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.

3rd in the UK

Bristol is ranked 3rd in the UK for Civil Engineering (Guardian University Guide 2023).

World-class facilities

Our students have access to world-class laboratory facilities, including the most advanced earthquake shaking table in Europe.

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

Four people standing together holding large pads of paper.

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

Students working together in the earthquake lab

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

Two people working together on a laptop.

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.

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