Civil Engineering is the field that reaches out far more than what you imagine it to be. A Civil Engineer is responsible for the design, construction and management of buildings, bridges, highways, airports, tunnels, water supply networks, waste water treatment, transportation in a region and many more things which play an important role in the development of a place and add on to what a place really looks like. Nowadays, Civil Engineering has also found its importance in various fields that were never thought to have its application, like Structural analysis of human body, organs and cells, transportation of RBCs/WBCs in blood vessels etc.

What is Civil engineering all about?

Often regarded as one of the earliest engineering branches, Civil Engineering is the discipline that deals with all structures that aid human life. Right from basic necessities like buildings for shelter to architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal or Pantheon. In addition, town planning, transportation planning, water supply and wastewater management, building dams and bridges and analyzing them also fall into the wide purview of Civil Engineering.

B.Tech Program

The Civil Engineering department at IIT Bombay is ranked among the top universities around the world. The curriculum is designed to give you an exposure to a wide spectrum of related fields. Core courses in Structural Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Geotechnical Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Remote Sensing help give a BTech student an overview of all areas in CE department. Further, by pursuing an Honors degree or undertaking the final year project, B.Tech students have the opportunity to specialize, to some extent, in the area of their interest. Laboratory courses make sure that the student gets hands on experience, and together with field visits (visits are not a part of the curriculum per se, yet are conducted often) they supplement the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom. The objective is to create future leaders of industries, policy planners and administrators of infrastructure systems.

Honors in Civil Engineering

A worthwhile undertaking which also awards an additional degree in the transcript, it is meant for those who wish to explore more in Civil Engineering. A student can take 24 extra credits (4 additional courses) in the department, which must include two B.Tech projects (BTP 1 and BTP 2), to dive into deeper depths of Civil as a branch of life. The courses being offered as honors reflect advances in all the branches of civil engineering and are provided in good number for flexibility in choosing the ones matching a students interests.

Dual Degree in Civil Engineering

A student can convert from a 4 year B.Tech program to a 5 year dual degree, at the end of their 3rd year. After the additional year of academics, s/he will be awarded 2 degrees, BTech and MTech, instead of just one (BTech). The department has decided to offer dual degree programs in all the M.Tech. specialisations, viz., Transportation Systems Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Water Resources Engineering, Structural Engineering, Ocean Engineering and Remote Sensing

What kind of courses do you have to do?

Civil engineering courses deals with its sub departments, namely Transportation, Hydrology, Structural Mechanics, Geodesy, Soil Mechanics and Urban Sciences. We also have to study related mathematical courses necessary in this field. Most courses have the correct blend of theoretical knowledge and math which can keep a student interested and the variety of subtopics appeal to a multitude of students. The courses are complemented through equally informative labs , which enhance the practical knowledge of the field. The most exciting thing of this field is that you can always see for yourself and confirm to the things taught you inside the classroom the moment you step outside it, unfolding in front of you in the form roads, buildings, dams, bridges etc.


Broadly, the programme can be divided into the following subdisciplines:

Structural Engineering

This field is for those who see the big structures around them and wonder how one could possibly build them. The programme has been designed to give you in-depth knowledge about everything that goes into construction of these structures.

The initial courses focus on building up the basics so that you can tell at the microscopic level how various forces in solids work. Later courses will help you analyse the effects these forces might have on the behavior of a structure as a whole.

This knowledge will impart enough understanding in order for the students to apply it towards design. Analogous to human beings, a structure cannot stand without a proper skeleton and the design courses are meant for learning how to design that skeleton.

Under this branch is also included the research to predict how good are different materials in construction. One deals with interesting stress-strain & behavioral analysis in materials like bamboo, steel, concrete, timber, rubber pads etc. Field visits offer a great deal of practical knowledge. Brilliant researches and development requirements in India make it the most demanding field of civil engineering.

Fluid Mechanics

This field deals with behavior of fluids all around us. The course structure is designed to cover: 1. Fundamentals of fluid mechanics - classification and important properties of fluids 2. Fluid statics and dynamics 3. Flow through closed pipes & open-channels 4. Basics of lift and drag forces on objects moving in a fluid which serves important criteria for the design of aircrafts

The slightly advanced course deals with open channel flows, momentum and energy of fluids.

