What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering covers a wide range of job roles and specialisms including consulting civil engineers who design projects and contracting civil engineers who take plans and make them into real structures.


What’s required for the role?

  • Strong communication skills
  • Creativity and problem-solving ability
  • Analytical skills
  • Maths and IT skills
  • Teamwork and the ability to liaise well with professionals from other disciplines
  • An interest in the design and structure of buildings
  • Technical competence
  • Project and people management skills

The details

Learn more about the role

What's the role like in practice?

Civil engineers can work on the contracting or consulting part of a build project. The work is quite different and good research is recommended before choosing one path over another. Engineering graduates will use their professional expertise to ensure the designs are implemented correctly, to manage teams on site and ensure the projects run to time and budget.

What's the work environment like?

Contracting engineers will spend more time on site, working with a particular project for perhaps a year. Consulting engineers tend to work on multiple projects and be more office based, with client liaison, meetings and presentations key part of the role.

What qualifications are required?

Entry into civil engineering is typically via an engineering degree or similar qualification, or through an apprenticeship. Both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are available. Civil engineers can work towards the professional status with the Institute of Civil Engineers.

Is it for you?

You might like if you enjoy:

  • Using science, technology and design to create infrastructure solutions
  • Using visual intelligence and perceptual skills to use plan, charts and diagrams

Other useful skills to have:

  • Researching and explaining data in specialist areas
  • Working in teams
  • Maths skills
  • Using specialist IT programmes and equipment


How are civil engineers responding to the need for sustainability?

The Institution of Civil Engineers has acknowledged the part the civil engineering sector can play in building a more sustainable future for the planet.  For civil engineers, sustainability is about the environment, corporate responsibility, oversight, and of course, health and safety.

Although cutting waste in the supply chain and using environmentally friendly products is important, it’s also about adding value to the supply chain, less reliance on traditional power sources and innovative, greener designs that achieve energy efficiency, mass efficiency, low environmental emissions and  cut down the carbon footprint.

Employment opportunities

Where will it take you?

Opportunities exist in the UK, Europe and globally. Firms usually expect a relevant degree and relevant experience for more senior roles. Employers include consultancies, global infrastructure firms, and construction firms.


Bridget Wells

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+44 (0)118 921 4392

Admissions Team


UK (Free): 0800 019 9697 (Option 1)

International: +44 (0)118 921 4696 (Option 1)

Enquiries Team


UK (Free): 0800 019 9697

International: +44 (0)118 921 4696