Civil or Architectural Engineering

Civil or architectural engineering for a choice is tricky one for students.

Students are mostly confused on the basic difference between these two inter-related engineering disciplines.

We take a closer look to understand first what is civil engineering and architectural engineering, and then the difference between the two, in terms of scope of study, subjecs involved, skills needed, work  and career prospects.

scope of study

Civil Civil Engineering degree includes – Designing, constructing and supervising new and old structures viz., roads, buildings, airports, bridges, water supply systems etc.,
Architectural Architectural Engineering degree includes – Designing the building systems by utilising the space and meeting the structural needs of the building.

scope of work involved

  • Design, supervision and construction of buildings/structures.
  • Calculating the cost involved, safety of the structure and potential environmental risks.
Architectural Scope of work of an architectural engineers differs while working on a building, to that working in an industry, designing products.In construction, one would be involved in design of the structure and its foundation,  while accommodating and planning the following in a structural design –
  • heating and cooling system
  • electrical, plumbing and fire protection
  • lighting and acoustics
  • building communication system
  • storm water drainage
  • emergency preparedness (earthquake, floods etc.,)

On the industrial front, the architectural engineer is involved in designing products for consumers, while retaining its aesthetic appeal to create uniqueness and market value for the product.

type of industry one works

  • Building and construction
  • Private consulting firms
  • Government departments
  • Research institutes etc.,
  • Building and construction companies
  • Industrial and consumer products and machinery design team
  • Architectural research institutes etc.,
  • Government civil engineering departments
  • Consulting firms for design and construction etc.,

specific skills / attributes

Civil Good logical and mental capability, problem solving skills and ability to grasp new concepts are very essential to be a good civil engineer.
Should be able to express yourself using figures and words.
Architectural As an architectural engineering student, you should have a creative imagination coupled with good drawing and design skills.You should also possess good logical and mental capability with strong analytical skill and attention to detail.You should be able to grasp and adapt to new and changing concepts.

curriculum topics / field of study

  • Maths
  • Structures
  • Foundation
  • Construction
  • Environment
  • Irrigation
  • Hydraulics
  • Surveying
  • Soil analysis
  • Geometry
  • Maths
  • Architectural design and graphics
  • Materials and methods of construction
  • Climate and architecture
  • Structural theory and mechanics
  • Surveying and landscape
  • Structural degradation and treatment
  • Environmental systems
  • Architectural acoustics and interior designing
  • Urban and rural planning
  • Infrastructure planning and design

core subject strength one should possess

Civil Maths
Architectural Geometry & Maths

Course & Eligibility

Civil Diploma in Civil Engineering
Eligibility – Pass in X with good marks in Science & Maths subjectsBachelor’s Degree (B.Tech / B.E)
Eligibility – Pass in XII with Science / Diploma in Civil Engineering
Architectural Diploma in Architectural Engineering
Eligibility – Pass in X with good marks in Science & Maths subjectsBachelor’s Degree (B.Tech / B.E)
Eligibility – Pass in XII with Science / Diploma in Architectural / Civil / Mechanical Engineering etc.,

Since architectural engineering is a specialised field of civil engineering, students pursuing civil engineering in their bachelor’s degree can later opt for specialisation in architectural engineering in their Masters (M.Tech / M.E)

Students doing bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering can also opt for architectural engineering in their masters (M.Tech / M.E), which would place them in the product design team, esp. in consumer product industry.

All major institutes has an admission prerequisite for students to appear the online architecture entrance exam – NATA

The entrance exams for various institutes are listed here (click)

If you are confused whether to take a degree programme or opt for a diploma, you may check here to know the basic difference between both.


career prospects – civil or architectural, which is best?

Civil High – The country is developing fast and it needs infrastructures to sustain this development, which require qualified civil engineers to build them.
Architectural High – With infrastructure and industrial development on the rise, so is the demand for it to be built aesthetically and systematically.Gone are the days when structures were meant to be just for providing shelter and products were meant to meet ends.Today every area of construction/designing – whether buildings/structures or a product, all are going for aesthetic look – a design that appeals to the people and stands out in competition.

specialisations available / related fields one can choose for higher studies

Civil Check out Wikipedia for detailed info on Civil Engineering & specialisations/sub-disciplines under it – HERE
Architectural Check out Wikipedia for detailed info on Architectural Engineering & specialisations/sub-disciplines under it – HERE


Have a question or doubt regarding your career or course, ASK the experts.


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