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Civil Engineering: USYD or UNSW? (1 Viewer)

mokaz05

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Hi everyone,

I know this question has been asked countless number of times across this website in previous years, however, as a Year 12 student, I am still facing a dilemma in which university to put as my first preference.

I aspire to be a Civil Engineer, with a focus on either Transportation Engineering and Project Management later in my degree. I prioritise work experience so would prefer a university with good industry connections and wish to undertake at least one semester of global exchange at a partner university overseas during my degree. I will write a list of pros and cons I have found for each university:

University of Sydney:

Pros:
- Closer to the city - The Civil Engineering block is about 5-10 minutes walk from Redfern Station, and there are frequent buses from Central station that go to City Rd Bus Stop (I am assuming most engineering classes occur around here, as I heard that the Quadrangle is usually for other disciplines such as B of Arts students?)
- Semester system - I think the semester system is better than the trimester system as having a 1-2 month break in between each teaching period allows for a good opportunity to undertake internships locally or overseas without sacrificing study time or taking a full semester off to undertake work experience
- Project Management major option - USYD offers the option to combine the B of Engineering with the B of Project Management, which is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is a globally recognised qualification. Alternatively, if I choose to major in Project Management in the single-Engineering degree, and do 10 or more units of Project Management related courses, I can still receive the PMI qualification.
- Strong research output in the Transport sector for Civil Engineering from existing PhD students (although I haven't personally met anyone who is in the Transport Engineering sector in USYD yet)
- 1st in Australia, and 4th in the world under QS Graduate Employability Rankings - might be an indicator that USYD has a good overall brand reputation by Australian and overseas employers?

Cons:
- According to Civil Engineers who have contributed to threads in Reddit, and this website, USYD is apparently more theory-orientated and lacks the practical teaching which UNSW offers, which may lead to a difficult time in gaining employment after graduation for future USYD engineer graduates?
- Apparently USYD doesn't help finding internship opportunities under their PEP program and students need to find work experience themselves? (Not sure if this is the same for every university)
- USYD's QS Ranking is 2nd for Civil and Structural Engineering whilst UNSW's QS Ranking is 1st for Civil and Structural Engineering

University of New South Wales:

Pros:
- Renowned for Civil and Structural engineering - and has a larger faculty building (I am yet to see this as the UNSW Open Day is on next Saturday so haven't seen the physical building/s yet)
- Practical teaching methods
- Strong research output

Cons:
- Trimesters - I am worried that the trimesters offered by UNSW will make it harder to find and do internships without having to sacrifice or take an entire term off university to do so, leading to a prolonged period of finishing the degree and a delay in graduating from the Bachelor's degree (Current UNSW students please let me know if the Trimesters cause this issue?)
- Far away from the city - I know this may not seem to be an issue for most people as on paper, it takes around 15-20 minutes more to go to UNSW from Central using the light rail, but as a Western Sydney resident, the 1.5 hour commute to Central will be extended to 2 hours everyday to go to UNSW - so I need to make sure the extra trek to get to the Eastern suburbs will be worthwhile in the long run as a graduate engineer.
- More of a personal issue - but since most of my friends aren't going to UNSW, I am worried if it will be harder to meet up during university as the breaks with the Semester system used by other uni's may not match up with the breaks at UNSW.

Anyone who is an engineer who attends/attended either of these universities, could you please let me know of your experiences for each university.

I am confused because everyone is telling me that UNSW is the place to go for Civil Engineering; but I don't think USYD is inferior by a large margin for Civil Engineering compared to UNSW (Correct me if you think I am wrong please).

Thanks.
 
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d1zzyohs

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I'm looking to go to UNSW as well. Here's what I think and what I've found in my quite elaborate research:

(For computer science and general engineering); almost all the top global companies who are situated in Australia prefer UNSW>USYD>UTS. This may be due to the amount of students enrolled - but this very number difference should show you which uni is considered to be better by the general public. (I've used Linkedin
USYD's research output is weak compared to UNSW. UNSW has a far better research output (Leiden).

See how every says UNSW is the top engineering school? Every engineering firm and company knows this too. And they have been hiring UNSW interns for years, including after the trimester change. So now think - if the general public knows UNSW is the top engineering degree, would the companies not... suit their internship availabilities for students of the top engineering school?

