Talk:Civil engineering

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Structural Wiki - Wiki Entirely Devoted to Civil/Structural Engineering[edit]

Hi, I am webmaster of, which is a civil/structural engineering portal with Structural Wiki. I recently launched a questionnaire whether there would be interest to set up wiki specifically for civil engineers. It would permit more types of content when compared to Wikipedia whose content is strictly encyclopedic: such as design examples, standard details, possibly latest research coordination, galery of inspection photos, etc. If you have some content that you would like to share, but is not appropriate for Wikipedia, you are welcome to join Structural Wiki!

I am already getting some interesting feedback, but I plan to deliver the questionnaire to many more people from different corners of the profession (students, construction people, designers, academia, researchers, research, ...) - it will be interesting to see opinion of each of these groups on wiki. -- Andrewok 05:11, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Given the rather thin coverage of civil engineering topics here, compared to the coverage of computer topics, politics, and various fan-cruft, I don't know that there's much interest in the civil engineering community in contributing to such a thing.
A few issues may deter engineers from contributing to Wikipedia, another wiki, or your wiki in general:
  • The licensing requirement may be a deterrent; you should look into whether you really want everything to be GFDL instead of some other license, and whether that would make a difference.
  • Engineers seem to be more prone to contributing to existing, established organizations, like ASCE or NSPE.
  • The chaotic nature of Wikipedia, especially when anonymous contributions are allowed. Look at the Citizendium Statement of Principles for a possible alternative to the open free-for-all model which Wikipedia follows.
  • Don't call it "Structural Wiki" if you want civil engineers who practice in specialties other than structural engineering to feel good about contributing. I'm a Geotechnical Engineer. Why should I contribute to a "Structural" wiki?
Argyriou (talk) 21:32, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Argyriou hit it right on the button with that last comment: I'm primarily transportation other than a few dabblings in other disciplines. Perhaps it is just a local thing, but there tends to be a bit of animosity between the transport and structural folks :P --Thisisbossi 23:08, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Argyriou, I definitely agree with you that the civil engineering community has lower interest in wiki than may be the case for some other topics. While ASCE and NSPE are established organizations, I imagine that wiki-sort of site could provide more streamlined access to the resources they offer. Plus there are many other professional organization (ACI, AISC, IAI, PCI, AASHTO, NHI, fip, ...) whose resources could be referenced from a single wiki site. Finally, the goal of Structural Wiki is to be small niche wiki, focused primarily on structural engineering, that's why I would like to stick with the name Structural Wiki. It would still contain some inter-discipline topics, such as determination of pile lateral capacity (geotechnical) or determination of roadway profiles (transportation), etc. that are closely related to structural engineering. I think that this niche orientation (similarly we could have geotechnical wiki and transportation wiki) would enable to maintain the wiki more manageable - you can check Wikitravel to see what I mean. -- Andrewok 01:30, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Largest CE Program[edit]

I reverted the edit by as we now have two universities both claiming to have the largest program: Texas A&M and also Cal Poly Pomona. I reverted to Texas A&M for the following reasons:

  • It was the original post for a disputed entry.
  • While it has a smaller undergrad population, it has more faculty.
  • Cal Poly Pomona offers only MS degrees as a graduate program. Texas offers additional degrees and is a HUGE destination for graduate students. I am quite sure Texas has Cal Poly Pomona beat on this, but Cal Poly Pomona fails to produce any evidence (that I could find) indicating the graduate student population.

The burden is therefore upon an individual to locate the graduate student population, at which point it may be up to debate as to which is truly largest; or perhaps we should include both. As an engineer and also a student, I'd definitely say Texas is at least the more prominent, by a large margin (I never even heard of Poly Pomona until now). --Thisisbossi 01:49, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Inclusion of both schools might be the safe course for now; these numbers are not static. A third-party source would also be most appropriate for a citation on any one school "claiming" the title. ZueJay (talk) 05:54, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Works for me until a reputable NPOV source can be found. --Thisisbossi 08:37, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

