Program Mission

The mission of the Richard A. Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering is to proactively utilize teaching, research, and service to educate baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral students so they can become competent, dynamic, and ethical engineers of the future.

To complement the classroom experience, our students are encouraged to reinforce instruction by participating in cooperative education programs, assisting faculty with research, or becoming involved in professional societies. Students are expected to develop an appreciation for life-long learning and pursue professional engineering licensure. The ultimate goal is to prepare our students to be future leaders who will positively impact their profession and society.

Furthermore, our students should become prepared to combine research and classroom experiences to solve complex inter-disciplinary problems. Our Master of Science students should develop expertise in an area of specialization within the civil engineering profession and be capable of applying their skills to resolve problems of interest in that area. Our doctoral students are expected to achieve a standard of excellence in civil engineering by advancing the body of knowledge and creating solutions, applied or basic, for today’s challenges. Our overall goal is to enable all of our students to study and innovatively solve the global sustainability challenges that they encounter.

Finally, our faculty, students, and staff will be engaged in professional organizations, campus committees, consultancy, student organizations, and continuing education. Through these service activities, our goal is to be a reliable professional resource for our institution, our alumni, and our society.

What Do Civil Engineers Do? (ASCE)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average class size in CEE undergraduate classes?

The average for all undergraduate lecture classes about 50. The maximum is our Introduction class which all first year (freshman and transfer) students take. Our senior level classes average about 30 with some sections of a class having as few as 10. A section of a laboratory class will have between 18 and 30 students depending on the nature of the lab.

All classes are instructed by university faculty. The lab classes have a faculty member supported by a graduate student.


What academic support is available?

There are a number of activities the department supports which help students adjust to campus life and achieve academic success:

  • We work closely with the university to arrange the first schedules so that most of the students in most of the classes are also enrolled in our program.
  • We have a peer mentoring program in which senior and junior students volunteer to mentor first year students. These mentors provided advice regarding campus life, the Starkville community, scheduling classes, use of university and department facilities, etc. They can help provide resources for studying for exams and working homework. They will also provide introductions to other students, help them join student organizations, facilitate engagement in service projects, and liaise overall campus engagement.
  • We support the activities of three departmental student organizations and others outside of the department. Becoming involved in student organizations is an excellent way to network with peers, learn more about the profession, and become fully engaged in the department, college and university. These organizations provide opportunities for service, participation in student design competitions, and attending regional and national meetings of professionals.

Also, the students, faculty and staff maintain a professional environment which facilitates team-oriented learning whenever possible. Peer and upper class students make it their responsibility to help other students needing academic help. The faculty maintain an open door policy which simply means that, in addition to maintaining office hours, faculty and graduate students will offer answers to instructional questions whenever a student approaches them.

The college and university also provide tutoring programs, free and for a fee, to help.


What is the retention rate for first year students?

The retention rate of undergraduate students in the department after the first year is one of the highest in the Bagley College of Engineering. We have approximately 85 percent retention with the 15 percent matriculating from the department moving to other programs, mostly other engineering programs.


What is the percentage of students graduating?

The six year graduation rate, like the first year retention, the highest in the department. We have approximately 70 percent of the students who start their first semester at Mississippi State in our program will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. However, this does not address the numerous students who transfer into our program from other programs or other universities and community colleges. The graduation rate on transfer students is significantly higher.


What is the student to faculty ratio?

The short answer is 1:31. However, all of our faculty are active educators and teach two to four classes every year. All of our lecture classes are led by a faculty member, not a graduate student. While the faculty are active researchers, we require all faculty to spend some time in the classroom each year. Put differently, we have no faculty who never interact with the undergraduate students.


What is the acceptance rate for applicants?

Admission to the department is not specifically restricted at the undergraduate level. Rather, qualifying for admission to the college is tantamount to admission to the department. (http://www.bagley.msstate.edu/academics/admissions) However, the college and university have options for those who don’t meet these standards to remediate deficiencies and move toward a degree.


Where do graduates find employment?

Students graduating from our program have a wide variety of career options; industry, business, consulting firms, governmental agencies, and military service. Some work in rural areas while others work in urban environments. Some work in Mississippi, others in various regions of the US, and still others work overseas.


How do graduates find employment?

The university maintains a career center (http://www.career.msstate.edu) which provides a host of services to help students find internships, co-operative education employment, and permanent employment. In addition, the department constantly receives inquiries from prospective employers and this information is “blasted” to the students via campus emails.


What percentage of graduates continue education?

Professional careers in civil engineering require continuing education and ongoing professional development activities. Some of these are more formal than others. Depending on a variety of factors, between 10 and 20 percent of BSCE graduates continue their education in a formal way by attending graduate schools. Graduates have been admitted to a wide variety programs throughout the US. More information about applying for graduate school in our department is available on our website.


Are there scholarships available within the department?

In addition to the scholarships offered by the university (out-of-state tuition surcharge scholarship for those with an ACT of 26 or above, academic tuition scholarships, Presidential Scholarships, etc.) and the Bagley College of Engineering (tuition supplement, targeted scholarships), the department has about two dozen scholarships available to students. These are only available to students enrolled in the department’s degree programs and have completed at least one semester in the program. Applications are taken in March each year.


How do I apply for financial aid?

Applying for financial support is done at three levels:

  • The department application will be on the department webpage and is only available in March. The department sends an email to students announcing when the application portal becomes active.


When do I get my advisor?

Students are assigned a faculty member to provide academic and career advising upon admission to the department. Information on advisors is available on this website.

Once a student is attending Mississippi State, academic advising involves:

  • Run a new CAPP in Banner and printing it
  • Printing a copy of the appropriate CEE Flowchart and updating what classes were taken and identify which classes can be taken.
  • Creating a draft Registration Worksheet (available in CEE main office) with a draft schedule of the classes desired.
  • Taking these three (3) documents above to your advisor during a prearranged advising appointment for review and approval.


Are there study abroad opportunities within the department?

The Bagley College of Engineering and other colleges at Mississippi State support an active study abroad program. (www.bagley.msstate.edu/programs/study-abroad)

Though not specifically a study abroad program, the CEE department faculty and students play a significant role in support the Mississippi State University student chapter of Engineers without Borders. This chapter is engaged in designing and constructing projects in developing countries. At this time, the work is in southern Zambia.


Is it possible to participate in a Co-operative Education program?

Mississippi State has a top ranked “Co-Op” program. Civil engineering students have the option to work in a variety of positions: industry, consulting, and government. Employment is available in the state and in other places in the US. If an employer is not part of the Co-Op, participation is still possible.

This program is supported by the Career Center which also organizes the Engineering Career Fair, employer interviews, and student interview and job search seminars.


What if I am already enrolled at Mississippi State and wish to transfer to Civil and Environmental Engineering?

Contact the main office and arrange for an appointment with the Department Head or Undergraduate Coordinator. During this meeting, you will be advised about schedule, the process of changing your major, and get other advice, help and information as needed.