Civil engineer

Civil engineer

Overview
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.

Originally, a civil engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

 worked on public works projects and was contrasted with the military engineer
Military engineer
In military science, engineering refers to the practice of designing, building, maintaining and dismantling military works, including offensive, defensive and logistical structures, to shape the physical operating environment in war...

, who worked on armaments and defenses.
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Encyclopedia
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.

Originally, a civil engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

 worked on public works projects and was contrasted with the military engineer
Military engineer
In military science, engineering refers to the practice of designing, building, maintaining and dismantling military works, including offensive, defensive and logistical structures, to shape the physical operating environment in war...

, who worked on armaments and defenses. Over time, various branches of engineering have become recognized as distinct from civil engineering, including chemical engineering
Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with physical science , and life sciences with mathematics and economics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms...

, mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, and electrical engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

, while much of military engineering has been absorbed by civil engineering.

In some places, a civil engineer may perform land surveying; in others, surveying is limited to construction surveying, unless an additional qualification is obtained. On some U.S. military bases, the personnel responsible for building and grounds maintenance, such as grass mowing, are called civil engineers and are not required to meet any minimum educational requirements.

Specialization


Civil engineers usually practice in a particular specialty, such as construction engineering
Construction engineering
Construction engineering is a professional discipline that deals with the designing, planning, construction, and management of infrastructures such as highways, bridges, airports, railroads, buildings, dams, and utilities. Construction Engineers are unique such that they are a cross between civil...

, geotechnical engineering
Geotechnical engineering
Geotechnical engineering is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials. Geotechnical engineering is important in civil engineering, but is also used by military, mining, petroleum, or any other engineering concerned with construction on or in the ground...

, structural engineering
Structural engineering
Structural engineering is a field of engineering dealing with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering is usually considered a specialty within civil engineering, but it can also be studied in its own right....

, land development
Land development
Land development refers to altering the landscape in any number of ways such as:* changing landforms from a natural or semi-natural state for a purpose such as agriculture or housing...

, transportation engineering, hydraulic engineering
Hydraulic engineering
This article is about civil engineering. For the mechanical engineering discipline see Hydraulic machineryHydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive...

, and environmental engineering
Environmental engineering
Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to improve the natural environment , to provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation and for other organisms, and to remediate polluted sites...

. Some civil engineers, particularly those working for government agencies, may practice across multiple specializations, particularly when involved in critical infrastructure
Critical infrastructure
Critical infrastructure is a term used by governments to describe assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Most commonly associated with the term are facilities for:*electricity generation, transmission and distribution;...

 development or maintenance.

Education and licensing


In most countries, a civil engineer will have graduated from a post-secondary school with a degree in civil engineering, which requires a strong background in mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and the physical science
Physical science
Physical science is an encompassing term for the branches of natural science and science that study non-living systems, in contrast to the life sciences...

s; this degree is typically a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

, though many civil engineers study further to obtain masters
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

, engineer
Engineer's degree
An engineer's degree is an advanced academic degree in engineering that is conferred in Europe, some countries of Latin America, and a few institutions in the United States....

, doctoral and post doctoral
Postdoctoral researcher
Postdoctoral research is scholarly research conducted by a person who has recently completed doctoral studies, normally within the previous five years. It is intended to further deepen expertise in a specialist subject, including acquiring novel skills and methods...

 degrees. In many countries, civil engineers are subject to licensure
Licensure
Licensure refers to the granting of a license, which gives a "permission to practice." Such licenses are usually issued in order to regulate some activity that is deemed to be dangerous or a threat to the person or the public or which involves a high level of specialized skill...

. In jurisdictions with mandatory licensing, people who do not obtain a license may not call themselves "civil engineers."

Belgium


In Belgium, Civil Engineer (abbreviated ir.) is a legally protected title applicable to graduates of the five-year engineering course of one of the six universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 and the Royal Military Academy. Their speciality can be all fields of engineering: civil
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

, structural
Structural engineering
Structural engineering is a field of engineering dealing with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering is usually considered a specialty within civil engineering, but it can also be studied in its own right....

, electrical
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

, mechanical
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, chemical
Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with physical science , and life sciences with mathematics and economics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms...

, physics
Engineering physics
Engineering physics is the study of the combined disciplines of physics, engineering and mathematics in order to develop an understanding of the interrelationships of these three disciplines. Fundamental physics is combined with problem solving and engineering skills, which then has broad...

 and even computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

. This use of the title may cause confusion to the English speaker as the Belgian "civil" engineer can have a speciality other than civil engineering. In fact, Belgians use the adjective "civil" as an opposition to military engineers.

The formation of the civil engineer has a strong mathematical
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and scientific
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 base and is more theoretical in approach than the practical oriented industrial engineer (ing.) educated in a five-year program at a polytechnic. Traditionally, students were required to pass an entrance exam on mathematics to start civil engineering studies. This exam was abolished in 2004 for the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

, but is still organised in the French Community
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

.