That is a fair compromise. We should probably list both universities, since it is too close to call (at the undergraduate level). In my original post, I stated that Texas A&M had 1,081 undergraduate CE students. That was in the 2005-2006 school year. That number has since risen to 1,099 CE undergraduates (2006-2007 school year). Texas A&M also has 133 and 176 masters degree and Ph.D. candidates, respectively, bringing the grand total to 1,408 CE students. There are 67 faculty members (58 tenured or on the tenure track). The TAMU statistical data is available at www.civil.tamu/downloads/About Us/CivilFactSheet.pdf -- User:Caracaskid08:22, 23 April 2007

Environmental Eng.[edit]

Environmental Engineering is an other branch of Engineering, not a sub-title of Civil Engineering therefore should be excluded in the list of CE sub-titles. SEY01 09:18, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

There are alternate sides to this, none of which is correct; or both of which are correct. My civil engineering background includes environmental engineering and is treated as another discipline. What exactly falls under the umbrella of "civil" can always be debated, particularly as most engineering professions were at one time considered "civil". --Bossi (talk ;; contribs) 12:31, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
For instance, my background does not include. Env.Eng. is still a separate dept. in the Faculty of Eng. in my university, that's why I wanted to add that previous comment.

SEY01 12:45, 6 March 2007 (UTC)


There has been discussion on the sub-disciplines of CE before, but I don't think we have ever really hammered out a final version based on reliable sources. I found two websites which listed CE disciplines and they both seem to be similar: University of Florida ASCE. -- Basar (talk · contribs) 06:30, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

This page can be added: CSCE -- Basar (talk · contribs) 03:17, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Do you think sorting these alphabetically would be a good idea? Also, I don't have any sources saying fire protection engineering, materials science, or general engineering are sub-disciplines of CE. -- Basar (talk · contribs) 06:52, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Paul Fisher just removed Urban planning from the list of subdisciplines in the introduction via this edit. Transportation engineers are very involved with urban planning, just as non-engineers and architects trained in urban planning are becoming increasingly familiar with aspects of civil engineering. I am aware of several universities which have shared courses and faculty between the departments, including UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Maryland. Land use is based on transportation and transportation is based on land use. Any further thoughts? --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 17:27, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you that there are many overlaps between civil (transport) engineering and urban planning, but I feel they are distinct disciplines. Certainly here in Australia, they are distinct and one is not regarded as a sub-set of the other. (I'm a civil / transport engineer by the way). Paul Fisher (talk) 08:52, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

There are way to many disciplines here. NCEES for professional licensure only recognises 5; Construction, Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, (Water Resources & Environmental). im sure that it wouldnt be that big of a deal to put subdiciplines in, but when i get a chance, im going to redo that whole section... clearly 'earthquake engineering' is a part of structural, and so on, and so forth... in fact, the heading should be 'disciplines' Wvfd14 (talk) 13:25, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

I think this is a difficult thing to define as Civil Engineering is such a wide ranging subject. Perhaps a good basis for these subset would be the topics covered by journals of Civil Engineering Institutions, for example here is a list from the UK ICE or Institution of Civil Engineers the professional body representing Civil Engineers. Steve 14:41, 3 November 2008 (GMT) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I just added the Municipal engineering sub-discipline. I am an engineer in the municipal infrastructures department of a large engineering firm in Montreal. We also have a seperate and distinct transport engineering department. Transport engineers tend to work on high-speed or high traffic dedicated networks such as highways and railways, whereas municipal engineer tend to work simultaneousily on multiple networks (roads, water supply, sewers, etc) that need to be coordinated.

It's normal that civil engineering will have a large number of sub-disciplines, as civil engineering is kind of a residual category of engineering. Historically, all engineering was what we now call military engineering. In the late 18th century, civil engineering emerged as millitary engineering applied to civilian needs. By the late 19th century, with the development of new highly specialised fields, mechanical, chemical, electrical, and other fields eventually became distinct from civil engineering. Civil engineering is whatever was left over.

