Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Welcome to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s website!  We are glad you are here.  Please enjoy exploring and learning about our department.  If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

The University of Pittsburgh is proud of its history and tradition in civil and environmental engineering education, reinforced by a faculty who are dedicated to their students.  The curriculum prepares students to tackle today’s most eminent engineering, environmental and societal challenges.  Undergraduate and graduate students (M.S. and PhD) have the opportunity to study and conduct research in a diverse range of areas, including structures, geotechnical and pavements, water resources, transportation, mining, environmental, water resources, sustainability and green design, and construction management.  Graduates of the department have become leaders in our profession, serving with government, private consulting firms and contractors as well as research in private industry and academic institutions.

The department offers a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree that may be obtained by majoring in civil engineering or a new major in environmental engineering.  You can find more information on the requirements for each degree under the undergraduate tab.  The civil engineering major has been continuously accredited by ABET since its inception in 1936.  The environmental engineering major was established in 2015 in response to strong demand from students, industry and government agencies and will seek ABET accreditation in the Fall of 2017.  The Department also offers minors in civil engineering and environmental engineering to students majoring in other disciplines.

The undergraduate curriculum culminates in a capstone design project, which enables students to put into practice what they learned in the classroom, and offers a direct connection to local civil and environmental engineering professionals who consult with students throughout the semester on their projects.

The department employs world-class faculty, offers access to first-rate educational and research facilities and partnerships with industry, all of which provide the necessary edge for our graduates to discover and pursue satisfying careers that have profound impact on meeting the current and any future challenges for the society. 

Read our latest newsletter below



Oct
4
2018

Capping Off Another Successful Year

Civil & Environmental, Student Profiles

Within the first week of returning to campus each semester, about three dozen civil engineering seniors gather to brainstorm project ideas and construct teams for the Senior Design Course. They will spend the next 15 weeks transforming their ideas into implementable projects complete with detailed plans for all the anticipated, and many of the unforeseeable, challenges that come with creating the next successful improvement to society’s infrastructure. Each semester concludes with an hour-long presentation emphasizing student professionalism and a strong ability to communicate months of intensive work to an audience of classmates, professors, and professional engineers. If everything goes as planned, the final presentation marks the transition from civil engineering student to civil engineer.“Before moving on to the next stage of their development, students must demonstrate through the course that they have learned a great deal in their classes and an ability to apply what they learned to challenges they might not have seen before,” says Radisav Vidic, chair of the Swanson School’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “For this reason, the Senior Design Course is the epitome of our undergraduate education.”Designing the Right Idea“Every project is interesting, or we wouldn’t do it,” says John Oyler, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Dr. Oyler has been involved with Pitt’s Senior Design Course as coordinator for the past 27 years. All senior engineering students must complete the course during their final semesters, so Dr. Oyler has helped hundreds of Pitt engineers take their final steps toward graduation. However, not every idea starts out as a hole-in-one. “Last semester we had a team who wanted to redesign the golf course in Schenley Park. I told them, ‘You have to explain to me why this is worth doing.’ They came up with a strong proposal to support their ideas and managed to prove to us that this is really a full-blown civil engineering project that would really benefit people who used the course,” says Dr. Oyler.Another idea grew out of the department’s increasingly popular construction management program. The team specifically wanted to undertake a large project with wide scope. They found a match based on a suggestion by John Sebastian, professor of civil and environmental engineering. The idea was to devise a feasible plan for converting a former industrial site along Pittsburgh’s North Shore into a booming business and recreational district.“Thanks to Professor Sebastian, we were able to get information on a project in the works that is much too big for anybody—or at least any one group,” Dr. Oyler says. “When these students gave their presentation, it became clear somebody has to be the brains behind a project, regardless how big it is, and they were the right ones for the job.”During the spring semester of 2018, student teams came up with plans to improve and update a multipurpose campus building, design a microbrewery on the Monongahela River, and map out a revitalization strategy for a state park. One of the teams decided to focus on a major highway interchange and found the right combination of specialties was the best way to keep things running smoothly.Intersecting Disciplines“The ideal team is multidisciplinary. When we build a team, we try to represent as many different specialties as we can,” explains Dr. Oyler.Last semester, TBD Engineering formed to approach one of Pittsburgh most ubiquitous and infuriating infrastructure problems: traffic jams. The students targeted the Interstate 79 and State Route 51 interchange near Neville Island, northwest of Pittsburgh. “We were trying to decide on a project, and when someone suggested redesigning the interchange, one of our team members, Nick Bruni, jumped at the opportunity to fix it,” says Amedeo Hirata, team leader of TBD Engineering. “He lives near the intersection and has to drive through it every day.” A digital render of TBD Engineering's proposed design solution for the Interstate 79 and State Route 51 interchange. The students used infrastructure design software called AutoDesk InfraWorks to help complete the project. The two heavily-trafficked highways lack several features needed to qualify their meeting as a full interchange. When driving southbound on I-79, there is no direct route to transfer onto PA-51. As a result, commuters are forced to take an eight to 15-minute detour through Neville Island which increases overall travel and congestion. By studying crash reports, they also found the northbound on ramp to I-79 from PA-51 had inadequate merging and sight distances. As a result, it is responsible for a high number of incidents. “Right now the intersection is kind of a free-for-all, and traffic backups can stretch for up to a mile and a half during rush hour. We did lots of research and decided to propose a new design configuration called a ‘single point urban interchange.’ The proposal included a traffic light to reduce the number of potential crash zones without slowing things down,” says Hirata. Hirata handled the structural design component while working with teammates specializing in geometric, transportation, and geotechnical design as well as construction management. He says the team quickly reached a consensus that their composition was the right fit for completing the project. “As a team leader, I was really motivated to choose teammates who were recognized as the best students in my graduating class. This was my favorite undergraduate course because of the amount of freedom we were allowed right off the bat and the experience of collaborating in an environment with so many talented people,” Hirata says. Looking Forward to the Future “The Senior Design projects are not replicas of the design problems students have already seen in their other courses,” says Dr. Oyler. “The students are completing projects in the same way a project is completed outside of the classroom. By the end of the semester, they must have shown their capability to bring a project completely from start to finish.” Each semester brings a new cohort of students and project ideas waiting for cultivation. In fall 2018, one idea gaining traction is working with Allegheny County representatives to clean mine drainage pollution in Plum Borough’s Boyce Park. Another project has students looking to reduce flooding in Bridgeville in the wake of the June 20th storm, which damaged many structures and caused one fatality. Regardless of the individual challenges, all senior design teams will have to find a way to combine their knowledge a variety of civil engineering specialties into a plans for improving surrounding communities and the lives of the people that live there. “As civil engineers, we have an obligation to design, build, and maintain society’s infrastructure. The closest we can get these projects to that objective is always the goal,” says Dr. Oyler. ###
by Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Sep
26
2018

