Best Civil Engineering Schools in California

Becoming a civil engineer avails you the opportunity to design, construct and build beautiful roads, bridges, and a lot more. However, this is only possible if you get at least a BEng in Civil Engineering. This article compiles the best Civil Engineering Schools in California based on our ranking factors.

Upon deciding what career path to town, the next important decision lies in what school to attend. For international students, were earning this degree becomes a major concern.

The Kiiky team understands how distracting and confusing selecting a school to attend may be. Hence, this review of engineering schools in California.

California generally, is home to over 4000 international students because of the quality of education obtainable in the system.

For students in California, this review of the best engineering schools in California will help you decide what engineering program is best for you. To get an overview of what is discussed in detail in this article, take a quick glance at the table of contents below.

Why Study Civil Engineering in California?

A total of 21, 299 civil engineering degrees were earned in 2019 across the United States. 3, 149 of them were issued by engineering schools in California. In fact, when it comes to Civil engineering, California is the most popular state in the US.

With a relatively low faculty-to-student ratio and low acceptance rate, students receive the best attention from faculty members. Also, California is home to the best state of Arts facilities and a conducive learning environment.

Hence, studying engineering in an accredited California Civil Engineering School allows you to learn under qualified experts in the field in a learning-friendly environment.

In addition, the job rate for Civil engineers in California is expected to grow beyond average in a few years. So, studying Civil Engineering in California may be the first step towards landing a good job as a Civil engineer.

Tuition for Civil Engineering programs in California is relatively cheaper when compared to other states. In summary, students who choose to study Civil engineering in California will have access to quality education at a relatively fair price and good job opportunities.

Read Also; How to Become a Civil Engineer in 2023

What is the Job Outlook for Civil Engineers in California?

Basically, Civil engineers are responsible for the creation, improvement, and protection of the environment we live in.

Their job descriptions usually include planning, designing, and overseeing the construction and maintenance of building structures and infrastructure.  

These infrastructures include roads, railways, airports, bridges, dams, irrigation projects, power plants and so much more.

Career Explorer posits that the job availability for Civil Engineers in California will grow by 10.6% between 2016 and 2026. So, civil engineering job vacancies and opportunities will increase to 4, 200 jobs by 2026.

This in supposition to why you should study engineering in California is one essential reason. Graduation with a good degree may be the first step towards landing your dream job as a Civil engineer in California.

The next block will posit another reason which revolves around the income base of civil Engineers in California.

Turn your passion for design into a Profession. Become an Aerospace Engineer in California in a few Steps. Here are the best schools in California to earn an aerospace degree.

How Much Do Civil Engineers in California Make?

A lot of factors determine how much you may earn as a Civil engineer in California. One such factor is your position in a company. This is usually determined by your level of education and years of experience.

However, posits that Civil Engineers in California earn +18.62% more than the average base salary. This amounts to the total take-home pay of  $94,505 per year.

On the Other hand, posits that the average pay for Civil Engineers in California is $78,295 as of June 28, 2020. So, becoming a civil engineer who understands what it takes to excel in the industry, avails you an opportunity to earn such figures in a year.

Well, if you start this year, you may be applying for your first job in three years. Read below to know how much financial commitment you need to make to earn a civil engineering degree from California.

What is the Cost of the Civil Engineering Program in California?

Generally, earning a BSC in engineering from a public school in California will cost less than attending a private school. Also, master’s degree students tend to pay more than undergraduate students.

In fact, tuition in California Civil Engineering Schools is left to the discretion of each school. State resident students offering an undergraduate program in Civil Engineering may pay $13,327.

On the other hand, out-of-state students attending any of the best Civil Engineering Colleges in California should prepare their minds to pay $43,927.

 Generally, Civil Engineering programs in the USA cost an average of 0 – 5,000 USD/year.

Check this out: Copy our Irresistible Civil Engineering Cover Letter and Make it Yours | Free

Which is the Best MS in Civil Engineering School in California?

California offers one of the best Master of Science in Civil Engineering degrees in the program.  Stanford School of Engineering is known for its outstanding graduate degree programs.

It offers the best MS in Civil Engineering through its School of engineering. The official webpage posits that Stanford University’s MS in Civil engineering program “is intended to be a terminal degree for those seeking advanced knowledge in a focused discipline of civil and environmental engineering to pursue a career in industry or another professional degree.”

