Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc

Key information

Start date: February 2020

Full-time: 1 year

Start date: October 2020

Full-time: 1 year

Why choose this course

Want to become an expert in the fascinating field where engineering meets the natural world?

Our MSc Advanced Geotechnical Engineering course will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue an exciting career in the geotechnical engineering sector, including offshore and earthquake geotechnics. It is worth noting that geotechnical engineers are in huge demand due to global skill shortage.

You will be taught in highly-specialised facilities by academics who are leaders in their field. Throughout your course, you will also benefit from the expert knowledge of specialist guest speakers, including visiting academics and engineers working in the industry.

A week in the life of a postgraduate civil engineering student

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What you will study

Our MSc Advanced Geotechnical Engineering will develop your understanding of the principles and theories behind ground engineering, from soil mechanics to site investigation, advanced soil testing and foundation design. We’ll provide you with Please check this section carefully the necessary skills to address technological challenges in the geotechnical engineering sector.

You’ll explore topics including deep foundations in urban areas, tunnelling, foundations for energy infrastructure and major bridges, deep water energy resources exploration and field monitoring.

Throughout your studies, you’ll also have the opportunity to work on a research project, enabling you to acquire, analyse and critically evaluate data, and then draw valid conclusions from it. It will test your understanding of scientific methodology, and allow you to graduate as a confident and capable geotechnical engineer.

Distance learning

Surrey is one of the only universities in the UK to offer MSc courses in civil and environmental engineering through distance learning. This flexible option allows you to study for our distinctive, accredited MSc courses from anywhere in the world, without the need to relocate or give up your existing job.

As a distance learner, you will study eight modules and complete a dissertation in your chosen subject (like full-time and part-time students) but you’ll be able take up to five years to complete your masters. You will be able to access all module materials through our virtual learning environment SurreyLearn, and arrange to take end-of-module exams at a local university.

Learn more about distance learning programmes (PDF).

Academic support, facilities and equipment

Your modules will be taught by our academics who are experts in the geotechnical area. Some lectures on this course will also be delivered by visiting academics and practising engineers from industry, giving you invaluable industry insight and adding another dimension to your learning.

You will be allocated a personal tutor to guide and support you during your time at Surrey. You can expect a varied, stimulating and rewarding student experience, and will receive all the support you need to progress your learning.

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


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 course, based on module results and overall performance.

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

This is 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 dissertation completed as part of our MSc Advanced Geotechnical Engineering course, 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 with the best dissertations.

Study and work abroad

There may be opportunities to acquire valuable European experience by working or conducting research abroad during your degree or shortly afterwards. It is possible to do this in the summer period with an Erasmus+ grant working on your dissertation or as a recent graduate. In order to qualify your Erasmus+ traineeship must be a minimum of two months.

Professional recognition

MSc - Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT).
Accredited by CIHT as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer under the provisions of UK-SPEC for candidates that have already acquired a CEng accredited BEng(Hons) undergraduate first degree.

MSc - Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE).
Accredited by IHE as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer under the provisions of UK-SPEC for candidates that have already acquired a CEng accredited BEng(Hons) undergraduate first degree.

MSc - Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
Accredited by ICE as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer under the provisions of UK-SPEC for candidates that have already acquired a CEng accredited BEng(Hons) undergraduate first degree.

MSc - Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE).
Accredited by IStructE as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer under the provisions of UK-SPEC for candidates that have already acquired a CEng accredited BEng(Hons) undergraduate first degree.

MSc - European Accreditation of Engineering Programmes (EUR-ACE)
This Programme is accredited by the European Accreditation of Engineering Programmes (EUR-ACE)

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps. 

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:

Optional modules for Year 1 - FHEQ Level 7

Students must choose 4 modules from those listed below. For the main and subsidiary awards there are restrictions on the choice of modules within each module group. Student needs to take four modules from the remaining list below.

Selected Structural Engineering Group Modules:
ENGM042 Steel Building Design
ENGM043 Spatial Structures
ENGM053 Structural Mechanics & Finite Elements

Selected Construction Management Group Modules:
ENGM292 Construction Management Administration & Law
ENGM293 Corporate and Project Management

Selected Infrastructure Engineering Group Modules:
ENGM264 Infrastructure Systems, Interdependencies and Resilience
ENGM263 Infrastructure Financing

Selected Water & Environmental Engineering Group Modules:
ENGM035 Water Treatment
ENGM036 Wastewater Treatment and Sewerage
ENGM055 Applied Chemistry and Microbiology
ENGM289 Global Challenges in Water and Health

Selected Bridge Engineering Group modules:
ENGM031 Pre-stressed concrete bridge design
ENGM033 Durability of Bridges and Structures

Selected Structural Engineering Group Modules:
ENGM041 Concrete Building Design
ENGM054 Earthquake Engineering

Selected Infrastructure Engineering Group Modules:
ENGM266 Infrastructure Asset Management
ENGM265 Sustainability and Infrastructure
ENGM281 Building Information Modelling

Selected Water and Environment Engineering Group Modules:
ENGM057 Water Resources Management & Hydraulic Modelling
ENGM285 Geographical Information Science and Remote Sensing

Selected Bridge Engineering Group Modules:
ENGM032 Steel and Composite Bridge Design


Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).

Entry requirements

A minimum of 60 per cent in a UK honours degree in civil engineering (or a closely related subject) accredited to CEng, with a minimum of 60 per cent in Soil Mechanics or Geotechnics. Alternatively, a minimum of 70 per cent in a UK honours degree in civil engineering (or a closely related subject) accredited to IEng, plus approval from the relevant institution. We'll also accept a recognised equivalent international qualification. At least five years of relevant industrial experience or a professional qualification (for example, CEng) will also be considered if you don't meet these requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Credit transfer

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


Start date: February 2020


UK/EU £10,000

Overseas £20,400

Start date: October 2020


UK/EU £10,300

Overseas £21,000

Please note:

  • These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2020-21 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
  • If you are on an unstructured self-paced part-time course, the fee shown is per 15 credits for the 2020-21 academic year. The fee payable in subsequent years will be reviewed annually.

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught courses.


You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about student finance.

Admission information

Our postgraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students. You can also read our postgraduate applicant guidance.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.

Contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

University of Surrey

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH