Is Civil Engineering Hard?

Is Civil Engineering Hard

Civil engineering has had quite the reputation of being the easiest engineering degree. That is when compared to other more technically heavy specializations. 

Generally speaking, civil engineering is not a very difficult course. In fact, this engineering degree is also one of the easiest to get admitted to. 

It’s relatively simpler compared to other engineering specializations because of its broad area of study. 

What is Studied in an Engineering Degree? 

Fundamentals of Different Engineering Fields

Students studying to become civil engineers do not dive deep into severely technical matters, nor do they study uber complicated math or science subjects. 

Instead, civil engineering covers the basics of more concrete specializations, such as commercial construction, hydraulics, materials science, statistics, and geotechnical engineering, among others.

That’s not to say that math and science are not essential in a civil engineering degree. The core of the profession still lies in learning how to apply maths and science concepts to real-life problems and situations. 

But unlike other more specific degrees, the math and science requirements are not heavy.

However, though the nature of civil engineering is easy, the difficult part is managing the various subjects and courses required to graduate with a degree. 

There are over 50 subjects that civil engineering students will touch on, which cover the basics of and introductions to other engineering majors.

Civil engineering students must be able to study, understand, and combine different fundamentals involved in other engineering courses. 

Lab and project work

A typical school year for a civil engineering student would involve a blend of laboratory work and lectures. More often than not, the students will be working in teams because collaboration is very valuable in a civil engineering career. 

The course is also very hands-on and involves project work to help prepare the students for their careers. 

Most universities require project work in the later years where students will be tasked to plan, design, build, and complete their own projects. 

Civil Engineering Admission Requirements

It’s relatively easy to get admitted to a civil engineering degree. But it also depends on the requirements of the universities you are eyeing. 

In general, though, there are no technical skills needed to pursue a civil engineering degree. But of course, those who possess core skills and proficiencies are prime candidates. 

Some valuable things to have in your application that can give you a place among the top candidates are:

  • Proven background and proficiency in physics and math
  • Interest in structure building and design
  • Average to above-average academic grades

Core Skills Needed to Excel in an Engineering Degree

There are also valuable skills that a student needs to excel as a civil engineering student and pave a successful career as a civil engineer. 

Hence, it’s worth noting that civil engineering is much easier for those who possess these core skills. 

Proficiency in math, science, and IT

Engineering courses are heavy on technical aspects. Although it is much less rigorous in a civil engineering degree, some above-average proficiency in math, science, and IT is also needed. 

Students must learn and develop their mastery of these technical aspects and be able to apply them in real-life situations that concern infrastructure.

Outstanding verbal and written communication skills

Because civil engineers often work in teams, it’s important that they are able to properly communicate their visions, goals, reports, etc. in a clear and concise manner — whether verbally or through written communications. 

Civil engineers also communicate with a lot of different types of people, such as stakeholders, funders, government officials, staff, and team members. 

Leadership and supervisory skills

Civil engineers carry the burden of managing the entire project that they are assigned to. So they need to be able to get every member of the team to align with the goals of the project. 

Civil engineers act as supervisors who oversee the work progress of different team members and ensure that all aspects of the project are properly planned, time-managed, budgeted, and delegated to the proper people.


There is no such thing as a project that goes according to plan. There will be a lot of contingencies during the project that civil engineers may or may not be prepared for. 

So it’s important that they know how to find the best solutions to any problem that might arise. And they have to make sure that the solutions they offer are safe, efficient, and cost-effective to keep the project right on track. 

Detail-oriented and organizational skills 

To see to it that project goals are met and everything goes smoothly, civil engineers need to be able to pinpoint problems right away and find concrete solutions. 

They also manage their entire team and ensure that everything happening is in compliance with the plans, rules, and the law. Without organizational skills, a civil engineer will not be able to address everything that his job requires him to. 

A Civil Engineering Career

Though the course is categorized as “easy,” graduates are awaited by a very demanding and challenging career. 

A civil engineer is in charge of designing and developing infrastructures, and these are usually on big scales such as corporate buildings, public roads, transport systems, or water and gas supply networks. 

Professionals in this fieldwork to accomplish big projects that more often than not have strict, limited deadlines. 

Not only that, but they also lend their knowledge and expertise on project matters that may be beyond their area of study, such as:

  • Project planning
  • Design
  • Budgeting
  • Surveying
  • Construction and progress management
  • Analysis and quality control


Though a civil engineering degree is easy to get into and less technical compared to other engineering specializations, it doesn’t come without challenges. 

One of the tradeoffs is the number of subjects and workload. Not to mention the complexities of the demanding and highly competitive career that awaits students after graduation. 

Nevertheless, civil engineering is a noble profession. Those who enter this field are given the ability and platform to create big impacts on society.

A civil engineering career enables you to adapt to current societal needs, providing solutions to global problems like environmental concerns, pollution, water supply management, sustainable energy, and more. 

Therefore, there’s no question that a career in civil engineering can be very fulfilling. So in the end, whatever struggles you face as a student or as a working professional pays off knowing that you are part of a big impact in society.

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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