Fluid Mechanics also forms a back-pillar of two other major fields including Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, and thus covers widespread practical information.

The courses under Fluid Mechanics strengthen the concepts of forces, pressures, energy, momentum etc. as well as understanding of mathematical concepts of integration and differentiation and 3D coordinate geometry and hence serve a challenging ground for enthusiasts.

What one learns during the course finds numerous applications all around including designing pipe networks for townships, designing canals to help in irrigation, or even designing fuel tanks, exhausts and combustion chambers for automobiles.


Hydrology as a branch is quite different from fluid mechanics. It considers water as a very important natural resource and deals with its effective use and management.

The course structure deals with: 1. Tools and methods for predicting rainfall, peak flows and how different fundamental measures are taken to save water as a resource. 2. Planning, Construction and Operation of various types of water retention structures such as dams, barrages and weirs.

Hydrology involves mathematical concepts of probability and regression analysis which help us conclude about patterns and make predictions.

One also learns about the management of water resources by studying canal routing, reservoir planning etc. Climate modeling, ground water conservation and other water-harvesting procedures find their ground in this field.

Remote Sensing

Remote sensing at the very root means sensing the properties of an object from a distance (remotely). This simple process helps us obtain information which can be put to myriad uses. The field has evolved to great extent in the past few decades and includes such areas as:

Geographical Information System (GIS) or geographical surveying - Students get to learn the art of projecting an area of land into digital models and analyzing them to explore the various possibilities of use the land could be put to.

Global Positioning System (GPS) – Students learn the applications of GPS in various fields (other than the location services on mobile phones) including how it is one of the most valuable input sources for GIS.

Astronomy - Position of earth and locating places on earth using astronomical tools forms the centralized theme for it.

Satellite imaging - This area deals with the use of satellites to photograph the earth and later image processing in order to obtain valuable information about atmospheric conditions, land cover (vegetation, topography), etc. This is also the same thing which makes popular Maps services (like Google Maps) come into existence. Students get to learn and explore how satellites in space really help us track down millions of problems.

Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineering is the study of soil and its properties. The foundation of any structure rests on soil and so it is very important to know the properties of soil. Since soil is a natural material and we cannot change its composition, we study classification of soil to categorize them into different groups. The area also discusses various tests done on soil and design of some underground structures. We also learn about various techniques to improve soil properties.

The learning in this is divided in two compulsory courses in different semesters and later, there are a few advanced level optional courses as well, if a student wishes to further his knowledge in this field.

IIT-Bombay proudly owns the India’s largest geo-centrifuge facility in its geotechnical laboratory.

Wondering about Palm Islands in Dubai would be a right point of thought at this time!

Transportation Engineering

This group of courses deals with exploring about not just vehicles on road but also all the management and planning that goes at back.

With traffic issues becoming more severe day by day and with the advance of bigger lingering problems of congestion, fuel consumption, long rush etc., the need of the hour is to indulge in good technology and knowledge to get appropriate practice and adequate measures in implementation & this is what this branch prepares you for.

One learns about how roads/rails/airports are designed, what goes into planning the flow of vehicles, how concerns of transportation problems are analyzed and dealt with using brilliant software and technologies.

Learning simulations of how things are realized in real-life forms an integral part of the learning.

The course involves topics from different fields including mathematics, statistics, computer science, designing etc. and thus tends to expand the scope of learning and application in wider areas of life.

Ocean Engineering

The curriculum exposes the students particularly to the study of coastal and ocean infrastructure including port, dock and harbor structures, coastal protection works and offshore oil platforms, navigation. Included in the course works are the latest concerns on ocean environment, changing coastal laws and sea policies. After completing the necessary course, the students, rather now engineers, will be able to efficiently handle planning, analysis and design of engineering infrastructure at the coast as well as in the open ocean and also look after their construction, management and operation.

