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Engineering Civil or Structural Engineerings

  1. May 9, 2012 #1
    What is the difference between civil and Structural engineering? Some employeers ask for civil eng, but other only request Structural Engineers?

    I've been told that Civil engineers deal with soil mechanics, geotechnia, surveying and the set up for bridges, roads, etc. But arent they fully capable to design a bridge.

    The same person told me that Structural engineers do a more technical job and they could not do, for example a technical report of soild to build a multistored building.
    I was surprised becouse I asked some unis and they told me that only Civil eng. masters can apply for Structural Eng MSc (in UK Structural is not an undergrad. degree but a 1 year postdegree) so most Struct eng are Civil too.

    I was thinking to make a degree that I really like. and then to do a MSc in Strutural engineering becouse I'm passioned about it, so I get the best of both worlds. Do I really have to be a Civil eng. to study bridges and structures and to be a good Structural engeneer? (at least one uni will accept me with a an Aerospace degree on the Aerostructures stream)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2012 #2


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    Of course your best source of information about this is from the schools you're applying to. That said, it's generally true that structural engineering is a sub-specialty of Civil Engineering.

    In many (most?) places, a structural engineer is required to have professional licensure.
  4. May 9, 2012 #3
    Some of the engineers who graduated with me and got the same degree became civil engineers, others became mechanical engineers.

    One thing that is difficult for students to understand is that their education does very little to prepare them for a real engineering job. I've had many highly varied engineering jobs over the last 35 years. None used more than 5% of what I learned in school, but each used a different 5%.

    When you get your first job, your employeer will plan on training you on the job for four or five years before expecting you to be fully functional as an engineer. I started my latest job nine months ago, and I'm still in training even with 35 years of experience in related engineering jobs.

    Yes, you will do some useful work before you are fully trained. But it will be the simpler stuff and it will be considered OJT.

    I've trained many young engineers fresh out of school myself. Some train more quickly, some take longer. But all learn very quickly that college did not teach them all that they needed to know to be an engineer.
  5. May 10, 2012 #4
    Thanks Pkruse, I'll keep it in mind. Other engineers told me that they are always training, but I didnt know to what point.
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