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CS to Civil/Structural Engineering

  1. Jun 19, 2008 #1
    I used to be a Computer engineering student and was a bit behind in math, so I went through the majority of my CS course without doing the EE. In 1 more year I will graduate with a CS degree.

    I don't like the EE stuff to be honest, but like the other more mechanics type engineering. I dont want a Computer Engineering degree, I am fine with the CS. What I now really want to do is Civil. I saw a Civil friend of mine in school doing Structural analysis and I really liked it.

    So what I am asking is with my new interest, is there a way to do Civil in Graduate school, instead of having to go back for another 4 year degree, which I really don't want to do.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2008 #2
    Yeah, just apply for a masters program in Civil. You might have to make up expected background that you're missing.
  4. Jun 19, 2008 #3
    You should look into what is necessary to becoming a professional engineer in your chosen field. It may be more important for work as a civil engineer than in some other areas. It is possible that you could never be a licensed PE without a B.S. engineering degree. I think this varies by state, but I am not sure.
  5. Jun 19, 2008 #4
    BN is correct on all counts, including the part he's not sure about.

    Getting a PE license is not always necessary, even for Civil. It does however pose limits if you don't have one, and more so in Civil Engineering than other fields. Basically, there are legal and insurance constraints such that you need the license to sign off on certain things, to legally open your own engineering firm, to use the title engineer, and so forth. It does vary a lot. Some states will give you a license based on experience or leave the PE exam more or less open access, but many require completion of an accredited B.S. program.

    There's still plenty you can do without the license. It is something you need to evaluate for yourself.
  6. Jun 20, 2008 #5
    A PE is important in civil engineering, and you need an accredited degree to get it. Up until this past year, a department could only accredit one of its programs, and for obvious reasons the BS degree would be accredited. Someone could hold a civil engineering PhD and still not be able to sign off plans. So, in time masters programs will start being accredited, you might want to look into it.

    However, mechanical or aerospace might be something to look into, as solid mechanics is a big part of the curriculum. Your computational background would probably be of great use in there too, especially at the graduate level.
  7. Jun 20, 2008 #6
    I hadn't heard that, and it's a rather interesting bit of news. Thank you. I'll have to fire off an e-mail to see how our College of Engineering is dealing with this...:biggrin:
  8. Jun 20, 2008 #7
    Here's an FAQ from ASCE on the issue:

    It's good news for the field hoppers out there.
  9. Jun 20, 2008 #8
    I think Ive just noticed that I am good with my hands. I like designing Physical system, rather than theoretical computer ones.
  10. Jun 20, 2008 #9
    I'd try to get a taste for the field before you make any rash decisions though. you really can't a field until you've done it. I was in civil engineering for a year in college because I liked building things, but it wasn't what I thought, and was more of an "itch" I had to scratch.
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