The Best Civil Engineering Schools in California

Now we are clear on all the benefits that abound for Civil Engineers in California, it is important you attend one of the best schools.

There is a clear indication that good schools influence the availability of opportunities that abound for graduates. So, it is important you ascertain the accreditation status of the college together with how its graduates are soaring in the Civil engineering world.

However, the schools that appear on this list are ranked based on the following factors which are in their order of priority:

Low faculty to students ratio is an indication that students will have better communication with their teachers. Because Civil engineering is a practical course requiring so much attention, this compilation puts the level of attention into consideration.

For this ranking of best civil engineering schools in California, this is the first ranking factor.

More programs in a university gives students more options. For Best California Civil Engineering Schools, this article puts into consideration the number of programs available for students to settle for.

Attending an unaccredited civil engineering program is equivalent to no degree. Hence, the accreditation status of the school of engineering must be ascertained before you send in an application.

This article states categorically, the accreditation status and body for each civil engineering program.

See also:  Best Civil Engineering Schools in the UK, 2023[Updated]

1. California Institute of Technology

Faculty-Student Ratio: 3:1

Number of Programs: 1

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Through its Mechanical and Civil Engineering department, the California Institute of Technology offers a graduate degree program in Civil Engineering.

In a bid to help shape our physical environment from the cities we live in, the machines we use, the way we travel, and the energy that powers these to deliver the water we need, the Caltech graduate engineering program is designed to address the critical technological challenges of the day.

It costs about $54,600 to earn a degree in engineering from Caltech which is a top private engineering school in California.

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2. Stanford University Civil engineering Department

Faculty-Student Ratio: 5:1

Number of Programs: 4

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Basically, Stanford University’s civil engineering department’s main objective is to advance education and research in engineering the built and natural environments.

It offers four civil Engineering programs which include:

  • Undergraduate Program (BEng)
  • Graduate Program (MEng)
  • Master’s Program (MSC in Engineering)
  • Environmental Engineering

Stanford Civil engineering rankings include ranking 8th position in the best Civil Engineering programs in the US. Also, its doctorate engineering program ranks 2nd in the US according to the US news world Repost.

Generally, Stanford University ranks 1st among the best colleges in California. The university is known for delivering excellent and quality education to its students across all levels of education.

In a nutshell, Stanford is one of the top engineering schools in California. And, earning a degree from this top engineering college in CAl costs about $53,529.

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3. University of Southern California

Faculty-Student Ratio: 9:1

Number of Programs: 3

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET.

USC’s Civil engineering department is one of the California’s top engineering schools. It offers three civil engineering programs which include:

  • BEng
  • MS
  • PhD

Its bachelor of science program in engineering is designed to prepare students to excel in the civil and environmental engineering world. In fact, it allows students to choose areas of career specializations through its four different tracks.

Students can opt for a General minor, Building science, or structural or environmental engineering.

With a relatively low faculty-to-students ratio of 9: 1, students will definitely have real interaction with the expert team of the civil engineering department.

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Check this out: Mechanical Engineering Conferences For International Students 2023

4. Loyola Marymount University

Faculty-Student Ratio: 10: 1

Number of Programs: 2

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET

Loyola Marymount University is one of the best engineering schools in California. As a California top engineering school, faculty members are experts in fields such as water and wastewater treatment, environmental systems, thermodynamics, structural analysis, and design computer modeling.

Students are also taught by experts in surveying, hydro climatology, sustainable development, climate production, and statistical analysis.

Basically, students have access to seven distinct LMU laboratories, as well as a machine shop and technical support staff. With an acceptance rate of 47%, students who have all the admission requirements have a higher chance of being accepted.

Earning a degree from Loyola Marymount University cost about $43, 779.

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5. Santa Clara University

Faculty-Student Ratio: 11:1

Number of Programs: 2

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET

Santa Clara offers one of the best civil engineering programs in California. The course is designed to cover environmental, structural, construction, geotechnical, transportation, and water resources engineering.

Students combine hands-on projects, time in the lab, and, field trips to get the best learning experience. The institution offers a B.S. degree and a dual-track program B.S/M.S for civil engineering students to earn both within five years.