I personnaly expect that structural engineering will eventually be considered a field distinct from civil engineering, and civil engineering will deal mainly with road and infrastructure networks, earthworks and major land improvements. Already when I work on a major building or industrial project, the structural engineers who design the building or other structures clearly do a distinct job from the civil engineers who design the service connections, access roads and parking. Although contractually the civil and structural design are combined as a single specialty, the plans and specifications will tend to distinguish between "Civil" and "Structural" disciplines. When I design the civil works for a major building or facility, I find myself coordinating mainly with the architect and mechanical engineer, as well as the city, and rarely with the structural engineer. AlexPlante (talk) 14:02, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Surely Earth Sciences, Geophysics, and Atmospheric Sciences are not branches of Civil Engineering at all, as for the most part they are 'pure' rather than 'applied' sciences. (I don't mean to imply that one of these is better than the other, just to make a familiar distinction.) Civil Engineers may well make use of research findings from e.g. Geology, but that does not make Geology a branch of Civil Engineering. Civil Engineers also use findings from Physics and Chemistry, so why not go the whole hog and include these in Civil Engineering? (talk) 14:09, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

How on earth is "Control Engineering" a subfield of "Civil Engineering"?SanQae (talk) 04:39, 26 October 2013 (UTC)


I am having a hard time finding sources for writing this article. I'm just putting this up here in case someone else has some good sources. The only ones I have found are quoted in the article, and they aren't very good. -- Basar (talk · contribs) 03:45, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Scope of licensing[edit]

Right now there is a lot of specific information on licensing requirements for the US. I think it might be appropriate to pare this down to generalities since we are supposed to have a worldwide view on Wikipedia. We could create a separate article like "professional engineer licensing in the United States" or something. What do you think? -- Basar (talk · contribs) 01:52, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

I have now removed some of the country-specific information to here. -- Basar (talk · contribs) 05:07, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

In the [[United States]], one must become a licensed [[Professional Engineer]] to do any civil engineering work affecting the public or to legally represent oneself as a civil engineer. Licensure requirements vary slightly by state, but in all cases entail passing two licensure exams, the [[Fundamentals of Engineering exam]] (also know as the Engineer in Training or EIT exam) and the Principles and Practice exam (commonly called the PE), and completing a state-mandated number of years of work under the supervision of a licensed Professional Engineer. In addition, an educational requirement must often be met. All states accept a four year [[Bachelor of Science]] (BS) or [[Bachelor of Engineering]] (BEng) degree in Civil Engineering, from an [ ABET]-accredited program, for their educational requirement. The acceptability of degrees in other fields varies by state; some states allow a person to substitute additional years of supervised work experience for the degree requirement. Although the [[American Society of Civil Engineers]] encourages states to raise the educational requirement to a graduate degree, advanced degrees are currently optional for civil engineers in the United States. Graduate study may lead either to a [[Master of Engineering]], which is a [[Professional Master's degree]], or to a [[Master of Science]] degree, sometimes followed by a [[PhD]] in civil engineering or a sub-discipline. In the [[United States of America|United States]], [[California State Polytechnic University, Pomona|Cal Poly Pomona]] in [[Pomona, California|Pomona]], [[California]] and [[Texas A&M University]] in [[College Station, Texas|College Station]], [[Texas]] have the largest civil engineering departments with approximately 1,100 students.<ref>[ Prospective BSCE Students]. Accessed [[2 March]] [[2007]].</ref><ref>[ Number of undergraduate students enrolled in Texas A&M's civil engineering department]. Accessed [[10 February]] [[2007]].</ref> In the [[United Kingdom]] current graduates require a MSc, MEng or BEng (Hons) in order to become chartered through the [[Institution of Civil Engineers]]. The Institution also allows entrants with substantial experience to apply without this level of formal academic achievement. In practice, most civil engineers in the United Kingdom work without chartered status. Unlike in many other European countries, the term 'Engineer' is not legally protected within the United Kingdom. In [[Australia]] and [[New Zealand]], requirements are typically a four year [[Bachelor of Engineering]] (BE or BEng) degree, equivalent to the British MEng,{{Fact|date=February 2007}} and approximately three years experience.

