What are the different types of civil engineering?

Civil engineering is a professional degree where we study designing, constructing, and maintaining buildings’ physical and structural components. Railways naturally built the environment, including civil government works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sanitary systems, and pipelines.

Civil engineering is also divided into several sub-departments. It is considered the second oldest engineering field after military engineering and is defined as distinguishing civil engineering from military engineering. Civil engineers can serve in the public sector, from municipal public works departments to federal government agencies, and in the private sector, from local companies to international corporations.


The start of civil engineering as a separate discipline can be viewed as the establishment in 1747 in France of the Bridge and Highway Corps. The professors wrote books that became standard textbooks on mechanics, machinery, and hydraulics, and leading British engineers learned to read French.

Design and calculation replaced rules of thumb and empirical formulas, and as expert knowledge was codified, the civilian engineer moved to the front of the stage. Skilled but often self-taught carpenters, barbers, millers, and toolmakers became civil engineers.

In Britain, James Brindley began as a millwright and became one of the greatest canal builders of the century. John Rennie was a millwright’s apprentice who built the new London Bridge. Thomas Telford, a stonemason, became Britain’s leading road builder.

Formal technical science training became more accessible as other countries followed France and Germany. In Great Britain, the universities, which had been seats of classical learning, were reluctant to embrace the new discipline.

University College, London, founded in 1826, offered a wide range of educational courses and offered courses in the philosophy of engineering.

King’s College, London, first taught civil engineering in 1838, and in 1840, Queen Victoria established the first chair of civil engineering at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, offered the first architectural education in the United States.

The number of universities worldwide with courses in engineering, including civil engineering, grew rapidly during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Civil engineering is taught in universities around the world today.

The best type of civil engineering

There are many sub-fields in the broader field of civil engineering. Professional civil engineers work closely with land surveyors and specialist field engineers to develop layout plans, drains, road construction, water supply, wastewater treatment, dams, and electrical and communication systems.

General civil engineers, also known as site engineers, primarily work on converting a piece of land from one use to another. Site engineers visit sites, meet with stakeholders, and develop construction plans. Civil engineers apply principles of geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, environmental engineering, transportation engineering, and civil engineering to construction, commercial, industrial, and public works projects of size, and it’s all in the middle.

Some of the best types of civil engineering are explained below:


Structural engineering

Structural engineering is the best type of civil engineering. The main purpose is shown in the name. Structural engineering deals with the bones and muscles of a building. It works on structuring a building, city, bridge, and any type of construction. Building stability depends on the study and calculations provided by structural engineers. So, they are highly skilled, creative and talented.

For example, structural engineers must ensure the building can support heavy loads and machinery when building hospitals. Hence, they consider the number of people who regularly use the building and the heavy equipment that will be used. What will be done will have to be calculated by structural engineers.

Structural engineers make decisions based on data received by surveyors on how to build structures on specific soil types and surfaces to ensure that they are built for maximum strength and stability.

Some types of civil engineering jobs in this field are:

  • Large Building
  • Bridges
  • Space stations
  • Royalcostors
  • Cities infrastructures

Environmental engineering

Environmental engineering is one of the most important branches of civil engineering. When civil engineers complete their undergraduate degrees, many universities label their certificates as environmental engineering. This shows how much environmental engineering interlinks with civil engineering.

Environmental engineers protect human and animal life from environmental degradation and minimize damage caused by the construction of buildings and infrastructure.

Environmental engineers often apply chemical, biological, physical science, and geological principles to design and build structures or systems that benefit the environment and prevent environmental problems.

Some types of civil engineering jobs in this field are:

  • Waste disposable systems
  • Pollution control projects
  • Any construction project has a chance to damage the environment.
  • Greener Building

Geotechnical engineering

Geotechnical engineering is all about the infrastructure developing in and around the soil and rocks. Geotechnical engineers have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering but have strong geology knowledge and are interested in working and preserving geological elements.

Geotechnical engineers are experts with knowledge of soil and rock types. Before construction, these engineers visit and decide which material and method will help to save the surrounding rocks and soils.

Geotechnical engineers not only plan to protect rokes and soil but also make structures and decide on materials that will be useful in the specific land.

Some types of civil engineering jobs in this field are:

  • Roads
  • Slops
  • Tunnels
  • Bridges

Transportation engineering

Transportation or traffic engineering is still one of the most important types. Engineers in this field work on public transit worldwide, such as motorways, highways, Railways, Airports, and ports. Their goals are to increase traffic flow, reduce traffic congestion,  and reduce the likelihood of accidents.

