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It pays to make a difference. Just ask the average engineer who banks in US$90,300 a year. Paycheck aside, the role is as rewarding as it is impactful. These are the professionals solving climate change, figuring out how we can move as efficiently and safely as possible, and discovering new forms of renewable energy so we can pay less to enjoy the basic necessities of life.

Looking into the future, they know tomorrow’s problems cannot be solved by yesterday’s technology. The world needs climate resilient infrastructure systems and policy innovations for the future of energy. It requires digital tools that are not only smart, but also secure. Engineers with the knowledge, skills and experience to steer us into a brighter, more sustainable future are in high demand. To become one, you should consider an education in a city known for emerging technologies and a friendly business climate.

Look no further than Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — one of the most livable cities in the US with one of the most viable economies. Apart from being an extremely affordable city for an ultra-vibrant life, it is also an emerging centre for entrepreneurship and is currently home to several Fortune 500 companies.

It gets better. Nestled in one of its most historic neighbourhoods, you’ll find Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) — the best of the best for aspiring civil and environmental engineers. In fact, its top-ranked College of Engineering is recognised globally for working on problems of both scientific and practical importance.

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

At its Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), it’s all about innovation, interdisciplinary excellence, research, global impact, and most importantly, creating the future, instead of just anticipating how it will unfold. Now that we’ve covered the “where,” let’s focus on the “why.”

Here’s not one, but five reasons why CMU’s CEE is your springboard for engineering success:

It’s a world-class institution

Accolades say it all. The CEE Department, the College of Engineering, and CMU consistently rank among the nation’s best. Both its Environmental Engineering and Civil Engineering graduate programmes place among the top 10, according to the 2022 US News and World Report analysis.

Its faculty is just as impressive. There are 23 full-time faculty members in total and each provides individualised attention to every Master of Science student. An open-door policy ensures students are paired with an advisor who has once been in their shoes and has the knowledge to guide them to where they want to go. From course selection to career outcomes, every angle is covered by a world-renowned faculty — five of whom are inducted into the National Academy of Engineering.

Flexible coursework

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

An education at the CEE Department is highly customisable to one’s interests and goals. Within intimate classrooms, students explore disciplines beyond their own — working with several university departments — as they seek imaginative solutions to real-world engineering challenges. They are also granted access to cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art technologies throughout.

With an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, students design their own path with concentrations in Smart Structures, Smart Transportation/Mobility, Climate Change Adaptation, Data Analytics, and plenty more. The MS in CEE is unique in that students design their own path. Graduate students could even opt to “cross-cut” their concentrations to connect the intersecting topics of structures, environment, and materials.

Lifelong skills

CMU in itself exudes a collegial, supportive feel that encourages students to go the extra mile. Through a variety of activities, students learn to grasp the art of teamwork and collaboration. They bond through amusement park trips, riverboat dinners, and ski outings held every year.

On campus, they participate or lead in groups such as Engineers Without Borders, the Environment and Water Resources Institute, Graduate Student Assembly, and more.

There are even organisations designed specifically to uplift female engineers; and members of the Black, Asian, and Hispanic communities as well. With these enrichment opportunities, graduate students gain key skills and meaningful connections that will last them a lifetime.

Join a thriving alumni network

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Imagine the CEO of Menard Group, a Net-A-Porter product designer, the co-founder of Silicon Valley-based precision agriculture startup foris.io and a data scientist at Apple as your LinkedIn connections. By joining the CEE Department, there’s no need to imagine.

The CEE alumni network spans hundreds of companies and industries, a useful means for students interested in connecting and building their own industry links. Through professional development seminars and various events held across the US, many fresh CEE graduates end up working within this diverse network.

Career services to get career-ready

If CEE students have more specific plans for their professional endeavours, the Career and Professional Development Centre (CPDC) is always available to help. From resume and cover letter reviews, job/internship recruiting platforms like Handshake, workshops, to fair preparation, mock interviews, and job offer evaluation/negotiation — dedicated consultants support budding engineers throughout the entire process.

During both the fall and spring semesters, the CPDC hosts employers from across the nation for fairs and on-campus recruiting events. Whatever tomorrow’s engineers wish to achieve with their newfound knowledge, CMU will help them get there.

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