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Study Civil and Environmental Engineering in Australia

Building the Future
Author G. Dandy University of Adelaide  

Imagine designing such exciting projects as a bridge over the Bosphorous or Danube, the structural support system for a 300 metre high building in Kuala Lumpur or an advanced wastewater treatment system in Manila. These are all works carried out by Civil Engineers.

Civil Engineering is that branch of engineering responsible for the design, construction, operation maintenance of facilities such as roads, bridges,  dams, water supply schemes, sewerage systems , airports, railways, factories and large buildings.

Although the profession of Civil Engineering dates back to the eighteenth century, recent developments such as the use of computers  in design and operations mean that the profession will continue to  provide exciting and challenging careers for men and women into the twenty-first  century.

Civil engineers tend to specialise in areas such as structural engineering,  water engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation or construction. Structural engineering deals with the analysis and design of  buildings, bridges, towers, dams, and the like. In the design of large buildings, the structural engineer usually works in conjunction with an architect. In some countries, the contributions of  architect and engineer are combined and provided by an architectural engineer.

Water engineering covers the study of rainfall and runoff and the hydrological cycle, and the dynamics of water moving in pipes and open channels, as well as the  planning, design, and operation of water supply systems, irrigation systems, the design and construction of harbours, and the maintenance of coasts.

Geotechnical-engineering is closely related to structural engineering, in that it deals with the behaviour of soil and rock, especially with regard to the adequacy of foundations used to support buildings and other structures. The geotechnical-engineer is also concerned with the design and construction of earth-fill dams, pavements, cuttings, and tunnels. Transportation engineering is concerned not only with the design and construction of roads, railways, canals, airports, and seaports but also with their effective use and operation to ensure that the movement of people, goods and materials is prompt and efficient. Construction engineering is concerned with the organization of machinery, materials and labour for the construction of buildings, highways, bridges, airports and the like, and the execution of large earthworks. Environmental engineering is a relatively new field of engineering that offers the opportunity to find practical solutions to the many environmental problems facing humanity. It arose out of the involvement of engineers in public health matters such as the provision of a clean water  supply, sewerage services, solid and hazardous waste management as well as the control of air and water pollution. Environmental engineers are con- cerned with assessing and managing the effects of human and other activity on the natural and built environments. They apply their engineering knowledge and skills to a broad range of tasks including Environmental Impact Assessment, Natural Resources Management, Pollution Control and the Minimization of the Impact of Wastes on the environment. They deal with the cause and effect associated with pollution, and develop an ecological approach to the conversion of toxic and hazardous wastes to minimum levels of toxic end products. Degree courses in environmental engineering have a solid basis in one or more of the traditional branches of engineering such as civil or chemical engineering. These are combined with studies in environmental engineering and other areas such as science, law and economics. In view of the expanding population and industrialisation of most of the world, significant challenges will exist into the next century for civil engineers to provide appropriate infra- structure and for environmental engineers to minimize the impact of human activities on the global environment. ...

Dandy, G.C. and Warner, R.F. "Planning and Design of Engineering Systems", Chapman - Hall, London, London, Chapter I, 1989.

The University of Adelaide Australia

School of Civil &

Environmental Engineering

Engineering North N136,

North Terrace Campus


SA 5005




+61 8 8303 5451


+61 8 8303 4359