Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewerage systems, pipelines, and railways. Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines. It is the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it is defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. Civil engineering takes place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.
Engineering is the creative application of science, mathematical methods, and empirical evidence to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, devices, systems, processes, and organizations. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.
Men build bridges and throw railroads across deserts, and yet they contend successfully that the job of sewing on a button is beyond them. Accordingly, they don’t have to sew buttons.
Heywood Broun, in Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations: A Collection of Approximately (2012), p. 310
Mechanical engineering is now the largest branch, with nearly 40 percent of the profession's members. Civil engineering, which was the largest branch prior to World War II, has dropped to second place, with about 25 percent of all engineers.
United States. Bureau of Labor Statistics (1951) Effect of defense program on employment outlook in engineering. p. 18