Selecting Good Research Paper Topics About Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is an engineering discipline that deals with both the world’s man-made and natural environment. The field is concerned with the interaction between human-made projects with the world at large. Focusing on issues surrounding design, construction, and maintenance, the field encompasses much of modern civilization.

Civil engineers do more than just design buildings and build bridges. They can be found in numerous industries. Not only does civil engineering focus on issues surrounding infrastructure, like roads, bridges, and buildings, but it also contains numerous sub-fields, which focus on things like water resource engineering, earthquake engineering, and surveying. Civil engineers are responsible for helping to design airplanes and space stations, improve the safety of vehicles and are even known to work in the power and construction industries.


When trying to select a topic for your research project, keep the subfields in mind. The following some of the many sub-disciplines that exist within the scope of the civil engineering field:

  • Construction Engineering
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water resources engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Transportation engineering
  • Forensic engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Municipal engineering
  • Control Engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering.


Focus on your interests. Identify your areas of interests. Given the numerous categories, you can incorporate almost any interest into your research. With the right resources, virtually any topic can be a solid foundation for your research topic. As you move on to your beginning research stage, pay close attention to the ways in which you can shape your areas of interest to make it appropriate to your assignment.

Preliminary Research

Do preliminary research. Create an overview of what you’d like to focus on and what you’d like to learn. Exploring the research that already exists in the category of interest will help you narrow your topic of interest. Create a list of questions and use the answers to help you identify your thesis statement.


Utilize your resources. Whether you want to study wooden materials used in urban buildings, construction techniques that make buildings earthquake resistant, rainwater harvesting or top-down cracking, there are countless studies and databases that make information easily accessible.

Databases like Compendex, ENGINE, Civil Engineering Database, Inspec, and IEEE Explorer provide access to journals, abstracts, and bibliographies. It’s also helpful to look at the engineering departments of universities like Columbia and MIT, as they often publish studies and resources that their students and faculty have contributed to. This could help you identify areas of interest or even further research of your topic.