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.
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.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can influence the area you choose to work in once you have graduated. Common specialisations include:
If your degree requires you to write a dissertation or take part in a design project, this will give you a chance to further research a favoured area of civil engineering.
The accreditation of your degree course will depend on where you choose to study, as well as the specific content of your course. Generally you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc).
Certain civil engineering courses are also accredited by a professional body of engineering, for example the Institution of Civil Engineering, and the Institution of Structural Engineering. In certain situations, you might be required to be licensed in order to pursue a career in civil engineering.
You can study Civil Engineering at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level at University.
Typically, you can expect an undergraduate degree in civil engineering to take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time.
On successful completion of your degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could come in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements for a civil engineering degree will differ depending on where you choose to study. Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others might consider previous relevant work experience.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their civil engineering programmes.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
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.
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, utility 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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