Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc

By taking our Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc, accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM), you will be able to deepen your knowledge and understanding across geomechanics and different types of foundation and geotechnical structure design.

Why Surrey?

Our Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc programme has been endorsed by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Industry Advisory Board (IAB) and will give you the skills you need to address real-world ground engineering issues and technological challenges faced by the geotechnical engineering profession.

You will receive first-class tuition from academics, industrial lectures, visiting researchers and professors at the University of Surrey and you will develop the ability to manage your own learning in terms of time management as well as being able to identify and access the resources needed for your academic study.

You will have an opportunity to carry out advanced soil testing and scaled model tests (for your dissertation) in the new Geomechanics laboratory, equipped with a range of state-of-the art advanced soil testing apparatus including Dynamic Simple Shear, Resonant Column and Dynamic Triaxial apparatus. There will also be opportunities to carry out scaled model tests on soil-structure interaction problems.

Programme overview

Our Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc will nurture your understanding of principles and theories behind ground engineering, including deep foundations in urban areas, tunnelling, foundations for energy infrastructure, deep water energy resources exploration and field monitoring.

You will get a chance to apply this acquired knowledge and practical understanding of scientific methodology in your chosen research topic and be able to evaluate and interpret data.

You will also have the opportunity to carry out a scientific investigation under the guidance and advice of your supervisor. This will help you acquire, analyse and draw conclusions from your findings with numerical methods and by critically evaluating the significance of your own conclusions.

Our Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc has been designed to give you the best possible insight into the world of restoring and improving infrastructure and addressing infrastructure issues relating to climate change, a topic at the heart of the engineering profession.

This programme is particularly useful in providing the necessary further learning for engineers working in the construction industry who hold related first degrees within Civil Engineering or who have had five years’ experience in the infrastructure sector, or who is willing to become a CEng.

Why not explore some of our past and present student profiles, including Alex Salter, Ian Sandle, Evangelos Alexakis and Mina Giagia.

Module overview

This scheme can be tailored to suit your own academic interests, whilst still grounding you with sound knowledge about the fundamentals of ground engineering in an innovative, forward-thinking academic environment.

The majority of modules run for ten weeks and comprise approximately 30 hours (three hours per week) of class time and 120 hours of self-study and assignments. 

Successful completion of four modules is required for a student to gain a Postgraduate Certificate, eight modules for a Postgraduate Diploma. Eight modules and a dissertation are required for the award of an MSc. 

Advanced Geotechnical Engineering module groups 

Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc consists five compulsory modules across the first and second semester. The compulsory modules are all 15 credits each and include Advanced Soil Mechanics, Energy Geotechnics, Foundation Engineering and Soil-Structure Interaction. Optional modules (such as Earthquake Engineering, Ground Water Control, Structural Safety and Reliability, Subsea Engineering and modules from other Civil Engineering MSc courses) are also worth 15 credits each.

Throughout the years, you will be partaking in a research project and dissertation, worth 60 credits.

Compulsory modules

Advanced Soil Mechanics

This module covers advanced topics in geotechnical engineering including the strength and stiffness of soils, constitutive models of soil and advanced soil testing.

Energy Geotechnics

This module mainly covers design of foundations for offshore and onshore wind turbines, offshore oil and gas installations. There will be specialised lectures on  foundations for nuclear power plants, ground source heat pump and methane hydrate extraction.

Geotechnical Structures

This module will cover three main topics – design of dams, flood embankments, tunnels and deep basements.

Foundation Engineering

This module will cover shallow foundation, deep foundation, rock slope engineering, earth retaining structures and ground improvement.

Soil-Structure Interaction

This module covers analytical models for interaction, continuum models, finite element and finite difference methods, application and case histories.

Deep Foundations and Earth-Retaining Structures

Optional modules

Subsea Engineering

This module covers foundations for deep water oil and gas exploration, specialist site investigation, pipeline-seabed interaction.

Earthquake Engineering

This module covers dynamics of structures, liquefaction, site response analysis and design of foundations in seismic areas.

