Civil and Structural Engineering – Main Differences

Civil and structural engineering are disciplines of engineering that are sometimes mistaken to be one and the same. Both disciplines deal with design, construction and preservation of materials. However similar, new developments in architecture and technology spell the difference between the two. This is how structural engineering became a totally separate discipline.


Knowing the difference between civil and structural engineering can be quite confusing and tricky. But a good understanding of the concepts behind each of these branches will enable you to discern their real differences.


Civil Engineering


As the oldest discipline in the field of engineering, civil engineering was applied even before history was ever recorded. It started back to the time when people began to build crude structures for shelter. It is now offered in universities as a first degree course that results in a bachelor’s degree. It is a broad subject that focuses in design elements but it includes structural engineering as one of its major sub-disciplines.


When you think of civil engineering, the first things that can come into your mind would probably be buildings, roads, bridges, subway systems and airports. These these structures are among the creations of this engineering discipline.


Structural Engineering   


Structural engineering on the other hand, is a major sub-discipline of civil engineering. It deals with the analysis, design, construction and maintenance of structures that support or counteract loads. While civil engineering is focused on design elements, structural engineering is more concerned with the inspection of materials to be used in construction. One of its main concerns is to ensure that the structural design and strength of materials used in construction will allow the structure to stand safely for years.


Structural engineering is a subject in civil engineering, but it is also a specialization that leads to a master’s degree. You need to be a graduate of civil engineering to be able to specialize structural engineering. In other words, you cannot become a structural engineer unless you’re a graduate of a civil engineering degree.


The differences between civil and structural engineering are not big but they can play different roles in the construction industry. While lots of companies like the Colorado civil engineering service made themselves known as civil engineering firms, they also offer structural engineering services because their team includes competent structural engineers that work to make your construction project strong, cost effective and safe.

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