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Civil Engineering

Are you interested in contributing to the construction of the largest lock project in the world? In determining how high and how strong dikes should be to ensure flooding does not take place? Or would you like to make sure that people and animals can continue to live safely near coasts and rivers despite climate change? If your answer is ‘yes’ to the questions above, the Civil Engineering programme at HZ may be the right choice for you!

It is expected that by 2050 80% of the world's population will live in delta areas. In these areas, where rivers meet the sea, there are increasing challenges due to climate change. With your expertise as a civil engineer, you will tackle problems such as coastal safety and urban flooding and contribute to safety in deltas around the world. During your study, you learn everything about the design and building of large constructions and managing huge international projects. Examples include the Panama locks in the Panama Canal; the Channel tunnel that connects the United Kingdom with France; and the magnificent Palm Islands in Dubai, a design that could have been yours if you were already a civil engineer! Doing Civil Engineering at HZ means you are studying in the middle of a delta area: when walking out of the university of applied sciences, you will encounter your field of work all around you. Did you know that the Dutch Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier is one of the seven modern wonders of the world and that this construction can be found at 30 minutes from HZ?

Employers are lining up for you as a graduate, because at HZ you are not only trained theoretically, but also practically. Right from the start of your study, you will be applying the theory of your future work field in the actual practice. During the lectures you will work on (international) assignments from the professional field, you do two internships with organisations in the Netherlands or abroad and you choose a minor: a half-year programme whereby you further specialise yourself in a company of your choice. In this way, you already gain ample work experience during your studies, and you will be optimally prepared for your career.

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Educational structure

Read everything about the study programme, minor, internship and graduation

You acquaint yourself with the different aspects of the civil engineering field. You act both in the role of advisor and of designer, and analyse an existing civil engineering infrastructure, such as a bridge or a quay. You learn to understand how these constructions can continue to function in the next thirty years. You advise government bodies and water on how bridges, locks and ports can be used with as little energy as possible, thus making them less straining on the environment. You learn how civil engineering constructions are built, and how they work. You learn about hydraulics and the impact water has on a construction. Think of water barriers such as the flood barriers in Venice, which are supposed to protect the city against high water levels. 

In the second part of the first year, you acquaint yourself with the South-western Delta, the delta region in the Netherlands in which HZ is situated. By means of a project, you discover the influences fluid dynamics and soil subsidence have on an area. How you can continue to live, work and recreate in delta areas, inspite of rising sea levels? You also analyse water problems  abroad. In other countries, you will encounter other cultures and climate conditions, which means that solutions that may be fitting for the Netherlands may not always fit equally well abroad.

You will study infrastructures, both above the ground and below. Think of channels and roads, but also of cables and pipes. One of the projects during this study year is your design of a motorway that will reduce traffic jams. 

In the second half of the second year, you get to work on constructions that protect the coast from flooding. You learn how to investigate whether a dike will be strong enough to protect the land behind it, and how to design new dikes that are both long-lasting and environmentally friendly. You also work with dredging techniques: constructing islands near a coastline. You discover how to mine and move sand while keeping nature in mind, and how to manage this process from a project manager's perspective.

In the third year of the programme, you complete a six-month minor. By means of this minor you enhance the depth or breadth of your knowledge and skills. You can carry out your minor at one if the water-related research groups at HZ, at another HZ study programme, or at another university, in the Netherlands or abroad. 

You also carry out an internship with a construction project, in the Netherlands or abroad. During your internship, you acquaint yourself with all the aspects of a construction process, such as work preparation, project management, planning and monitoring a construction process and how to communicate with stakeholders in the vicinity of your construction site.

At the start of the study year, you choose your major: hydraulic engineering or construction. In the first three years you had lectures in both specialisations. As a result you are now able to decide which specialisation will fit you best. As a hydraulic engineer you focus on the design of the port. You consider the consequences of water flows and wave action on shipping, as well as the necessary infrastructure, including quays and moles. You investigate the safety of the area behind the port in case of high water levels.  As a constructor you analyse the construction site, the tunnels and landing constructions. You are responsible for the calculations to ensure the constructions will be strong enough, now and in the future. You skill yourself in the field of project management, so that you are able to properly lead a project as a manager.  During the final part of your study, you carry out a graduation assignment with a Dutch or foreign company of your choice. At the end of that period you submit a graduation research that shows you 

Course description

Read more detailed course information in the Academic and Examination Regulation.

