What does a civil engineer do? Possible minors to go with it?

Question by Ashley: What does a civil engineer do? Possible minors to go with it?
So, I want to be an architect. I’ve decided that it makes more sense for me specifically to get a bachelors degree in some type of engineering and then get a masters in architecture instead of doing the 5 year bachelors of architecture program. My reasoning behind this decision is that 1) I feel like engineering has more job security and it could always be a backup plan if architecture didn’t work out for some reason and 2) I feel like an engineering degree could help me to become a better architect.

I’ve been told that civil engineering would be a great major in my case. What exactly does a civil engineer do? Would it relate to an architecture job in any way?

I also want to minor in either architectural or structural engineering, depending on which college I go to and if it offers it. Do you think this would be necessary or not? I honestly don’t think that it would take any more time because all of the classes towards the minor would count as electives towards the civil engineering major.

Please give me some insight. Thanks in advance!

Best answer:

Answer by Philomel
You are looking at the whole issue sort of catiwampus.
Architectural engineering is an engineering degree (Major).
The Minors to go with that are Physics and Math.
Taking a planned program leading to an Architectural engineering degree simply keeps you from taking extraneous classes along the way which are a waste of time and money, unless you wish to take them. The trimmed path lets you know which classes you will be takng next quarter and the path you will follow to get there. It is the fastest path to graduation.
You can of course make your own path but you may find that a class you took is no longer accepted and you have to redo it.
In a properly laid out path you are guarentee that the classes will be accepted later in that program and school

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1 comment for “What does a civil engineer do? Possible minors to go with it?

  1. Adam D
    2013/12/19 at 12:10 AM

    There is a lot more demand for engineers than architects. An engineering degree would definitely make you a better architect, because architects are generally not very good in the area of structural design, leading to them asking the engineers for unrealistic things. The two programs are very different.

    Civil engineering is a very broad discipline, I’m guessing you’re interested specifically in the structural branch? Civil engineers who specialize in structures do design, analysis, and inspection of structures. Design and analysis is done with computer modeling software (for the more complicated stuff) and hand calculation for the more simple stuff. You also help develop (or at least supervise the development) of the plans which are used to build the structure. Some engineers also do structural inspections, which gets you out of the office a bit and allows you to do some hands-on stuff.

    On many projects, particularly building projects, both engineers and architects are part of the design team. Typically, the architect will have a vision of what things are going to look like. They are concerned with aesthetics, with the use of the building (such as, how foot traffic will flow through a lobby), they have some specific duties related to things like building codes and fireproofing, etc. The engineer makes it happen – he/she decides what sizes are needed for beams and columns and such, they provide the math and science to make the architects pretty picture work in the real world.

    Structural engineering is not a separate degree at the undergraduate level, it is a concentration within civil engineering. This is handled differently at different schools, some have formalized sets of classes that allow you to get more of a particular concentration within civil, others just set the guidelines for what you must have, and allow you to choose your technical electives (in which case you take as many structural classes as fit in the remaining spots in your schedule). Architectural engineering is a much more rare degree these days, and is probably not available as a minor anywhere.

    A minor is never necessary, especially for someone who intends to go on to a graduate degree. You can get a minor in a variety of science areas with only a few extra classes as an engineering student – math, physics, chemistry, etc. You don’t want to waste your free elective spots, engineering is a rigorous major, and keeping those spots open for humanities and history classes, giving you an easy GPA boost.

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