Civil Engineering» open the printable degree» search for more Areas of Study
The Bachelor of Civil Engineering is concerned with the designing, constructing, and maintaining society’s infrastructure. Students are acquainted with methods of developing and maintaining society’s existing and ageing infrastructure, balancing issues in efficiency, cost effectiveness and environmental impact in meeting the demands of growing population and developing world economies.
Graduates of the program enjoy excellent career prospects as they are involved in both the public and private sectors at all levels: from local council to federal government projects; and from residential construction firms to multinational construction companies.
This program is accredited by Engineers Australia, and other affiliated international organisations.
Note: Mathematics and physics are essential elements of this degree. It is highly recommended that students have knowledge of HSC physics and at least standard maths. Students who achieve Band 5 or 6 in standard maths, or who take Extension 1 or 2, are generally well prepared. Also take note that this degree has a compulsory 12 week industrial experience element necessary for graduation.
For more information about Civil Engineering, visit the School of Engineering site.
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Civil Engineering include:
Honours are embedded in the four years of the degree, and are awarded for outstanding performance in the program as a whole. For more information, see Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours).
As the global job sector can be competitive, it is of great advantage to complete a post-graduate qualification, particularly by independent research (such as Masters by Research, or PhD). See examples of research areas within the University's civil engineering group here.
The discipline of Civil Engineering is often categorised into four broad areas: structural, geotechnical, water, and transportation engineering; however, many civil engineers work across a variety of these areas. Specialisation in one or more categories may lead to a career in project engineering, management, or research. The following is a list of position titles that graduates may find within this specific field. Access to these positions may depend on the amount, level, and focus of study and/or work experience undertaken.
- Building Services Engineer
- Chemical Engineering
- Foundation Engineer
- Geotechnical Engineer
- Highway Engineer
Note: Structural engineers, architects, and construction managers may end up working in the same industry, but their disciplines are very different. Architects are responsible for the creative, conceptual design of a structure, while the engineer concentrates on the technical engineering (mathematical) solutions for structures and their maintenance. Construction managers work with both architects and engineers to ensure that structures are built to budget in a safe and timely manner.
As well as the jobs listed above, there are many positions outside the general field of Civil Engineering that graduates may pursue using the transferable skills gained in their studies. The list of job titles below shows examples of the type of jobs / careers graduates can diversify into; that might not necessarily be directly related to their degree.
- Acoustical Physicist
- Civil Engineering
- Coastal Management Professional/Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Contracts Manager
- Emergency Manager
- Finance Manager
- General Manager
- Geoenvironmental Engineer
- Geomechanical Engineer
- Specialist Programs
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Civil Engineering
- Materials Engineer
- Mining Engineer
- Pavement Engineer
- Petroleum Engineer
- Planning Officer
- Process Engineer
- Project Manager
- Quality Assurance Engineer
- Research Engineer
- Research in the area of Engineering
- Resource and Regulatory Compliance Manager
- Scientific Policy Officer
- Site Engineer
- Technical Writer
- University Lecturer / Academic
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Employment opportunities for Civil Engineering graduates exist in a wide range of industries within small, medium, and large organisations, including civil consultancy firms, manufacturing/processing companies, and state, local, or federal government departments (for example, roads, water, and transport authorities).
Below are some examples of major organisations who may recruit Civil Engineering graduates.
- Abigroup (Australia)
- Aker Solutions (International)
- Arup (International)
- Baker Hughes (International)
- Baulderstone (Australia)
- Bechtel (International)
- BlueScope Steel (Australia)
- CB&I (Australia)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- Chevron (International)
- Coffey International (International)
- Connell Wagner (International)
- Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Australia)
- Deutsche Bank (International)
- Douglas Partners (Australia)
- GHD (International)
- Golder Associates (International)
- GRD Minproc (International)
- Hatch (Australia)
- Hunter Water (Australia)
- Kellogg Brown & Rott (International)
- Laing O'Rourke (Australia)
- Leighton (International)
- Maunsell AECOM (International)
- Monadelphous (Australia)
- Northrop (Australia)
- NSW Department of Commerce (Australia)
- OPUS (International)
- Public Transport Authority (WA) (Australia)
- Roads and Traffic Authority (NSW) (Australia)
- SA Water (Australia)
- Schlumberger (Australia)
- Snowy Hydro (Australia)
- Thiess (Australia)
- TransGrid (Australia)
- URS Corporation (Australia)
- Westpac (Australia)
- WorleyParsons (International)
- Xstrata (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- American Society of Civil Engineers (Australia)
- Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (Australia)
- Australian Geomechanics Society (Australia)
- Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (Australia)
- Engineering Council UK (Australia)
- Engineers Australia (Australia)
- Engineers Canada (Australia)
- Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) are the necessary skills, abilities and knowledge required to become a professional engineer. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- A sound knowledge of engineering fundamentals and the sciences which underpin them.
- An in-depth technical competence in at least one of the engineering specialisations.
- The necessary skills to apply technologies and resources in engineering problem solving.
- An appreciation of the broad range of issues which impact on the Engineering domain as a component of our society.
- An ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution.
- An understanding of social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and the need to employ principles of sustainable development.
- An ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operation performance.
- A proficiency in Engineering Design.
- An ability to conduct an engineering project.
- An understanding of the business environment and the ability to employ business principles within engineering projects.
- An ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.
- An ability to manage information and documentation.
- A capacity for creativity and innovation.
- Understanding of professional and ethic responsibilities and a commitment to them.
- An ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member.
- A capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.
- The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes of a professional engineer.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note: the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.