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Top Civil Engineering Schools in 2016

By Sabrina Collier

Updated March 25, 2020 Updated March 25, 2020

Discover the top civil engineering schools based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020.

Want to discover the world’s leading universities in the field of civil and structural engineering? The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 is here to help, providing a ranking of the 200 top civil engineering schools worldwide. The ranking is compiled based on employer and academic reputation, as well as research impact (find out more here).

Read on for an overview of the leading civil engineering departments in each world region, or take a look at the full top 200 here.

Top 10 Civil Engineering Schools in the World

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016


Name of Institution



Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

United States


University of Cambridge

United Kingdom


National University of Singapore (NUS)



University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

United States


Delft University of Technology

The Netherlands


Imperial College London

United Kingdom


Stanford University

United States


Tsinghua University



University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Hong Kong


University of Tokyo


See the full civil engineering ranking >


Top civil engineering schools in the US & Canada 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The ranking features a total of 48 universities in the US and Canada, with 11 in Canada and 37 in the US. As well as the three US universities in the top 10 (see above), a further 18 are within the top 100, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (joint 12th), University of Texas at Austin (15th), Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, 22nd), Purdue University (26th) and the University of Michigan (joint 34th).

In Canada meanwhile, four schools rank within the top 100: of these, the University of British Colombia and the University of Toronto rank within the top 35, and are joined in the top 100 by McGill University and the University of Waterloo.

Top civil engineering schools in Europe

The UK claims the largest share of Europe’s leading civil engineering departments, with 25 entries in the ranking. As well as two in the top 10, also ranked among the world’s top 50 are the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield.

Each with seven representatives in the civil engineering ranking are Germany and Italy. While Italy claims two within the top 50 – the Politecnico di Milano and Politecnico di Torino – Germany offers four within the top 100, including KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

There are plenty more leading universities for civil and structural engineering across Europe, including four in Portugal, and three each in Belgium, France, Greece, Spain and Sweden. Of these, Greece’s National Technical University of Athens, Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Sweden’s KTH, Royal Institute of Technology are within the top 50. 

KU Leuven Belgium

Also among the top 100 are the Belgian KU Leuven, the Portuguese University of Porto, the Greek Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and two more entries from Sweden – Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University.

Each with two entries in the ranking are the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Switzerland. The highest ranked of these are found in Switzerland, with ETH Zurich and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) both ranked within the top 25.

Other European countries featured in the ranking, with one representative each, include Austria, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Norway and Poland. Of these, the highest ranked are Denmark’s Technical University of Denmark (joint 41st) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (51-100).

Top civil engineering schools in Asia

China is home to 13 of the world’s top 200 universities for civil and structural engineering, the most of any country in Asia. Following Tsinghua University (8th), Tongji University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University also rank among the world’s top 50, and are joined by two Chinese entries within the top 100 – Peking University and Zhejiang University.

In Japan, meanwhile, there are nine top civil engineering universities. As well as the University of Tokyo in 10th place, Kyoto University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology are also among the top 50 for civil engineering, while Tohoku University is within the top 100. 

University of Tokyo

Of India’s seven representatives, four Indian Institutes of Technology are ranked within the world’s top 100: IIT Bombay (IITB), IIT Delhi (IITD), IIT Kharagpur (IITKGP) and IIT Madras (IITM). South Korea also claims seven entries, with all but one ranking within the top 100, and two in the top 50: KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Seoul National University (SNU). 

A further five leading schools for civil and structural engineering can be found in Malaysia, including Universiti Malaya at 101-150.

All of Hong Kong’s four entries in the civil engineering ranked appear within the global top 50. Following the University of Hong Kong (9th), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University comes in at joint 12th, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is 23rd, and the City University of Hong Kong is joint 45th.

Taiwan also offers four entrants in the ranking, including National Taiwan University at joint 34th and National Cheng Kung University at 51-100.

Finally, both Singapore and Thailand have two schools in the ranking. While Thailand’s offerings are both ranked 151-200, Singapore’s representatives are both within the top 50 – the National University of Singapore (3rd) and Nanyang Technological University (joint 18th).

Top civil engineering schools in Australia & New Zealand 
University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Of the 16 leading civil engineering departments in Australia and New Zealand, 14 belong to the Aussies and two to the Kiwis. For Australia, these include the University of New South Wales, the University of SydneyMonash University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia in the top 50, as well as five more universities ranked within the top 100.

New Zealand’s two offerings in the civil engineering ranking are the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury, both in the top 50.

Top civil engineering schools in Latin America

There are nine Latin American universities featured in the civil engineering ranking, split between four countries. The highest ranked of these are Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Mexico’s Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Brazil’s Universidade de São Paulo (USP), which are all ranked in the top 100. Colombia also features, with the Universidad de los Andes appearing in the second half of the table.

Top civil engineering schools in Africa & the Middle East 
Middle East Technical University

Turkey is home to two of the world’s top universities for civil and structural engineering, including Middle East Technical University, which ranks 101-150. Also ranking 101-150 is Israel’s only entry, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, while Saudi Arabia also features in the ranking with King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals at 151-200.

Finally, South Africa’s University of Cape Town is the sole African representative in the ranking, in the 151-200 range.

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This article was originally published in April 2016 . It was last updated in March 2020

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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