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Options with your subject: Civil engineering

A civil engineering degree prepares you to work in various engineering areas, from construction to communications infrastructure...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Roles are available in both engineering organisations and other industries. Civil engineering graduates are also valued in commercial and corporate sectors such as finance, banking and accountancy.

Your degree would be of great value in operational management, supply chain management, procurement, intellectual property, logistics and after-sales management.

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Photo: Civil engineer on a building site

Civil engineers use their skills to design and develop structures such as bridges, buildings and tunnels

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 me, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Employers place great importance on experience. If your course does not include an industrial placement, seeking work experience in the holidays would be useful. Any kind of role in a construction or civil engineering setting would allow you to build your understanding of issues related to the planning and execution of projects. 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 engineering covers several specialised sectors including buildings of all kinds, transport and communications infrastructure. This includes bridges, roads, tunnels, canals and other large structures. They can also be 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 large 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.

Find information on employers in property and construction, engineering and manufacturing, 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 transferable skills gained by studying civil engineering also suit 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, and an awareness of ethical issues.

Further study

Most new graduates who enter professional training with a civil engineering company will continue to study part time while they are 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 courses and research.

What do civil engineering graduates do?

Just less than half of civil engineering graduates employed in the UK are working as civil engineers six months after graduating. Other professions in the top ten include mechanical engineers, design and development engineers, environment professionals and quantity surveyors.

Graduate destinations for civil engineering
Destinations Percentage
Employed 71.6%
Further study 11.5%
Working and studying 4.4%
Unemployed 8.5%
Other 4%
Types of work entered in the UK
Engineering and building 66.2%
Technicians and other professionals 6.8%
Business, HR and financial 5.3%
Retail, catering and bar work 4.7%
Other 17%

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
January 2012

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