Questions about Civil Engineering – Faculty of Engineering

Questions about Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is the technology of planning for, and safely designing, constructing, maintaining, and rehabilitating community infrastructure. Civil engineers design and construct many facilities that are critical to our society.

Civil Engineering addresses the interaction of people with the built and natural environment.  Engineers use established theories, techniques, and emerging technologies to understand and solve complex problems.

Civil Engineering is comprised of the following specialty areas:

Construction Engineering and Management

Construction is one of the largest industries in Canada.  Construction engineers and managers work in different organizations such as construction management firms, general contractors, specialty contractors, design-builders, consulting engineers, and architects and they may deal with residential, commercial, industrial, or heavy construction projects.

Environment & Water Resources Engineering

Environmental & Water Resources Engineering combines scientific principles, computer modelling and aspects of public policy to create practical solutions for improving the quality of our air, water and soil. Environmental & Water Resources engineers work within a multi-disciplinary context to design systems that minimize the use of materials, energy and water to maximize the protection of our natural ecosystems as we build our communities.

Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical Engineers are concerned with the properties and behaviour of soil and rock, flow of groundwater, as well as stability and settlement/deformation characteristics of slopes, retaining walls, and foundations.

Structural Engineering

Structural Engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction of structures of all types ranging from high rise buildings, bridges, dams, power plants, off-shore platforms, tunnels, etc. In doing so, they deal with all sorts of construction and building envelope materials including steel, concrete, masonry, wood, composites, glass, and aluminium etc. 

Transportation Engineering

Transportation Engineering is the application of science and technology in planning, design, operation and management of transportation networks for safe, timely and efficient movement of goods and people through road, rail, water and air.

Co-Op students in Civil Engineering have worked with a wide range of employers including Aecon Group, Toronto Hydro Corporation, McNally Construction, the Government of Ontario, Sobotec, and many more!

For more information about McMaster Engineering’s Co-Op and Career Services, check out the ECCS Website.

All programs have limited enrolment, therefore the average required for acceptance changes every year and is dependent on the number of applicants.

All students in McMaster’s Engineering Program complete a common Level 1 year before selecting their fields.

Please refer to the Undergraduate Calendar for requirements to complete a degree in Civil Engineering.

Multi-term courses (such as CIVENG 4X06) run from September – April. Students must be enrolled in both Part A (Fall) and Part B (Winter) to fully enrol/complete the course.

When you enrol in Part A in the Fall term, Mosaic will automatically enrol you in Part B for the Winter term.

A course is worth the number of units identified in the final digit of the course code. For example, CIVENG 2A03 is worth 3 units and CIVENG 4N04 is worth 4 units.

CIVENG 4X06 is worth 6 units and runs from September – April, with a weight of 3 units per term.

The Department of Civil Engineering endeavors to provide conflict-free options for students however, there are times when a conflict is unavoidable.

If you are following the Undergraduate Calendar and cannot avoid a conflict with required courses, please contact the Undergraduate Administrative Assistant in the Department of Civil Engineering at

Students who are out of Calendar may not be able to circumvent conflicts with courses from different levels. We often suggest that lower-level courses are completed prior to continuing with the program.

To continue enrolling in two courses that conflict, please submit a Course Conflict Form to the Civil Engineering Office. Be sure to indicate the specific sections that are in conflict and include in your submission:
– A copy of your transcript (you can download your unofficial transcript from Mosaic)
– A letter stating the reason for your request
– Your academic plan (how you plan to be successful in both courses, as well as your future course plans)

You can request to waive the prerequisite for a course with an Engineering Permission Form.

Be sure to fill out the top portion and the ‘Prerequisite Waiver’ box and submit to the Civil Engineering Office. Include with your form submission:
– A copy of your transcript (you can download your unofficial transcript from Mosaic)
– A letter stating the reason for your request
– Your academic plan (how you plan to be successful, as well as your future course plans)

Please note that approval of any request form is at the discretion of the instructor.

Due to the number of Technical Electives that are offered in the Department of Civil Engineering, we are unable to schedule all electives conflict-free.

That said, we do our very best to request that popular courses (based on the Technical Electives form submissions – due at the end of March in the previous Academic Year) and courses within specialty areas are scheduled without conflict. Unfortunately, there will be cases where courses conflict with one another. We suggest selecting different courses to fulfill the requirements of the course.

If you still wish to register in both courses in conflict, you can submit a Course Conflict request form (as outlined above).

Students may request to review their graded Final Examination up to one year after writing.

Students may be granted permission only once and after completing the Exam Review Request Form. Please be sure to fill out the form in its entirety and submit to the Civil Engineering Office.

Upon approval of the request, students will be contacted with an appointment date/time to review their exam in the Civil Engineering Office.

The McMaster Engineering Society has teamed up with the Student Success Centre to offer tutoring to students in Engineering.

To find out more about Tutoring services or becoming a Tutor with the Student Success Centre, visit the centre’s Undergrad Peer Tutoring Network site.

Please submit your Technical Elective Form online by April 1, 2023.

Please note that this form does not automatically register you in any courses. It helps us gauge interest and try to ensure the most popular courses are conflict-free, but you must still officially enroll through Mosaic when registration opens in the summer.

Please refer to the How to Apply web page.

For all undergraduate-related inquiries, email
For graduate-related questions, email

You can also ask questions using the Ask a Question tab on this page.