Civil Engineering

Building a better tomorrow

Civil Engineering students at Water Lab

Do you want to build bridges, buildings, and roads? Or perhaps figure out ways of how to better protect the environment by designing environmentally-friendly structures?  If so, then civil engineering may be the path for you!

The expertise of a civil engineer - whether in the designing, planning or managing phase of the project--is required for almost all structures, both large and small!

UNB Civil Engineering offers you a comprehensive program through a variety of courses, labs, and extracurricular activities. We also offer a Co-op option so you can gain valuable work experience as you complete your degree.

Click here to view the Civil Engineering Undergraduate Brochure!

Help solve the World’s problems

As a civil engineer, you will find yourself in a variety of industries including: government (e.g. Department of Transportation), consultation, and law firms.

You will also be tasked to help solve many of the planet's growing challenges: increasing population, infrastructure that is deteriorating, preparing for the possibility of natural disasters, and updating of transportation systems to meet growing needs.

Get the skills and education needed at UNB to begin your career as a civil engineer!

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Areas of Specialization


"Construction Engineering deals with planning, managing, and optimizing the construction of roads, buildings, etc." says Dr. Lloyd Waugh. "This can include anything from planning material delivery at a job site, to managing the IT aspects of the project, to selecting the appropriate construction equipment."

Water & Environmental

Water and Environmental Engineering integrates a range of interests from the microbiology of wastewater treatment to the mathematics of hydraulic systems analysis. For example, engineers in this field, Dr. Katy Haralampides, Dr. Bruce Wilson, Dr. Kripa Singh, and Dr. Kerry MacQuarrie, work on supplying safe drinking water systems, the design of environmental protection works such as wastewater treatment plants, and related environmental industries.


No structure is stable without an adequate foundation, and the design of this interface between structure and earth is one of the many tasks of the Geotechnical Engineer. According to Dr. Brian Cooke, and Dr. Arun Valsangkar, Geotechnical Engineers also deal with the largest structures in the world, such as earth-filled dams and embankments. Foundations are also an integral part of other structures constructed with steel or concrete.


"Understanding the properties and behaviour of materials used for construction is essential if we are to build civil engineering structures that will survive into the next century" explains Dr. Michael Thomas, Materials Engineering professor.

One such example is the Confederation Bridge. "It is designed to last at least 100 years in the harsh conditions of the Northumberland Strait and was built using the latest advances in concrete technology. Also, today's engineers must be capable of designing and using materials that are friendly to the environment in that they require low energy costs for production, have a high durability but low maintenance, and contain a large proportion of recycled and recyclable materials."


"Structural engineers make sure that buildings and bridges are strong enough so that they don't fall down" explains Dr. Peter Bischoff. "Gravity is our biggest enemy and every structural action can be reduced down to a simple push-pull action which needs to be resisted by the materials being used in the structure.”  Earthquakes, wind and snow are other loads that need to be resisted by materials used to build the structure.

Transportation Engineering

Although Transportation Engineering is a sub-discipline within Civil Engineering, it is a very broad area that deals with the planning, design, operation, and maintenance of all forms of transportation. While the primary focus tends to be on the road mode, civil engineers can get involved in all other modes including rail systems, airports, marine ports and pipelines. Dr. Eric Hildebrand explains that "an efficient transportation system is an essential component of any region's economic viability." The future will challenge engineers to make better use of existing facilities through measures such as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and sophisticated modelling and management of operations. Transportation engineering has a direct connection to society, according to Dr. Trevor Hanson "Transportation engineers work to meet human needs for mobility and safety through the application of science and technology." 

Dr. Xiomara Sanchez also highlights the importance of sub-disciplines within Transportation Engineering. "Transportation Engineering also includes the diverse field of Pavement Engineering, which deals with the design, construction and management of the pavement assets. The challenge nowadays is to preserve our infrastructure and use sustainable practices for this purpose." 

How they fit together

These disciplines, taken collectively, represent virtually all facets of a construction project. Knowledge of the concepts associated with these disciplines gives civil graduates an edge, whether they aid in bringing water to drought-striken communities across the world, or design a new office complex.

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