Seminar course.

CEEES CE Electives

CEEES CE Electives must be satisfied by taking courses within the CEEES Department. These are identified in the Bulletin of Information and the Schedule of Class booklet with the department abbreviation (i.e., CE 30000 or higher).

CE 47600, Special Studies, allows a student or a small group of students to conduct independent study of a subject not covered in a regularly scheduled course. Typically, this would closely follow a lecture course format using a single textbook. The study will be under the direction of a faculty member.

CE 48600, Undergraduate Research, allows undergraduates to conduct independent research with a faculty advisor. Students are encouraged to develop a research relationship with a faculty member early in their career by enrolling for one or two credits during the sophomore and junior years and two or three credits during the senior year. A student may earn up to six credits applied as CEEES or CE Electives. Additional CE 48600 credits may be applied to satisfy Technical Elective program requirements.

CE 23600, CE 33600, and CE 43600, Challenges and Innovation in Civil Engineering seminar series is intended to show the multidisciplinary aspects of civil engineering and provides students with a broad view of opportunities available to them by showcasing major civil engineering projects. Up to 3 credits can be amassed by Civil Engineering students taking this half-credit course each semester of their sophomore, junior, and senior years. These credits can be used to satisfy either a CE or Technical elective.

CE 25600, CE 35600, and CE 45600, Civil Engineering Service Projects (CESP) encourages students to enroll for variable credits in more than one semester. For example, a student may enroll as a sophomore or junior for one or two credits, and for two or three credits as a senior. Civil Engineering students may use CE 45600 or CE 35600 to satisfy a Civil Engineering Elective when taken for two or three credits during the senior or junior year in a project relevant to civil engineering. An additional three credits, which may be earned one or two credits per semester, may be used to satisfy the Technical Elective. CE 25600 (or 35600 or 45600) may be used to satisfy the Free Elective.  Normally, a student would enroll for two credits as a senior in the same project that they had enrolled in for one or two credits as an underclass person.

Occasionally, other courses offered by a Department in the College of Engineering or by a Department in the College of Science may be allowed with the written approval of the Chair when a student submits a “Course Acceptance Petition.” The Course Acceptance Petition form can be found here.

Technical Elective

Technical Elective requirements must be satisfied by taking a course offered by a Department in the College of Engineering or by a Department in the College of Science, which is numbered 30000 or higher.

The above stated general rule notwithstanding, the following exceptions are noted:
Courses not accepted:

  • Math 30390. Introduction to Numerical Methods
  • Phys 30389. Philosophical Issues in Physics
  • EG 40298. MTXE Seminar
  • AME 50561. Reliability Engineering
  • Engineering, Science, Technology, and Society Course (ESTS), except specific courses listed below.
  • Special Studies courses without the CE designation are accepted only after approval using the Course Acceptance Petition.

Courses accepted:

  • Chem 10172. Organic Structure and Reactivity
  • Chem 20273. Organic Reactions and Applications
  • BIOL 20201 and 20202. General Biology A and B
  • AME 20222. Mechanics II
  • CSE 20232. C/C++ Programming
  • EE 20224. Intro Electrical Engineering
  • ESTS 40401 Energy and Society
  • ESTS 40402 Wireless Communications: The Technology and Impact of 24/7 Connectivity
  • CHEM 10182. Organic Structure and Mechanism
  • CHEM 20283. Organic Reactions and Applications

A student may submit a Course Acceptance Petition for any other course other than those included in the general rule or an exception. The submitted course must have explicit written approval of the Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and concurrence by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to satisfy a Technical Elective requirement for any degree program in the Department.


Students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences will not be permitted to use Advanced Placement, Credit by Exam or Transfer credits to satisfy any degree requirement if the number of the course for which credit is granted is lower than the initial course in that discipline required in the curriculum.

No credits granted for participation in any music organization or completion of applied music instruction (e.g., marching band, glee club, piano class, guitar class) may be used to satisfy any degree requirement.

Pass-Fail grades

Pass-Fail grades are allowed only in Free Electives, taken outside of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, and courses taken and not needed to satisfy the degree requirement. Approval is required by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.


Beginning in the fall semester junior year Civil Engineering students select either the “structures” concentration or the “hydraulic” concentration. Note that by suitable choice of electives, both tracks may be satisfied. The concentration designation allows the specialization to be displayed on a student’s transcript. In order to receive this designation on the transcript, a student is required to approve a change of curriculum eform to update their academic record to show the chosen concentration. This form must be initiated by a CEEES Department representative. Please see the “Civil Engineering Curriculum” for a list of the courses required in each concentration.

Challenges Seminar

Students have the option of taking the Challenges and Innovation in Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences (CE 23600/33600/43600) for 0.5-credit each semester CE or Technical elective for up to 3 credits total.

How Other Program Courses Apply 

Two programs have been approved to satisfy degree requirements as described below. However, a student participating in more than one program may use no more than one Civil Engineering or no more than the number of Technical electives than the degree program requires.


