Best Civil Engineering Schools in the UK, 2021[Updated]

Civil engineering is a very interesting course. And when you attend a quality school, you get the right knowledge to push you ahead in your civil engineering career path.

A lot of schools in the U.K offer civil engineering programs, but only a few are exceptional. So, let’s quickly identify some of the best civil engineering schools in the U.K.

Who are Civil Engineers?

Civil engineers design, build, supervise, operate, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects in the public and private sectors.

Their works include roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Sometimes civil engineers do work in planning, design, construction, research, and education.

So, you probably wouldn’t even afford comfortable accommodation except a civil engineer performed his responsibilities.

What are the Duties of Civil Engineers?

Civil engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze long-range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data to plan and design projects.
  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors during the planning and risk-analysis stages of a project
  • Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations
  • Oversee and analyze the results of soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
  • Analyze the results of tests on building materials, such as concrete, wood, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
  • Prepare cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • They use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
  • Guide surveying operations to form building locations, site layouts, reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Civil engineers also present their findings to the public on topics like bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or property descriptions.
  • Civil engineers hold administrative positions such as supervisor of a construction site to the city engineer and even extended to public works director and city manager.
  • As supervisors, they are vested with the responsibility of ensuring that safe work practices are followed at construction sites.

Other civil engineers may be useful or work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Civil engineers work with others on projects and sometimes may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Additional Roles

Civil engineers are also responsible for preparing permit documents for work on projects in renewable energy. They ensure that the projects will comply with federal, state, and local requirements. These engineers engage in structural analyses for large-scale photovoltaic, or solar energy, projects.

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They also test the ability of solar array support structures and buildings to tolerate stresses from wind, seismic activity, and other sources.

The work of civil engineers is mutually related to the work of environmental engineers.


In this article, the best schools to get a civil engineering degree in the UK has been carefully put together. These institutions of learning, however, are seated in the top 100 of the world Time University ranking.

They include:

1. Imperial College London

UK ranking: 4th

World ranking: 8th

Undergraduate fees: £23,500

Postgraduate fees: £29,900

Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, which has its specialty in science, engineering, medicine, and business. It is organized into four (4) main faculties within which there are over forty (40) departments, institutes, and research centers.

Imperial has around 13,500 (thirteen thousand, five hundred) students and 3,330 (three thousand, three hundred and thirty) academic and research staff.

Studying civil engineering at Imperial exposes students to access facilities that are amongst the most up-to-date and best equipped in Europe. Their five (5) laboratories cover all of our sub-disciplines –

  • Environmental
  • Geotechnical
  • Transportation
  • Water resource and
  • Structural engineering

With facilities like a list of testing rigs, extensive computing provision, tension and compression machines, and wave generators and tanks.


-Four (4) year courses (240 ECTS):

-MEng Civil Engineering (UCAS code H201)

-MEng Civil Engineering with a Year Abroad (H202)

2. University Of Glasgow

UK ranking: 20

World ranking: 76

Undergraduate fees: £14,500

Postgraduate fees: £14,500

The University of Glasgow is the fourth (4th) oldest university in the UK and one of Scotland’s four (4) ancient universities. The university was founded in the year 1451 and is ranked among the world’s top 100 universities.

This programme is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (ICE, IStructE, CIHT, IHE) and Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

All entry requirements listed below are used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place, most times may be asked to achieve more than is stated.

Year 1

  • SQA Higher
  • ABBB including either Maths, Physics, – Technological Studies or Engineering Science College
  • HNC Civil Engineering with B in the graded unit. – HND in Built Environment or other Engineering subject plus evidence of Maths or Physics at a Higher or equivalent level

Year 2

  • HND in Civil Engineering with B in the graded unit.
  • If the Fluid Mechanics unit has not been completed as part of the HND, a pass in the GCU Fluid Mechanics test will be required

Year 3

  • HND in Civil Engineering with A in the graded unit and including Hydraulics unit.

3. University Of Bristol

World ranking: 69

UK ranking: 16

Undergraduate fees: £15,200

Post-Graduate fees: £14,800

The University of Bristol has had a reputation for innovation since it was found in the year 1876. It was the first institute of higher education in the country to admit women on an equal scale with men and in the year 1946.

More recently, the University has affected many aspects of people’s lives through life-changing research in areas such as cot death prevention and 3G mobile technology innovation.

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If you are a student and you are creative, enjoy design and aspire to improve the built environment we live in, then civil engineering at the University of Bristol is for you.

Their fully accredited courses will give you the skills to face global environmental challenges. Thereby providing safe drinking water and renewable energy to developing disaster resilient and sustainable infrastructure.

Students learn how to design large and unique structures such as buildings, bridges, dams, and coastal defenses. Bristol offers research-led teaching in order to model the next generation of engineers.

They equip students to become leaders by sharing the latest innovations from leading international researchers and professional institutions. In the students’ learning, they will use our state of the art geotechnical, structural and water engineering laboratory facilities.

