Civil engineering students typically begin with introductory courses in math, physics, project management, and design. Generally, specializations exist in infrastructure engineering and environmental engineering.
Students choosing to specialize in infrastructure engineering learn about structural engineering of manmade objects (load-testing of buildings, etc), the materials used in construction (steel, concrete, timber, masonry, asphalt, etc), the specifics of transportation engineering (how to build roads, canals), construction mechanics, and soil mechanics. They take courses in geology, hydraulics, construction materials, the design of steel and concrete structures, and highway engineering.
Those who specialize in environmental engineering learn about water and wastewater treatment, solid waste management (eg. landfills), and environmental systems analysis (examining the system as a whole). They take courses in hydrology, water quality, water treatment methods, surveying, and petroleum engineering.
A large portion of the civil engineering curriculum is geared towards laboratory studies and fieldwork. These are designed to allow the student to apply their theoretical classroom knowledge to real-world applications. As well, most courses involve a degree of computer-aided simulations and prototyping; students learn about the various common programs used in present-day civil engineering.
Students also take non-engineering courses designed to provide a well-rounded education. This includes courses in public policy, ethics, law, and business management. These courses are also valuable for students who wish to pursue a further degree in these subjects.