Civil Engineering Vs Structural Engineering

The two major area of specialization in Engineering is the Civil and structural engineering, The two are major engineering disciplines, The Difference Between Civil Engineering Vs Structural Engineering is not much.

This engineering disciplines is concerned with designing, evaluation, preservation and construction of elements. Moreover, difference between civil engineering and structural engineering is tricky.

To digest the two discipline immediately will be hard, because the task of discerning the two disciplines would be difficult before understanding the concepts behind each of the careers.

Concepts of Civil engineering

Civil Engineering is one of the oldest engineering disciplines, and Its history dates back to the ancient times when people began building shelters for themselves.

Civil engineering discipline is a major course offered in almost all the universities and polytechnics all over the world today and the field of specialization includes: roads, water treatment, canals and dams.

Civil engineering that is been offered in the university has a four year full time course. when you graduate as a civil engineer, civil engineers join subdisciplines of civil engineering.

For instance, it is very rare to find a course referred to as masters in civil engineering. This disciplines of civil engineering includes: Geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, structural engineering and environmental engineering.

What is a civil engineer?

The civil engineer is a professional who designs and supervises the construction of public infrastructure. The following task is been performed by the Civil engineers:

  • Creating designs that use various building materials
  • Analyzing maps, drawings and photographs to decide the direction of the project and the budget limits
  • Communicating with clients, subcontractors and architects
  • Forecasting construction time frames
  • Assessing project feasibility by evaluating design practicality
  • Collaborating with structural engineers
  • Making recommendations and present alternative solutions
  • Reviewing government regulations
  • Ensuring projects sites meet relevant codes and respect legal requirements

Structural engineering

The Structural engineering deals with the designing, Analysis, building and maintenance of resisting or load bearing structures.

The examples of those structures are: bridges, skyscrapers and dams. And this is an engineering field which is offered in the universities as a subject under civil engineering and as a specialization which results in master’s degree or PhD.

What is a structural engineer?

The Structural engineering is a specialization of civil engineering, The structural engineer receives training on civil engineering in addition to structural engineering requirements.

Structural engineers performs the following tasks:

  • Analyzing each element of a structure to determine pressure and loads generated by human or environmental influence
  • Performing mathematical calculations
  • Designing a structure that resists all types of loads it is subject to
  • Creating specifications and structural models with computer-assisted design software
  • Evaluating elements configuration, alternating between analysis and design until they create a final configuration
  • Writing reports and tracking project progress
  • Inspecting construction sites and following safety guidelines
  • Collaborating with project managers and contractors

What is the difference between civil engineering and structural engineering?

For the fact that both civil engineering disciplines and structural engineering belong to the same field, they vary in some aspects.

  • For instance, one of the differences is that civil engineering focuses on design elements while structural engineering is more concern on inspecting the materials used for construction.

Structural engineers are the one who are supposed to ensure that the materials used for construction can support the design of the structure.

  • Further more, another difference between the two engineering courses is that civil engineering is offered as the first degree while structural engineering is offered as the 2nd or 3rd degree in engineering.

    Also Note that, civil engineer is expected to perform the duties of a structural engineer.

    More over, the vise versa is not true, In fact, structural engineering is a subject which is under civil engineering and it is also offered as masters or doctorate degree.

Learn more about civil engineering and structural engineering here.


To summarize all, Civil Engineering Vs Structural Engineering, the two degree courses are very important when it comes to design and construction jobs, as a result, the engineering firms provide both civil and structural engineering services to its clients.

Also note that, both engineering courses are significant in any of the construction or development projects, If you need to pursue any of the careers, it is important that you understand the differences mentioned above.


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