No ROTC (Military Science, Naval Science, Aerospace Studies) course numbered lower than 30000 can be used to satisfy any degree requirement. Free Elective. A maximum of six (6) ROTC credits numbered 30000 or above may be used to satisfy degree requirements by those students who complete the ROTC program requirements for a commission in one of the United States Uniformed Services. Three (3) of these credits may be substituted for either the history or the social science requirement and three (3) may be used to satisfy a Technical Elective requirement, but only in appropriate situations.


One EG/BUS (Integrated Engineering Business Practice, as administered by the College of Engineering) course may be used to satisfy a CEEES or Technical elective degree requirement. A second course may be used to satisfy a Technical elective degree requirement.

Honors Thesis Requirements

  • Student must be enrolled in the College of Engineering Honors Program (EHP) and meet all of the EHP requirements.
  • The student’s advisor may be any T&R or Research faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences.
  • The length of the thesis is at the discretion of the research advisor. Although not required, students may use the graduate school formatting guide for guidance in the formatting aspects of the thesis if desired: http://graduateschool.nd.edu/assets/4700/dt_formatting_guide.pdf.
  • The thesis must be approved by the student’s research advisor at least 1 week prior to the presentation date.
  • The presentation should take place at least 3 weeks prior to the last day of classes during the spring semester senior year in order to be posted in the Commencement program. For fall presentations, the presentation must take place on or before the last day of classes.
  • At least one regular faculty member, in addition to the student’s honors thesis advisor must be in attendance at the presentation. The additional faculty member will be chosen by the advisor with consultation of the student. The thesis presentation will consist of a 20-30 minute presentation advertised and open to all members of the department followed by questions from the advisor, additional faculty member, and others in attendance. 
  • Student will receive the honors thesis designation at the completion of the presentation providing that the student’s work is satisfactory to receive the honor’s thesis according to the advisor following brief consultation with the one additional required faculty member in attendance.

Study Abroad in International Programs

Students seeking to participate in international programs should follow the approach outlined below. Failure to follow this recommended approach could result in completion of international courses that do not contribute to the degree requirements, which may result in failure to meet the degree requirements in the time expected.

The recommended approach is as follows:

  • The student should prepare a written plan, including the list of courses that they expect to take abroad, and an indication on how these will be used to satisfy their degree requirements. If two or more international programs are being considered, each program should have a written plan. A copy of the Proposed Courses for international study is included in the Appendix.
  • The students should review these plans with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, currently Dr. Elizabeth Kerr, or, in the case of her absence, the other technical departmental advisor, currently Dr. Alexandros Taflanidis, who will indicate approval by signing and dating a copy of the plan.
  • A copy of the advisor approved plan will be sent to the associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, currently Mr. Michael Ryan, for his final approval, and a copy filed in the students department file. The Director of Undergraduate Studies and Mr. Ryan will inform the student of the approvals by completing the approval form on the web site of the International Study Program, http://www.nd.edu/~intlstud/.
  • The engineering summer study abroad programs in London and Alcoy, Spain are administered separately, and courses taken there will typically count towards a technical elective at the minimum. The Civil Engineering technical advisors should be contacted for information regarding the curricular requirements the courses in these programs will count towards for the Civil Engineering degree.
  • For the program in Australia, which currently is being administered by the Department through Dr. Clive Neal, the Department will prepare and post on the Academic Guide web site, an equivalent course list. The Department’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee will review the courses in Australia, which are being proposed to be substituted for required Notre Dame courses, and prepare this equivalence list. Mr. Ryan will provide the final approval before it is posted as part of the academic guide.
  • Participation in other international programs will require the student to provide course description information to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, which will allow the approval of both the Department’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and Mr. Ryan. This approval will be noted in the student’s Department file.

Dual Degree Programs

In general, to obtain two undergraduate degrees, the student must satisfy requirements of both degrees. A more detailed explanation is provided in the Bulletin of Information for undergraduate programs.

Transfer Students

Transfer credit may be awarded for EG 10111, but the Department requires completion of EG 10112. Physical Education (PE) is not required for transfer students.


List of Selected Web Sites
Academic Code of Honor: http://www.nd.edu/~hnrcode/
College of Engineering: http://www.nd.edu/~engineer/
Office of the Registrar: http://www.registrar.nd.edu/
New Course Numbers: http://reg-apps.nd.edu/CourseInventory


There are two types of advisors within the civil engineering program; a professional advisor and a technical advisor. The program has two technical advisors:  the Director of Undergraduate Studies being one, and the other is currently Alex Taflanidis. The role of the technical advisors is to schedule one registration meeting for each class year (sophomores – seniors) per semester, answer specific curriculum questions, and be available to speak with students to ensure their course plan will allow them to graduate on time at the request of students. Each student is assigned a professional advisor when they enter the Department in the sophomore year. The role of the professional advisor is to meet with their 10-12 advisees 2-3 times each semester either individually or as a group. It is the professional advisor’s role to serve as the link between the department and the student, to provide career advice and support, as well as to assist students in putting together a plan when a student is falling behind in course-work. A list of the advisors can be found in the link below. The Director of Undergraduate Programs, currently Elizabeth Kerr, coordinates the advising procedures and serves as a resource person.