Civil Engineering

Civil engineers shape the world. They design, build and maintain the infrastructure we take for granted – every reservoir, bridge, road, tunnel and building. Their expertise is essential for a sustainable future, both in the UK and abroad.

2nd in the UK

Bristol is ranked 2nd in the UK for Civil Engineering (Guardian University Guide 2021) with a 97% score for overall student satisfaction (NSS 2020).

Earning potential

Civil Engineering graduates from Bristol earn a higher average salary 15 months after graduation than other UK graduates with the same degree (Graduate Outcomes Survey, 2017/18).

Sustainable development

The department has signed up to the Institution of Civil Engineers' and the Institution of Structural Engineers' climate emergency pledges.

Civil Engineering at Bristol

Known globally for expertise in environmental engineering and resilient infrastructure, Civil Engineering at Bristol is shaping the world we live in.

Our fully accredited courses give you the skills to design large and unique structures and tackle global environmental problems, from providing safe drinking water and renewable energy to developing disaster-resilient and sustainable infrastructure. Our students have access to world-class laboratory facilities, including the most advanced earthquake shaking table in Europe.

Our research activities provide a stimulating study environment, and our degrees provide practical experience and excellent career prospects.

The University is amazing – welcoming and well equipped. I enjoy how practical the course is. We do lots of fun projects, such as building bridges using 3D and laser printers. The teaching staff are very hands on and genuinely care about their students.

Michelle, BSc Civil Engineering

Career prospects

Upon graduation you will be recognised by ICE, IStrucE, CIHT and IHE as an incorporated engineer, on your path to becoming a chartered engineer.

There are huge engineering challenges to be solved over the next 50 years, such as tackling climate change, inventing creative energy solutions and renewing our infrastructure. We equip you with the skills needed to become a future leader in civil engineering.

Our graduates are highly sought after by top employers, including civil engineering consultancies, utility companies, the army, public transport, power generation and supply companies.

A high proportion of our graduates progress to further study. You will need further approved training with an employer to gain Chartered Engineer status.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

You will learn about:

  • environmental and sustainable engineering
  • designing and building major structures
  • project management
  • community and infrastructure planning, design and liaison
  • disaster risk management
  • urban infrastructure and smart cities. 

The first two years cover the basics of engineering analysis and design. This includes structures, mathematics, soil and fluid mechanics, materials, computing and surveying. You will make and test models of structures such as buildings or bridges, and learn about their design.

In year three you will undertake a major research project with supervision from a relevant academic expert. Units in professional studies will widen your knowledge of the business, management, ethics and legal sides of the construction industry. You will gain scheme design skills including structures like dams, buildings, and road intersections.

In year four you can develop your specialist knowledge through optional units which may include Smart Cities, Advanced Structural Design, Water Resources Management, Renewable Energy, Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development, or Earthquake Engineering. For MEng students, the fourth year culminates in a design project based on real design problems that have often emerged through our links with industry.

Industry connections

Through our strong industry links and dedicated Industrial Liaison Office, you can benefit from an industrial mentor and develop practical engineering experience in design offices and on construction sites. Our internship scheme attracts a wide range of technology and engineering companies, allowing you to make important connections for the future.

Civil Engineering

Clearing 2021

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Civil engineers make a difference to the world and to people's quality of life. They are responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of much of the infrastructure that society relies on, including reservoirs, dams, bridges, roads, tunnels and large buildings. They tackle global environmental challenges, such as the need for resilient infrastructure, sustainable development, water and energy.

Why study Civil Engineering at Bristol?

Bristol offers research-led teaching that shapes the next generation of engineers. We rank among the top civil engineering departments in the country (second in the Guardian University Guide 2021; fifth in the Complete University Guide 2021). Our 93 per cent score for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2020) demonstrates our commitment to outstanding teaching and research.

Working with professional institutions, the Department of Civil Engineering anticipates emerging needs and the future of civil engineering. Our research activities provide a stimulating study environment and our strong industry links and mentor scheme provide practical experience and excellent career prospects.

Known for our expertise in environmental engineering and resilient infrastructure, our department boasts world-class laboratory facilities, including the most advanced earthquake shaking table in Europe.

Our fully accredited courses give you the skills to design large and unique structures and tackle global environmental problems, from providing safe drinking water and renewable energy to developing disaster-resilient and sustainable infrastructure. Our degrees emphasise design and provide practical experience and excellent career prospects.

Course structure reflects developing knowledge and the latest advances in the subject. We equip you to become a leader by sharing the latest innovations from leading international researchers and professional institutions. You will develop your technical and project management skills and be encouraged to think innovatively, enhancing your employability.

Through our strong industry links and dedicated Industrial Liaison Office, you can benefit from an industrial mentor and develop practical engineering experience in design offices and on construction sites. Our internship scheme attracts a wide range of technology and engineering companies, allowing you to make important connections for the future.

What kind of student would this course suit?

These courses will suit you if you are a creative student with a strong interest in working in a fast-moving, challenging and rewarding profession involving design, construction and management of the built environment. You will be a good all-rounder with excellent mathematical skills. Strong people skills are also very useful.

You will develop an excellent set of transferable skills, including effective oral and written communication, the ability to define problems, problem solving, teamwork and leadership.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our courses are demanding but you will be taught in a friendly and supportive environment. Your first two years cover the core elements of engineering analysis and design and some specialist optional topics. The third and fourth years add further core and specialist topics and you will undertake substantial research and design projects.

We provide a wide variety of learning methods, including lectures, tutored classes, computer-based analysis, site visits and group work in laboratories and on projects. Practising engineers may deliver special lectures or co-supervise projects.

Learning is assessed through a combination of written examinations, reports and oral or poster presentations.

What are my career prospects?

There are huge engineering challenges to be solved over the next 50 years, such as tackling climate change, inventing creative energy solutions and renewing our infrastructure. We equip you with the skills needed to become a future leader in civil engineering.

Our graduates are highly sought after by top employers, including civil engineering consultancies, utility companies, the army, public transport, power generation and supply companies. Starting salaries in this field are competitive and recruiters of civil engineering graduates often look for accredited degrees.

A high proportion of our graduates progress to further study. Further approved training with an employer is required to gain Chartered Engineer status.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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