Applied research

The Delta Academy includes an applied research centre, including several research groups that focus on delta resilience. Students participate in applied research in various ways.

Applied research is closely combined with education at the Delta Academy. Our lecturers participate in research and researchers give lessons. Often the assignments you face during your classes are part of challenging projects the research groups deal with. Furthermore, you can choose to carry out your internship, minor or graduation project with a research group. During the summer holidays, our students are offered part-time jobs and after graduation some students continue their excellent work within the research groups. 


Next to the four-year bachelor Civil Engineering, HZ offers a three-year track Civil Engineering and a Master River Delta Development.

Three-year track Civil Engineering

If you manage to obtain all your credits in your first year of study, and therefore pass your Propedeuse exam, you can choose to change your study programme from a four-year to a three-year programme.

Structure study programme
During your first year, you follow the lectures together with the students enrolled in the four-year track. You become acquainted with your fellow students and the Civil Engineering programme. In the second year, you broaden your professional knowledge and obtain an internship place for the summer period. You may do your internship in the Netherlands, or abroad. Your internship lasts ten weeks and starts in June after your final exams. You finish your internship at the end of August. In the third year, you choose an elective course, with which you further specialise and you do your research minor. Finally, you carry out your graduation assignment at an organisation of your choice, at home or abroad.

Master River Delta Development

Have you become passionate about your study and would you like to further develop yourself in your professional field? Would a Master programme be something for you? You could choose for the 18-months Master programme in River Delta Development, which is a collaboration of HZ University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and Van Hall Larenstein. This way, you can obtain both your Bachelor and your Master’s degree in four-and-a-half years. Employers will be lining up for you upon graduation, because you are both practically and analytically trained.


Before you apply to the Civil Engineering programme, you have to meet a few admission requirements. 

Admission requirements

To quality for admission for the Civil Engineering programme, you need:

  • A diploma equivalent to the Dutch Secondary Education Diploma, which gives you access to higher education. 
  • A good level of Mathematics and Physics
  • A good command of written and spoken English. Your level of English should be equivalent to and IELTS score of 6.0. 

Read more about the admission requirements

Alternative entrance exam

If you don’t have the appropriate secondary school diploma, and if you are at least 21 years old, you may be exempted from this requirement. The HZ provides the possibility of taking an alternative entrance exam.

Language requirements

Read all about the language requirements here

Practical information

Read everything about the fees and finances, what it's like to study in the Netherlands, what you need to arrange when studying abroad and how to apply for a study programme. 

Fees and finances

Next to the tuition fees and costs of living there are extra costs for your study programme (studie materials and books). You will have excursions on regular basis.

Read more about the fees and finances here.  


Have you made your choice? Read all about our application procedure and apply.

Pre-arrival information

A visa, health insurance, accomodation and a Dutch bank account...You need to arrange quite some things when you decide to study abroad. Read all about it here

Studying in the Netherlands

What it's like to study in the Netherlands? And what is Vlissingen like? Read all about Zeeland, the Netherlands and HZ.


Do you have any questions or do you need more information about the study programme? Please contact our admission office:

After graduation

Congratulations, you're now graduated! From now on you may use the title ‘Bachelor of Science’. 

Did you participate in the Honours Programme? You will get an extra certificate with your diploma.

Get a copy of your diploma here.

Once graduated, you can construct dikes, build bridges and canals, ports and large scale infrastructure. The different type of jobs of a civil engineer can globally be divided into the main phases of a civil project: the (initial) feasibility phase, the design phase, the construction phase and the operational and maintenance phase. Your work covers a very wide range of specialism, ranging from Coastal and Marine, Environmental, Water and Public health to Roads, Rails,  Geotechnical and Structural fields.

With a bachelor degree from the HZ you can continue studying towards your Master’s degree. If you decide to continue your education abroad, you can do so immediately after graduating from the HZ. If you choose to further your studies at a research university in the Netherlands, a pre-master is required for a Master in Civil Engineering.

Students' experiences

Alex studies Civil Engineering at HZ. He shares his experiences with HZ in this video.

Read all the information about this study
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