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How to become a civil engineer in Nigeria

by Abbey
Civil engineer

What are civil engineering and its importance

Civil engineering (See detailed civil engineering salaries in Nigeria) is an engineering profession that involves the design, construction, and maintenance of the environment, and public infrastructure projects like bridges, roads, canals, pipelines, airports terminals, sewerage systems, dams, and the structural components of buildings.

Civil engineering is divided into several disciplines. It is one of the oldest engineering professions after military engineering. Engineering was previously a military profession before it eventually became a mainstream profession. Civil engineering knowledge can be applied from applied in the construction of public infrastructure and environmental design.

Civil engineering is built upon the knowledge of Physics and Mathematics. Civil engineers must have a good knowledge of material science, structures, soil, geography, mechanics, geology, and others.

In ancient times designs were mostly carried by artisans, carpenters, and stonemasons. There was a need for the organization of the built environment professions. All this gave birth to the various organized professions we have in the built environment today.

Archimedes was of the earliest scientist who used the mathematical approach in solving Infrastructure problems. The Archimedes principle which was written in the 3 rd, century underpins a strategic advance of Math and Science in solving engineering problems.

Another scientific work that greatly increased the application of scientific approach in civil engineering is the work of a 7th century Indian Mathematician, Brahmagupta who used Arithmetic based on Hindu-Arabic numerals to compute a formula for calculating Excavation volume.

 Civil engineering requirements in high school (SSCE and JAMB requirement)

To study Civil Engineering, you must possess the following requirements;

  • At least 5 credits pass in subjects as, English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and another science subject.
  • You must choose the right subject combination in JAMB i.e. Math, English, Physics, and Chemistry
  • Apply to a COREN recognized schools
  • Score at least 250 in JAMB
  • Score at least 65% in your POSTUME

Popular schools where Civil Engineering is offered include:

  1. University of Lagos
  2. Federal University of Technology, Minna
  3. University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  4. Federal University of Technology, Akure
  5. University of Ibadan
  6. Lagos State University
  7. Ahmadu Bello University Zaria
  8. Covenant University Ota
  9. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi
  10. The University of Jos.
  11. Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

How long does it take to become a civil engineer?

The first university to start a program in civil engineering in Nigeria is University College Ibadan (now known as the University of Ibadan) which was founded by the colonial masters. The University of Ibadan is also the first university to be established in Nigeria. Late Herbert Macaulay is the first Nigerian to become a Civil Engineer.

The Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NICE) a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) was established in 1984 as a platform for professional civil engineers to communicate on issues of concern to their profession.

To become a Civil Engineer in Nigeria, the minimum academic qualification is typically a University degree from a COREN-approved university.

Just as other Engineering disciplines, Civil Engineers spend up to 4 – 6 years before they are inducted as professional civil engineers. At the end of their academic sojourn, they are awarded either a Bachelor of Engineering or a Bachelor of technology.

If you desire to study physics, make sure you have a good background in Physics, Mathematics, and design. Civil engineers spend most of their time in school doing practicals in laboratories and workshops.

Bachelor of Engineering or technology provides the students with basic knowledge of the profession, and with that, they can successfully practice as professionals. However, many Universities provide advanced courses (MSC and PGD) where students can specialize in a specific field of Civil Engineering.

How to be a good civil engineering student? Skills required

Important Qualities for Civil Engineers

Good sense of decision making: Their many professionals involved in a construction project. A civil engineer who is very poor at making decisions will find himself confused and lost. Civil engineers are often looked upon by Urban and Regional Planners and Architects in determining the feasibility of project plans.

Leadership skills: The construction team in most projects are led by civil engineers. A civil engineer who is very good in all aspects of the profession but lacks leadership skills will find it very difficult to succeed in this profession. Civil engineers lead other professionals like surveyors, planners, technologists, technicians, construction managers to implement their plans. Therefore, successful civil engineers (See how to become a successful electrical engineer in Nigeria) are good leaders.

Problem-solving skills: Civil Engineers often find themselves at the topmost part of the decision-making ladder, therefore, they must be able to confront the challenges that may arise at every phase of the project.

From planning, to design, and actual construction, the problem-solving skill of civil engineers is required to make the project easier. Civil engineers must be able to develop construction measures that are safe, cost-effective, and efficient.

Speaking skills: Communication skills is an essential skill that is required from all professionals. Speaking is a form of communication, and civil engineers will find themselves making proposals and presentations to their clients, project host communities, and financers. They must be able to translate engineering concepts and designs into a language that laymen will understand.

Mathematical skills. Civil engineers eat and drink in math. If you’re poor in math, am sorry civil engineering is not for you. You will meet calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced mathematical concepts.

Writing skills: Apart from speaking, writing is also a form of communication. Civil engineers must be able to write clear and simple reports, tenders, and proposals, in a way that those without a technical background will understand. They must be able to communicate the project’s details to co-professionals such as Architects, Landscape Architects, and Urban and Regional Planners.

Civil engineering subject and courses

Structural engineering

Structural engineering is a branch of civil engineering that deals with the design of structural components of infrastructures. It involves the structural analysis of public infrastructures like Railways, Airports, seaports, flyovers, bridges, dams, canals, and other infrastructure projects.

Structural engineers analyzed buildings and infrastructure projects by performing analysis on the sources of loads and stress which act upon a building and identifying measures that will be incorporated in both the design and construction of the building in other to accommodate those forces, loads, and stress. Structural engineers must design buildings that are safe and serviceable. Some structural engineers go on to specialize in wind engineering and earthquake engineering.

Design considerations for structures must consider the ability of the building or structure to withstand static loads and stress like furniture and fittings or changing loads such as wind, vehicle, or temporary loads. Structural engineers must also consider the sustainability, cost, safety, and feasibility of their designs.

Construction engineering

Construction engineering entails all the processes of design and construction including material assemblage, project planning, finance mobilization, and actual construction. Construction engineers work (Check out 7 low-key firms where electrical engineers can work) in the construction industries drafting contracts, managing construction projects, and monitoring project material supplies.

Geotechnical engineering

Geotechnical engineering studies rocks and soil. Before any serious construction work is carried out, Geotechnical engineers are involved in other to determine the soil carrying capacity. Geotechnical engineers must possess basic knowledge of soil science, material science, mechanics, and other fields such as hydraulics and geology.

Fluid mechanics

This is a branch of physics that entails the study of gases, liquids, and other fluids. It is a combination of several disciplines such as oceanography, biomedical and chemical engineering, and material engineering.

Transportation engineering

Transportation infra is one of the fundamental drivers of development. The transport system is used in moving people, goods, animals, and services. Transport engineers are involved in designing qualitative transport infrastructures like roads, bridges, pipelines, terminals, and ports. Transport engineers are involved in both the design and maintenance of transport infrastructure.

Theories such as the queuing theory, and techniques like pavement engineering, Intelligent Transport systems are involved in managing public transport infrastructures.

Environmental Engineering

Transport engineering is another name for sanitary engineering. Environmental engineers work alongside planners in making sure that the built environment is safe, clean, and aesthetically pleasing.

Environmental engineers provide waste management solutions as well as work on public health.

It involves collection and treatment of home and industrial wastes, treatment of chemicals, water purification and supply, air pollution control, and remediation of contaminated grounds. In some countries, environmental engineering is referred to as public health engineering.

Environmental engineers work on issues of public interest like climate change, pollution reduction, water treatment, and other important issues. They also provide information about the environmental consequences of environmental development projects by carrying out Environmental Impacts Assessments (EIA) Studies.


  • Abbey

    Abbey Johnson has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. He is happiest when on a bike and is also interested in electric energy and computer Science.

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