Civil and Structural Engineering

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 March, 2007, 12:00am

Name: Kelly Woo Ka-po

Age: 21

Course: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Civil and Structural Engineering

School: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Year of Study: Three

Duration of programme: Three years

Young Post: What courses have you studied?

Woo: Our university's department of civil engineering offers two bachelor's degree programmes - civil and structural engineering, and civil and environmental engineering.

In the first two years, both sets of students take the same courses. We study water resources and hydraulic engineering, geotechnical structure, environmental engineering and other related courses.

For the structural engineering programme, we focus on a building's foundation. We have to calculate how heavy the complex is, how thick each supporting column should be and so on.

With different structural formula, we get different designs.

In the environmental course, we examine soil and rocks and waste treatment. This is divided into two separate streams in our final year.

The topic for our final-year project will be based on our respective streams.

YP: Are your courses project-based or exam-based?

W: We have mid-term and final examinations. But these are not the most important things.

We also take part in many lab sessions and field trips. For example, we go to outlying islands and take soil and rock samples for our geotechnical course.

We also test cement, to see if it is up to standard.

YP: Do the courses provide any training?

W: Yes. During my Year One winter break, I attended a workshop on safety training. It gave us an idea about safety measures on construction sites.

We attended another workshop at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where we learned about scaffolding.

Although this is not part of a civil engineer's job, we have to ensure the safety of scaffolding at construction sites.

We were also taught how to correct faults in underground water pipes without causing any disturbance to the public.

There are machines equipped with surveillance cameras for this purpose.

YP: What is your final-year project?

W: I am an assistant on a PhD project. In Hong Kong, there are many buildings which are over-designed.

To fulfil the city's safety requirements, companies are building thicker walls. This may in turn put extra strain on the foundation.

We are currently developing a programme which will help create a new design based on the original plan.

This way, we can reduce the cost of construction, improve efficiency and make sure that the buildings meet safety standards.

We will work with the architects to ensure that the buildings are eye-catching and have a solid foundation as well.

If this project succeeds, it will definitely boost Hong Kong's competitiveness in the industry.


Applicants have to obtain at least a pass in three AL subjects, or a pass in two AL subjects and one AS subject. These subjects must include AL Pure Mathematics/Applied Mathematics, and AL/AS Physics or AL Engineering Science.

A Grade E in AS Use of English and AS Chinese Language and Culture is also required.

Career prospects

Graduates have opportunities to work in a wide range of areas, such as government departments, engineering consultancies, construction companies, as well as international engineering industries.

They can work as civil engineers or apply for project management and operation logistics posts.

They can also become sales and technical representatives of a wide range of businesses.