Lots of rumours around, lots of complaining. Lots of commute this commute that. Thousands of students make 1 hour + commutes. Engineering is a degree which can be done as a blended course (Not too sure about civil; you could probably put your labs and other in-person lectures on one day).

Good luck
 

Vall

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Is there anything in particular that’s made you discard UTS? I’m looking into engineering too (specifically mechanical/mechatronic) and am almost convinced that UTS>USYD for engineering. I know the ATAR is ten lower for UTS but their engineering facilities seem better (from their open days last Saturday) and everyone I have spoken to has said that UTS is very hands on (which I think is good for an engineering degree).
 

dasfas

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USYD and UNSW are basically equivalent. UTS is up and coming but not quite on the same level reputationally, albeit definitely a comfortable 3rd for engineering in NSW.

No employer is gonna be like, oh, you go to USYD/UNSW, let's hire you. It's more like, oh you go to one of those unis, I can be vaguely confident you're not complete shit, but you're going to have to compete like everyone else. Regardless, it comes down to your CV, not the uni that you went to. If you go to another uni, the employer might be a little bit wary, but ultimately, it's the CV that is important, rather than the uni itself.

Imo commute and semesters vs trimsters is the biggest consideration here, and a large reason why I ended up going to USYD over UNSW.

Ask on the UNSW subreddit too - everyone likes to have a fat whinge about their degree. There are things I'm unhappy with as well, but at the end of the day, a degree is just a piece of paper and only the very beginning of what you'll be learning.

You cannot really go wrong with either USYD/UNSW, but try to dm the society pages for Civil and see if they can get you in contact with some people who are finishing up their degree
 
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dasfas

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Oh and do not underestimate how much of a pain trimesters are - it is such a hassle to organise holidays with friends from UNSW that often they just get excluded unless it's the summer holidays. Everyone else is normal but UNSW
 

idkkdi

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Hi everyone,

I know this question has been asked countless number of times across this website in previous years, however, as a Year 12 student, I am still facing a dilemma in which university to put as my first preference.

I aspire to be a Civil Engineer, with a focus on either Transportation Engineering and Project Management later in my degree. I prioritise work experience so would prefer a university with good industry connections and wish to undertake at least one semester of global exchange at a partner university overseas during my degree. I will write a list of pros and cons I have found for each university:

University of Sydney:

Pros:
- Closer to the city - The Civil Engineering block is about 5-10 minutes walk from Redfern Station, and there are frequent buses from Central station that go to City Rd Bus Stop (I am assuming most engineering classes occur around here, as I heard that the Quadrangle is usually for other disciplines such as B of Arts students?)
- Semester system - I think the semester system is better than the trimester system as having a 1-2 month break in between each teaching period allows for a good opportunity to undertake internships locally or overseas without sacrificing study time or taking a full semester off to undertake work experience
- Project Management major option - USYD offers the option to combine the B of Engineering with the B of Project Management, which is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is a globally recognised qualification. Alternatively, if I choose to major in Project Management in the single-Engineering degree, and do 10 or more units of Project Management related courses, I can still receive the PMI qualification.
- Strong research output in the Transport sector for Civil Engineering from existing PhD students (although I haven't personally met anyone who is in the Transport Engineering sector in USYD yet)
- 1st in Australia, and 4th in the world under QS Graduate Employability Rankings - might be an indicator that USYD has a good overall brand reputation by Australian and overseas employers?

Cons:
- According to Civil Engineers who have contributed to threads in Reddit, and this website, USYD is apparently more theory-orientated and lacks the practical teaching which UNSW offers, which may lead to a difficult time in gaining employment after graduation for future USYD engineer graduates?
- Apparently USYD doesn't help finding internship opportunities under their PEP program and students need to find work experience themselves? (Not sure if this is the same for every university)
- USYD's QS Ranking is 2nd for Civil and Structural Engineering whilst UNSW's QS Ranking is 1st for Civil and Structural Engineering

University of New South Wales:

Pros:
- Renowned for Civil and Structural engineering - and has a larger faculty building (I am yet to see this as the UNSW Open Day is on next Saturday so haven't seen the physical building/s yet)
- Practical teaching methods
- Strong research output

