Civil engineering is the oldest engineering program at KU. The first graduating class in 1873 included a civil engineer. Civil engineers design roads, water systems, bridges, dams, and other structures, providing nearly all the infrastructure needed by modern society. Civil engineers were the first engineers to address environmental issues and are the lead engineering discipline in treating water supplies to protect public health. In recognition of the significant issues concerning the environment, the department name was changed in 1992 to civil and environmental engineering.
Architectural engineering combines study in architecture with engineering science and design courses in electrical, mechanical, construction, and structures to prepare students for building design projects of all kinds. Architectural engineering dates to 1913 at KU, and the first female graduate of the School of Engineering was an architectural engineering major. Architectural engineering merged with civil and environmental engineering in 2001 to form the the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering.