Is Civil Engineering at RMIT up your alley? You’ve got the basics from our recent article, but we think it’s super important to get an in-depth look at what this degree is really like.
To make things easier for you, we had a chat with Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Infrastructure) graduate, Eve, to find out what she thought of the degree.
Keep reading to learn her tips!
Why should you study a Civil Engineering degree at RMIT?
Eve loved how well her degree equipped her for practical work outside of uni. Perhaps this is something you would also love and benefit from if you are passionate about civil engineering.
Top 3 Pros of a Civil Engineering degree
#1: University clubs
There’s a number of clubs that students can enjoy at RMIT! Eve has been involved with the Civil Engineering Students Association (CESA), which organises professional and social events for students.
“[There’s an] annual Industry Night, networking events, office tours and site visits to provide students with an understanding of available work opportunities and obtain a broader understanding of how the industry operates. [CESA also runs] BBQs, dinner and drinks over games to meet other like-minded students in the same course,” Eve said.
Eve also founded a club which is pretty cool in our opinion!
“The Females in RMIT Engineering (FIRE) club which I founded in 2019 ensures an opportunity to connect with fellow women in other engineering courses across all year levels. It is estimated that women make 12% of the engineering industry and so the club is aimed at engaging, supporting and empowering the current cohort of female engineering students.”
This is a really practical degree, where students engage in building and problem solving that mimics a professional workplace.
“Every semester there would be a subject or two which includes a hands-on laboratory lesson. This could include making concrete, testing structural elements through non-destructive methods, soil tests or steel beam making,” Eve explained.
She really enjoyed how these labs allowed students to test their theories and work collaboratively.
#3: Industry expertise
Studying at RMIT, you will get to meet, listen to and be taught by people who know the tricks of the trade. This is not only a great way to learn — it provides students with opportunities to network.
“The lecturers often get industry speakers including current engineers or managers working in the industry. These sessions provide students with a great opportunity to ask questions, understand available to them opportunities and what their own career could look like,” Eve said.
As Eve pointed out, this certainly is a way to get on-track for future work opportunities!
Top 3 Cons of a Civil Engineering degree
Though Eve loved her degree, she did share with us some elements that weren’t so great. (Spoiler: most of these are practical elements!)
#1: Location, location, location!
RMIT has a number of campuses — the largest based in Melbourne city. However, some classes can be located elsewhere.
“The laboratory classes are located in Bundoora, which might be a location issue for many students,” Eve said.
However, she learnt how to make the most of this time. “I found the travel time useful for focusing on myself. I’d read a book on the tram while commuting or on a few occasions I coordinated labs with a friend and while having a chat, carpooled to class.”
It’s roughly an hour between the city campus and Bundoora, so this is something students need to keep in mind when timetabling classes!
Turns out, there’s some strange alarm systems going on at RMIT. This isn’t a massive deal, but it could be inconvenient, especially in peak exam season!
“The occasional emergency evacuations from the library located in Building 10, are mostly due to system tests or false alarms. Particularly annoying when we happened to have a study room booked out for a few hours with a group of friends. However, the alarm was always a good excuse to have a break from study and catch up for a coffee. Better safe than sorry!” Eve said.
#3: Elective choice
Because RMIT engineering is so tailored, there aren’t always the subjects available that students would most like to take. This one is a little complex… We’ll let Eve explain it.
“Personally… I decided to pursue a career in construction [late in my course, and so] there were not many construction tailored electives to choose from. As the Civil Engineering course has a wide variety of disciplines, there is only a limited amount of discipline-related electives, which pushes students to study one or two courses which might not be directly related to your chosen career path.
“However looking back on my own experience, this influenced me to be a more well-rounded engineer. All engineering disciplines are intertwined and it is crucial to understand their own complexities.”
“I regret not looking more into the semester-long exchanges available overseas. As I progressed in my degree the subjects got more and more complex and in-depth, leaving less opportunity to study them online while completing a semester abroad with no implication to the duration of the course.”
RMIT offers many overseas exchanges, which you can check out here. They’re a great thing to get involved with if you’d like to expand your worldview.
It wasn’t all bad for Eve though — she still got involved in short-term exchanges.
“I still had an opportunity to complete a university elective about Sustainability in Bordeaux in France over 2 weeks in summer and a 2 week long Building Information Modelling (BIM) study tour to Chengdu in China,” she said.
And Eve’s regret still has a great lesson involved. “I’d highly recommend to anyone starting their university journey to take advantage of such opportunities and have a plan going forward. Even though the degree is 4 years long, those years will fly by quickly!”
What do you wish you had known before starting Civil Engineering at RMIT?
“I wish I understood the value of volunteering and the work experiences provided me with from the very beginning. They have been a great way to connect with like minded students, industry professionals and develop my soft skills. There are plenty of organisations to participate in whether externally or internally to RMIT and it’s certainly worth getting involved,” said Eve.
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
As we’ve mentioned before, this is a really hands-on degree, which speaks to the practical ethos of RMIT.
“The Civil Engineering degree comprehensively covers the technical knowledge base. However compared to other universities, it also provides its students with a practical view on the taught material,” Eve said.
This practical aspect obviously works as a teaching method, because Eve recalled in detail one of the laboratories she partook in.
“[One example is] the subject on concrete structures, which involved making concrete, fixing reinforcement and casting a concrete beam. Then after 14 days when the concrete hardened and cured, the students came back to test the beam to destruction and analyse the failure modes.
“Being able to experience the subject in a hands-on environment deepens the student’s understanding of the subject,” she explained.
What inspired you to choose Civil Engineering at RMIT?
Eve had plenty of answers for this question!
The first reason she chose RMIT was location. Based in the heart of the CBD, RMIT’s main campus is convenient to get to via public transport. It’s also right near great cafes, museums and entertainment venues, which makes socialising super easy!
Word of mouth was also really important for Eve.
“Both my sister and my brother-in-law attended RMIT University after they finished high school. They strongly recommended the degree. Now, one could say history is repeating itself, as having such a great RMIT experience myself I couldn’t recommend it more!”
Finally, Eve explained why she chose Civil Engineering at RMIT over any other course.
“I wanted to play a part in creating the world around us. Civil Engineers design and build the places we live and work in by ensuring structural safety of the buildings and create infrastructure we use every day to commute or go on a holiday such as the roads and railways,” she said.
What are the possible career paths?
An Engineering degree overall opens you up to some great employment opportunities.
However, a Civil and Infrastructure major is a great way to get into specific job areas, such as:
- Water engineering (flood modelling)
- Civil Engineering (drainage design, water catchments)
- Transport engineering (road and rail design)
- Structural Engineering (high rise Buildings, residential housing, current condition assessments)
- Geotechnical Engineering (design of structural foundations, identification of soil capacities/strength)
- Construction (on-site build of structures/infrastructure)
An Engineering degree could take you to many different places. You might be on the job in the middle of a construction site, or working from an office!
Hopefully this article has given you a great insight into a diverse degree that offers exciting futures for graduates like Eve.
Lucinda Garbutt-Young hopes to one day be writing for a big-shot newspaper… or maybe just for a friendly magazine in the arts sector. Right now, she is enjoying studying a Bachelor of Public Communication (Public Relations and Journalism) at UTS while she writes on the side. She also loves making coffees for people in her job as a barista, and loves nothing more than a sun shower.