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.

Engineering videos

Watch some of favourite videos to find out more about what engineering is and how it affects our life. From learning how the London Underground was built over 150 years ago, to flying a drone through one of the new Crossrail tunnels.

 

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Civil engineering games and resources

Interested in finding out more about civil engineering or engineering in general? We’ve searched the web for some of the best interactive games and puzzles that help bring engineering to life, giving you an opportunity to find out more about the amazing things engineers do.

Civil engineering games

Build a bridge to survive an earthquake

You’ve got to build a bridge from Oakland to San Franciso (USA). Can your bridge survive the ‘Big One’?

The Tunnel Challenge

Crossrail, London’s massive new rail project will create 42km of new tunnels beneath one of the world’s great cities. Think you could tell the engineers how to do it? If not, why not take the Tunnel Challenge and learn about different ways to build tunnels.

Questioneering

Think you know about engineering? Why not test your knowledge against others across the world and prove you know the most.

Bridge Design Contest

Run annually by Engineering Encounters, this competition gives you the chance to design and build your own virtual bridge using special engineering software.

Useful civil engineering links

Useful engineering links

If you’re interested in finding out more about engineering in general, there’s a wealth of material available. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite sites that will help you learn more. We keep adding to this list as we find new things that excite us, do keep checking back for more!

  • James Dyson Foundation - if you’re looking to learn about engineering and design, then this site is for you. You’ll find games and information that help you explore more about the importance of design in engineering and how a sketched idea can end up as a product in your hands.
  • Engineer your future - run by the Science Museum, this site’s packed full online games and information about engineering. From designing a space rover to testing railways or baggage handling systems.

Teacher or visiting a school?

If you're looking for help in explaining exactly what civil engineering is, or resources for lessons and school visits, then we've got lots of material to help.

Explore our educational resources

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
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