There are seven major
disciplines within civil engineering that are closely interrelated:
As a structural engineer, you will face the challenge of designing
structures that support their own weight and the loads they carry, and
that resist wind, temperature, earthquake, and many other forces. Bridges,
buildings, offshore structures, space platforms, amusement park rides, and
many other kinds of projects are included within this exciting discipline.
You will develop the appropriate combination of steel, concrete, timber,
plastic, and new exotic materials. You will do the planning and design, as
well as visit the project site to make sure the work is done properly.
skills of environmental engineers are becoming increasingly important as
we attempt to protect the fragile resources of our planet. Environmental
engineers translate physical, chemical, and biological processes into
systems to destroy toxic substances, remove pollutants from water, reduce
non-hazardous solid waste volumes, eliminate contaminates from the air,
and develop groundwater supplies. In this field, you may be called upon to
resolve issues of providing safe drinking water, cleaning up sites
contaminated with hazardous materials, disposing of wastewater, and
managing solid wastes.
Geotechnical engineering is required in all aspects of civil engineering,
because most projects are supported by the ground. As a geotechnical
engineer, you might develop projects below ground, such as tunnels,
foundations, and offshore platforms. You will analyze the properties of
soil and rock that support and affect the behavior of these structures.
You may evaluate the potential settlements of buildings, the stability of
slopes and fills, the seepage of ground water and the effects of
earthquakes. You will investigate the rocks and soils at a project site
and determine the best way to support a structure in the ground. You may
also take part in the design and construction of dams, embankments, and
is essential to our lives, and as a water resources engineer, you will
deal with issues concerning the quality and quantity of water. You will
work to prevent floods, to supply water for cities, industry, and
irrigation, to treat wastewater, to protect beaches, or to manage and
redirect rivers. You might be involved in the design, construction, or
maintenance of hydroelectric power facilities, canals, dams, pipelines,
pumping stations, locks, or seaport facilities.
Because the quality of a community is directly related to the quality of
its transportation system, your function as a transportation engineer will
be to move people, goods, and materials safely and efficiently. Your
challenge will be to find ways to meet our ever-increasing travel needs on
land, air, and sea. You will design, construct, and maintain all types of
transportation facilities, including highways, railroads, airfields, and
ports. An important part of transportation engineering is to upgrade our
transportation capability by improving traffic control and mass transit
systems, and by introducing high-speed trains, people movers, and other
new transportation methods.
a construction engineer, you are the builder of our future. The
construction phase of a project represents the first tangible result of
design. Using your technical and management skills will allow you to turn
designs into reality – on time and within budget. You will apply your
knowledge of construction methods and equipment, along with the principles
of financing, planning, and managing, to turn the designs of other
engineers into successful projects.
As a professional in this area, you will be concerned with the entire
development of a community. Analyzing a variety of information will help
you coordinate projects, such as projecting street patterns, identifying
park and recreation
areas, and determining areas for industrial and residential growth. To
ensure ready access to your community, coordination with other authorities
may be required to integrate freeways, airports, and other related
facilities. Successful coordination of a project will require you to be
people-oriented as well as technically knowledgeable.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
American Society of Civil Engineers.