About us

History of the Department

The Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María UTFSM was founded in 1931, and opened its doors in 1932. In the year 1934, it became a School of Engineering, with Construction being one of its most note-worthy degrees. Later, in the year 1949, the university began awarding the degree of Construction Engineer. In 1959, the Faculty of Construction Engineering was founded, Professor Julio Fernández Lagos was instated as the first dean, and the Civil Construction Engineering program was incorporated into this newly formed faculty. Later, in the year 1968, the Faculty of Construction Engineering changed its name to the Faculty of Civil Engineering, whose first dean was Emile Sanders. The Civil Engineering program was established that same year.

In 1970, Mr. Patricio Saavedra Lanz graduated as a Civil Engineer, thus becoming the first student to graduate from the Faculty of Civil Engineering with this degree.

At the beginning of the 1970’s, under the leadership of Dean Raúl Galindo U., the department established its first strategic plan with the aim of further developing its degree programs. In 1972, in the interest of strengthening the Faculty, the first professors went abroad in order to complete their graduate studies. The lab equipment and infrastructure were also improved with new additions to the Topography Repository and the Laboratory of Soil Mechanics; among other equipment, the Department acquired a drilling truck. By the end of the 1970’s, the Department’s academic prestige was firmly established, and it had solidified stable and fruitful strategic relations with the private sector.

In 1981, under Dean Carlos Aguirre, the Faculty of Civil Engineering was renamed the Department of Civil Engineering, and became part of the new Faculty of Engineering. That same year, the Cement Laboratory acquired a universal testing machine, and the Structures Laboratory was established with the construction of a side loading system. In 1992, the Asphalt Laboratory was established and equipped, and in 1995 the Laboratory of Soil Mechanics was updated with all new drilling equipment.

Throughout the past decade, the Department has continued to enhance its prestige at the national level by increasing its participation in research activities and partnerships with other actors in the field. The Department’s graduates have also had a role in solidifying its outstanding reputation, as their professional success points to the high relevance and quality of their education. The laboratories are certified quality control centers, and they participate in establishing standards for equipment updates and renewals as well as for the training of personnel in related fields. Three important milestones in this process have been the implementation of the Structures Laboratories, which have world-renowned capacities and equipment; the start of the accreditation process to certify the laboratories as quality control centers; and the development of the Center for Infrastructure Studies and Research (CEII, for its initials in Spanish). The main objective of the CEII is to act as a gathering point for end-users and the academic, governmental and private sectors; it acts as an open platform for a globalized world and facilitates the interactions between individuals and institutional actors so as to promote the common good through infrastructure projects that are efficient, well designed, safe, and better-managed.

In recent years, the role of Department Director has been filled by professors Ludwig Stowhas, Raúl Galindo, Miguel Petersen, José Manuel Gundelach, Gilberto Leiva, Carlos Aguirre, Rodrigo Delgadillo, and Patricio Catalán.

As of 2014, there are 595 students enrolled in the Civil Engineering program and 346 students enrolled in the Civil Construction program at the University’s main campus; 347 students are enrolled in the Civil Engineering program at the San Joaquin campus. Further, the department has 16 full-time professors and 34 part-time professors all dedicated to teaching activities and the students’ academic training.

Today, the Department of Civil Engineering has a Laboratory for Material Testing and Quality Control(LEMCO, for its initials in Spanish), which includes the Concrete, Asphalt, and Soil Mechanics Laboratories as well as a Seismic Behavior of Structures Experimental Training Center that, in conjunction with the Center for Infrastructure Studies and Research (CEII), enhances the level of training of the students and professors and strengthens the relationship of the Department with external actors so as to promote research and development activities as well as extension work.


“Contribute to the generation of knowledge and create a learning environment that, through teaching, research and extension, trains outstanding professionals, capable of contributing to society’s development in the field of Civil Engineering.”


“To be a leading academic Department in Chile and achieve international recognition in the field of Civil Engineering.”


Excellence and rigor are the fundamental values of Department of Civil Engineering at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.
The Departments activities are carried out in an environment of respect, ethics, and loyalty. Meritocracy is used as an essential mechanism for recognition.

Administrative Structure

Rodrigo Delgadillo S.
Director of the Department of Civil Engineering

Marcos Valdebenito C.
Academic Advisor for the Civil Engineering Program, Main Campus

Sergio Carmona M.
Academic Advisor for the Construction Engineering Program

Gabriel García S.
Deputy Director of the Department of Civil Engineering for the San Joaquin Campus, Santiago

Héctor Jensen V.
Coordinator of the Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Carlos Wahr D.
Head of the Laboratory for Material Testing and Quality Control (LEMCO)