Marple aqueduct spanning the River Goyt

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the construction, design, and maintenance of the physical and natural environment, including works like bridges, dams, roads, buildings, and canals. Civil engineering is the second oldest engineering discipline in the world behind military engineering. It is conventionally broken into several sub-disciplines, such as geophysics, environmental engineering, structural engineering, water resources engineering, earth science, and urban engineering. It takes place on all levels, including both the public sector (municipal) and the private sector (homeowners).

Program Information

The University of California Berkeley has one of the top Civil engineering programs in the country. The undergraduate program offers opportunities for fellowship, rigorous academic learning, hands-on experience, and leadership. Small classes allow you to interact and get to know fellow students and the faculty. There are 5 programs: Energy, Engineering and Project Management, Civil Infrastructure and Climate, Structural Engineering, and Environmental Engineering. You will learn to solve societal problems such as protecting resources, infrastructure, mitigating hazards, and how to create sustainable and efficient civil systems. MIT  also has an excellent civil engineering program. The Civil & Environmental Engineering Department offers undergraduate degrees in Environmental Engineering Science, Civil Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering. The program provides an education in math, science, physics, and engineering fundamentals, and emphasizes hands-on design case studies and projects that supply motivation and context. The 3 degrees share a common core, which includes subjects in mechanics, ecology, engineering design, and mathematics. Undergraduates learn from outstanding faculty members who will prepare students for either graduate school or a career in civil engineering.

civil eng student

Pros & Cons

It is possible to start a career as a Civil engineer with only a bachelor’s degree, which helps save tuition money and the amount of time you need to spend in school. Continuing education may be required throughout your career, however. Civil engineers generally work a typical 40 hour work week. There is a large employment growth (24%) expected over the next decade, and the average annual wage for a Civil engineer is much higher than average ($82 000 in 2011). Civil engineers are required to complete a lengthy, two part licensing process, which while not necessarily difficult, it is time consuming. Civil engineers may have to travel extensively to various job sites. Also, while graduate school is not required, most undergraduate degrees in Engineering take 5 years to complete due to the difficult nature of the material and heavy course load.

Graduate School & Career

Graduate school is not a requirement to become a Civil engineer, although continuing education throughout your career is recommended. Civil engineers are responsible for supervising and designing projects. The field is very diverse, as you can work in transportation, structural, and environmental civil engineering. Another career option is becoming a technician. They assist researchers or engineers with development and handle all the technical aspects that come with civil engineering. They perform experiments, set up equipment, and collect the information engineers and scientists need. Some people choose to become drafters. They receive notes and other information from engineers so they can make visual guidelines for construction crews or the engineers themselves. They prepare drawings on the computer or by hand. Surveying is another career option. They map and measure land, and use equipment to collect data on precise land boundaries or research former buildings on the land.