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Where should I pursue a career in Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is a broad discipline with immense scope for specializing in design, construction, architecture and maintenance of buildings, tunnels, dams, bridges and other such structures. It is a discipline that integrates knowledge and understanding of mathematics, physics, project management, architecture, and design elements. It presents a range of competitive career opportunities in different parts of the world.

For those who wish to study abroad, there are plenty of options to choose from. Starting from full-fledged engineering graduate degrees to diploma courses to internships, there are overseas civil engineering programs to suit the need of every student.

Some students go to study abroad because of the unlimited options of specializations offered in different universities across the globe. Civil engineering like any other field encompasses many focus areas. Some overseas civil engineering programs offer degree in construction management, architecture and urban design, industrial and systems engineering, road and bridge engineering and hydraulic engineering.

The diploma courses that students can study abroad are ideal for students who want to couple classroom learning with on-the job work experience. Among the overseas civil engineering programs, the graduate diploma course is a 2 year education program while post graduate diplomas have duration of one year.  These courses offer theoretical knowledge as well as field trips as a part of the curriculum.

Short term Internships

Apart from the regular overseas civil engineering programs that range from 3 to 5 years, one can also opt for a short internship program to complement an existing degree or simply for the work experience exposure that it offers. The internship opportunity is particularly useful for students who wish to gain practical experience not easily available as a part of their coursework. With this program, students get to work alongside established engineers and work on challenging projects and get the real feel of working in the industry.

Apart from gaining professional experience, students also qualify for placements in their host organization.  Internship options are available in different countries. Which country you choose depends on whether you would like to pursue a career there if an opportunity becomes available.


Some students are aware of the specialization in civil engineering. There are many overseas civil engineering programs that provide students a strong foundation in design, engineering systems, construction and management of buildings and large scale projects. Sometimes, as it is in the case of University of South Australia, it is even possible to earn a degree with honors if you are meritorious student.

Australia has an excellent job market in many fields. The Skilled Occupations List (SOL) available in Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and border Control website. Job profiles listed here are in high demand and if you have the necessary qualifications and skills, you are more likely to find a job here. For instance, Construction Manager and Surveyor are both listed in the website. Armed with a civil engineering degree, especially a specialization like construction management, from any reputed university will help you find a job here. Similarly a civil engineering degree from reputed universities such as The University of New South Wales and The University of Sydney, which is ranked in the top two universities in Australia, increases your chance of a good placement.

If you get the chance to go on industrial visits, try to network with people to increase chances of landing a job. Once you find an employer who is willing to sponsor you, a permanent work visa is not far away. Once you have an internship in a specific organization and exhibit good talent, you can seek a job there. Remember, many companies do not advertise any openings. In such cases, you’ll have a distinct advantage knowing about the internal opportunities through your traineeship opportunity.

South Africa

The job market in South Africa is competitive and the employers are known to favor citizens over people from other countries. Apart from the necessary qualifications, a minimum five years job experience is the normal requirement for getting an employment opportunity and work visa. Studying in any good university, for instance, University of Cape Town that has a good civil engineering program might enhance one’s chance of finding a job.

Internship overseas civil engineering programs last for 2 to 3 months on an average and add practical experience to existing theoretical knowledge on the subject. They offer the much needed exposure to on-site jobs and networking opportunities. In an increasingly competitive job market, an internship and the experience it offers will greatly increase your chance of being chosen for a job. Even a contractual position can be a good starting point and can help you gain enough experience to apply for a regular position.


Finding a job in USA can be very tough especially with H1B visas getting scarcer by the day. When the decision is made to study abroad, a student automatically is eligible for a huge variety of course options. Successful completion of a course in a reputed university can make way for prospective careers as engineers, surveyors and consultants in good companies. A good idea would be to check out which States have the highest demand for your skills and apply accordingly for higher likelihood of landing a job here. A degree from any of the top universities in USA for civil engineering such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University or University of California is a great plus in the job market.


A quick analysis of some of highest-paying civil engineering jobs in the world lists out several countries in Europe, including Netherlands and Switzerland. For those seriously considering job prospects here can take up short or regular degree programs and explore the possibility of jobs. For instance, the Bachelor in Civil Engineering offered by Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Netherlands might be a great option. This is a 1 year course that allows students to specialize in hydraulics, rivers, geo techniques, concrete and mechanics. Such a specialization can also widen the scope for finding suitable jobs in the country itself.




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