1.) What is civil engineering?

Whenever we hear the word civil engineering, stereotype images of under construction buildings, roads and bridges flash in our mind. We are here to try to remove that stereotype from your mind and provide a holistic view of what civil engineering is all about.

Stereotype 1: Civil Engineering is all about construction and field work

First of all, let me make it clear — civil engineering is not just about construction(the most widespread stereotype regarding civil engineering).
The discipline of Civil Engineering deals with the various aspects of planning, designing, construction, maintenance and modification of physical structure and naturally built environment. Construction is just a part of the huge process that civil engineers undertake.

Stereotype 2: Civil Engineering is an intellectually unchallenging and technologically backward field.

The wonders of the modern world were not a miracle which happened by chance, a lot of meticulous planning, design and perfect execution involving high levels of analytical reasoning and the computational power went into building them.
 I bet you, intellectually, it is one of the most demanding and challenging fields but at the same time thrilling and fulfilling as well.
 As far as technology is concerned, I can go on writing about Construction Automation, 3D Printing, Holographic Computers, Building Information Modeling(BIM), Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS),the software we use such as ANSYS, STAADPRO, and a whole lot more. I also suggest you check out this answer.

Stereotype 3: Civil Engineering has no scope in the future and the placement scenario is hazy.

India needs technology revolution in the country. In this regard, the industry requires huge numbers of engineers to tap the untapped spaces domestically and overseas. Since India’s construction sector is forecasted to grow at 7–8% each year over the next decade, the industry is seeking to spread its wings in every corner of the country. The industry has an increased international penetration besides meeting the advancing domestic demands. The U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics has predicted that job opportunities will increase by 20% for the profession between 2012 and 2022, citing a continued demand for civil engineers.
 Therefore, there is a rising demand for potential civil engineers to fill these gaps having vast potential. Since the industrial expansion is phenomenal, civil engineering is seen as a promising career option among the young aspirants.

Industry Overview:
 As the world rises to meet the great infrastructure challenge of the next decade, what role would engineering and construction companies play?

According to KPMG’s latest report:

• Infrastructure is so vital to growth that even the most cash-strapped governments will inevitably give it a higher priority — or face a drastic change in lifestyles for their people.
• Worldwide expected the cost for infrastructure over the next forty years is approximately US $70 trillion.
• Engineering and construction companies are changing to meet the growing demands of infrastructure, from traditional general engineering providers to large diversified businesses with specialized skills.
• New infrastructure projects are expected to be on a huge scale, particularly in emerging markets such as India, China, and Brazil, so size and global reach will also matter.
• The shape of the industry is changing; the country is set to undergo a boost in the construction sector.
• The bottom line is: The country needs more infrastructures; engineering and construction companies are poised to capitalize on this opportunity and to take a leadership role in shaping infrastructure for generations to come.

According to FICCI report:

• Growing focus on infrastructure development
• Rapid growth to become the second pillar of the national economy after agriculture.
• Compounded annual growth rate of about 11.1 percent over the last eight years.
• The total construction market in India for FY 2014 was US$157 billion, an increase of US$4 billion over FY2013.

Thus, there are multiple opportunities for the new generation of civil engineers. The industry is seeking enthusiastic engineers who have fresh, distinct and innovative ideas and can contribute to the growth of the industry.

The industry offers multiple roles for skilled professionals. Some of the job roles are as follows:
 • Research, Planning, designing, management of structure.
 • Construction, installation, and modification of structure.
 • Rectifying issues and problems using scientific principles/fundamentals.
 • Execution/Implementation, the operation of the defined plan.
 • Monitoring developments and assessing options.
 • Synchronizing work with other engineers.I finally have some numbers to support my stance here.

Note: The above-mentioned job roles are for core companies only.For an idea of non-core companies refer to the question 4.

2.) If I am a Dual Degree student, How will I decide my M.tech specialization?

Unlike in other IITs, at IIT Madras, your MTech specialization is not allotted on the basis of your JEE rank.

One does not have to decide from the onset which specialization he/she has to take. You will have a good 3 years, i.e. you will have to decide at the end of your 6th sem and by that time you will be able to decide yourself. The Department of Civil Engineering at IIT-M offers specialization in the following streams

· Transportation Engineering

· Structural Engineering

· Geotechnical Engineering

· Building Technology and Construction Management

· Environmental and Water Resources Engineering

· Infrastructural Engineering

· Applied Mechanics

The faculty, the seniors, the alumni can be approached at any point of time for any suggestion, clarification, guidance regarding the same. If you need the department brochure please comment below.

