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If my dd wants to be a civil engineer. what subjects does she need at O'level?

(56 Posts)
Grikes Sun 06-Dec-15 06:30:01

My DD is rather a strange one. She wants to be a civil engineer.

I assume that Maths and English is compulsory. She will take triple science. Her MFL most likely will be Spanish. Leaving her other choices to be Geography, History and IDT. She also wants to take RE. Does that make sence to take these subjects..

Is there any other specfic subjects she needs to take?

Thanks for any information

BondJayneBond Sun 06-Dec-15 06:48:10

Take a look at this webpage from the Institute of Civil Engineering, that should give you an idea of what she should focus on at GCSE.

www.ice.org.uk/careers-and-professional-development/under-16s/what-subjects-should-i-study

They have a section on useful A-Levels as well if you're interested in. Basically, Maths is essential. Physics is next most important. Geography, Geology, ICT and Languages are mentioned as nice to have.

BikeRunSki Sun 06-Dec-15 07:31:10

I am a Civil Engineer! We're not so strange!!! I don't think there has been a single project in the last 20 years I haven't enjoyed and my job still has the power to amaze me.

There is currently discussion in the civil press about the relevance and need for A Level Physics, but in my experience it's vital. I did the traditional indecisive-scientist combination of Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Chemistry has been useful (for contaminated land and water supply projects) but sometimes I feel that I could do with a better understanding of Geography and GIS. With increasing use of computer models and GIS, then IT is useful and relevant too.

By far the most useful non-mathematical subject has been Geology. (I actually became a Civ Eng via BSc Physics and Geology, then postgraduate study and an "extra ordinary" appraisal by the Institution of Civil Engineers.) - but I have chosen to work in Geotechnics - the interaction of ground and structures, and using earth as a building material) and love it! It's very outdoorsy though, but so am I. There are several other specialities though - structural, transport, water resources, contaminated land and then site/project/contract manger roles.

You might find the Institution of Civil Engineers Careers Page useful too.

FakaP Sun 06-Dec-15 07:47:09

Another Civil Engineer here, not strange at all. Civil engineering is a respected degree and profession, and there is currently a huge skills shortage so a job on graduation is pretty much garunteed so long as you don't completely mess up! Many companies offer sponsorships etc for extra cash and paid work placements throughout the degree course.

Maths and physics are currently essentials at A Level really, although physics less so as PP explained. Other helpful subjects are geography, geology, modern languages but I don't think any university stipulates a particular 3rd subject.

I did double science GCSE and didn't do further maths A Level but best check with universities now as this was a few years ago!

I'm now in a project management role on site, working for a major contractor on one of the most challenging civil engineering projects currently being undertaken. I love my job and would recommend it.

Lomaamina Sun 06-Dec-15 09:01:39

Please don't confuse IT with Computing or Computerr Science. The former is meaningless for engineering, it's computing your DD might need.

Suffolkgirl1 Sun 06-Dec-15 09:10:23

DS looking at Engineering degrees. The top unis want A levels in Maths, further Maths and physics. A friends son has just started at Birmingham with A levels in Maths, Physics, Geography and AS Design Tech. Other than UCL (who like a GCSE modern language for all degrees) we have not found any requirements at GCSE level.

Lomaamina Sun 06-Dec-15 09:11:21

See more here on computing learning at school www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/cas_secondary.pdf

Lomaamina Sun 06-Dec-15 09:12:35

Suffolkgirl is correct, though bear in mind most A level maths courses require at least an A in the GCSE maths.

SocksRock Sun 06-Dec-15 09:21:43

Another civil/structural engineer here - it's a fab career choice, don't tell her she's odd!

I did Maths, Dual Science, Eng Lit, Eng Lang, French, German, History and DT for GCSE. Then Maths, Further Maths, Physics and German for A-Level.

