Vital Civil Engineering Prerequisite Knowledge

Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Trigonometry, Stats, and Calculus Are The Subjects That Will Strengthen Your Foundation For Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering Prerequisites


Civil Engineering is one of the broadest and oldest engineering disciplines. It involves constructing, designing, planning, supervising, and maintaining infrastructures that include facilities vital for modern life, such as bridges, highways, schools, hospitals, airports, tunnels, water treatment facilities, and sewage systems, to name a few.


Even though degree courses are comprehensive, they require learners to meet certain civil engineering prerequisites. This includes introductory knowledge of subjects like Math, Physics, Geometry, Stats,  Algebra, and designing.


Without this knowledge, you may experience difficulty in understanding the subjects taught in a civil engineering program. And as they say, you cannot build a robust building on a weak foundation.


So, it helps to be well-versed in some basic science and mathematical areas. Let’s take a look at each of these subjects closely and understand why are they important to civil engineers.


What Are The Prerequisites For Masters In Civil Engineering?

The following are the subjects that will help you to get into a civil engineering masters and do well in it.


1. Geometry

Some background in Geometry helps the learners understand why a structure is built the way it is built. The force angles determine how solid the structure is going to be. Hence, it is imperative to have an idea about angles and their related topics before you get more in-depth with construction designs.


2. Mathematics

Often people think math is merely to solve number problems, but you also need it widely for chemistry, physics, and engineering.


So, if you wish to pursue a career as an engineer, it helps to have a good foundation in math. In school, you will study several kinds of advanced mathematics.


Hence, as a civil engineer, getting well-acquainted with different mathematics branches can help if you deal with your current curriculum.


Here are some mathematics concepts you will use as a civil engineer:


a. AlgebraAlgebra is one of the most important master’s in civil engineering prerequisites, but it is equally vital for undergraduate students. Civil engineers make use of linear algebra to determine the load-bearing efficiency of a structure such as a bridge or a road.
b. Calculus – Calculus is used by civil engineers to study the forces acting up in a specific structure that they plan to build and to do other structural analyses regarding what they are about to construct.
c. Trigonometry – Civil engineers also use trigonometry when they investigate a structure. The survey deals with different angles of the structure and land elevations.


3. Chemistry

Civil engineers also employ mathematical equations derived from chemistry. These chemistry equations help measure the strength of the materials to be used in construction.


Also, this civil engineering masters prerequisites – chemistry, enables the engineers to determine how the materials they use are going to affect the environment around the construction site.


4. Physics

Civil engineers also employ physics routinely. Whenever a bridge is designed or any large structure for that matter, Physics comes into the picture.


Physics can help civil engineers assess how thick the steel columns of the bridge should be, how big the supporting piers must be, and how many of each should be installed.


As part of Physics, civil engineers will employ a combination of trigonometry, calculus, and algebra.


5. Statistics

Civil engineers must know the probability theory and statistics to deal with the variability, which impacts the soil pressures, engineering structures, river flows, etc.


These are complex topics and vital civil engineering masters prerequisites. Students must be well-versed in their fundamentals before they begin their journey in civil engineering.


Statistics simplifies several tasks in the civil engineering domain.


For instance:

  1. As a civil engineer, you can model travel with hourly rates employing Poisson Distribution. Using this and other statistical techniques, you can stimulate the projected and current traffic.
  2. In geotechnical analysis, statistical models are heavily employed together with Monte Carlo schemes to assess the failure probability in some designs. It can help with the Factor of Stability.
  3. Normal distribution helps determine the traffic queue lights that go by and large and is the basis for determining how long a turn lane bay length should be to accommodate traffic.
  4. Hydraulic and hydrologic designs employ statistics to classify flood and rain events. For instance, a 100-year flood is the volume of water expected to occur once every hundred years. It is a probability, and statistics help determine it.

Further, you will also employ your statistics knowledge to measure anticipated risk during the design stage and apply that risk to find cost estimates for scheduling and bidding during construction.


6. Fluid mechanics basics

Fluid mechanics relate to the diverse engineering field, wherein you learn the fundamental behavior of fluids, substances that statistically deform under applied shear stresses. Under this domain, several sub-disciplines exist.


Your knowledge of fluid mechanics can help understand the flow through pipe channels, networks, and other systems, which control water distribution, quality, and quantity.


You will know why fluid mechanics is one of the top masters in civil engineering prerequisites as soon as you turn on the kitchen faucets, which trigger the flow via a network of valves and pipes.


Further, you will also employ it when you drive cars that pump gasoline via a complicated piping mechanism, rest on the pneumatic tires, and contain hydraulic shock absorbers.


Moreover, it would not be wrong to conclude that our whole existence depends on the fluid mechanics fundamentals – the blood flow across the body. Many structural and geotechnical engineering problems are also associated with fluid mechanics.


Hence, it helps civil engineers to be well-versed in the fluid mechanics’ basics before investigating these and other related problems.


7. Problem-solving skills

As a civil engineer, you must be at the top of everything from design to project execution. Across this, you will encounter multiple problems and might experience several technical issues related to planning restrictions, client demands, and building designs.


Your ability to solve these issues can help you find necessary solutions and ensure a smooth-flowing project. With your problem-solving skills, you can find cost-effective, secure, and viable solutions.


8. Design skills

Experience in designing structures is another one of the civil engineering prerequisites. Across your career and into the job, it will prove beneficial to have hands-on experience in using AutoCAD. It can help design, plant, and create infrastructure arrangements or buildings.


Furthermore, having technical knowledge in project billing, quantity surveying, bar bending schedule, and estimation can streamline the process and journey into a prosperous civil engineering career.


9. Project Management Skills

A vital aspect of the civil engineer’s responsibilities includes overseeing the project from start to end. You will collaborate with contractors, architects, engineers, and other building professionals to ensure everything is on schedule.


Moreover, a crucial part of your work as a civil engineer will be to assign tasks to other team members to assess the project’s timeline and ensure timely work completion. For all of this, you must possess top-notch project management skills.


10. Critical thinking or reasoning skills

Typically, almost every civil engineering project is a little complex and has a massive reach and budget. Consequently, you must possess critical thinking and reasoning skills to achieve an optimized solution to every problem you encounter.


It will help you during your student days and prove instrumental when looking for a job because employers like candidates who can offer reasonable solutions after weighing the pros and cons of every aspect.


Since you have reached the end of these prerequisites, we are sure that you would like to check out these civil engineering online courses that you can take up. Most of them are offered directly by prestigious universities and made available to you through various ed-tech platforms.


Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1. What masters can civil engineers do?

Ans. There are multiple domains that students can pick for a specialization within a Master in Civil Engineering program. These include materials, structural, environmental, geotechnical, and coastal engineering, to name a few.


Ques 2. Which subject is best for masters in civil engineering?

Ans. For an aspiring civil engineer, the best subjects to master are Physics and Math.


Summing up…

Climate change, population growth, and aging infrastructure are some of the prevalent challenges that most civil engineers experience in their desire to offer people a sustainable future and smart cities. But, with efficient knowledge, you can overcome these problems and create marvelous structures.


So, fulfill these civil engineering prerequisites, take up a degree program, and enjoy a successful and established career in the field.