Definition Essay about Civil Engineering


Various descriptions have been formulated as to what civil engineering entails with the most complete and standardized being forwarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers and Body of Knowledge Committee as:

the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and physical sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the progressive well-being of humanity in creating, improving and protecting the environment, in providing facilities for community living, industry and transportation, and in providing structures for the use of humanity. (American Society of Civil Engineers and Body of Knowledge Committee 6)

Within a subjective viewpoint, it is evident that civil engineering as an occupation mandates a proficiency in subjects like mathematics, physics, and design amongst others in the construction of various things. It is imperative to note that civil engineering has to observe elements like ecological feasibility, cost effectuality, and sustainability functions for all forms of constructions before consent is accorded. This technical element serves as the definitive attribute between civil engineering and other structuring occupations like architecture.

Background Information

Civil engineering comprises of various courses namely mathematics, chemistry, physics, chemistry, applied mechanics, engineering, and non-verbal communication. Duration for these primary courses varies in accordance to the materials and depth necessitated in the various subjects. The undergraduate curriculum is spread within a four-year period translating into one hundred and thirty three hours. Mathematics serves as the most crucial subject in the discipline and therefore the module comprises of sixteen hours (Grigg 7). Chemistry and physics are categorized into the same area with each being awarded eight and twelve hours respectively; this accrues to twenty hours.

Applied mechanics, non-verbal communication and engineering are each granted thirteen, seven and twelve hours respectively. The primary function therefore constitutes to sixty-eight hours for the four years. Supplementary courses available in civil engineering are also categorized as basic and secondary courses mandating twelve and six hours respectively. The learner bears the liability of course selection within this grouping. Design lessons are also obligatory with not less than sixteen hours within the four-year duration (Grigg 11). Humanities are incorporated within the educational function constituting to eighteen hours and an additional six hours for free supplementary courses. All these courses are treated as electives to the learners with economics being the only obligatory course in the program.

Note that, this is attributed to the fact that as noted earlier civil engineering is inclusive of elements as cost effectuality and ecological feasibility that are discussed within the economics lessons. For the effectuality of the program, at least thirty-five hours of the courses are practical to ensure that the learners are able to associate theoretical work to the realistic situations. Additional courses that are helpful in civil engineering would be information technology courses like the application of computer-supported designs to aid the learners in the creation of realistic drawings and mock-ups to assess the feasibility of a given venture.

Point One

Civil engineers have to interact with both technical and automated systems on a daily aspect and this involves the application of accrued knowledge as concerned with diagrammatic representations, maps and designing programs as constituents of constructions. Additionally, it also comprises of field assessments like surveys and the appraisal of the construction progress on a frequent basis in a bid to monitor constructions as well as identification of setbacks and the resolutions that may be applied to each. For instance, a civil engineer specializing within the land development ventures expends at least ninety percent of a normal operational day within the workplace interacting with the workstation, specifically a computer aided design (CAD) program to assist with structural designing (Dion 23). Mock-ups for the finished product to be employed in the feasibility requirement are generated through hydraulic modeling.

For the ecological function, one has to be acquainted with the environmental policies to ensure that the structure complies with ecological safeguarding. Cost approximations have to be generated for the materials and the workforce, and this entails colossal levels of communication with the pertinent players. Site appraisals have to be conducted prior to the construction element and regular checks to ascertain the advancement (Dion 39). Conferences have to be held with the project owners for the update requirement. This example reveals the technical and automated functions that the civil engineer has to associate with evidencing the demanding nature of the occupation. At least eight hours have to be covered within a working day with the duration spread for internal and external working needs. Weekends are hinged on the civil engineer’s inclinations.

Point Two

The financial reward in civil engineering relies on the educational attainment with the more educated necessitating enhanced remuneration. For instance, an undergraduate is accorded a yearly salary of twenty-six thousand to thirty-seven thousand five hundred dollars. Individuals with Master’s levels are awarded between forty thousand and seventy thousand dollars while the doctorate level offers nearly between eighty thousand and one hundred and ten thousand dollars or more (Institution of Civil Engineers (Great Britain) 179). Benefits fluctuate with as concerned with the employers but commonly, all civil engineers are awarded with medical indemnity, remunerated leaves, sick leaves, and compensated holidays. Retirement advantages include profit allotment programs. The salary illustration acts as a motivational element for career enhancement as this result in labor mobility that is deemed as a healthy element for economic and personal progression.

Point Three

The current ere termed as the information age has infused a notable impact on civil engineering as noted though the internet and other technological progressions. The profession has therefore been affected by liberalization and enhanced inter-reliance, ecological modifications, structural modifications, and value changes that have mandated proportionate changes within the profession as a coping approach (Vlachos 10). For instance, the enhanced ecological dilapidations have coerced state authorities into the adoption of additional policies towards higher environmental upholding and subsequently the same from civil engineers. The inference accorded is that civil engineers as the chief actors within the profession necessitate an adaptive approach to maintain superior work. This acts as a good fit as it leads to skill progression within the affected individuals.


In conclusion, civil engineering acts as both a technical and social subject although the higher inclination rests on the former element. However, as indicated by the first point both applications are useful within the daily interactions that civil engineers are applied to. The second point amplifies the significance of the educational requirement as hinged on the remuneration element as an incentive for career progression. The third point outlines the future obligations within the profession in acting as enhancers for individual progression (Vlachos 10). Therefore, the initial standardized definition stands as precise since it identifies the educational aspect mandated for the profession as well as the processes and resolutions afforded by the profession within the community setting. The outlined definition has afforded an in-depth analysis of civil engineering and this has serves as an informative element for me as it will accord constructive prospect within the upcoming period especially in educational furthering.











Works Cited

American Society of Civil Engineers and Body of Knowledge Committee. Civil engineering body of knowledge for the 21st century: preparing the civil engineer for the future. Reston: ASCE Publications, 2008. Print.

Dion, Thomas. Land development for civil engineers. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2002. Print.

Grigg, Neil. Civil engineering practice in the twenty-first century: knowledge and skills and for design and management. Reston: ASCE Publications, 2001. Print.

Institution of Civil Engineers (Great Britain). Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Civil engineering, Volume 157. England: Thomas Telford Services, 2004. Print.

Vlachos, Evan. The Future of Civil Engineering in a Transforming World. 2011. Web. 22 June 2011. <>.


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