The School of Civil & Environmental Engineering has for over 95 years been home to many internationally respected academics and produced graduates who have made tremendous strides in the engineering profession as leaders of industry within South Africa and around the globe.
Positioned within the industrial and commercial heart of South Africa, the School continues to play a unique role to educate Civil Engineers at Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral levels. The Civil Engineering degree programme, which has the accreditation of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), enjoys international recognition under the Washington Accord. The hallmarks of graduates of the School are being excellent professional engineers with profound leadership skills and entrepreneurial acumen, and strong ethical values. Space is insufficient to mention the many accomplished graduates of the School, but suffice to make reference to the many past Presidents of the South African Institution of Civil Engineers (SAICE) and ECSA, Founders and CEOs of large consulting and construction companies locally and internationally, CEOs of many public enterprises, Leaders of universities as Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, great designers like Jack Zunz who led the team that designed and constructed the Sydney Opera House and Prof John Burland who led the team that stabilized the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and renowned academics and scholars such as the late Prof Geoff Blight (former “A” rated NRF scientist and holder of a PhD and 3 DSc degrees). The School remains a steady source of highly skilled civil engineering professionals to large metros like Johannesburg and other municipalities throughout the country. The footprints of graduates of the School are also distinctly evident in the world of business and commerce, and in financial and banking institutions.
The degree programme in Civil Engineering is highly sought after by over 2500 applicants who seek the approximately 180 places that the School can provide each year. The total undergraduate and postgraduate student population, which is currently about 1000, reflects the demographics of South Africa with about 70% of the student population being black South Africans. The School has one of the highest percentages of female students compare to similar civil engineering programmes in the country. The gender distribution between 2011 and 2016 has averaged at about 32% for female students. This is reflective of the unique role being played by the School in the training of female Civil Engineers for the industry.
The research profile of academic staff of the School is quite impressive with 6 of the total of 17 full time academic staff rated by the National Research Foundation. With the support of 4 visiting and honorary Professors, 11 technical staff and 4 administrative staff, the research outputs of the School are impressive. Research is carried out in the fields of water/hydraulics, geotechnical, structural, materials and environmental engineering, and infrastructure engineering and management. There are about 250 students who registered for various postgraduate programmes at Masters and Doctoral levels. The laboratory facilities in these fields of civil engineering, together with the modern computing facilities, provide the strong backbone for the teaching and research activities which take place in the School.
The successes of the School in various frontiers of the civil engineering discipline have, however, been hampered by the financial constraints of the University. This has made it extremely difficult to have competitive remuneration salaries for academics. In response to this challenge, the School has embarked on a fundraising drive to build up an interest-yielding Endowment fund that is managed by the Wits Foundation to supplement the income of staff (using only the interest on the capital). Our goal is to increase this fund from its current value of R10 million to R25 million, so that the interest will be substantial for the supplementation of academic salaries. This will enable the School to attract and retain high quality academic staff. We solicit your support and donation to this fund with account details below.