Civil engineers are disciplined in areas concerned with building, designing and maintaining constructions, such as bridges, canals, buildings, dams and roads. Civil engineering degrees can be tough but very rewarding; therefore this type of degree is ideal for those that consider themselves to be practical and creative. Civil engineering is established as the second major branch of engineering after military engineering. Most civil engineering is funded by the government.
Russell Group universities may ask students for A*A*A*; however, the grades required to study this degree differs depending on the institution. Almost all degree courses in civil engineering will ask students to have an A-Level in Mathematics and Physics, or at least one science topic as well. Students are advised to research their chosen universities to ensure they understand the entry requirements for their desired course. Students should also investigate the university entry requirements as other qualifications are accepted.
Students are able to study for a BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) or BSc (Bachelor of Science) undergraduate degrees, the main difference between the two is that BEng degrees tend to end in accredited engineer status, while BSc’s do not guarantee this status to its students.
Students who are considering a joint honours degree can consider pairing up with Physics, Computer Science or Geology (science-based subjects compliment civil engineering).
Universities also offer a four-year course with a MEng (Master’s of Engineering) included, however, students may need higher A-Level qualifications to be accepted onto this course. Although candidates are able to apply for a MEng separately after completing their degree.
A decent civil engineering degree will offer a year out in the industry – a sandwich year. Sandwich/placement year will optimise employability as they look good to employers and students have the chance to gain real, hands-on experience while studying (Learn more – Is having a placement good for your degree).
A few options for students is to study a BEng in Civil Engineering with a year abroad, BEng Civil and Energy Engineering, and BEng Engineering Geology and Geotechnics.
Civil engineering is a practical subject and includes a vast amount of project work for students. Students will expect to be planning and prepare for something that they have had a long time to put together. As a Civil Engineer, candidates will become involved in construction, planning and maintaining the physical environment, which includes, transport systems, buildings, water collection and treatment.
Assessments are carried out through a variety of methods, including lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes, group work and participation during class and with tutors. Most degree courses and universities have close ties to companies and the industry, allowing students to take a year out to complete a sandwich year and to aid graduate job prospects.
Students will gain essential skills such as mathematics and physics, as well as initial design concepts and engineering solutions to practical issues. Individuals will train their ability to manage projects and resources. Team-work and personal initiative are very important in this area of study and work.
Students who attend university gain numerous skills which can be implemented later in life, such as time management and organisational skills through the completion of coursework, and social skills from time spent on group projects and presentations.
Civil engineering is a diverse profession and graduates go on to become involved in many areas from designing and planning, to enhancing buildings and energy efficiency. Civil engineering is perfect for those who enjoy problem-solving and science-based subjects such as maths or physics.
Civil engineers focus on public infrastructure that is used by millions of individuals every day. Civil engineers are also in demand by employers all over the world; therefore, the opportunity to travel is prominent.
Many students choose to continue their studies and to gain a MEng degree or begin their journey working towards becoming a certified civil engineer. Those who are keen on green technology and sustainable building can use their skills to become an environmental consultant.
This type of degree offers employment prospects such as; Consultancy and Contract work, Building Surveyor, Site Engineer, Quantity Surveying, Geologist, Patency and Structural Engineer. As well as, moving into the Research and Development positions, including; Research and Development Engineer, Finite Element Analyst, or even teach and become a Lecturer – this will require a PGCE qualification.
There are many MEngs and research degrees at postgraduate level for students wishing to continue with their studies, for example, MSc in Applied Geotechnics, Bridge Engineering, Engineering Management, Sanitation Engineering, Building Services Engineering and Concrete Structures, as well as joint Master’s programmes such as MEng Civil Engineering and Management.
Chris Vance, the actor, studied Civil Engineering at Newcastle University before starting his career in show business. He has starred in Prison Break, Dexter and Transporter: The Series.
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