Study Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with infrastructures, from planning to designing, construction, operation and maintenance, involving new and existing infrastructures. Civil engineering is vital in everyday life, as it is responsible for buildings, roads, power supplies, transportation and communication systems.

Highlighted courses and degrees in Civil Engineering

Coursework

Undergraduate

An undergraduate degree in civil engineering will develop your foundation of knowledge, covering the basic and complex theoretical and practical aspects of the area. You will study modules on materials sciences, design, and construction management, among others.

Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical and laboratory sessions. You may be required to take part in an industry placement to gain professional experience.

Postgraduate

A postgraduate degree in civil engineering will allow you to develop your skills, and build on the knowledge you gained at undergraduate level. The modules you study will cover more specialist and complex areas of civil engineering. These modules could include advanced computer aided design skills, financial decision making, sustainable construction, road asset management, geomechanics, and risk management.

Your degree will be delivered through lectures and seminars, as well as incorporating practical sessions and field trips. Your course will likely be focused on preparing you for employment, and the processes of designing, building and maintaining structures in the real world. You may have the opportunity to take part in a work placement as part of your course.

Specialisations

Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise throughout your degree. This specialisation could influence the area in which you choose to work after you have graduated. It can also help you to decide which area you wish to focus your dissertation or research project work on. Common specialisations include:

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Hydraulic Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Land Development
  • Geotechnical Engineering

Accreditation and Certification

The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. It will also be influenced by your level of study. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng), or a Bachelor of Science (BSc). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Engineering (MEng), or a Master of Science (MSc). If you choose to study for a research postgraduate degree, you will be awarded a Master of Research (MRes), a Master of Philosophy (MPhil), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Depending on your institution, your course may also be accredited by a professional or academic body. For example, the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), the European Accreditation of Engineering Programmes (EUR-ACE), or the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE).

Timeframe and Further Studies

Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years. If your course includes a placement, this will normally add another year onto your studies.

Some institutions might offer part-time study options. Studying for a degree part-time normally means that your course will last anywhere between three and eight years, with some universities offering more flexible study options.

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Entry Requirements for Degrees in Civil Engineering

Undergraduate

The entry requirements for an undergraduate degree in civil engineering will depend on where you choose to study. Normally, you will be required to have previously studied a subject related to engineering, with a practical or quantitative element. This could include physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. If you do not have a strong background in these areas, but can show that you are passionate about civil engineering, some institutions may still consider your application.

Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Other universities might consider relevant work experience. If your first language is not English, it is likely that you will be required to provide evidence that your English language skills are to a high enough standard.

Postgraduate

The entry requirements for a postgraduate degree in civil engineering will depend on your institution of choice. They will also depend on what sort of postgraduate degree you are applying for. Typically, you will be expected to have gained an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, or a closely related subject.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their civil engineering programmes.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.

Typical entry requirements:

  • UK6.0 IELTS, 2:1 or higher
  • US6.0 IELTS, 3.5 GPA

Fund Your Studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. Fees for postgraduate degree courses tend to be higher than undergraduate courses. Exact tuition fees are displayed on institution course pages.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.

Typical course fees (per year):

  • UG£20,000/$40,000
  • PG£16,500/$45,000

Career Options

As a civil engineering graduate, you will be able to pursue work in a variety of fields, both related and unrelated to civil engineering. You could work as a civil engineer, within organisations such as local authorities, utilities companies and other private companies. You might also choose to work as a self-employed consultant, who collaborates with companies to help design, assist the construction and manage the maintenance of infrastructures.

As well as working directly in civil engineering, graduates will be able to find work in other areas, such as law, architecture, business, real estate, and management consulting. You will have gained a wide range of transferable skills throughout your studies, including problem solving, time management, effective decision making and communication.

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