Civil Engineering, Department of

[photo of the Wooden Bridge research team]

The Wooden Bridge research team: (l-r) Professor Barry Batchelor and student Rob Taylor (BSc'83). Courtesy Emel Erlean

Civil Engineering first appeared in Queen's course calendar in the 1850s, the earliest mention of any engineering courses at the University. However, these courses were only the result of wishful thinking; Queen's had neither the facilities nor the professors to teach the subject at the time and, not surprisingly, no students registered for the courses.

The real beginning of civil engineering had to wait until the establishment of the Queen's-affiliated Ontario School of Mining and Agriculture in 1893. Robert Carr-Harris, a professor at the Royal Military College (RMC), taught the first courses in the subject that year, coming over from RMC for several hours each week.

Work in the department originally focused on structural and railway engineering and surveying, with hydraulics and highway engineering being added in the early decades of this century. Today, faculty in the department teach and conduct research in five main areas of engineering: environmental, geotechnical, hydrotechnical, structural, and transportation, utilizing mathematical modelling with computer simulation, physical model studies in various laboratories, and field studies.

One of the department's most historically visible activities is the survey school for first year students after final exams, during which Queen's is crowded with students taking physical measurements of the campus. Surveying classes have not been run for several years.

Learn more about the Civil Engineering Department.