So, you know what to expect from studying a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil) at USYD, but you want to get a personal perspective on what it’s really like?
We’ve asked Fiona, a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil) graduate and fourth year Bachelor of Laws student at USYD, to share some more insights into the course.
Let’s get started!
Why should you study a Civil Engineering degree at USYD?
If you find natural and built structures fascinating or have always wondered how bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure is constructed, studying a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil) at USYD could be right up your alley!
When it comes to studying at USYD, the people and faculty you study with have a huge impact.
Top 3 Pros of a Civil Engineering degree
#1: The people
Studying Civil Engineering at USYD means that you’ll be joining a friendly, supportive cohort and be taught by lecturers and tutors that are passionate and just as encouraging.
Fiona says, “The people at USYD are so different, you’ll meet so many people.”
Societies have a big influence on the culture at USYD as well, with societies such as the Sydney University Engineering Undergraduate Association and the Sydney University Civil Engineers Society organising all sorts of social events and networking opportunities throughout the year.
#2: Studying something interesting and rewarding
Civil Engineering is a huge area, and studying it at USYD will see you learning about how to design, plan, and build all sorts of structures. This means that you’ll be sure to find an area that interests you!
“People don’t really understand what civil engineering is until they start doing it,” Fiona says. “But … when you develop a deeper understanding of things, the processes that go into making infrastructure, I find that really interesting and it’s rewarding studying engineering.”
#3: The university experience
As difficult as Civil Engineering can be, you’ll come out of the degree with the valuable skills, knowledge and resilience that you’ll need in your working life.
Coming out of her degree, Fiona says, “[The lecturers and tutors] don’t spoon feed you at any point in time. They give you the resources, they give you the support for you to be disciplined, and you come out at the other end disciplined. And it just translates into other times of life where you know when you need to put effort in and you know where some aspects you don’t.”
Top 3 Cons of a Civil Engineering degree
#1: High contact hours
Since you’ll be attending a mix of lectures, tutorials, and labs across your subjects, you can expect to spend a lot of time at university. You can generally expect to be attending 30 hours of classes each week, though this can depend on your subject combinations each semester.
“I think at one point, I got up to 40 contact hours [or] three or four days a week with one lunch break in between. It was a pretty rough semester. I got through fine in the end, it’s just you have to be prepped for a lot of contact hours and a lot of content,” Fiona says.
#2: Lots of maths
To study Civil Engineering, you’ll need to learn and be able to use a lot of maths. While some might love this, it can make studying more difficult for others.
But, you can get support to get up to speed. The Faculty of Engineering runs free tutoring sessions throughout the semester, where more senior students can help you with specific problems, concepts or any other content that you’re finding difficult.
Fiona says, “I struggle in maths personally … and to have that kind of support or having someone else go through things with me and teach me, [it helped me] get through my degree.”
#3: It’s a difficult degree
Civil Engineering requires an understanding of mathematics and physics to learn all of the skills you’ll need as a civil engineer, so it can be a difficult degree to study.
Fiona says, “Even though it’s a lot of contact hours, and it’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into it, and it’s stressful at times because it’s a difficult degree. But coming out of it, you realise that you build not just your skills but your mental resilience … and I think that kind of preps you for life in the long run.”
Fiona has no regrets about studying Civil Engineering at USYD, and says, “I think being a woman entering engineering at the moment, there’s never been a better time to do it. There’s so much support, there’s no stigma.”
What do you wish you had known before starting the degree?
Although there is a pressure on students to complete their degrees as quickly as they can and focus on studying, taking the time to take advantage of the unique opportunities available to university students is just as valuable.
Fiona says she regrets not doing exchange. “I was too focused on studying,” she adds.
For Civil Engineering students, there are opportunities to study at another university in Europe, Asia, or the US, as well as opportunities to undertake fieldwork overseas in-between semesters.
Head here to explore the different programs available at USYD!
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
Since Civil Engineering is an accredited degree by Engineers Australia, you’ll find that the subjects offered will be pretty consistent across universities. For Fiona, the culture and societies on offer makes USYD stand out against other universities.
Fiona says, “It’s more just having that support network and resources [from] everyone [and they’re] willing and able to help. I have a lot of resources that I’ve still got saved on my laptop somewhere provided from somebody who was in fourth year when I was in first year … it helps you get through [the degree] because of those additional resources.
What inspired you to choose this degree?
“I initially wanted to study law throughout high school, and that was what I was aiming for,” Fiona says. But, most universities require you to study law alongside another degree in arts, commerce, engineering or science.
Fiona explains, “At the time, and still now, I’m not too interested in business, I wasn’t too interested in a specific branch of art, and I wasn’t too interested in science by itself. [But] I enjoyed physics and engineering subjects at the time, and it just kind of interested me because it’s so practical and applicable. So Year 12 me, young and naive, thought it’d be a good idea to do engineering and law.”
Once she started university, Fiona says that she found “the more that I did engineering, the more interesting it became for me.”
What are the possible career paths?
Unsurprisingly, graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil) will equip you with the skills to become a civil engineer across a range of areas, including:
- Airport and harbour authorities
- Construction and mining companies
- Engineering and infrastructure consultants
- Municipal councils
- Project management and public works
- Transport systems
- Gas and water supply and sewerage systems
Rachel Fieldhouse is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and has just completed a double degree in Science and Arts at The University of Sydney, majoring in Chemistry, English, and Linguistics. Rachel’s writing has been published in Concrete Playground, Inside Enterprise, Planting Seeds, and SURG FM, and she currently writes blog posts for Remi AI, a Sydney-based Artificial Intelligence firm. When she’s not writing, you can find Rachel playing her saxophone or flute, or relaxing with some sudoku.