Class of 2021

Introduction to the Curriculum

Our faculty have developed a curriculum they feel offers the best preparation for students to pursue professional careers or graduate study in the field of civil engineering. Throughout the curriculum, students are exposed not only to the full breadth of the modern civil engineering profession, but also to the liberal arts through courses in the humanities and social sciences. Additionally, the curriculum allows students in their junior and senior years to specialize in focus areas within the civil engineering field through technical electives.

As the field of civil engineering progresses, so does the curriculum, so it is important for students and advisors to be aware that the curriculum for one year’s entering freshman class may differ slightly from the next. The Degree Checkout Form for each entering freshman class serves as a description of the curriculum for that particular class, not to be used for any other year’s entering freshman class.

Degree checkout sheets for students matriculating in fall 2017 and majoring in civil engineering at Johns Hopkins are provided below. A sample course schedule is also provided, though students should note that the ordering of courses in the sample schedule may change slightly as other factors (AP credits, H/S elective availability, minor requirements, and double major requirements) contribute to an individual student’s course selection each semester.

The maximum number of credits that students can register for per semester is 19 (18 for freshmen). Exceptions to this rule may be made for students with an outstanding GPA (above 3.5), and in cases where overload is a result of independent study or research. Further information can be found in the JHU Catalog.

Sample Civil Engineering Program » pdf

Semester Sign-off Form » pdf  | xlsx

Degree Checkout Form » pdf  | xlsx


Basic Science (20 credits)
To provide fundamental knowledge in the natural sciences necessary for engineering, students in the department are required to take courses in Physics, Chemistry and Materials Science. In addition to the required courses, students must take a basic science course outside of physics and chemistry. ABET defines a basic science as consisting of “chemistry and physics, and other biological, chemical and physical sciences, including astronomy, biology, climatology, ecology, geology, meteorology, or oceanography”; there are several courses offered by the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences that may be used here, including 270.220 Dynamic Earth.

Mathematics (16 credits)
Students are required to take 16 credits in mathematics; specific classes are listed in the Degree Checkout Sheet.

Humanities and Social Sciences (18 credits)
Students must take a minimum of six 3-credit H or S elective courses. To fulfill the writing requirement, one of these courses must be either 060.113/114 Introduction to Expository Writing or a 300-level, Writing-Intensive, H or S elective course.

Civil – Engineering Fundamentals (34 credits)
Courses in the Engineering Fundamentals category provide the foundation for the civil engineering profession.  No substitutions are allowed.

Civil – Professional Practice (12 credits)
These courses aim to prepare students for their future professional careers. In addition to two senior design courses (Civil Engineering Design I and II) and two semesters of civil engineering seminar, students must take one course from the Professional Communication program and one course from the W.P. Carey Program in Entrepreneurship and Management, both offered through the Center for Leadership Education.

Civil – Technical Areas (12 credits)
Students entering the civil engineering profession should have exposure to the breadth of technical areas within the field.  Students matriculating in fall 2016 have the flexibility to explore the technical areas that are of most interest to them. A single course in four (of six) technical areas must be taken to fulfill this requirement. The six technical areas include: engineering mechanics, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, water resources, structural engineering, and civil engineering systems. See the Degree Checkout sheet for the specific courses required in each area.

Technical Electives (9 credits)
Technical electives (all required to be at or above the 300-level) are designed to provide students with greater depth in one or more of the civil engineering technical areas above.  To that end, a minimum of one 3-credit technical elective must be in a civil engineering technical area.  One 3-credit technical elective must have an E distribution credit, but may be a course offered outside of traditional civil engineering areas, and one 3-credit technical elective may come from any (Q), (N), or (E) course.  While the department allows some flexibility in students’ choice of technical electives, we advise that to the extent possible, students select their technical electives from within the department’s offerings.

Back to top