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Guide to studying Civil Engineering

Civil engineers deal with the infrastructure we live in, from the roads we walk on to how waste is disposed of.

Two architects kneeling on the floor and discussing over blueprint


  1. What's Civil Engineering?

  2. Why study Civil Engineering?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Civil Engineering graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineering is all about the planning, construction and maintenance of man-made structures such as buildings, roads, bridges, canals and dams.

Established as the most significant branch of engineering after military engineering, the name is designed to distinguish it as non-armoury. Most civil engineering is funded by the central government.

Why study Civil Engineering?

Through Civil Engineering, you’ll play an instrumental role in our physical environment. Civil engineers are involved in the whole process, from designing a project to bringing it to life and maintaining it.

It's a fast-paced and challenging industry, but a rewarding one. You'll likely be able to see the results of your hard work through projects that come to life.

Most Civil Engineering courses include the option for an industry placement during the degree. You may even get paid for the work you do. Furthermore, a lot of undergraduate courses can include a master's year, and postgraduate options are in abundance.

Graduate jobs are easy to come by, as civil engineers are always in demand. Graduate starting salaries for the subject area are pretty high, too.

The subject area is very diverse, as you'll learn valuable transferable skills that can be employed to numerous professions. This includes problem solving, decision making and analysing.

What jobs can you get as a Civil Engineering graduate?

Civil Engineering degrees produce supply for increasing demand. There's a growing need for those who can design and build the structures that allow modern life to happen.

Particular job areas include building surveyor, consultant, contract worker, site engineer, structural engineer, geologist, and quantity surveyor.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Civil Engineering graduates, such as BAE.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

You'll usually need an A Level (or equivalent) in Mathematics. Subjects that will be helpful on your application are Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geology and Physics.

Always confirm the grades and other requirements for the particular institution you're interested in. They can vary and change.

What degrees can you study?

  • BEng Civil and Energy Engineering
  • BEng Civil Engineering with a year abroad
  • BEng Engineering Geology and Geotechnics
  • MEng Civil Engineering and Management

How will you be assessed?

Assessment is carried out via a range of methods. This includes lectures, laboratory classes, tutorials, group work and one-to-one sessions with tutors.

Most courses have close ties to industry, which gives you the chance to take a year in industry typically in the third year of a four-year course. This is usually assessed via reports and employer feedback.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include MSc in Applied Geotechnics, Bridge Engineering, Building Services Engineering, Engineering Management, Sanitation Engineering and Concrete Structures.

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