Several civil engineering schools are available all over California, but if you prefer to stay in the beautiful, sunny climes of SoCal, you’re in luck. Some civil engineering powerhouses in Southern California are considered amongst the best in the world. Here’s the bad news: you’ll be too busy studying to spend much time on the beach.

The California Institute of Technology

At the undergraduate level, the highly esteemed CalTech produces more future science and engineering Ph.D.s than any other college or university in the United States. “U.S. News & World Report” ranks its undergraduate engineering program 4th in the United States, and its civil engineering program specifically at 16th in the United States and 21st in the world. Students in the civil engineering department at CalTech can participate in research on earthquake simulation and detection, the computational geomechanics of porous materials and the effects of microscopic material defects at the macroscopic level.

The University of California at San Diego

“U.S. News and World Report" ranks UC San Diego 19th in the United States for civil engineering, just behind CalTech, and 20th in the world. Civil engineering students have the option to focus their studies in civil structures, aerospace, structure renewal, or engineering for earthquakes. Engineers will enjoy the department’s strong interdisciplinary relationships with the math, physics, and other university academic units. They can participate in research projects at the California Space Institute, the Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. The program emphasizes the increasingly cross-disciplinary and holistic approach that has come to characterize many specialties of engineering.

The University of California at Los Angeles

According to “U.S. News and World Report,” UCLA ranks 26th in the United States for its civil engineering program and 27th in the world. UCLA civil engineers may choose one of four concentrations: environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, hydrology and water resources engineering, or structural engineering and mechanics. Research projects available to the students at UCLA include work on aquatic chemistry; water treatment, transport and remediation; the design of building foundations, dams and other geostructural systems; the characterization of geological hazards such as earthquakes and spreading soils; remote water sensing; land surface modeling; traits of reinforced concrete; and homeland security design for structures.

The University of Southern California

UCLA isn’t the only university in the city of Los Angeles with a great engineering program. The University of Southern California also has a strong department, and it is tied with UCLA at 26th place in the ranking of best civil engineering programs nationwide, according to “U.S. News and World Report.” Students can focus their studies in civil engineering, environmental engineering, structural engineering, construction engineering, architectural engineering and water resources engineering. Outstanding research opportunities abound at the university’s Tsunami Research Center, Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Server, Structural Research Laboratory and Water Quality Engineering Science and Technology Laboratories.

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