American Society of Civil Engineers Honors John Oyler with Meritorious Service Award

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (September 26, 2018) … The Pittsburgh chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) selected John Oyler, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, as recipient of the 2017 Michael A. Gross Meritorious Service Award.The award, named after Michael A. Gross who provided nearly 70 years of continuous service to the ASCE Pittsburgh Section, recognizes a lifetime of work and commitment to the civil engineering profession. It is one of the society’s most prestigious recognitions and is selectively bestowed, sometimes between spans of several years.For the past three decades, Dr. Oyler has guided civil engineers through the transition from undergraduate students to graduates and professionals. He remains an active and nationally-renowned member of the ASCE and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).Dr. Oyler’s nomination for the award came from former students wishing to pay tribute to his role in their professional development and the impact he has had on countless other students over the years. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Sep
25
2018

Advanced Infrastructure Systems Faculty Position

Civil & Environmental, Open Positions

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh invites applications for tenure-track faculty positions having an anticipated start date of September 1, 2019.  These positions are part of a strategic expansion intended to support research and teaching activities of the Advanced Infrastructure Group in the broad areas of structural engineering and mechanics, civil engineering materials, and transportation. Candidates with specialization in computational mechanics, data analytics, machine learning, resilient infrastructure systems, intelligent infrastructure, and sustainable urban engineering are especially encouraged to apply. A successful candidate must demonstrate potential for high-quality research and teaching. The Department seeks candidates with outstanding analytical, computational, and/or experimental skills that complement the existing strengths within the department (http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/Departments/Civil-Environmental/)  and across the University of Pittsburgh (https://www.pitt.edu/research) are encouraged to apply. These initiatives include nanomaterial fabrication, additive manufacturing, computational modeling, advanced materials development, sustainability, transportations systems and energy. Further, the ability to collaborate with existing centers, such as the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/MCSI, the Center for Energy http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/cfe, and the Impactful Resilient Infrastructure Science and Engineering (IRISE) Consortium is highly desirable.  Preference will be given to appointees at the Assistant Professor level, but applicants with outstanding credentials will be considered at other levels. Outstanding candidates will have the opportunity to join our vibrant and growing department of 24 full-time faculty members, 300 undergraduate and 130 graduate students (50 of which are PhD students). The successful applicant will be expected to develop and sustain a strong, externally funded research program within their area of expertise and contribute to the teaching mission of the department graduate and undergraduate programs. An earned doctorate in civil engineering or a closely related field is required.  Interested applicants should submit: (1) cover letter, (2) CV, (3) teaching statement, (4) research interests and future plans, (5) statement of diversity and inclusion, (6) copies of three representative publications, and (7) the names and contact information for at least three references. Please submit the application in a single pdf file. At the time of application submission applicants should request that their references directly e-mail reference letters to the application e-mail below in order to expedite the review process. Applications and associated reference letters should be emailed to CEE19AIS@pitt.edu. Review of applications will begin November 1, 2018 and will continue until the positions are filled. We strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented US minority groups and women to apply for this position. The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Sep
14
2018