Photo for structural engineering[edit]

I argue that London Millennium Bridge is not the best representation of what structural engineering is. It is mainly a (not so successful) work designed by architects that cost massive amount of money both in construction and in retrofitting. I propose structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge, or CN Tower. Emancipator (talk) 19:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

You are wrong in thinking that the Millennium Bridge was mainly designed by an architect. Foster & Partners were involved in the design, but the lead designers were Arup, and specifically Chris Wise (now of Expedition Engineering). The structural design is very challenging because the bridge has very little height. The structural story of the bridge only becomes more interesting when you consider its problems. They were a previously little known structural phenomenon of biological positive feedback causing horizontal dynamic excitation of the bridge. This was researched extensively by Arup and others (, and solved using tuned mass and viscous dampers under the leadership of structural engineer Tony Fitzpatrick. I included this photo precisely because it is so representative of structural engineering. However, there are many different highly notable structures out there, any of which could take the place of this photo - up to you...Tkn20 (talk) 19:32, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the explaining your intention. While I totally agree with you that this bridge is a significant structure in its uniqueness, I was just thinking of a more "classic" structure. But I think the photo of the millennium bridge makes a lot of sense too. Emancipator (talk) 22:52, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Feel free to change it - but choose a cool one! Tkn20 (talk) 16:17, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


"Engineers are in high demand at banks, financial institutions and management consultancies because of their analytical skills." ? What is this all about? -- Ucla90024 (talk) 03:28, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

It's exactly as it says. Any engineering recruitment fair at a university will have banks and management consultancies there, and as an example, over 50% of the engineering graduates from Cambridge University go into banking and engineering consultancy, rather than engineering. Engineers are popular with these organisations because they know the mathematics necessary, and also are taught management and accounting skills. Tkn20 (talk) 10:29, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Thanks to for removing the statement on high demand in banks. Civil engineering is to do engineering work, not be bankers. Ucla90024 (talk) 05:23, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Difference between architecture[edit]

What is the difference between architecture and civil engineering? They both design buildings - more with engineering, though.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

In layman's terms, architects make it aesthetically pleasing and civil engineers make it stand up. The best way to figure this out is to read the articles on Civil engineering and Architecture and compare the differences. ZueJay (talk) 13:15, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

While architects design buildings, civil engineers only design the structural elements of the buildings. They also design the municipal infrastructure around the buliding (service connections, access roads and parking lots). Not all structures are buildings. For non-building structures, such as bridges, an architect is usually not required, and the structure will be entirely designed by a civil engineer. Civil engineers also design works without concrete or steel structures, such as buried pipe networks, roads and earthworks such as roads, dikes and embankments. On a building project, the architect is the chief professional responsible for coordinating all the other professionals, whereas on non-building projects, the civil engineer is often the chief professionnal. AlexPlante (talk) 13:15, 10 January 2009 (UTC)


Most other engineering occupations (see mechanical engineering) have a single article on the engineers and the engineering. Inwind (talk) 15:02, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

  • sounds good. maybe you could narrow the diciplines down to Construction, Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, Water Resources / Environmental, too. Wvfd14 (talk) 16:23, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
  • disagree, the civil engineer topic is too large to be included in civil engineering. Take a look and see that we would have to move a lot of information into the civil engineering page to make it work. What I suggest is that the contents of the civil engineer page be changed. I will further this discussion on the civil engineer page. SteveMc (talk) 18:19, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I agree with SteveMc -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 14:17, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Brahmagupta hagiography[edit]

First to use mathematics in construction? This claim is nonsensical Indian cultural aggrandizement with no basis in fact. The article itself repudiates it- the timelines do not match. Roman aquaducts, not to mention the Pyramids of Egypt documented within wikipedia to have used mathematics for construction predate Brahmagupta's own birth by 600 years or more. Thus evidently a load of crap. Please fix this hagiography. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:57, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Obviously a problem, since Wikipedia is a wiki, you can fix it yourself, and are encouraged to do so by the WP community. I fixed it, but go ahead and have at it. What's more, I encourage you to create a user name, login, and join the community. Thanks, SteveMc (talk) 20:12, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Education - time required to complete degree[edit]

