If you aspire to become a Civil Engineer, you might be considering which high school subjects to select that will streamline your acceptance into tertiary institutions.

What high school subjects ( Grade 10 -12 ) are required to study Civil Engineering in universities?

To pursue a degree in Civil Engineering at universities, students typically need to focus on specific Grade 10-12 subjects with strong academic performance to increase their chances of acceptance. Civil Engineering is a demanding field that requires a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences. Here are the essential high school subjects and the recommended pass mark levels for Civil Engineering:

  1. Mathematics: A minimum of level 5 (60-69%) is often required, but a level 6 (70-79%) or higher is preferable to be competitive for university admission in Civil Engineering.
  2. Physical Sciences: Similar to Mathematics, a pass mark of at least level 5 (60-69%) is typically necessary, with higher marks (level 6 or above) increasing the likelihood of acceptance. This subject covers crucial topics such as mechanics and thermodynamics, which are integral to civil engineering studies.
  3. English: While the required level may vary, achieving at least a level 4 (50-59%) in English Home Language or First Additional Language is important for success in university courses, which involve significant technical reading and report writing.

Civil Engineering is a challenging subject area that requires high marks in these critical subjects to handle the rigorous analytical and design-oriented coursework found in university programs. Prospective students should aim for the highest possible marks in these subjects to improve their chances of entering and succeeding in this competitive field.

How Grade 10-12 Subject Requirements Support Civil Engineering Jobs in South Africa

Here’s how the foundational subjects—Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and English—apply to specific Civil Engineering job roles within South Africa, including practical examples and company contexts:



Structural Engineer

  • Mathematics: Essential for designing structures that can withstand various loads and stresses. For example, a Structural Engineer at Murray & Roberts might use advanced calculus to determine the load-bearing capacity of a bridge.
  • Physical Sciences: Critical for understanding material properties and the physics of how structures support and distribute weight.
  • English: Necessary for writing detailed technical reports and proposals that communicate design concepts and safety features to clients and regulatory bodies.

Geotechnical Engineer

  • Mathematics: Used to calculate the stability of soil and rock that support foundation structures. A Geotechnical Engineer at Aurecon might analyze soil samples and perform calculations to design a stable foundation for large buildings.
  • Physical Sciences: Provides insights into the behavior of earth materials under various conditions, which is crucial for assessing site suitability and designing appropriate earthworks and foundations.
  • English: Important for compiling and presenting complex geological data and engineering recommendations in understandable terms for project teams and stakeholders.

Water Resources Engineer

  • Mathematics: Crucial for modeling fluid dynamics and designing water management systems, such as dams and drainage systems. At SRK Consulting, a Water Resources Engineer could use mathematical models to optimize the design of a flood control system.
  • Physical Sciences: Essential for understanding hydrology and the mechanics of water flow, which is fundamental in managing water resources effectively.
  • English: Needed for writing environmental impact assessments and communicating with governmental agencies, clients, and the public about water resource management plans.

Transportation Engineer

  • Mathematics: Important for designing and analyzing transportation systems, including road alignments and traffic flow. A Transportation Engineer at GIBB Engineering & Architecture might use statistical and algebraic methods to design efficient traffic systems for a new urban development.
  • Physical Sciences: Useful in understanding the materials and principles involved in road construction and the physics of vehicle dynamics.
  • English: Critical for creating project documentation and proposals, as well as communicating with stakeholders to explain traffic solutions and plans.

These examples demonstrate the direct application of high school subjects to the practical and theoretical demands of various civil engineering roles, highlighting the importance of a strong educational background in these subjects for advancing in this vital and dynamic field in South Africa.