Cons:
- Trimesters - I am worried that the trimesters offered by UNSW will make it harder to find and do internships without having to sacrifice or take an entire term off university to do so, leading to a prolonged period of finishing the degree and a delay in graduating from the Bachelor's degree (Current UNSW students please let me know if the Trimesters cause this issue?)
- Far away from the city - I know this may not seem to be an issue for most people as on paper, it takes around 15-20 minutes more to go to UNSW from Central using the light rail, but as a Western Sydney resident, the 1.5 hour commute to Central will be extended to 2 hours everyday to go to UNSW - so I need to make sure the extra trek to get to the Eastern suburbs will be worthwhile in the long run as a graduate engineer.
- More of a personal issue - but since most of my friends aren't going to UNSW, I am worried if it will be harder to meet up during university as the breaks with the Semester system used by other uni's may not match up with the breaks at UNSW.

Anyone who is an engineer who attends/attended either of these universities, could you please let me know of your experiences for each university.

I am confused because everyone is telling me that UNSW is the place to go for Civil Engineering; but I don't think USYD is inferior by a large margin for Civil Engineering compared to UNSW (Correct me if you think I am wrong please).

Thanks.
i don't think a b projman would make much of a difference for your aspirations.

work experience would come down a lot to you seeking them yourself and having a decent CV as said above.

both have good exchanges for engi pretty sure.

i'm inclined to believe that unsw has a slightly stronger cohort for civil engi.
 

mokaz05

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Is there anything in particular that’s made you discard UTS? I’m looking into engineering too (specifically mechanical/mechatronic) and am almost convinced that UTS>USYD for engineering. I know the ATAR is ten lower for UTS but their engineering facilities seem better (from their open days last Saturday) and everyone I have spoken to has said that UTS is very hands on (which I think is good for an engineering degree).
I have included UTS in my UAC preferences as well, and have applied for their early entry program through the Edge program.

I haven't discarded UTS as an option, but I think that the Group of Eight universities generally have 'stronger' research output, reflected in their QS rankings. This stronger research output may correlate to a better rounded education for undergraduate and postgraduate students, who have access to the facilities used by these universities to undertake research (Such as USYD's Wind, Water and Waves laboratory).

I do think UTS is a great university, but if I can meet the ATAR requirements for USYD and/or UNSW, I feel that I would rather go to those universities as they are part of the Group of Eight and as @dasfas has said, are generally more reputable compared to UTS.

However, speaking to Civil Engineers in the industry, most have found that UTS offers more practical experience for engineers compared to USYD - but if I go to USYD and don't like the university later down the track, I can apply for a full credit transfer to UNSW during the degree as both universities fall under the Group of Eight - which may not be possible if I went to UTS. As such, going to USYD (which is a Go8 uni) will be a safe option, so that I have the option to transfer to UNSW during the degree and/or vice versa without having to extend the duration of the degree in most cases.
 

Life'sHard

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Trimesters suck but we move. As much as people say prestigious uni’s are a big factor when hiring. It really isn’t. Experience makes you far more valuable.
 

dasfas

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Trimesters suck but we move. As much as people say prestigious uni’s are a big factor when hiring. It really isn’t. Experience makes you far more valuable.
This 100%

There aren't any S-tier unis in Australia (in terms of reputation), unlike in the US where you have MIT/Stanford/CMU/UC Berkeley/Georgia Tech/Caltech etc.. for engineering/cs. So you can't rely on your uni to do the heavy lifting. It comes down to what you've accomplished on your CV.

I sometimes get people who joke when they see that I went to USYD and they're like "lol our entire team is from USYD", but that's about it. You might get a leg up because they went to the same uni. However, it's just as likely they went to UNSW or UTS and they make that comment to someone who went to their uni.


This is the usyd/unsw society page for civil engineers, you guys should chuck them a DM and ask to talk to a grad/person in their last few years of study.

Also don't get too caught up with research output, it has zero correlation to teaching. Unless you want to do research, you probably won't really gain anything from it. Personally it was important to me because I was interested in research, so going to a bigger uni meant more opportunities. But there's also the advantage of going to UTS where things are more tight knit due to smaller class sizes.
 
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