Civil engineering is an umbrella field comprised of many related specialties. Structural engineering, of which structural design is a component, is typically the largest part of civil engineering as a practice. Structural engineers design bridges, buildings, offshore oil platforms, dams etc. [[Structural analysis]] is another component of structural engineering. This involves computing the stresses and forces at work within a structure. There are some structural engineers who work in non-typical areas, designing aircraft, spacecraft and even biomedical devices.
Supporting structural engineering is the field of geotechnical engineering. The importance of geotechnical engineering can hardly be overstated: buildings must be connected to the ground! Geotechnical engineering is concerned with soil properties, foundations, footings and soil dynamics. Over time, researchers have derived empirical equations that work (it is not an exact science).
Transportation engineering is concerned with queueing theory and traffic flow planning. These are highly complex computational problems.
Construction engineering involves planning and execution of the designs from structural and geotechnical engineers.
Civil engineering also includes material science. Engineering materials include concrete, steel and recently, polymers and ceramics with potential engineering application.
A popular misconception is that civil engineering is far from the exciting frontiers in mathematics and computer science. In actuality, much of what is now computer science was driven by work in civil engineering, where structural analysis problems required parallel computations and development of advanced algorithms.
There are also civil engineers who work in the area of risk and reliability, applying probabilistic methods to structural design, safety analysis and even estimates of insurance losses due to natural and man-made hazards.