Structural Safety and Reliability

This module covers risk and reliability theories, component and system reliability, example application in reassessment, inspection and maintenance.

And many more MSc modules in Civil Engineering


You will be allocated a personal tutor throughout your studies at the University of Surrey, and your time here can either be full-time, part-time and some modules can be studied via distance learning through the use of an interactive web-based e-learning platform (SurreyLearn).

Teaching hours

Each module corresponds to 150 hours of work, which includes 30 hours of lectures in the case of contact students.


Modules are generally assessed by a combination of examinations and continuous assessment. The latter will be based on solutions to tutorial questions, reports covering practical sessions and fieldwork, and essays on a number of suitable topics.

Each module is assessed separately. There is a written final examination for most modules (some modules are examined by continuous assessment only) at the end of each semester. The modules and the dissertation have a minimum pass mark of 50 per cent.

Academic support, facilities and equipment

Modules are taught by academic members in the geotechnical area, and some lectures for the Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc will be delivered by visiting academics and practicing engineers from industry. You will also be allocated a personal tutor to guide you during your time with us at the University. You can expect a varied, stimulating and rewarding time here and will receive all the support you need to progress your learning.

In addition to the University Library and Learning Centre’s extensive resources, our excellent testing facilities can support experimentally based MSc dissertation projects.

Distance learning

This programme can be studied via distance learning, which allows a high level of flexibility and enables you to study alongside other commitments you may have. Full information about our distance learning programme can be found in the following document: distance-learning-civil-engineering-2015.pdf


VJ Tech Prize for Best MSc Student in Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

A prize of £1,000 sponsored by VJ Tech, one of the world’s top geotechnical engineering manufacturers specialising in advanced soil testing equipment for labs.

The prize will be awarded to the best performing student(s) on the MSc Advanced Geotechnical Engineering based on module results and overall performance during the programme.

The £1,000 may be awarded to an individual student or split between two students displaying the best performance in their MSc programme.

Keller Prize for Best MSc Project in Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

A prize of £500 sponsored by Keller Group plc, the world’s largest independent ground engineering contractor.

The prize will be awarded to the student(s) with the best MSc Dissertation completed as part of the MSc Advanced Geotechnical Engineering, as defined by the course leader according to the module results and potential impact of the output of the individual project.

The £500 may be awarded to an individual student or split between a number of students displaying the best performance in their MSc Dissertations.

Professional recognition

These courses have been accredited by The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT). In addition the programmes have EURACE accreditation.

MSc Advanced Geotechnical Engineering (technical) (1 year FT, 2-5 year PT and DL)

This degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng accredited undergraduate first degree for the 2014 intake. Further accreditation is subject to the inspection of 2014’s output. See for further information.

Further Learning Programme (for candidates with IEng approved HND/HNC/FdEng/FdSci)

This programme is approved as meeting the Further Learning requirements for an Incorporated Engineer for candidates who have an IEng approved first qualification. See for details of approved qualifications.

Institute of Highway Engineers
Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation
Institution of Civil Engineers
The Institution of Structural Engineers
European Accreditation of Engineering Programmes

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Professor Subhamoy Bhattacharya

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 60 months
  • Distance-learning: 60 months

Start date:

Sep 2016, Feb 2017

Entry Requirements

A minimum of 60 per cent in an honours degree in civil engineering or equivalent accredited to CEng, or a minimum of 70 per cent in an honours degree in civil engineering accredited to IEng. Overseas equivalent qualifications are also welcome. Alternatively, at least five years’ relevant industrial experience or a professional qualification (for example, CEng). 

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Sep 2016 £900 * £2,000 *
Distance-learning Sep 2016 £900 * £2,000 *
Full-time Feb 2017 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Feb 2017 £900 * £2,000 *
Distance-learning Feb 2017 £900 * £2,000 *

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

GREAT Surrey Scholarships India

For for all postgraduate taught courses starting in February 2017 within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the University is offering graduates from India the opportunity to apply for one of three scholarships worth £5,000 through the GREAT Scholarships - India programme. 

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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