Asee peer logo

The Civil Engineer Does Not Exist ? Innovative Changes In Education Are Necessary In Europe

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Preparing Civil Engineering Students for a Flat World

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1398.1 - 12.1398.17



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Carsten Ahrens F.H. OOW

visit author page

Prof. Dr. Carsten Ahrens, Professor of Civil Engineering Department, FH OOW, Oldenburg, Germany, born 04.01.1944
Senior Vice-president of European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE)

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

There is no standard Civil Engineer – Innovative Changes in Education are necessary in Europe -

Prof. Dr. Carsten Ahrens Department of Civil Engineering and Geoinformation Fachhochschule Oldenburg/Ostfriesland/Wilhelmshaven (FH OOW) Oldenburg, Germany

1. Introduction

All over the world numerous, magnificently and differently shaped buildings, bridges, open spaces, streets etc. can be found and admired. Every country in the world features such civil engineering products, recently built or hundreds of years old. They are built by civil engineers, even though they are often dedicated to architects only, and these civil engineers were influenced by totally different educational backgrounds, learning approaches and professional development and experience as well as culturally very different surroundings.

This was and always will be the case. So it is true to say that there is no standard civil engineer. Why then are innovative changes necessary in the civil engineering education? What especially is the European answer?

2. Definition of a Civil Engineer

To answer the above question it is necessary to know who is or what it means to be a civil engineer. One of the many ways to define a civil engineer is as follows:

A civil engineer is an academically educated and practice-oriented professional who has and uses scientific, technical and other pertinent knowledge and skills to create, enhance, operate and maintain safe and efficient buildings, processes or devices of practical and economic value, for industry and the community.

3. The Professional Formation Framework of Civil Engineers in Europe

The definition given is part of the declaration of the European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCE) and the European Council of Engineering Chambers (ECEC) to describe and create a common platform for civil engineers within the European Union (EU). These two non-profit organizations represent about 800 000 civil engineers in 24 countries within Europe.

One of their objectives is to provide the possibility for all European civil engineers to live and work or to provide services in other EU member states. The basis for this approach is the EU- directive 2005/36/EC on Professional Qualification 1.

The directive very much influences the education, formation and professional development of – not only – civil engineers and therefore led to “The Professional Formation Framework of Civil Engineers of ECCE/ECEC” that has been devised

- to be definite, transparent, directly applicable and objectively reviewed; - to contain sufficient flexibility to meet the national requirements of the different Member States; - to take into account the two different education/training levels at institutions

Ahrens, C. (2007, June), The Civil Engineer Does Not Exist ? Innovative Changes In Education Are Necessary In Europe Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2581

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015