Choosing a program
At master’s level, it’s possible to choose a specific area to specialize in right from the start, if you know which sector you’re interested in.
For example, if you know you want to go into bridge engineering, the UK’s University of Surrey offers a master’s degree in just that.
If you’re headed for a career in transport systems engineering, then you may want to check out the dedicated master’s program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Or if building design is where your passion lies, then you may consider the two-year master’s course for budding architectural engineers, at Eindhoven University of Technology.
If, on the other hand, you’re still more open-minded, you may decide on a master’s program which allows you to study a broader spectrum of topics.
For instance, at Kyoto University’s Department of Civil and Earth Sciences Engineering, master’s students are required to take courses in infrastructure engineering, and at least some other key topics – including geotechnics, hydraulic engineering and resources development.
Beyond this, students can select from a long list of course options – ranging from river basin management and environmental disaster mitigation, to international leadership in science and technology. There are also opportunities to study courses offered at other departments within the university, if the fits the student’s study program.
Elsewhere, entire programs are offered jointly by two departments. One example is the MSc in Civil Engineering and Management offered at the UK’s University of Glasgow – run jointly by the departments of engineering and business.
Andrew Stanley, head of education and learning at the UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers, identifies the following key areas of research:
Transportation: Developing new materials and techniques, especially for maintenance.
Energy: Developing renewable energy sources such as wind, wave, tidal, solar and hydro-power; upscaling carbon capture and storage; heat exchange and geo-thermal energy and nuclear new builds.
Hazards: Adapting to climate change including resilience to flooding and droughts and food security issues; habitat creation and maintenance of bio-diversity in the face of climate change.
Waste: Recovering materials from waste; treating waste as a potentially useful commodity.
Water: Long-term water management planning in the light of climate change and socio-economic changes and disruptions.