What is civil engineering?

Great Wall of China

Civil engineering is all about helping people and shaping the world. It’s the work that civil engineers do to make our lives much easier.

They keep us switched on and powered up by supplying electricity and gas to our homes. They give us clean water and purify it so we can use it again. They build all sorts of things so we can get around, from roads and bridges to railways and airports.

Civil engineers also do lots of other things like finding clever ways of recycling our waste, and finding solutions to problems like pollution.

Civil engineering through the ages

Civil engineering is one of the world's great professions. Civil engineers are responsible for virtually all the great structures around us today and throughout history.

We've pulled together profiles of some of the most famous civil engineers the world has ever known.

Experience civil engineering

There's a world of amazing civil engineering out there. Explore it through our social networks, or post your own inspiring images and videos.

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Our library team have been busy pulling together some of the most stunning examples of civil engineering from around the world.

Engineering happiness by ICE

Description: This video sees engineers dancing to Pharrel Williams' 'Happy' whilst showing off some of the most famous civil engineering projects across London.

Engineering the London Underground

Description: This video provides a history of the London Underground, from it's inception through to the construction of modern lines such as the Jubilee extension. It shows how civil engineering has evolved over the last 150 years, and how vital engineers are in delivering strategic transport networks.

Engineering the London Olympic Park

Description: This video describes the civil engineering challenge of delivering the London Olympics. It includes interviews with some of those involved and time-lapse filming of the different stages of construction

Civil engineers - Shaping the Future

Description: This video highlights the role of civil engineers in solving world problems such as water supply, energy, transport, and housing.

The little DVD of civilisation

Description: An inspirational video showing civil engineering achievement and the global problems which can be addressed by civil engineers.

Want to find out more about how to become a civil engineer?

If you think you'd like to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems, from providing clean drinking water, to high quality housing, then a career as a civil engineer could be for you.

It can be hard knowing what to do, and to help, we've created a range of careers advice and guidance. Whether or not you're still at school, or thinking about what to do afterwards, we've got something for you. Simply choose the option below that's most appropriate for you and find out more.

Fiona Keenaghan, apprentice
Fiona Keenaghan, an apprentice engineer - our profiles help explain how other young people made their decisions