Simply put, civil engineering deals with infrastructures, from planning to designing, construction, operation and maintenance. It also involves improvement of existing infrastructures. Much like other engineering fields, aspects of life that people can take for granted are possible thanks to civil engineering, such as buildings, roads, power supplies, transportation and communication systems.
Because civil engineering deals with different structures and systems, the courses involved in obtaining a degree in civil engineering would normally include classes in mathematics, physics, materials sciences, and design. Some curriculums also include topics on modern civil engineering needs or issues like environmental engineering and construction management. In a number of institutions, students will also be able to choose a specialization (to be discussed later in the article).
Degree programs in civil engineering are usually delivered in a combination of lectures and laboratory classes. Students or candidates are also normally expected to undertake a major design project, in their final year(s) wherein they would apply the technical knowledge they have obtained throughout the whole program.
Entrance into a civil engineering degree program varies from institution to institution. Generally, most universities require a candidate to have a strong background in mathematics and the different sciences such as chemistry and physics. This might also mean that entrance into civil engineering degree programs is highly competitive, especially in leading schools or institutions that specialise in the field.
As mentioned earlier, a number of institutions offer specialisations for their students undertaking the civil engineering degree program. Having a specialisation or choosing specialisation classes may be optional or required depending on the university being attended and the curriculum set by that university.
Below is a short list of some common offerings of areas of specialisation as part of a civil engineering undergraduate degree:
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. Please check with the institution you are interested in for their accreditation details.
In some countries, those who want to practice as civil engineers must take a licensure examination. This would mean that not all graduates of a civil engineering program would be able to call themselves civil engineers.
A degree in civil engineering can take anywhere from three to five years. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located.
There are also various degrees available for those interested in civil engineering at the master’s and doctorate level. These degrees can involve specialisation in a specific area of civil engineering and would more often than not require work experience in the field you would like to research or study. Examples would be structural engineering, geotechnical engineering and construction management. Graduates of a bachelor civil engineering degree program might also choose to take other master’s degrees such as MBA to complement their career of choice.
Undertaking a civil engineering degree program would give you a wide range of technical skills such as drafting, designing and numeracy. Graduates of a civil engineering degree program will also provide you with transferrable skills that include technological literacy, problem identification and solving, project management, and budgeting. By the end of the program, you will also have gained concrete knowledge of construction issues, decision making abilities and knowledge of laws and regulations.
According to AGCAS, 70.6% of civil engineering graduates in the United Kingdom work in the engineering and building industries. Some jobs directly related to a civil engineering degree would be the following:
Because of the high number of transferrable skills that civil engineering graduates possess, a career in other fields is entirely possible. Some fields that civil engineering graduates go into are law, architecture, information technology, finance, business, real estate and management consulting.
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