Why choose this course
Geotechnical engineering – the mechanics of the earth’s materials – is a sector with a huge global skills shortage, meaning that well-trained geotechnical engineers are in high demand.
Our Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue an exciting career in the geotechnical engineering sector, including offshore and earthquake geotechnics.
You’ll be taught in highly specialised facilities such as our geotechnical lab, which has recently benefitted from a £450,000 investment, by academics who are leaders in their field. Throughout your course, you’ll also benefit from the expert knowledge of specialist guest speakers, including visiting academics and engineers working in the industry.
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 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.
You’ll also have the opportunity to work on a research project, enabling you to acquire, analyse and critically evaluate data, 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.
The course covers the following:
Fundamental soil mechanics and its modelling using numerical approaches
Testing of soils for obtaining design parameters – we use our purpose-built SAGE laboratory for teaching
Simplified (Spreadsheet based)
Standard (code-based methods or simple software)
Advanced (Finite Element Method)
Design and construction of foundations for bridges, buildings, offshore structures, tunnels and deep basements in busy cities
Dissertation on a geotechnical topic
Back analysis of collapse of foundations
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’ll 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 you’ll 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 Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc, 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 Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc, 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.
Masters students benefit from a range of highly specialised facilities in the Department of Civil Engineering, including:
- Geotechnics and Geology Laboratory, recently upgraded with a £450,000 investment
- Materials and Structures Laboratory
- SAGE (Surrey Advanced Geotechnical Engineering) Lab
- Centre for Environmental Health and Engineering, which collaborates with the World Health Organization to address global water quality issues
- Wind tunnel facilities
- Air Quality Lab
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.
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.
Our masters courses in civil engineering open up a huge range of career opportunities, not only with major consultancies and contractors but across other sectors such as management and business consultancy.
Recent MSc graduates have been employed by Atkins, A-squared Studio, WSP, AECOM, Amey, Highways England, Mott MacDonald, Laing O’Rourke, ARUP, Arcadis, Fluor, Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure, and Peter Brett Associates.
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.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.
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, 75 and 120 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:
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 Academic Hive. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
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.
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.
- 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.
You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about postgraduate student finance.
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 an example of 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 generally 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 and changes for the specific academic year.
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.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2020/21. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.