Future scope

Civil engineering, like most engineering fields, can be explored more through a number of ways. With the growing population there is a constant need to not only build new structures or replace old ones but also optimize to ensure there is no strain on resources. Town planning and Transportation planning and infrastructure are topics with a lot of scope along with constant innovation and development going on in structures and building materials. People who are interested in taking up field jobs end up in reputed construction companies . Higher studies is also a popular option where our seniors have secured post graduation in top notch universities.

Final Word

A great civil engineer once remarked- “The road of success is always under construction”

Department alumni

Akshat Bansal, Civil Engineering Dual Degree (2010)

At that time I believed that college was more important than branch. Civil engineering seemed like the best branch I could get at IIT Bombay. On entering IIT Bombay, I expected the professors to be good and courses to be interesting. Both were true. About the courses though, now I believe all courses, irrespective of branch, are interesting if you want to learn.

From IITB they can expect the company of people smarter than themselves, and a strong culture of promoting self-learning and independent thinking. From the department, students can expect supportive and knowledgable professors who will guide them well, but only if the students are open to guidance.

Students who are interested in learning (anything, not just courses) are almost certainly going to have a bright future. There are very few places which offer so many career options as IIT does. Core jobs in civil are on the rise with the industry picking up. The scene is surely getting better. Non-core jobs are picked by the majority, there are many exciting fields to work in which are very rewarding financially as well. These days startups are doing a great job of letting young people explore interesting fields in great detail, and IITB is fast becoming the hub of Indian startup activity. If a student develops a deep passion for a subject, higher studies can of course be pursued.

I am currently running a civil design consultancy with my friends from IITB. We have also recently started a technology firm for public transportation. Before starting my own venture, I worked with Gammon India Ltd. for 3 years as a bridge designer.

IITB has had a deep impact in shaping me into what I am today. Being surrounded by people as smart or smarter than me raised the bar for me. It brought me out of my comfort zone and made me realise how much I didn’t know. This ultimately led to me learning a lot more things a lot faster. The exposure I got from seeing my seniors, peers and even juniors doing great things also made me aware of the possibilities which existed for me. The freedom I got at IIT, coupled with a culture which fosters self-belief, gave me a chance to explore the world in my own way. It made me believe I can achieve anything I want to, and taught me to equip myself to do exactly that. The IIT brand also opens up a lot of doors, irrespective of what you are doing. It makes it easier to approach people and make them believe in you.

Tanmay Pandya, Civil Engineering Btech (2013)

Looking back to my JEE times I realise it was not easy to choose a department. But one thing that definitely helped me was that I was always amazed by the megastructures, their importance, their scale of complexity. And thus I wanted to know the science behind them. So Civil Enginnering seemed to be the most natural choice for me at that time. Like any other enthusiastic teenager I was ready to conquer the world and had high expectations from the department. But slowly I realised that in reality, it takes time to reach the point where you can go into the complexities which you have dreamed of. One should understand that what he/she sees in documentaries or any other shows related to structures, actual engineering and science is totally different (and much more interesting) from it.

IIT Bombay is a great platform where where your dreams can take wings. IITB is a place which will teach you how to fly, but its in your own hand to equip your flight with the extraordinary gadgets which will help you in flying higher and higher. A very common misconception in that "life is chill after IIT". But in reality continual progress is most important aspect in field of your interest. One cannot rely on a single achievement, you have to move on to conquer the next challenge. I am currently I am an Offshore Structural Designer in UAE. Looking back what I can say for sure is that IITB taught me to be achievement oriented. It doesn't matter in what field you choose (core/ non core), what matters is your passion towards your work and quality of your deliverables. And if you are able to keep pushing yourself during your stay here you can succeed anywhere in the world.

Student Activity


Aakaar is the annual technology and research festival of the Department of Civil Engineering. Aakaar announced itself on the national stage in 2009 when a group of like-minded students of the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay, put their heart and mind to give civil engineering its due. Since then, Aakaar has gone on to become the undisputed frontrunner among civil engineering festivals in India.

To provide the launching platform to budding civil engineers. An opportunity for young guns enveloping the wide diversities of civil engineering - a pedestal to present ideas, a stage to showoff designs, a playpen to re-build the blocks.