If you're interested in building roads, designing airports, or operating and constructing other infrastructures, then a career as a civil engineer is an ideal career path to pursue. As a civil engineer, you have a promising career, too. The demand for civil engineers is expected to grow at a rate faster than the average job in the United States (U.S.) at 11 percent through 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Moreover, the BLS reports that civil engineers earned a median annual salary of $86,640 in 2018.
But if you want to be a top selection for companies looking for civil engineers, then it's worth looking into the best schools that offer a civil engineering degree. The great news is that you don't have to limit yourself to one country or the other. In fact, several top civil engineering schools are spread across the globe. You just need to know what to look for and where to look. Here are some of the best civil engineering schools worldwide and tips for finding more:
What Should You Look for in a Civil Engineering School?
Several factors are worth considering when you're looking for the best school to pursue your studies to prepare you as a professional civil engineer. One of the top considerations to keep in mind when searching for the best school is whether or not it offers a civil engineering degree. The BLS notes that most civil engineers require at least a bachelor's degree to get into the field. Even some of the oldest engineering schools in the world that helped shape the field offer a civil engineering degree. So, it's essential to determine if the school you're considering offers the degree you need and at the level you want. For instance, if you already have a bachelor's degree but want to earn a master's or doctoral degree to qualify for working at a specific company or in a leadership position, such as a senior civil engineer or senior engineering project manager, then ensure the school you are considering offers a graduate-level degree. This strategy is also useful if you plan to pursue a specialization to enhance your career options, such as a specialization in structural engineering.
The accreditation of a degree program also is essential. For instance, many states in the U.S. require obtaining an engineering degree from an ABET-accredited school or program to earn a Professional Engineering (PE) license. A PE license can serve as a gateway for more lucrative job opportunities and advance your career as a civil engineer. So, if you plan to pursue your license, it's essential to review the accreditation of your degree program.
It's also critical to consider your academic and career goals when looking for the best civil engineering schools. For example, if your goal is to attend a program that is taught in English or offers study abroad opportunities, then it's essential to determine if the school you want to attend offers these options. As one of the best engineering schools in Japan, the University of Tokyo offers several degrees in English, including its master's degree in civil engineering. Also, research the school's career support services, including the internship and networking opportunities the school offers.
What are the Some of the Best Civil Engineering Schools for Undergraduates?
Here are some of the top schools around the world offering an undergraduate civil engineering degree, according to Times Higher Education's (THE) World University Rankings 2019:
- Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) (U.S.). As one of the 10 best U.S. colleges and universities for civil engineering, Georgia Tech is often a top choice for students worldwide. This public research university not only offers ABET-accredited undergraduate degree programs for future civil engineers but it also has an accelerated degree program, where you can pursue your bachelor's and master's degree at the same time. The program doesn't require that you finish your master's degree program. Instead, Georgia Tech's BS/MS degree program works as a strategic way to get admitted into your master's degree program early.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (U.S.). U.S. News & World Report counts MIT among some of the top engineering schools for good reasons. MIT's engineering students can choose from multiple educational tracks to enhance their undergraduate degree, including systems engineering, environmental engineering, and general civil engineering. The school offers a low student-to-faculty ratio of three students per faculty member. You can also count on support outside academics to enhance your career goals, thanks to MIT's approach for fostering practical education and entrepreneurship. The school has various research labs, competitions, career opportunities, and student organizations to enhance your academic experience, such as its CEE internship program, summer fieldwork program, and traveling research environmental experience program. MIT's alumni salaries are lucrative, with median starting salaries at nearly $80,000 USD per year.
- National University of Singapore (NUS) (Singapore). At NUS, you can pursue a civil engineering degree as well as pursue a double-degree option with programs, such as business administration and economics. The school also has a high international student body at 28 percent.
- University of Cambridge. (U.K.). The University of Cambridge not only offers an undergraduate engineering degree with a civil, structural and environmental engineering specialization but you can also take advantage of its study abroad exchange programs with the National University of Singapore (NUS) in Singapore and Centrale-Supelec in Paris. The school also has a high international student body at 37 percent and boasts multiple accreditations for its engineering degree program, including accreditations from the Engineering Council and Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
What are Some Top Graduate Civil Engineering Schools?
While several engineering schools offer graduate-level degrees for future civil engineers, some outshine the rest thanks to their high-value curriculum, career opportunities, and academic support services. Consider these top schools around the world that offer a civil engineering degree at the graduate level:
- Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands)
- ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
- Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
- Stanford University (United States)
- Tsinghua University (China)
- University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
- The University of Sydney (Australia)
- University of Tokyo (Japan)
If you want to attend some of the best civil engineering schools around the world, it's critical to do some research. Start off by using some of the tips from this quick guide, and you'll be on your way to finding a top engineering school that meets your needs.