Engineering education in Bristol dates back to the 18th century when the Society of Merchant Venturers created a Technical College. In 1876 University College Bristol was founded, with Civil and Mechanical Engineering in its Science Faculty. In 1901 these two organisations started to discuss merger and in 1909 the University of Bristol was born, with Civil Engineering among the first departments.
At that time the Faculty of Engineering was housed in Unity Street and concentrated on its teaching role. When new staff were appointed after the 1914-18 war, a greater emphasis was placed on research. One of the most notable recruits was Professor Andrew Robertson. His seminal work on the strength of solid and tubular struts is still used in structural design codes to this day. During this period the reputation of the Faculty gained international significance with five staff becoming FRS, four FREng, and five becoming president of their Professional Institutions.
Since then both the Faculty and Department have seen significant expansions which have benefited students. In 1946 the Queen's Building was opened, purpose built with substantial laboratory facilities. Joining the EC benefited all aspects of the Faculty's activities and allowed the creation of MEng degrees where students can spend a year in another European university. More recently the University has made significant infrastructure investments. A second engineering building housing computer laboratories and more teaching spaces opened in 1996 and in 2005 a significant investment provided a new laboratory for the shaking table facility. A recent £19m building upgrade is now open for business. Read more about how we invest in engineering.
The Department of Civil Engineering continues to expand so it can deliver world class research and education. Our graduates have the potential to become future leaders. If you would like to join us, take a look at our courses.