Q.    What is the difference between Civil Engineering and Architecture?

A.    Perhaps the best way to illustrate the differences between Civil Engineering and Architecture is to consider the design of a building as an example. Architects are primarily responsible for the beauty and functionality of the building. Civil engineers, on the other hand, are responsible for ensuring that the building is workable, affordable and strong enough to withstand various kinds of forces including typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis. Civil Engineering is a broad field that deals with the planning, design and construction of infrastructure, including buildings, bridges, dams, pipelines, sewage and water treatment works, and various transportation systems and facilities. Essentially, Civil Engineering works include buildings - from homes to high-rises; bridges - from expressway overpasses to kilometer-long suspension bridges; transportation systems - airports, highways, subways, rail; hydraulic structures - e.g., dams, spillways, locks and canals; water supply and treatment systems; water pollution control and waste management systems; power generation plants - e.g., hydro, fossil, nuclear and alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and tidal; and infrastructure for the mining industry, forestry, fishery, agricultural, green space and manufacturing sectors.


Q. What is the outlook of the Civil Engineering job market?

A. Civil engineers are always in demand, both in the planning, design, and construction phases of new infrastructure development, as well as in their monitoring and maintenance. Civil engineers are also involved in the management of water resources, solid waste and land fill, waste water treatment, air quality, traffic and transportation, regional development, etc. These jobs will never stop. In fact, as a modern society, the importance and emphasis on these aspects on quality of life will only become more prominent. With the Ten Major Infrastructure Projects addressed, we highly expect that the Civil Engineering job market will only stay hot in the foreseeable future.


Q. What are the employment types of our graduates?

A. Our graduates mainly work in government agencies, consulting companies, and construction companies. About 15% of our graduates choose to enter post-graduate studies.


Q. What are the prospects of working in China?

A. Mainland China is booming, with an extraordinary pace of growth in infrastructure development. Civil engineers are in hot demand. We expect this trend to continue for the decades to come. This presents a tremendous opportunity and potential for our graduates in their professional career development. Through working with international consulting firms, our graduates are involved in exciting, large-scale, once-in-a-life-time civil engineering projects in China. Graduates found the experience to be rewarding and highly beneficial to their career development.


Q. What are the prospects of working overseas?

A. Europe is also undergoing a remarkable surge in infrastructure development, with an acute shortage of civil engineers. In fact, recently, engineering firms in the UK have started to recruit civil engineers in Hong Kong. With superb technical and management education at HKUST, very soon, we will find our graduates working in overseas countries. In fact, the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) Membership is equivalent to the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) Membership. So the professional qualifications earned in Hong Kong are applicable in overseas countries.


Q. Is Civil Engineering a rewarding career?

A. Civil Engineering is a demanding but rewarding career, and our graduates have a high percentage of employment rates. On average, the starting salary of our graduates is higher than those in other engineering disciplines. We expect that the civil job market would be even more promising as the economy further improves.