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What can I do with my degree?: Civil engineering

A civil engineering degree prepares you for work in the construction industry as well as in the broader business, management and financial sectors

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Employers place great importance on experience. If your course does not include an industrial placement, look for relevant summer work experience and placements. Any kind of role in a construction or civil engineering setting will allow you to build your understanding of issues related to the planning and execution of projects. Use this experience to expand your knowledge and to develop contacts and network.

Casual, hands-on construction work and administrative jobs may be available, but many employers offer structured work experience opportunities.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Civil and structural engineers work in a range of sectors, particularly the construction sector, on buildings of all kinds, transport and communications infrastructure. This includes bridges, roads, tunnels, canals and other large structures. They also work for employers involved in the production, storage and distribution of electricity, gas and water.

Civil engineers are employed by a wide range of contractors and consultancies and also work in-house for a variety of national and multinational organisations. There are many opportunities in the public sector, with local authorities, government departments and environmental organisations, where engineers are often involved in setting project specifications and drafting tender documents. Opportunities are available with employers both in the UK and overseas.

Find information on employers in engineering and manufacturingproperty and construction, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Civil engineers are in demand for their technical and subject-specific knowledge and understanding. With a sound grasp of science, mathematics and technology, you can design, create and build structures efficiently, making best use of available resources and techniques. Through realistic construction-based group projects, you gain practical experience of applying your engineering judgement and working successfully with others.

The skills gained by studying civil engineering are also sought after by employers in many other job areas. These include a creative approach to problem-solving, critical thinking and the ability to interpret data, numeracy, IT and communication skills, analytical and decision-making abilities, and an awareness of ethical issues.

Further study

Most new graduates who enter professional training with a civil engineering company continue to study part time while working in order to achieve professional standards to become either chartered (CEng) or incorporated (IEng) engineers. The routes to professional status are outlined by the Engineering Council .

Civil engineering courses at postgraduate level allow students to develop specialist knowledge in a particular area, such as water management, earthquake engineering, maritime civil engineering, environmental engineering and a wide range of other general and specific options. It is possible to carry out research through an MRes, MPhil or PhD, or to do a taught Masters course in these areas.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search postgraduate courses.

What do civil engineering graduates do?

More than half of civil engineering graduates in employment in the UK are working as civil engineers six months after graduating.

Almost 15% of civil engineering graduates go on to further study or combine further study and work, often undertaking research into an area of particular interest from their undergraduate degree. 

Graduate destinations for civil engineering
Destinations Percentage
Employed 75.1%
Further study 11.1%
Working and studying 3.6%
Unemployed 6.3%
Other 3.9%
Types of work entered in the UK
Engineering and building 70.6%
Technicians and other professionals 5.9%
Business, HR and financial 5.1%
Retail, catering and bar work 4.8%
Other 13.6%

For a detailed breakdown of what civil engineering graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
February 2014

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