Scandinavia


In Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n countries, civil engineer (civilingenjör (Swedish), sivilingeniør (Norwegian), civilingeniør (Danish)) is a first professional degree
First professional degree
A professional degree prepares the holder for a particular profession by emphasizing competency skills along with theory and analysis. These professions are typically licensed or otherwise regulated by a governmental or government-approved body...

, approximately equivalent to Master of Science in Engineering
Master of Science in Engineering
A Master of Science in Engineering or Master of Science is an academic degree to be differentiated from a Master of Engineering....

, and a protected title granted to students by selected institutes of technology
Institute of technology
Institute of technology is a designation employed in a wide range of learning institutions awarding different types of degrees and operating often at variable levels of the educational system...

. As in English the word has its origin in the distinction between civilian and military engineers, as in before the start of the 19th century only military engineers existed and the prefix "civil" was a way to separate those who had studied engineering in a regular University from their military counterparts. Today the degree spans over all fields within engineering, like civil engineering, computer science, electronics engineering, etc.

There is generally a slight difference between a Master of Science in Engineering degree and the Scandinavian civil engineer degree, the latter's programme having closer ties with the industry's demands. A civil engineer is the most well-known of the two; still, the area of expertise remains obfuscated for most of the public. A noteworthy difference is the mandatory courses in mathematics and physics, regardless of the equivalent master degree, e.g. computer science.

Although a 'college engineer' (högskoleingenjör, diplomingenjör/mellaningenjör (Swedish), høgskoleingeniør (Norwegian), diplomingeniør (Danish)) is roughly equivalent to a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in Scandinavia, to become a 'civil engineer' one often has had to do up to one extra year of overlapping studies compared to attaining a B.Sc./M.Sc. combination. This is because the higher educational system is not fully adopted to the international standard graduation system, since it is treated as a professional degree. Today (2009) this is starting to change due to the Bologna process
Bologna process
The purpose of the Bologna Process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention...

.

A Scandinavian "civilingenjör" will in international contexts commonly call herself "Master of Science in Engineering" and will occasionally wear an engineering class ring
Class ring
A class ring is a ring worn by students and alumni in the United States and Canada to commemorate their graduation, generally for a high school, college, or university.-History:...

. At the Norwegian Institute of Technology
Norwegian Institute of Technology
The Norwegian Institute of Technology, known by its Norwegian abbrevation NTH was a science institute in Trondheim, Norway. It was established in 1910, and existed as an independent technical university for 85 years, after which it was merged into the University of Trondheim as an independent...

 (now the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology , commonly known as NTNU, is located in Trondheim. NTNU is the second largest of the eight universities in Norway, and, as its name suggests, has the main national responsibility for higher education in engineering and technology...

), the tradition with a NTH Ring
NTH Ring
The NTH Ring known by many names in Norway, NTH-ringen, first known as Høiskoleringen, also known as Ringen, Sivilingeniørringen, NTNU/NTH-ringen or Master-ringen...

 goes back to 1914, before the Canadian iron ring
Iron Ring
The Iron Ring is a ring worn by many engineers in Canada as a symbol and reminder of the obligations and ethics associated with the profession. Obtaining the ring is an optional endeavour, as it is not a prerequisite to becoming a Professional Engineer...

.

In Norway the title "Sivilingeniør" will no longer be issued after 2007, and have been replaced with "Master i teknologi". In the English translation of the diploma, the title will be "Master of Science", since "Master of Technology" is not an established title in the English-speaking world. The extra overlapping year of studies have also been abolished with this change to make Norwegian degrees more equal to their international counterparts.

Spain


In Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, a civil engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

 degree can be obtained after four years of study in the various branches of mathematics, physics, mechanics, etc. The earned degree is called Grado en Ingeniería Civil. Further studies at a Graduate school
Graduate school
A graduate school is a school that awards advanced academic degrees with the general requirement that students must have earned a previous undergraduate degree...

 include master's and doctoral degrees.

Before the current situation, that is, before the implementation of Bologna Process
Bologna process
The purpose of the Bologna Process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention...

 in 2010, a Civil Engineering degree in Spain could be obtained after three or five years of study. In the first case, the earned degree was called Ingeniero Técnico de Obras Públicas (ITOP), literally translated as "Public Works Engineer"; at the second case, the academic earned degree was called Ingeniero de Caminos, Canales y Puertos (often shortened to Ingeniero de Caminos or ICCP), that literally means "Roads, Canals and Harbors Engineer", though civil engineers in Spain practice in the same fields as civil engineers do elsewhere.

The first Spanish Civil Engineering School was the Escuela Especial de Ingenieros de Caminos y Canales (now called Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos), established in 1802 in Madrid, followed by the Escuela Especial de Ayudantes de Obras Públicas (now called Escuela Universitaria de Ingeniería Técnica de Obras Públicas de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), founded in 1854 in Madrid. Both schools now belong to the Technical University of Madrid
Technical University of Madrid
The Technical University of Madrid or sometimes called Polytechnic University of Madrid is a Spanish University, located in Madrid. It was founded in 1971 as the result of merging different Technical Schools of Engineering and Architecture, originated mainly in the 18th century...

