Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. Civil engineering is the oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it was defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. It is traditionally broken into several sub-disciplines including environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, municipal or urban engineering, water resources engineering, materials engineering, coastal engineering, surveying, and construction engineering. Civil engineering takes place on all levels: in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.
Civil engineering is the application of physical and scientific principles, and its history is intricately linked to advances in understanding of physics and mathematics throughout history. Because civil engineering is a wide ranging profession, including several separate specialized sub-disciplines, its history is linked to knowledge of structures, materials science, geography, geology, soils, hydrology, environment, mechanics and other fields.