Hi, i notice that in the education section of the article it states that it normally takes 4-5 years to achieve an engineering qualification. In the UK, a full-time student will expect to achieve and undergraduate degree (BEng or BSc) in 3 years ( I understand that the qualification may take longer in other countries or under a different tertiary education system - if this is correct, should we change it from 4-5 years to 3-5 years? It may make the time required sound quite broad, but if it is accurate then surely it is the right thing to do. Best Darigan (talk) 14:10, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I've made the change. Graham87 16:27, 5 October 2009 (UTC)


While certainly worth mentioning here, I don't think Suveying should be included as a sub-discipline of Civil Engineering. Surveying is a technique and a science, Surveying is not engineering. Any thoughts? Mariokempes (talk) 19:26, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

I am a civil engineer, Personally i would say, surveying is taught as a major subject in civil engineering. For a good surveyor, knowledge of civil engineering is must. Moreover, engineering surveying is used for civil engineering projects and due to all the above reasons, surveying should be considered a sub discipline of civil engineering. Haseeb Jamal (talk) 09:16, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Haseeb, That is fine- and I agree with you; But, can it be considered a sub-discipline of Civil Engineering? I don't think so. Like the math used by engineers, Surveying is a separate and distinct discipline. (I'm an engineer too). Mariokempes (talk) 18:14, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Hi, A number of other professions have external links to sites relating to pursuing a career in the profession. I wanted to add a link to the relevant area of: (MyNineToFive_Civil_Engineering ) which is one such site that consists of user generated reviews making it quite appropriate for a link from here. The link was removed from here (and some other professions) but I think that they make a valuable addition in helping people considering entering the profession continue their research in a similar way. --Natasha (talk) 09:47, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Per WP:EL, external links should be "directly relevant to the article" and your site obviously isn't. Using your arguments above, every second article on Wikipedia would include a link to your site and dozen of other similar sites. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 10:53, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Professional Registration process and preparation[edit]

I am currently the owner of a pe exam preparationsite and I receive a lot of questions regarding materials and courses that will help in becoming a professional civil engineer. I would like to see if anybody has any thoughts on the creation of such a sub topic in the wiki? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jeffbirm (talkcontribs) 19:35, 6 April 2011 (UTC) in civil engineering[edit]

i like to do bsc in civil engineering , so please , identify any college in india , by doing course or distance . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:20, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

This talk page is not a forum to discuss the subject of the article. Graham87 14:55, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

civil engineering as a profession[edit]

civil engineering is one of the wide career that provides a relevant knowledge — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:41, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Subdiscplines listed in introductory paragraph[edit]

I have deleted numerous seperate professional and academic fields that are NOT subdiscplines of civil engineering. Atmospheric Sciences, Geophysics, Geodosy, Earth Science, Land Surveying are all seperate fields both in academy and in professional practice. Each of these has their seperate article. Some are sepearate licensed professions (EG a civil engineer is not a licensed geologist and vice versa). While civil engineers may apply some remote piece of these fields in their day to day work, these fields are often not in the professional expertise or scope of the average bachelor's degree educated civil engineer. In addition, there is a limit to what is a discpline of civil engineering and is not. It seems as though there is a movement toward continously expanding what a civil engineer's scope of practice is to the detriment of other fields. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:53, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, sounds sensible to me. Graham87 09:38, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Can I suggest that the long list of sub - disciplines of the civil engineering discipline be moved somewhere else in the article - appears messy - is there any reason for it.Happydaise (talk) 21:37, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
If the list of sub - disciplines is removed at the beginning of the article it would look much cleaner and still give people an idea that there are many sub- disciplines.Happydaise (talk) 03:01, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough. Go ahead and be bold! I don't know why that list is there. Graham87 07:08, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Good - thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Happydaise (talkcontribs) 09:01, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Draft outline[edit]

There's a draft for an outline of this topic at Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines/Drafts/Outline of civil engineering. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 06:53, 24 June 2016 (UTC)