P.S.: B.Tech students can also upgrade to Dual Degree if they have the interest to do so.

3.) How is the faculty in Department of Civil Engineering?

Quite frankly, professors in the Civil Dept. at IITM are the most approachable among all the departments. The professors and the staff in our department are extremely supportive, helpful and friendly. Many of the faculty members have received advanced degrees and/or training from reputed institutions in India, Germany, UK, USA, Canada, Japan, and Netherlands. They have vast experience and expertise in their area of teaching, and that combined with their industry experience, will get you the perfect exposure of theoretical and industrial knowledge. The relatively lower academic load combined with the academic expertise of the professors leads to decent grades just by attending the classes sincerely. But even then, you should put effort and be keen enough to ask questions.

4. How is the placement scenario for civil engineering at IIT Madras?:
 India plans to invest over 1.5 trillion US Dollars in the infrastructure industry — so rest assured, you will all get placed in Core companies if you want to. Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, and Shipping has announced the government’s target of Rs 25 trillion over a period of three years alone! Companies that recruit from our campus are Coal India, Larsen & Toubro, Shapoorji Pallonji, Walter P Moore and many more private and public-sector companies. 
 However, many students may find that the core civil engineering industry is not to their liking. Luckily for them, Civil Engineering is a truly interdisciplinary subject with ties to management and finance, and hence our students get placed even in non-core companies like Goldman Sachs, FinMechanics, American Express, J P Morgan, HSBC, Citicorp etc.
The average annual package of civil engineering department was 9.2 lacs even after the cyclone Vardah that had occurred during the placement season.

In short, we can say without any doubt that the placement scenario is equal to the standard of any other branch at any IIT, if not better!

5. What are the opportunities available apart from placements?

There will be various other opportunities that you will have besides sitting for placements (and a lot of the students opt for the same ).
 If you are enthusiastic about going deeper into the subject and think research is for you, you can apply for M.S and Ph.D. programs at top universities in the world and pursue higher education.
 Our graduates with interest in research, get admitted to institutions like MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, UT Austin, Georgia Tech every year. These are just some of the names from an endless list of colleges where our alumni are pursuing higher studies. Civil engineering is the oldest department in IIT Madras has the best faculty in the country who are also an alumnus of these prestigious institutes. A letter of recommendation from these professors adds more weight while applying to your any university.
You also have the option of deferring placements to work on your own startup idea.
IIT Madras is a very prestigious institute and also an institute of national importance promotes entrepreneurship and aims to help nurture future leaders.
We have a Centre For Innovation ( CFi) inside the institute as well as IITM Research Park that motivates students to carry out innovation and come up with great ideas, and in the case of brilliant ideas, also help in incubation and providing excellent mentors.
A large number of startups from our institute have grown to become strong businesses and many startups are still working in the Institute towards this goal.
Some of the startups specific to the civil engineering department are 
Foldable Housing, Tvasta — 3D printing of buildings, Marvel Structural Consultants etc.
All this along with the presence of highly motivated students already working on such start-ups and having the willingness to guide others and have a discussion on such topics, what better environment does a budding entrepreneur need???
And If you are planning to appear for competitive exams like UPSC, CAT( for IIMs), this campus is the place to be.
One of the major advantages of being in a metro city like Chennai is that there is an abundance of coaching institutes for such exams ( who offer waivers to students from IIT Madras) and you save on travel time to such classes.
The Institute has all started a study group for UPSC aspirants and has helped the students to get discounts on many online courses for the same as well.
To add to it, in the case of civil engineering the academic load is much lesser than most of the other branches and you won’t have difficulty in finding time to prepare for these exams. 
With such an abundance of opportunities apart from placements, it doesn’t get better, does it?

You can also have a look at the following resources:


Department Brochure

Saathi Booklet about IIT Madras

Opening and Closing ranks of past 4 years

If you still have doubts, feel free to contact us at:

  1. Pyla Narendra Naidu
    Whatsapp: 8220107388
  2. Ruchir Kaul
  3. Satwik