Studying Civil Engineering at Plymouth University is much more than reading engineering books or punching your calculator. As a Civil Engineering student you will have opportunities to undertake various laboratory experiments to deepen your understanding of the theory. In other words, it means not only will you be calculating bending moments in the classroom but in the laboratory you will be breaking beams, mixing concrete and undertaking concrete tests. Working in the lab really helps you to get a picture of what the theory is all about, plus it’s good fun.
Plymouth University's labs are very well equipped with all the “engineering toys” that will make your learning a lot more exciting. One of the most recently built laboratories in the marine building is a huge tank that allows you to recreate waves and study how to protect the land from flooding. Properties are persistently being damaged by waves and as this is such a big issue in the UK it is truly significant, that these facilities are available at Plymouth University.
During the Civil Engineering course at Plymouth University, students get many opportunities to go on field trips to do things such as take soil samples, see how rock formations have been shaped and observe flood protection measures that have been put in place. Cornwall has beautiful beaches where you can see and understand how the earth has formed into what we see today. You will get to go to many places in Devon where you can witness and understand flood protection measures that have been set by the Environment Agency. These include stations that measure water levels and give an advanced warning to local people when flooding occurs.
One particular site visit from year 2 that sticks in my mind was to the famous Brunel's Railway in Dawlish. Dawlish was in the news not so long ago due to the collapse of the railway following persistent floods. On this site visit we went to inspect protective measures that have since been put in place. These include a sea wall which protects the local cafés and hotels located on the seafront from flooding.
Trips with the Civil Engineering Students Society
At this point I should mention that there is a Civil Engineering Students Society being run by students. Being a member of this society is very beneficial as you get to meet students from different stages of the Civil Engineering course, go on nights out and social events as a team. There’s a lot of buildings being erected in and around Plymouth; society members get to go on site visits to see the applied practicalities and applications of civil engineering. You'll also get to meet real time engineers who will be happy to share their experiences with you and answer any questions you may have. Finally, being part of the society gives you a great chance to spread your professional network for future connections and career opportunities.