Have a look / Google for the Headstart/Insight and Year In Industry programmes for GCSE/A-Level students. Really worth doing if you are interested in Engineering

Grikes Sun 06-Dec-15 09:27:02

So basically she has covered all the bases with her O level choices. Except she doesn't want to take ICT. She prefers IDT more. Thank you all for the replies and links.

wonkylegs Sun 06-Dec-15 09:36:13

I don't know what area you are in but some regions there are construction challenges coming up for secondary schools which your daughter may be interested in. Schools have to volunteer to get involved but in my region (NE) there is one being run by the RIBA and supported by various professionals (architects, engineers, surveyors, project managers) starting relatively soon. It might give her an idea of the industry. PM me for more details.
Also look at events on www.wisecampaign.org.uk/events their aim is to encourage and inform girls interested in careers in this sector (Women In Science & Engineering)
I went to some fab events when I was a teenager (about 20yrs ago) run by them and interested in architecture & engineering which really opened my eyes to what the jobs were about.

senua Sun 06-Dec-15 11:36:35

It's fab that she knows what she wants to do, even if it is a strangehmm thing like Engineering. However, it is too early to be specialising for a certain career because she may change her mind. Her choices sound a very good spread of knowledge bases which will support her well whatever she ends up doing.

IguanaTail Sun 06-Dec-15 13:12:40

do you mean A Levels? O levels haven't been around since 1989.

Grikes Sun 06-Dec-15 13:25:22

Iguana I think that we can all safely assume O level's refer to GCSE or whatever equalivalent they have decided to call it.They were O level's when I took them.

Rivercam Sun 06-Dec-15 13:30:55

Look at the Smallpeice trust website. They do residential courses for future engineers, including ones specifically for girls, I think. My son has been on a couple and loved them.

CraigRevelHorwoodsPetCat Sun 06-Dec-15 13:39:36

I'm also a civil engineer. Zero odd about it hmm

IguanaTail Sun 06-Dec-15 14:13:39

I think we can safely assume that the vast majority of people would refer to them by the name they have been called for the last 27 years.

ICT will not exist as a GCSE anymore; what is IDT? Do you mean DT? Design and Technology? Which branch? Product Design? Resistant materials? Food and Nutrition? Electronic Products? Graphic products? Textiles Technology? Systems and Controls? They are all classed under DT. Some might be useful for her current chosen career.

BondJayneBond Sun 06-Dec-15 14:21:46

However, it is too early to be specialising for a certain career because she may change her mind.

None of the GCSEs she needs to take in order to keep Civil Engineering open as an option are particularly specialist or restrictive if she should change her mind by the time she's picking A-Levels. Especially as the most important one, Maths, is compulsory for all students anyway.

Grikes Sun 06-Dec-15 14:28:42

Hmm from the time table it says information design technology. Which from what I can gather is what we call in my day was woodwork, metal work and technical drawing. I think which also includes home economics such as cooking and needlework. She enjoys the metal work, wood work and electronics. Not so much the cooking and needlework. I can only go off what her school calls it. Rather whatever general term that is banded out in the general populace.

BrendaandEddie Sun 06-Dec-15 14:29:36

O level sigh. Keep up grandma.

meditrina Sun 06-Dec-15 14:29:50

We were advised that GCSE DT (resistant materials) is useful for all forms of engineering. The other subjects DC took are maths and further maths, physics, chemistry, biology, English MFL and geography.

Grikes Sun 06-Dec-15 14:37:38

Bond, river and Senua as well as others. Thank you for the information. TBH we are rather taken aback by her decision. Yet DH is very supportive. I just want to make sure she takes the right subjects to be successful in whatever career she chooses. Whilst also keeping her options open to change her mind.

BrendaandEddie Sun 06-Dec-15 14:38:45

I don't think it really matters at GCSE

Grikes Sun 06-Dec-15 14:41:24

Btw as she enjoys history is it ok to take that. Instead of the futher maths?

BrendaandEddie Sun 06-Dec-15 14:42:07

Christ alive. She's 14. Let her take what she wants.

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