Difference Between Civil engineering vs Architecture

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The work paths of civil engineers and architects are always intersecting because they support and complement each other when needed.

The result of this project work partnership is a wonderful structure or building construction that serves the purpose for which it is designed.

However, they have different jobs and professions with different skills and responsibilities. Their skills, their jobs and the way their work are very different.

Civil Engineering vs Architecture

Let’s keep eye on some differences between Civil engineering vs Architecture

Civil engineering vs Architecture

#1 Design and Construction

Generally, normal people ignore architects for their construction work but in major skyscraper projects like Burj khalifa architects play a major role

On other hand, only an architect-designer is not able to build a structure alone without the help of a civil engineer

Depends on the owner’s budget contract agreement signed with the architect what work they do for the owner such as only architect views, design, plan, furniture etc

Some have gone further to design structure. On the other hand, an engineer designs and builds roads, bridges, machines, vehicles, aeroplanes, and sometimes buildings.

#2 Different Curriculums

An architect student learns a wide range of art-related case studies such as Architectural History, Building Modeling, Sociology in Architecture, Climatology, Urban Planning, Art Appreciation, Interior Design, Rendering Techniques and Energy Efficiency in Designing.

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While a civil engineering student’s syllabus would include more science & technology and Math in subjects like Basic Mechanics of solids, Strength of Materials, Steel Structures, Fluid Mechanics, Limit State Design, Building Construction, Road & Highway Design, Railway, Airport Design, and Hydraulic Structures among many others.

#3 Branches

There are a lot of branches an architect can specialize in like Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Graphic Design, Interior Design, etc. more are listed below

  • Landscape
  • Planning
  • Rural Development
  • Urban Redevelopment
  • Sustainable Architecture
  • Theory of Architecture
  • Construction technology
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Interior design
  • Lighting design
  • Acoustic Design
  • Architectural Conservation
  • Material Technology
  • Industrial Architecture
  • Military Architecture(in a few countries)

On the other hand, specialities in engineering are various as well including structural, industrial, electrical, mechanical and many others mention below

  • Construction engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Surveyed Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Municipal Engineering
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Tunnel Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Material Engineering

Read a detailed article on a branch => Top 12 Branches of Civil Engineering

#4 License Details

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Architects and engineers have to pass some related branch exams to be able to obtain licenses that allow them to work in the real field

In the US, architects have to pass an Architect Registration Exam (ARE)

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While engineers have to pass exams such as Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Principles and Practice in Engineering (PE), in their chosen engineering discipline.

#5 The Mindset

Engineers and architects are programmed differently as per their subject, course and work demand

An architect is always followed by art and creativity during designing, the spatial functionality, as well as the user’s comfortability a theoretical thinker one might say.

On the other hand, a civil engineer designs construction and facilities systems, as well as building management systems. They execute the design on the field site considering several technicalities of the construction process.


The conclusion is an architect is the one who creates plans and designs while an engineer applies mathematics fundaments and science to develop technical solutions to the architect’s design.

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