Students will develop their technical, project management and interpersonal skills and be encouraged to think creatively and innovatively, thereby enhancing their employability.

Course structure

Year 1

  • 42% Lectures, seminars and similar
  • 58% Independent studies
  • 0% Placements (if relevant)

Year 2

  • 35% Lectures, seminars and similar
  • 65% Independent studies
  • 0% Placements (if relevant)

Year 3

  • 21% Lectures, seminars and similar
  • 79% Independent studies
  • 0% Placements (if relevant)


Originally, how work is assessed for this course based on student choices. This information is collated from the previous year and will not be available if the course is new.

Year 1

  • 65% Written exams
  • 16% practical exams
  • 19% Coursework

Year 2

  • 69% Written exams
  • 4% practical exams
  • 27% Coursework

Year 3

  • 35% Written exams
  • 12% Practical exams
  • 53% Coursework

4. University Of Southampton

UK ranking: 30

World ranking: 100

Undergraduate fees: £14,660

Graduate fees: £15,160

The University of Southampton is an institution and a founding member of the Russell Group of elite British universities.

It is ranked among the top 100 in the world and one of the best schools for Studying Civil Engineering in UK.

Their Civil Engineering program provides students with the fundamentals of engineering, alongside design modules throughout the student’s degree which will, in turn, enable the students to apply their knowledge and develop the skills they need to become a successful engineer.

This three (3) year course covers the key subjects of civil engineering. Students will study structural mechanics, geotechnics, hydraulics, and construction management, and be given the privilege to put theory into practice through laboratory sessions and design projects.

During the final year, students will extend their knowledge through advanced modules, and carry out an individual research or design project. This great institution of learning offers its students a dynamic learning environment.


The first year provides a solid foundation in engineering science and design with attention placed on civil and environmental engineering. During the second year, students build on the core engineering science and design taught in Year 1. Mathematics and statistics go on to be taught together with other Faculty disciplines.

The third-year creates on the core engineering science and design taught in Years 1 and 2. Highway and traffic engineering is introduced along while structures, geotechnics, and water-related subjects are taught to greater intensity.

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 Core and compulsory modules:

Year 1:

Design and Computing for Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering Fundamentals, Mathematics for Engineering and the Environment, Thermo Fluids, Mechanics, Structures and Materials.

Year 2:

Structural Analysis, Mathematics for Engineering and the Environment Part II, Structural Design and Materials, Design 2, Soil Mechanics, Hydraulics, Numerical Methods, Construction Management.

Year 3:

Individual Project, Structural Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Highway & Traffic Engineering, Design 3.

4. Heriot-Watt University

Undergraduate fees: £13, 020

Post-Graduate fees: £13, 420

UK ranking: 39

World ranking: NA

Heriot-Watt University is a public university based in Edinburgh, established in the year 1821 as the world’s first-ever mechanics’ institute. It is among the best schools for Studying Civil Engineering in UK.

Their Civil Engineering undergraduate course entails the main disciplines of structures, Geotechnics along water and transportation engineering.

The degree is built to give the students’ knowledge and skills they need to become a Chartered Civil Engineer. The core curriculum focuses on analysis and materials behavior, touching the main disciplines. The later years of the course focus more on design and management.

Their Civil Engineering undergraduate courses are affiliated by the Civil Engineering Industry Advisory Committee, which representatives from major multi-national employers are part of.

Course content


Year 1

Semester 1

Mechanics A

  • Civil Engineering Applications 1
  • Construction Technology 1
  • Mathematics for Engineers and
  • Scientists 1

Semester 2

Mechanics B

  • Introduction to Materials
  • Introduction to Engineering Design
  • Mathematics for Engineers and
  • Scientists 2
  • Students take part in site visits to a list of construction sites

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Analysis of Determinate Structures
  • Hydraulics and Hydrology A
  • Surveying and Monitoring both in the Built and Natural Environment
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 3

Semester 2

  • Civil Engineering Materials
  • Stress Analysis and Element Strength
  • Design Studies A – Problem Solving
  • Statistics for Science
  • Students are also given the opportunity to participate in the week-long Constructionarium course, where they are exposed to the construction experience of the civil engineering industry.

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Design of Steel Elements
  • Transportation Engineering A
  • Indeterminate Structures
  • Geology and Soil Properties

Semester 2

  • Hydraulics and Hydrology B
  • Geotechnics A – Introduction to Soil Mechanics
  • Design of Concrete Elements
  • Environmental Engineering A

Year 4

Students select half of their courses from a list of eight (8) options, including:

  • Structural Element Design
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment
  • Foundation Engineering and
  • Urban Drainage and Water Supply.

Students also go through a design project that involves collaboration among students from other disciplines within the built environment professions.


Civil engineers have made our lives easier through their contribution to societal growth. Indeed, they continue to find better ways of designing and constructing structures.

When you attend any of these quality universities in the U.K, you can be sure to be part of progress in the civil engineering profession.

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