.

In Spain, a Civil Engineer has the technical and legal ability to design projects of any branch, so any Spanish Civil Engineer can oversee projects about structures, buildings (except residencial structures which are reserved for architects), foundations, hydraulics, the environment, transportation, urbanism, etc.

In Spain, Mechanical
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

 and Electrical
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

 engineering tasks are included under the Industrial engineering
Industrial engineering
Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering dealing with the optimization of complex processes or systems. It is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis...

 degree.

United Kingdom


A chartered civil engineer (known as certified or professional engineer in other countries) is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers
Founded on 2 January 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers is an independent professional association, based in central London, representing civil engineering. Like its early membership, the majority of its current members are British engineers, but it also has members in more than 150...

, and has also passed chartership exams. However a non-chartered civil engineer may be a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers or the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors. The description "Civil Engineer" is not restricted to members of any particular professional organisation although "Chartered Civil Engineer" is.

United States


In the United States, civil engineers are typically employed by municipalities, construction firms, consulting engineering firms, architect/engineer firms, state governments, and the federal government. Each State requires engineers who offer their services to the public to be licensed by the State. Licensure is obtained by meeting specified education, examination, and work experience requirements. Specific requirements vary by State. Typically licensed engineers must graduate from an ABET
Abet
Abet may refer to:* Abet Guidaben , former Philippine Basketball Association basketball player* ABET, Inc., a non-profit organization that accredits higher education programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology....

-accredited University or College engineering program, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam
Fundamentals of Engineering exam
The Fundamentals of Engineering exam, also referred to as the Engineer in Training exam, and formerly in some states as the Engineering Intern exam, is the first of two examinations that engineers must pass in order to be licensed as a Professional Engineer in the United States...

, obtain several years of engineering experience under the supervision of a licensed engineer, then pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam
Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam
The Principles and Practice of Engineering exam is the examination that is required to be passed before one can become a Professional Engineer in the United States...

. After completing these steps and the granting of licensure by a State Board, engineers may use the title "Professional Engineer" or PE in advertising and documents.

ASCE



The ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) represents more than 140,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. Official members of the ASCE must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited civil engineering program and be a licensed professional engineer or have five years responsible charge of engineering experience.
Most civil engineers join this organization in order to be updated of current news, projects, and methods (such as sustainability) related to civil engineering; as well as contribute their expertise and knowledge to other civil engineers and students obtaining their civil engineering degree.

ICE



The ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) founded in 1818, represents, as of 2008, more than 80,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. Its commercial arm, Thomas Telford Ltd, provides training, recruitment, publishing and contract services.

See also


  • Canal engineer
    Canal engineer
    A canal engineer is a civil engineer responsible for planning related to the construction of a canal.The names of canal engineers include:* James Brindley* James Dadford* John Dadford* Thomas Dadford* Thomas Dadford, Jr....

  • List of civil engineers
  • Professional Engineer
    Professional Engineer
    Regulation of the engineering profession is established by various jurisdictions of the world to protect the safety, well-being and other interests of the general public, and to define the licensure process through which an engineer becomes authorized to provide professional services to the...

  • Construction Engineering
    Construction engineering
    Construction engineering is a professional discipline that deals with the designing, planning, construction, and management of infrastructures such as highways, bridges, airports, railroads, buildings, dams, and utilities. Construction Engineers are unique such that they are a cross between civil...

  • Geotechnical Engineering
    Geotechnical engineering
    Geotechnical engineering is the branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials. Geotechnical engineering is important in civil engineering, but is also used by military, mining, petroleum, or any other engineering concerned with construction on or in the ground...

  • Structural Engineer
    Structural engineer
    Structural engineers analyze, design, plan, and research structural components and structural systems to achieve design goals and ensure the safety and comfort of users or occupants...

  • Structural Engineering
    Structural engineering
    Structural engineering is a field of engineering dealing with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering is usually considered a specialty within civil engineering, but it can also be studied in its own right....

  • Urban planning
    Urban planning
    Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

  • Transport engineering
    Transport engineering
    Transportation engineering is the application of technology and scientific principles to the planning, functional design, operation and management of facilities for any mode of transportation in order to provide for the safe, rapid, comfortable, convenient, economical, and environmentally...

  • Hydraulic Engineering
    Hydraulic engineering
    This article is about civil engineering. For the mechanical engineering discipline see Hydraulic machineryHydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive...

  • Environmental Engineering
    Environmental engineering
    Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to improve the natural environment , to provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation and for other organisms, and to remediate polluted sites...

  • Critical infrastructure
    Critical infrastructure
    Critical infrastructure is a term used by governments to describe assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Most commonly associated with the term are facilities for:*electricity generation, transmission and distribution;...

  • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
    National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
    The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is a national non-profit organization composed of engineering and land surveying licensing boards representing all U.S. states and territories...