Civil engineering, the profession of designing and executing structural works that serve the general public. Smeaton’s work was backed by thorough research, and his services were much in demand. Is concrete a mixture of sand and steel? In 1750 when the Military Engineer's started handling the work of civil infrastructure the term Civil engineering was coined. Civil engineering is the design and construction of public works, such as dams, bridges and other large infrastructure projects. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Government institutions that employ civil engineers include state transportation departments and the military. Salaries for civil engineering jobs are on par with salaries for mechanical engineering jobs, but a bit lower than those for electrical, chemical, and materials engineering jobs. The BLS states, "Civil engineers generally work indoors in offices. Below are just a few examples of civil engineering specialties. "As infrastructure continues to age, civil engineers will be needed to manage projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads, and upgrade levees and dams," the BLS said. © The range for a mid-level engineer with a master's degree and five to 10 years of experience is $74,007 to $108,640, and the range for a senior engineer with a master's degree or doctorate and over 15 years of experience is $97,434 to $138,296. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median pay for civil engineers in 2017 was $84,770 per year. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The term "Civil" means "relating to citizens or people". Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. (Image: © Robert Cernohlavek | Shutterstock). New York, These courses, which tend to represent the various sub-specialties of civil engineering, may include: Keep in mind that a bachelor of science or bachelor of engineering degree will also include foundation course work in physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences. Civil engineering has promising job prospects with faster-than-average job growth. Today there are specialist societies and journals in many countries, and most universities that have a civil engineering faculty have courses in soil mechanics. Today, the public is more likely to remember the names of great civil engineering projects than the names of the engineers who designed and built them. Civil engineers need to be able to calculate the stresses on a structure to make sure it is engineered to avoid mechanical failure. The number of universities throughout the world with engineering faculties, including civil engineering, increased rapidly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Their meetings were held during parliamentary sessions; the society follows this custom to this day. Civil engineering draws heavily upon math and physics, but design, economics, and materials science are also important. Civil engineers design and build infrastructure projects, such as bridges and dams. The theory of structures and the study of materials have advanced together as more and more refined stress analysis of structures and systematic testing has been done. Civil engineering draws heavily upon math and physics, but design, economics, and materials science are also important. From earliest times, however, engineers have engaged in peaceful activities, and many of the civil engineering works of ancient and medieval times—such as the Roman public baths, roads, bridges, and aqueducts; the Flemish canals; the Dutch sea defenses; the French Gothic cathedrals; and many other monuments—reveal a history of inventive genius and persistent experimentation. Barge in a lock on the Grand Canal d'Alsace at Marckolsheim, Alsace, France. These may have been simple mounds or truly remarkable achievements, such as the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, whose construction by pre-industrial societies remains mysterious. In Britain, James Brindley began as a millwright and became the foremost canal builder of the century; John Rennie was a millwright’s apprentice who eventually built the new London Bridge; Thomas Telford, a stonemason, became Britain’s leading road builder. Feasibility studies may cover alternative methods—e.g., bridge versus tunnel, in the case of a water crossing—or, once the method is decided, the choice of route. Many employers, particularly those that offer engineering consulting services, also require state certification as a professional engineer. The design of engineering works may require the application of design theory from many fields—e.g., hydraulics, thermodynamics, or nuclear physics. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. It deals with the built environment and can be dated to the first time someone placed a roof over his or her head or laid a tree trunk across a river to make it easier to get across. Civil Engineering is named as it is because it is a part of Science which deals with the comfort acessories required by the civilians with respect to their basic needs of shelter, transportation, work place and other. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? The best civil engineers have broad educations that prepare them to understand the mechanical, environmental, political, social, and artistic dimensions of a project.