Structural Engineering MSc

Do you want to develop your capabilities in the analysis and codifying of design in specialised aspects of structural engineering? If so, this programme is for you. On our course you will build up your knowledge gained from your undergraduate programme, and upon completion of the MSc, put your skills into action with businesses that so demand your expertise.

Why Surrey?

Graduate students should find the programme of substantial benefit in developing the knowledge and skills acquired in their undergraduate programme, particularly in gaining advanced capabilities in the areas of analysis and codified design in specialised aspects of structural engineering that are required by industry.

Programme overview

Our Structural Engineering postgraduate programme is organised and delivered by the Faculty’s own staff, as well as practising engineers from consultancies and local authorities.

For practising engineers engaged in the planning, design and construction of structural engineering works, the programme provides an opportunity to update their knowledge of current design practice and to familiarise themselves with developments in codes and methods of analysis.

You will be able to choose from a rich and varied selection of specialist structural engineering subjects. Apart from the usual full-time mode, there are also part-time options. The programme may also be studied by distance learning.

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

Programme structure

The modular arrangement is intended to tailor the programme to your individual needs and provide maximum flexibility in terms of attendance of full-time and part-time students.

The majority of modules run for eleven weeks and comprise approximately 33 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.

Individual modules can be used to contribute towards a continuing professional development programme.

Module overview

To achieve the MSc Structural Engineering, you will need to pass eight modules, with at least four being chosen from the Structural Engineering group of modules and a further two from the Structural or Bridge Engineering groups of modules. The remaining two modules are a free choice from all the Civil Engineering module groups.

There are over 30 modules available, each worth 15 credits, covering the general areas of bridge engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, water engineering, construction management, and infrastructure engineering and management. The MSc is classified as technical for the purpose of accreditation by the relevant professional bodies.

Civil Engineering module groups

MSc programmes in Bridge Engineering, Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering share module options. The modules fall under six streams of study:

Bridge Engineering modules
  • Bridge Management
  • Bridge Deck Loading and Analysis
  • Durability of Bridges and Structures
  • Pre-stressed Concrete Bridge Design
  • Steel and Composite Bridge Design
  • Long Span Bridges
Structural Engineering modules
  • Steel Building Design
  • Space Structures
  • Structural Mechanics and Finite Elements
  • Concrete Building Design
  • Structural Safety and Reliability
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Design of Masonry Structures
  • Subsea Engineering
Construction Management modules
  • Construction Organisation
  • Project and Risk Management
  • Construction, Management and Law
Geotechnical Engineering modules
  • Soil–Structure Interaction
  • Advanced Soil Mechanics
  • Energy Geotechnics
  • Deep Foundations and Earth Retaining Structures
  • Geotechnical Structures
Water Engineering modules *
  • Environmental Health
  • Water Treatment
  • Wastewater Treatment and Sewerage
  • Applied Chemistry and Microbiology (Intensive)
  • Pollution Control and Waste Management
  • Groundwater Control
  • Regulation and Management
  • Water Resources Management and Hydraulic Modelling
Infrastructure Engineering and Management modules:
  • Infrastructure Asset Management
  • Infrastructure Investment and Financing
  • Infrastructure Systems, Interdependencies and Resilience
  • Sustainability and Infrastructure

* Students must meet prerequisites for some of these modules to be able to take them.


Structural Engineering modules - module descriptions

Steel Building Design

Important characteristics of structural steelwork; limit state design of tension, compression, beam and beam-column members; principles of plastic design; analysis and design of single- and multi-bay industrial buildings; portal frame stability, sway, snap-through and deflection calculations; analysis and design of welded and bolted connections; design of cold-formed steel elements.

Concrete Building Design

Code requirements for fire safety, robustness, stability and durability; design for flexure, shear, torsion, deflection and crack control in beams and flat slabs; design of short and slender columns; design of foundation rafts and/or piles; structural forms and layout of low- and high-rise reinforced concrete buildings; braced and unbraced frames; analysis of shear walls, cores and tube structures; load combination and moment redistribution.

Space Structures

Description of the main types of space structures, including grids, domes, towers, radar dishes, membrane structures and cable systems; notable space structures; methods of analysis applicable to space structures; computer-aided analysis of space structures, techniques for efficient generation of data, graphical presentation of results; formex configuration processing; polyhedral and geodesic forms, tensegrity systems, retractable structures; use of material, loading, safety, cladding and foundations.

Design of Masonry Structures

Introduction to masonry construction; use of Eurocode 6 and the Construction Products Directive; design for vertical, lateral, combined and concentrated loads; reinforced masonry; design of diaphragm and basement walls.

Structural Safety and Reliability

Theory and application of reliability concepts; component and system reliability methods; application in code calibration and design optimisation; risk-based re-assessment, inspection and maintenance optimisation; whole-life planning of structures and optimum strategy optimisation; application case studies (for example, on bridges and offshore structures); benefits from the application of these techniques.

Earthquake Engineering

Geotechnical aspects of earthquake engineering; dynamic analysis of SDOF systems under free and forced vibrations; analysis of generalised SDOF systems; time domain dynamic analysis and earthquake spectra; modal analysis; general earthquake design concepts; general EC8 requirements; design of steel buildings according to EC8; design of steel members according to EC8 and EC3.

Structural Mechanics and Finite Elements

The Finite Element Method (FEM) is the most commonly used tool in practice for the structural design and analysis of bridges, buildings and other types of structures. In order to carry out a successful FE analysis, a basic knowledge of the theory behind the FEM is required as well as an understanding of the applications to different types of structural elements and analyses. This module covers both of these two aspects, which are essential for learning how to perform a FE analysis.

Subsea Engineering

Subsea engineering is now an important part of energy engineering.  Subsea oil and gas recovery has been undertaken for over fifty years, however recently the challenges of these techniques have become even more complex as exploration moves into ultra-deep water (2.5 – 3.0 kilometres) and also more remote fields. The ingenuity of Engineers along with greater achievements in technology allows even further progress to be achieved. The primary aim for this module is to develop an understanding of the equipment and engineering methods used in subsea exploration, in particular subsea tiebacks to shore.  The module also includes an assignment to develop a subsea oil or gas field through project team work.


Academic support, facilities and equipment

Modules related to the different groups are taught by a total of 17 full- or part-time members of staff, as well as over 20 visiting lecturers.

As part of your learning experience, you will have at your disposal a wide range of relevant software, including ANSYS, ABAQUS, DIANA, SAP 2000, Integer SuperSTRESS, LUSAS, CRISP, MATLAB, PertMaster DRACULA and VISSIM.

Modes of study

Apart from the usual full-time mode, there are also part-time options. The majority of Bridge, Geotechnical and Structural Engineering modules can be studied by distance learning through the use of an interactive web-based e-learning platform (SurreyLearn).

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

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 Structural 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. 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 Gerry Parke

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

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.

Find out more


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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