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What is Civil Engineering? Eligibility, Course and more

Updated on 05 May, 2023

Bulbul Sharma

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

What is civil engineering? It is mainly focused on the construction, development, and building of infrastructure. What does a civil engineer do? They are responsible for developing and maintaining manmade infrastructure and other structures, including roads, buildings, bridges, etc. 

Now that you have a basic idea about what is the work of a civil engineer, you should also know that this field is witnessing huge demand worldwide. You can do a bachelor’s program over four years and then a master’s for two years on average. Aspirants may move on to Ph.D. courses if they want to take up research and academics. 

Civil engineering is one of the oldest and most popular engineering branches. The degree covers aspects like hydraulics, mechanics, material science, and statistical analysis, among other topics.

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Why Pursue It? 

Before considering what to do after civil engineering, you should have a clear idea about why to pursue this course. Here are some reasons: 

  • Huge global demand for civil engineers, especially with growing infrastructure development. 
  • A multi-dimensional learning experience with exposure to various concepts and techniques of engineering. 
  • Opportunities for team projects, practical assignments, internships, and industry exposure during courses. 
  • Attractive employment opportunities worldwide. 

Top Study Destinations

  • USA
  • UK
  • Singapore
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland 

Top Universities 

Here’s looking at the highest-ranked global universities for civil engineering. 

NameRanking (QS 2022)CountryProgramFees & Other Details
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1USABachelor of Science in Engineering/Master of Science (Civil Engineering)$79,850 for a year (approx)
Delft University of Technology2NetherlandsBachelor of Civil Engineering/M.Sc Civil Engineering19,600 Euros per year 
National University of Singapore (NUS)3SingaporeBachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering)/M.Sc Civil EngineeringCourses offered under the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California, Berkeley (UCB)4USAB.S. in Civil Engineering$64,397 per year (approx)
University of Cambridge 5UKMSt in Construction Engineering£37,293 (approx)
Imperial College London6UKMEng Civil Engineering£ 33,750.00 (approx)
ETH Zurich7SwitzerlandMaster Civil EngineeringCHF 74 per semester 
Nanyang Technological University8SingaporeBachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering/Master of Science in Civil Engineering$20,200
Stanford University9USABAS/BSH/BASH in Civil Engineering$57,693 per year and upwards 
EPFL10Switzerland Civil Engineering-Bachelor/MasterCHF 780 per semester

General Eligibility for UG & PG 

There are varying admission requirements across undergraduate and postgraduate civil engineering courses. Here are a few common aspects that you should keep in mind: 

  • You will have to complete your 10+2 for certificate or diploma courses. 
  • You will require completion of 10+2 from a recognized educational institution for your bachelor’s program with science subjects. 
  • A B.Tech or BE degree in civil engineering is required for pursuing your master’s course, with the minimum GPA required by the institution in question. 
  • GRE scores may be required by some institutions abroad. 
  • You must provide your English language proficiency scores in examinations like TOEFL or IELTS
  • Many institutions require a Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Letters of Recommendation (LORs). 

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General Course Structure 

What is taught in civil engineering? What is surveying in civil engineering? If you have these questions and more, you can look at some common aspects that are taught as part of the curriculum for the discipline. 

  • CAD and IT Applications 
  • Designing Steel Structures
  • Designing RC Structures
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Waste Water and Water Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Structural Analysis
  • Mathematics
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Hydraulics
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Basic Electronics
  • Programming and Data Structures
  • Physics
  • Mechanics
  • Manufacturing Processes
  • Engineering Drawing and Graphics

Top Careers and Annual Salary 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that civil engineers earn approximately US $56,160 per year at the entry-level level, which may also increase to US $144,819. The median salary stands at US $88,670 per year. Aspirants may find jobs in positions like regional and urban planners, engineering technicians, quantity surveyors, construction engineers, environment engineers, building control surveyors, transportation engineers, water engineers, site engineers, CAD technicians, engineering geologists, and more. 

Here are some other job positions with their average salaries in USD: 

  • Civil Engineer- $52-94,000
  • Project Manager- $59-125,000
  • Project Engineer- $57-88,000
  • Project Manager, Construction- $50-154,000
  • Field Engineer- $56-79,000

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five types of civil engineering?

The five main types of civil engineering are structural engineering, infrastructure engineering, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, and geotechnical engineering


What will a civil engineer do?

A civil engineer will undertake responsibilities for developing and maintaining various structures like buildings and other infrastructure like bridges, roads, water resources, etc. They enable better transportation and the development of various systems for public usage. 


Is civil engineering a good career?

Civil engineering is one of the best career options for aspirants, offering stable and steady growth prospects worldwide. There is huge global demand for qualified civil engineers across companies. 


What subjects do civil engineers study?

Civil engineers study various subjects, including computational methods, engineering design, fluid mechanics, surveying sites, mathematics, and geotechnical analysis. Some of their other subjects include environmental and energy engineering, along with highway engineering and materials. 





Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Bulbul is a self-driven professional and an expert writer & editor. She has been a part of the ed-tech industry for the past 2 years now and is motivated to provide study abroad aspirants with factually correct and relevant information. Her knack for impactful writing makes her blogs worth a read!

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