This can be accomplished by designing a completely new model or modifying an existing one. However, engineers must consider several issues to successfully develop a transportation network, including the new system’s financial, political, and ethical implications.

Manteneness is also an important part of the job of transportation engineers. It is specially a crucial part that traffic is working smoothly and safely. Any issue may result in the case of an injury or even death. Ensuring these systems work properly will prevent cars, trains and planes from breaking down and avoid paying for costly repairs later.

Some types of civil engineering jobs in this field are:

  • Roads
  • Railways
  • Airports
  • Ports

Water resource engineering

Water engineering, also called hydraulic engineering, involves planning and designing the water structure. This can be an equipment or system that helps to keep our water resources prevented and working smoothly. Water resources engineers plan, construct, and maintain critical water systems we use daily. They can save the deterioration of these systems so that there is no major disruption in our lives.

Water resource engineers build farmers’ irrigation systems to ensure water desperation and crop growth. They also build structures around lakes and rivers to prevent geologic degradation such as erosion or flooding.

They also plan and design pipelines that are used in homes worldwide. Water resource engineers are precious in the daily lives of people worldwide. The preservation of water is the critical responsibility of water resource engineers. They make sure that people use water in more eco-friendly ways.

They work in these fields:

  • Sewage systems
  • Pipelines
  • Water irrigation system
  • Dams
  • Waterways

Construction engineering

Construction engineering is managing any construction project, whether residential, commercial, or industrial. Construction engineers plan the construction process, supervise construction workers throughout the process, and will also inspect completed projects.

Construction engineers will often work closely with architects, structural engineers, and other engineering technicians to complete the structure design and track the cost of each project.

A team of civil engineers will plan projects like bridges, skyscrapers, residential houses or large buildings.

Although these roles may seem similar to a typical civil engineer, civil engineers are more concerned with the construction process, overseeing the project’s progress and managing everything on site.

Some types of civil engineering jobs in this field are:

  • Overseeing construction work
  • Planning construction process
  • Make sure the residential, commercial and industrial projects are carried out correctly.

Municipal engineering

Municipal engineering involves managing, designing and constructing small structures in cities or towns. Large building projects usually fall to structural, architectural, or general civil engineers, and municipal engineers manage parks, sidewalks, waterways, or sewer systems in cities.

Municipal engineers will often work alongside water resources engineers but will need a firm grasp of physics and water principles and specialized knowledge of plumbing and pipelines.

Municipal engineers are working on these projects:

  • Parks
  • Water system
  • Pavements
  • Sewage systems

Earthquake engineering

Earthquake engineering is an interdisciplinary area. It defines and solves problems due to an earthquake. It is necessary to integrate knowledge and expertise from geology, seismology, geotechnical, marine and structural engineering, and even architecture and development to reduce earthquake hazards to socio-economically acceptable levels.

Forensic engineering

Forensic engineering is another part of civil engineering which investigates problems. If we discuss it more, it investigates machines and other mechanical equipment issues. Most people consider this reverse engineering because these applications determine why something went wrong or stopped working.

Reports provided by forensic engineers are used in cases involving injury or property damage, such as a building collapse, sprinkler failure, or machine malfunction causing injury. These findings are often used to settle a case or claim in court. When this happens, the engineer will be deposed to explain why the failure occurred.

In addition, engineers are tasked with investigating catastrophic damage following hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, explosions, and large fires.

Final Thoughts

Civil engineering is a broad term for many types of engineering, each dealing with different specialties and project types.

Choosing civil engineering as a career path gives you enough room to grow and change, allowing you to specialize in any of the specialties above at any time.

Civil engineers are essential to all functions of our society and can have a tangible impact on how we live our lives. Environmental priorities can help move towards a more sustainable future and improve natural and human systems.


Which is the best branch of civil engineering?

Structural engineering is the highest in-demand field of civil engineering. It has many opportunities in government job sectors. Structural engineering deals with designing, testing, constructing and maintaining structures such as roads, flyovers, bridges and dams.

How many types of civil engineering are there?

There are many types of civil engineering. However, experts divide it into 5 main types. Construction, management, geotechnical, structural, transportation, water, and architecture.

Is Civil engineering hard?

It is different from common subjects. Getting a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering may take a lot of work. But it’s not impossible. It belongs to geometrical calculation, and human daily lives depend on civil engineers.

Which civil engineer has the highest salary?

Physical design engineers get the highest pay. They charge $140,000 per year. But it does not mean that others earn nothing. All civil engineers earn a reasonable salary per month.