What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including public works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewerage systems, pipelines, structural components of buildings, and railways. Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines. It is considered the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it is defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. Civil engineering takes place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.


What civil engineers do:

Civil engineering is one of the oldest professions. As far back as the Great Pyramids at Giza, brilliant engineering minds have been thinking up ways to design and build mind-blowing structures. Today, the only thing that has changed is what they create. With new, lighter and stronger materials to work with, and greater challenges to be met, there is no limit to what civil engineers can achieve. They build towers, bridges, roads, railways and tunnels; airports and mines; dams, ports and harbours; water supplies and sewerage schemes; and irrigation systems and flood mitigation works. In fact, any infrastructure that's required to run our modern society needs the input of civil engineers along the way.

The profession is very broad, with opportunities for a specialised career, including:

  • construction engineers and managers
  • geotechnical engineers
  • structural engineers
  • transport engineers
  • water engineers
  • civil engineers with architecture