Spotlight on Civil Engineering
Over 50 percent of international students attending U.S. graduate schools have all or most of their tuition paid for by the U.S. university that they attend. In addition to tuition waivers, graduate students often also receive a stipend to help cover their living costs from the university. Such support is particularly available at the Ph.D. level and for those studying the sciences, engineering, or mathematics.
Seldom is such support provided as a “free ride.” While a few lucky individuals may receive fellowships that allow them to focus solely on their studies (in which they will be expected to excel), the vast majority of graduate scholarships are awarded as “assistantships.” On average a teaching assistant or research assistant is required to work approximately 20 hours per week, a commitment that is certainly manageable.
Indeed, if you find you need to work to support your studies, working in a position within your field is certainly time well spent.
While duties of assistantships will vary, depending on both the school and field you’re in, you can expect to be involved with one or more of the following responsibilities:
- teaching or assisting with one or more sections of a course
- running laboratory sessions
- grading undergraduate student papers and exams
- holding regular office hours and meeting with students
- conducting study and review sessions
- assisting a professor with laboratory research and scientific projects
- pursuing scholarly research to assist a professor working on a book or other publications
Less commonly you might work in a university office providing administrative and logistical support, or serve as a “resident assistant” living in a dormitory and helping organize activities and provide support to the undergraduate students there.
In order to receive an assistantship you will need to demonstrate strong proficiency in both spoken and written English. Having conducted research in an area related to faculty projects will give you an advantage. Start early in building connections with faculty and in assembling your application (ask if there are any special forms for international students applying for assistantships and other aid). Funding is typically limited and those who get their applications in well before the application deadline and have made positive connections with professors have the best chance of qualifying for assistantships and other scholarship aid.
Civil engineering is a discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works such as bridges, roads, canals, dams and buildings.
The discipline encompasses the academic core areas of chemistry, biology, fluid mechanics, hydrology, and environmental engineering. The area of engineering systems and management applies mathematical and scientific principles to the definition, design, development, and operational evaluation of total solutions to a wide variety of engineering problems, including the integration of human, physical, energy, communications, management, and information requirements. There are multiple sub disciplines within Civil engineering such as:
- Construction Engineering and Management
- Materials Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Geotechnical Engineering
- Hydraulics & Hydrology Engineering
- Structural Engineering
- Geotechnical Engineering
- Earthquake Engineering
- Coastal Engineering
- Transportation Engineering
Civil engineering admissions requirements for either master’s or doctoral programs typically include good undergraduate grades, English proficiency demonstrated by taking the TOEFL, and sometimes scores on the GRE general and/or subject tests, along with letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.
In the United States, it’s possible to enter the field of engineering at the master’s degree level with an undergraduate major in another area. To do this, you must choose one of a limited number of graduate programs that focus on professional-entry education. Solid preparation in mathematics and the sciences will be expected. Such programs may take longer than the standard two years to complete depending on the particular program’s curriculum and how much related study you 1have previously completed.
Here are upcoming TOEFL test dates for Iran. Don’t worry if you can’t make these dates as there will be more chances in coming months.
For the iBT (Internet Based TOEFL) you will receive four section scores and a total score. Reading (0-30), Listening (0-30), Speaking (0-30), Writing (0-30) Total Score (0-120). U.S. universities typically look for total scores around 80, though requirements vary. For more information on the test, please click here.
If you are interested in taking practice TOEFL tests, here are some websites that offer them: