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specialising in civil engineering for your masters will improve your chances of landing a high paying job
Roshna Mohan

Roshna Mohan is a Content Writer at Hotcourses India - an IDP company. A post-graduate in Biotechnology, she chose content writing as her career out of sheer interest. Reading and cooking are her stress-busters. Talk about these to take the introvert out of the ambivert. Her all-time favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Yuval Noah Harari and Robin Cook.


25 Sep 2020 62.7K Book icon 5 mins Share

Which specialisation will you choose for your master’s in Civil Engineering?

This article discusses the various specialisations that students can choose for a master’s degree in civil engineering.

25 Sep 2020 62.7K Book icon 5 mins Share
specialising in civil engineering for your masters will improve your chances of landing a high paying job

Ever looked at London’s Olympic stadium, the Messina Bridge in Sicily or even the Dynamic Tower of Dubai - and wished you could have been part of the team that put it together? 

Maybe it’s not too late to grab your chance of building the next stadium for the Olympics! A career in civil engineering could well be the way forward for you! Studying Civil Engineering abroad will inspire you, improve your skills and enhance future employability.

As per the US Department of Labour, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Ed., Civil Engineers, Employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The reason being, with the ever-changing world, civil engineers will be needed to manage small to high-scale projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads, build or repair dams as well as airports and build structures of all types across every country. 

Why is civil engineering important?

Civil engineers created the marvellous structures seen around the world.Civil engineering is a professional discipline of engineering that deals with designing, constructing, and maintaining the natural and physically built environment. Civil engineers are responsible for:

  • The building of bridges, roads, skyscrapers, canals, dams, and other such big structures
  • Creating the surroundings, as we know it
  • Improving and protecting our lives
  • Generating sustainable energy in this era of fast depleting fuel and resources
  • Ensuring the supply of clean water; a world without that would be unimaginable.

Undergraduate civil engineering programmes

A course in civil engineering lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years, depending on the level of study. Subjects that are usually covered include mathematics, physics, materials science, design, geometrics, project management, sustainability, environmental studies, and construction management. The Institution of Civil Engineers, located in Scotland monitors the quality of the civil engineering courses provides by institutions worldwide.

Undergraduate civil engineering programmes abroad generally last for four years and their qualifications are highly valued and recognised internationally. Students are given a solid foundation in engineering science and technology for the first two years. Students will acquire skills in communication, teamwork, critical thinking, sketching, and drawing. Year one takes them through general subjects like fluid mechanics, geotechnics, energy and infrastructure, environmental engineering science, professional engineering practice, mathematics and so on.  

They are also given field courses in practical land surveying. Year two of the degree take students through structural mechanics, soil mechanics, engineering geology and makes student involve themselves design projects and gives students a deeper look into the construction industry. By the time students progress on to years three and four, they will begin to tailor their interests and preferences in the field. Year three is all about the core subjects and year four is for students to take up a project with numerous optional modules. On the completion of the UG program, the students can go on to an MEng degree in the field.

Browse our site to check out the undergraduate civil engineering programs available across all the major study abroad destinations or contact our counsellors for professional guidance.

Know more about the fields of civil engineering

Civil engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering and is further divided into numerous other sub-disciplines. A master’s degree in civil engineering will greatly improve your career prospects.

A civil engineer working on a civil drawing

There are many areas within civil engineering you could specialise in:

  • Coastal – Coastal Engineering takes into consideration the demands for constructions in and around coastal areas. The construction works will primarily focus on protecting coastal areas against erosion and flooding. Brunel University London, The University of New Orleans and the University of Plymouth are some of the institutions that offer graduate, postgraduate or diploma courses in coastal engineering.
  • Earthquake – Earthquake Engineering designs and tests structures to ensure they are earthquake-resistant. The University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and the University of Bristol in the UK are some of the institutions abroad, where you can study Master’s in Earthquake Engineering.
  • Environmental – Environmental Engineering focuses on improving and finding new ways to protect our environment; create wind farms, work on water purification, wastewater treatment and solid waste treatment, etc. Environmental engineering is offered by several universities abroad. Michigan State University, Florida International University and Oregon State University in the USA, the University of Ottawa in Canada and the University of South Wales in the UK are some of the institutions that offer bachelor’s or master’s level courses in Environmental Engineering.
  • Structural – Structural Engineers work on the framework for building bridges, towers, flyovers, tunnels, and off-shore structures like oil and gas fields in the sea. You can choose from the 400 courses in structural engineering offered by 184 institutions abroad. The University of Ottawa, the University of South Wales, Ulster University and Heriot-Watt University are some among them.
  • Transport – Transport Engineers work on building and maintaining roads, canals, highways, rail systems, airports, and ports. The University of New South Wales, the Bristol University of the West of England, the University of Huddersfield, Newcastle University and University of Salford offers master’s courses in Transport Engineering.
  • Urban – Urban engineering primarily focus on designing, constructing, and maintaining the roads, water supply networks, sewers, municipal solid waste management and disposal, public parks, etc. it analyses and helps to find solutions to problems generally encountered in urban areas. The University of Connecticut in the USA offers courses in Transportation and Urban Engineering.
  • Water resources – Water resources engineers work on the design and construction of water resources such as pipelines, drainage facilities (including dams, channels, culverts, storm sewers), and canals. New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York and the University of Arizona are some of the institutions in the USA that offers graduate certificate courses in Water Resources Engineering.
  • Geotechnical engineering – It assesses the conditions of the soil and the risks involved in constructing buildings at the site. Masters in Geotechnical Engineering is offered by institutions such as the University of Auckland, the University of Leeds and the University of Canterbury.

Some other specialisations include geoinformatics engineering, geosciences engineering and materials engineering.

Contact our counsellors for more details on the attractive civil engineering courses offered by universities abroad at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Why study civil engineering abroad?

Studying abroad for civil engineering greatly enhances your career prospects

An increasing number of Indian students are opting to study Civil Engineering abroad in countries such as Canada, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, U.S, Australia and U.K. The primary benefits of studying the course abroad would be the exposure that you will gain to different methods of problem-solving, and varied approaches to design and development of civil engineering projects. This international experience will work in your favour, in whichever country you decide to live and work.

With the increasing globalisation of engineering practice and the massive growth of multi-national construction companies, there is a huge need for qualified graduates who are tuned in to the latest technologies and international trends, and also possess good language skills.

As a civil engineer, you will find plenty of opportunities to build and design roads, railways, airports, conserve energy, and create water supplies for people living in drought-hit areas. Graduates can find employment in either private or government organisations.

What's the return on investment?

The average pay for a civil engineer is nearly $87,060 in the USA, nearly AU$83,700 in Australia and nearly €35,993 in the UK. Having a master’s degree in civil engineering has good chances of landing you in a high paying job. The field of civil engineering in Switzerland offers a lot of career opportunities and is also one of the countries that offer good pay.

Apply now!

The study of maths and science at the high school/ foundation level is the key to gaining admission into a university abroad for a civil engineering course. The specific course pre-requites will depend on the university and country you choose. Speak to our experts who will have first-hand updates from the hundreds of universities abroad, that offer courses in civil engineering.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in March 2017. We have included up-to-date information and made it comprehensive.

Need help choosing a course?

Rohan Prince Rohan Prince,
IDP Expert
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