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Study Civil Engineering abroad

About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Careers prospects
  • Studying Civil Engineering
  • Where to study?
Civil Engineering

Defined as the practice of designing, constructing and maintaining a built environment, civil engineering is a thriving industry that helps support both the public and private sector. A civil engineer graduate can choose to specialise in many different areas of study from structural engineering, environmental engineering to nanotechnology. This diverse range of subjects ensures that graduates have many career options making civil engineering a popular subject choice among potential students.

Although most people associate civil engineering with the production of modern technology, the industry has been around since 4000BC when transport was needed for the first humans to build constructions such as the Egyptian Pyramids and The Great Wall of China. The term ‘civil engineering’ however is a recent one first used in the 1800s to distinguish between engineering that was done for a military purpose and engineering that was not.

Is this the course for me?

As a student of Civil Engineering, you must have a passion for design and construction, on both smaller and larger scales. The course will be structured to allow students the opportunity to gain an understanding of the basic principles of design and an appreciation of the importance construction plays within society at large.

It is also important for any undergraduate on this course to have an interest in both maths and physics as well as architecture as principles from all of these subjects are key to understanding civil engineering.

Civil engineering is also a very demanding course. The most successful students tend to be those who are hard-working, organised and able to remain motivated. If these character traits sound familiar, then a degree in civil engineering may be the right course for you.

Careers prospects

Given that there is such a range of specialist subjects for those studying civil engineering, the career prospects for any given graduate will depend upon the modules they opted to study while at university. However, those with a Civil Engineering degree are most likely to find employment in sectors such as property and construction, manufacturing and structural engineering as well as working on conservation projects; the possibilities are endless.

The average salary for a UK graduate is £23,720 and engineering skills are vital to the infrastructure of civilisation, so there is a high earning potential for those considering taking on work as a civil engineer as well as a high number of jobs available. Given that civil engineering is such an important industry on a global scale, a qualification in this field also allows potential graduates the opportunity to travel.

However, pursuing a career in engineering is not compulsory for those with a Civil Engineering degree. Many graduates choose to take post-graduate qualifications in business, law, journalism or even teaching.

Studying Civil Engineering

Civil engineering courses at a reputable establishment often request high grades, with the majority of Universities expecting their applicants to have A-levels or equivalent qualifications in Maths and Science. The degree will build upon your knowledge of maths and science, so your grades will be important; whichever university you decide to attend.

At the end of most courses you will leave university with a BEng (3 years) or a MEng (4 years) with the MEng course including content that is the educational foundation for students to achieve Chartered Engineer status. If you’re studying in Scotland, then these courses will take a year longer to complete.
Most engineering courses assess their students through the setting of personal projects as well as expecting their students to become involved in work placement schemes through the University. Most universities will have links with Civil Engineering companies and will be able to assist in the finding of placements.

Engineering students are also expected to attend regular lectures and on occasion sit examinations and as such it is important that all students are fluent in English. If English is not your native language, then you will be required to score a minimum of 6.0 - 6.5 on an ITELTS test.

Where to study?

The most important thing to consider when you’re deciding where to study are the module options available at each of the universities, and the skill-sets of the lecturers. Although many of the core degree modules are similar between courses, different universities will offer a number of different optional modules. If you already have an idea regarding which area of study you are interested in specialising in, it is worth investigating whether your university of choice offers you module choices that will benefit your post-graduate career.

Irrespective of which course you decide to study, the location of the university itself should also be taken into consideration when deciding where to study. Discovering new cultures and meeting new people is a huge part of student life and it is vital that you make the most of your university experience. Generally, you will be studying for a minimum of 3 years, so it is important that your university of choice is located in an environment where you will thrive both socially and academically. Some potential students prefer to study in big cities with large campus universities whereas others prefer smaller establishments with a more communal focus.

You should always look at the entry requirements and your own finances before submitting an application to your university of choice. Do you have the right grades for entry? Are the fees manageable along with the cost of living? If you’re still struggling to secure funding there are a number of options available to you including scholarships and bursaries.

What Civil Engineering courses are there?


Civil Engineering (General)


Water Management


Geotechnical Engineering


Transport Engineering

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