Sustainable and Environmental Engineering Positions

Civil & Environmental, Open Positions

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the University of Pittsburgh invites applications for two tenure-track faculty positions effective September 1, 2019.  These positions are part of the strategic expansion intended to support research and teaching activities in the area of Sustainable and Environmental Engineering (SEE). For the first tenure-track position, we seek candidates with fundamental expertise, research and teaching interests in the areas of environmental aquatic chemistry, water quality, sustainable water treatment technologies, and the water-health nexus. For the second tenure-track position, we seek candidates with expertise and research and teaching interests in the broad area of sustainable urban engineering. This includes, but is not limited to, building energy use evaluation and optimization, infrastructure resiliency, big data analytics and visualization for sustainable urban systems. For both of these positions, we are interested in applicants that build on and will contribute to our current strengths in environmental systems analysis. Applicants with a research program that addresses problems at multiple scales and have the desire to work across disciplinary boundaries are particularly encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to appointees at the Assistant Professor level, but applicants with outstanding credentials will be considered at other levels. We are interested in candidates that can collaborate in interdisciplinary research and teaching within the Department and/or related focus areas in the Swanson School of Engineering. Further, the ability to collaborate with existing centers, such as the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/MCSI and the Center for Energy http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/cfe, is highly desirable. Candidates will have the opportunity to join our vibrant, diverse and growing department of 24 faculty members, 300 undergraduates and 130 full-time graduate students (including 50 PhD students). Successful applicants will be expected to develop and sustain a strong, externally funded research program within their area of expertise. We strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented US minority groups and women to apply for this position.  The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. An earned doctorate in civil engineering, environmental engineering and science, earth science or a closely related field is required.  Interested applicants should submit: (1) cover letter, (2) CV, (3) teaching statement, (4) research interests and future plans, (5) statement of diversity and inclusion, (6) copies of three representative publications, and (7) the names and contact information for at least three references. Please submit the application in a single pdf file. Applicants should request that their references directly e-mail reference letters to the application e-mail below at the time of application submission in order to expedite the review process. Applications for the first position and associated reference letters should be emailed to CEE19SE1@pitt.edu. Applications for the second position and their associated reference letters should be emailed to CEE19SE2@pitt.edu. Review of applications will begin November 1, 2018 and will continue until the positions are filled.

Sep
4
2018

Award-winning drinking water researcher Sarah Haig joins Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Pitt

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (September 4, 2018) … Sarah Haig, an environmental engineer with a focus on the drinking water microbiome, joins the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering this fall as assistant professor. Dr. Haig’s research combines environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry, and public health to improve water quality with a focus on drinking water systems. “Providing safe and reliable drinking water is one of the world’s most critical concerns, not only in developing countries but in many cities throughout the U.S. and developed world,” noted Radisav Vidic, Professor and Department Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Swanson School. “Sarah’s expertise in this field is an important addition to our faculty and we are looking forward not only to her contributions in the discipline but also her passion for teaching young engineers about these issue.” Dr. Haig completed her PhD, “Characterizing the Functional Microbial Ecology of Slow Sand Filters Through Environmental Genomics” in September 2014 at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. She was also a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (October 2014 – July 2018) at the University of Michigan, in the groups of Lutgarde Raskin (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and John LiPuma (Department of Pediatrics), where she focused on linking the drinking water microbiome to human health.Dr. Haig has published several papers in leading journals in the fields of environmental engineering and microbiology and has given numerous presentations at national and international conferences. She has received several honors and awards for her research including Society for General Microbiology and International Water Association Young Water Professional prizes, a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD scholarship, a Microbiology of the Built Environment fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a Dow Sustainability fellowship. ###

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