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6. University of California-Irvine

Faculty-Student Ratio: 18:1

Number of Programs: 2

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET

Through its Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Irvine’s civil engineering program provides students with a broad fundamental, and flexible educational approach.

This is achieved by expanding engineering knowledge through an active and exciting undergraduate and graduate research program.

With a faculty-of-student ratio of 18:1 students gets the best learning experience in one of Cal’s civil engineering schools.

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7. University of California–Los Angeles

Faculty-Student Ratio: 18:1

Number of Programs: 1

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET

The Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of California- Los Angeles employs special efforts towards developing low-clinker factor cement and concretes.

This in turn reduces the carbon footprint of construction materials and increases the service life of civil engineering infrastructure.

It offers a Master of a Science degree program in civil engineering. Earning a degree from the University of California Los Angeles costs about $42,218 (out-of-state) and $13,226 (in-state).

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Read also: 15 Best Graduate Civil Engineering Schools In The World | 2023

8. University of California – San Diego

Faculty-Student Ratio:19:1

Number of Programs: 3

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET

Through its Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego offers one of the best civil engineering programs in California.

The program which cuts across different engineering disciplines like geotechnical, mechanical, and aerospace with a focus on structural design and analysis is quite unique and different from others.

This broad-based cross-disciplinary structural engineering approach allows not only diversity in the selection of graduate courses but also a diversity of employment opportunities across the engineering spectrum.

Undergraduate and graduate students may earn a degree in Civil engineering with tuition ranging from $43,162 for (out-of-state) students and $14,170 for (in-state).

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9. University of California – Berkeley Civil Engineering Department

Faculty-Student Ratio: 20:1

Number of Programs: 4

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET.

UC Berkeley is one of the top engineering schools in California. In fact, its civil engineering department is a place of intellectual vitality and diversity in which all students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity and the impetus to achieve their highest potential. 

It offers four unique engineering programs in California which include:

  • BENg with minors in structural, environmental, and geosystems
  • MEng
  • MS
  • PhD

UC Berkeley’s civil engineering ranks include taking the first position in the best Civil engineering programs in California. Its doctorate engineering program takes third place in the best doctorate engineering programs in California.

It costs about $43,176 (out-of-state) and $14,184 (in-state) to earn a degree from the University of California-Berkeley.

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10. California State Polytechnic University – Pomona

Faculty-Student Ratio: 25:1

Number of Programs: 2

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission of ABET

CSPU’s civil engineering department is the largest undergraduate Civil Engineering Program in the United States. In fact, it produces 15 percent of young civil engineers in California.

The school offers a bachelor of science in Civil Engineering with options in general civil, environmental, and geospatial engineering. Students can also opt for BSc in Construction Engineering and Management.

 Graduate programs are also available for students who wish to earn a Master’s degree in Civil engineering.

In fact, students can opt for construction engineering and management, environmental and water resources, and geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineering.

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See also: MIT Civil Engineering: Programs, Admission Requirement, Cost, Aids

Civil Engineering Schools in California FAQs

How long does it take to become a civil engineer in California?

CEE’s four-year curriculum leads to an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Civil Engineering.

How do I become a civil engineer in California?

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program.
A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years working under a licensed engineer.
A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam.

How much does it cost to study Civil Engineering in the USA?

Its time period ranges between 9 months to 2 years for a full-time degree. MS in Civil Engineering USA universities costs somewhere around 12,000-150,000 USD. Foreign students can avail of scholarships to study MS in Civil Engineering in the USA.


The best Civil engineering schools in California is an article that reviews all the good engineering colleges in California.

While most of them are known for their outstanding performance in the engineering world, a few offer the best civil engineering programs in California.

Basically, the importance of attending an accredited top civil engineering school can not be overemphasized. This is because the school you choose to attend plays an important role in your career.

Hence, this compilation’s sole objective is to inform you of the best options you should consider. Especially, when it comes to earning a civil engineering degree in California.

In ranking these civil engineering schools, this article puts the faculty to students ratio, accreditation status, and the number of programs into consideration. Other factors that influenced the rankings include the acceptance rate and graduation of the universities.

You should carefully read through this article. Certainly, you will find the right civil engineering program for you.



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