We use cookies to ensure the best user experience and to serve tailored advertising. To learn more about our cookies and how to manage them, please visit our cookie policy

Register now and get ahead of the game for Clearing and results day

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 do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. 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?

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

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.

Read our seven reasons to study Civil Engineering for more information on why you might choose to study this subject area.

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.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Civil Engineering have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Civil Engineering students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

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.

Related articles

Group Of Students Using Computers In university library

Why use our university league tables?

Our university league tables can help you understand more about each university,...

08 Oct 2020
Lawyer writing on legal documents at desk in courtroom

Guide to studying Law

The study of Law will give you a broad and thorough understanding into the legal systems...

11 Jan 2021
College students having discussion under tree on campus

Top ten most popular courses for international...

What do international students study at universities in the UK? We count down the ten...

10 Mar 2020

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Sorry about that...



Thanks for your feedback!