Civil Engineering

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What is Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineering is the study of the designing of major transportation projects, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, and bridges. Students pursuing careers in civil engineering will learn to conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct, and maintain such projects. 

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

  • Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:
    • Civil Engineering –  the study of designing major transportation projects
    • Architecture – the art of designing and constructing buildings
    • Urban Planning – the planning and control of construction, growth, and development of cities and other urban areas

Studying Civil Engineering in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students an introduction to the foundational principles of civil engineering including structural design, environmental engineering, and urban development. 

Depending on the focus of their engineering studies, students will likely combine lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, design projects, and exams as benchmark assessments throughout their course progress. 

Most undergraduate engineering courses run for three or four years and in certain cases universities will facilitate work experience. 

It is common with all engineering-based subjects that students are expected to engage in a high number of contact hours with lecturers and tutors, ensuring their successful completion of a rigorous curriculum and preparing them for careers in civil engineering after university.

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research jobs. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start working in environmental industries, transportation, or project management. 

Career Options

Graduating from college with a degree in Engineering will serve you well as it equips you with a unique and marketable skill set. An engineering degree teaches students to think critically and creatively as well as equipping them with invaluable problem solving and communication skills. 

Many recent graduates have gone into ‘entry-level’ careers in civil engineering working as designers, architects, and environmental engineers. 

Other careers in civil engineering that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training and/or experience to qualify for, eg teaching, research and consulting positions.

 Related jobs include:

  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Marine Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Water Resource Engineer
  • City Planner
  • Architect
  • Project Manager
  • Transportation Engineer
  • Researcher / Professor

Further study

An undergraduate engineering degree is often the first step to go onto further postgraduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and areas of civil engineering and/or undertaking work in new, sometimes interdisciplinary fields, such as urban planning, architecture, or environmental engineering.

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  • What points do I need to study Civil Engineering?
    • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.
    • Many universities also require a Leaving Cert grade H4 in Mathematics, H6 in Laboratory Science, and O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognized subjects. 
  • Are there any particular qualities you need to study Civil Engineering?
    • Students interested in careers in Civil Engineering will need to enjoy math and science as well as sociology and urban studies. They will need to be innovative, creative, and collaborative as well as being able to communicate their own ideas and opinions. 
  • Where can I study Civil Engineering?
    • Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • The earliest example of civil engineering that still exists today is the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt!
  • The first woman to earn a degree in civil engineering was Nora Stanton Blatch. She received her degree in 1905 from Cornell University!
  • We owe the invention of a successful water slide to civil engineers who determined the precise ratio of water to ensure that you slide down instead of getting stuck!


Ethan Moser

Careers in Ecology


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