Civil & Environmental EngineeringReading for civil engineers

Reading is an important part of your degree so as well as a department book club, our current students share their recommended reading lists to help you understand the history of civil engineering.

First year reading list

This project for new first year students requires them to select one book from a list of four (new titles each year). You’ll then read the book and write a short critique.

Previously, fourth year students have acted as a ‘sounding board’ for the first year students, talking about their critique.

Student critiques

The project has now been running for seven years. In total 28 books have been read. The following is a list of the book titles with extracts from student critiques.


Department book club

The Civil Engineering Book Club was opened by Dr Mike Murray in 2009. The key aim is to encourage students to undertake general reading about the construction industry, with a particular emphasis to civil/building engineering. To take part in the club, you’ll need a real commitment to reading and discussion, meeting on a regular basis.

Other forms of publication regularly discussed include:

  • journal articles (e.g. ICE Proceedings/ the Structural Engineer/ Arup Journal)
  • weekly construction press (e.g. New Civil Engineer; Construction News)
  • DVD (e.g. Mega Structures)
  • audio transmissions (e.g. BBC Radio Scotland discussion on Edinburgh Trams Project)
  • photographs and other images concerning the construction industry could also provide a vehicle for interesting analysis and discussion and reflection

View the book club suggested Reading List

Book club event - December 2014

Alumni, Dr Ian Stewart visited and took part in book club in December 2014.

Dr Stewart is co-author of How to Read Bridges: A Crash Course Spanning the Centuries.

First year students Amy Harris and Leanne Evans discussed their reading of the book, with a focus on inspirational bridge structures.

Ian recollected the development of the book and reminisced about his own love of bridges that began in his childhood. The discussion that followed (15 students and 3 staff in attendance) included reference to the social and economic impact of bridges and novel construction techniques and materials.

Ian is a Chartered Engineer and an Associate at Blyth & Blyth. He has a BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering (2000) and a PhD in Structural Dynamics (2003).