Engineering and the Environment

H201 MEng Civil Engineering (4 yrs)

How can we build the infrastructure – roads, railways, tunnels and bridges – that people need for transport? How can we respond to the tremendous growth of cities worldwide by providing better and more energy-efficient buildings? How can we do all this without damaging the precious natural environment of our world?

Programme Overview

These are questions that the civil and environmental engineers of the future will be expected to answer. These engineers will apply their skills to developing, designing, constructing and maintaining the built environment upon which we all depend.

Today’s civil and environmental engineers are trained in problem-solving, management and communication to ask the right questions and come up with creative answers. They give advice and make decisions, always seeking a balanced view. In creating and improving our built environment, these engineers take care to protect the natural environment.

We are passionate about providing our students with the knowledge and skills that will give them a solid grounding for a successful career in engineering.  Practical experience is essential in today's employment market; therefore our Civil Engineering degrees have a large emphasis on practical work. If you choose to study at Southampton you will spend 22% of your time learning the fundamental principles of engineering in lectures and then put that knowledge to the test in through lab sessions, surveying, computer modelling or field trips accounting to 46% of your time each week (15 - 20 hours). 

The remaining 32% of your time will be spent further developing your knowledge of the subject through private study and group work.

The civil engineering profession is an open and inclusive one, constantly adapting to the challenges faced by society. The main professional institutions provide a recognised career development path by accrediting degree courses and regulating training in employment, leading to Chartered or Incorporated Engineer status. At Southampton, all of our degree programmes are accredited, and representatives from the professional institutions and other external organisations advise us on how to develop our programmes in the light of the changing needs of industry.

We have particular strengths in engineering, the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) places Southampton in an elite top group in the Civil Engineering Unit of Assessment, coming second in the UK on a ‘Medals Table’ basis. This excellence helps us attract funding to maintain low student-to-staff ratios, state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories for undergraduates to use. We have a dynamic, lively and friendly environment for study, with opportunities to work with and learn from research teams at the very forefront of their fields.

Our links with industry are very strong, which means we can benefit from visiting lecturers and can use case studies from engineering practice in our teaching. Many of our students are sponsored by companies. Often there are options to work on projects with real practical relevance to industry in the third and fourth years, and our links also give opportunities for vacation placements, and excellent employment prospects on graduation.

We continue to push at the boundaries of knowledge and understanding in engineering – developing the discipline as well as teaching it!

To Apply

All undergraduate applications to study this MEng in Civil Engineering should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Click on the How to Apply tab of the navigation menu on this page for detailed information on how to apply and further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details. Specific application deadlines are available on the UCAS website.

Applications are only accepted to Year 1 of the BEng or MEng Civil programmes; we do not accept students on to Year 2, 3 or 4 of these degree programmes.


This degree is accredited as fully satisfying the educational base for a Chartered Engineer (CEng).  See for further information. 

If you aspire to becoming a professional engineer, you will probably want to obtain a ‘Chartered Engineer' qualification. This is a professional qualification as opposed to an academic qualification such as the BEng or MEng Civil Engineering masters course. You obtain this qualification through full membership of an appropriate professional institution. 

The accreditation bodies are the following: Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, and the Institute of Highway Engineers.

Programme Structure

This is a four year full time MEng in Civil Engineering. The first three years of the MEng and BEng are identical and cover all technical aspects of civil engineering. The fourth year of this MEng course focuses on design, management and teamwork - key skills that are highly valued by employers. There is the flexibility to transfer between the BEng undergraduate and MEng Civil Engineering masters, subject to academic achievement, in the first two years of the programme.

Successful completion of all four years is awarded the degree of MEng in Civil Engineering.  Candidates who successfully complete the 1st year of this programme and elect to withdraw candidature are eligible for the award of the Certificate of Higher Education. Candidates who successfully complete the 1st and 2nd year of this integrated Civil Engineering masters and undergraduate programme and elect to withdraw candidature are eligible for the award of the Diploma of Higher Education. Candidates who decide to transfer to the BEng in the first two years of the programme will be awarded the degree of BEng on successful completion of all three years.

The teaching is structured on a semester pattern. You study modules comprise 120 credits in Part I (NQF4), II (NQF5) and III (NQF6) and 150 credits in Part IV. You will be required to undertake an individual project worth 30 credits in Part III.

Key facts

  • We have particular strengths in engineering, the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) places Southampton in an elite top group in the Civil Engineering Unit of Assessment, coming second in the UK on a ‘Medals Table’ basis. Our Grade Point Average was equivalent to the top 5* rating in the 2001 RAE.

  • Civil engineering has been taught at the University for more than 60 years.

  • The University of Southampton has been home to an independent department of Civil Engineering since 1957.

  • Our graduates also find that the broad nature of our course and its emphasis on problem-solving, teamworking, management and communication skills has also prepared them very well for a choice of other careers, including: Accountancy, Banking, Financial services, Management consultancy, General management, Information technology.

  • Many companies are keen to establish links with our undergraduate students through work placements or scholarships, with a view to offering long-term employment on graduation.

“My favourite aspects of the course were the group design projects, because I felt that they represented “real” engineering where we could put the theoretical bits of the course into practice.”

Beth Barker, MEng Civil Engineering graduate
Group design project: Design of a 1000m tall mega tower for Doha

University of Southampton students had to design a 1000m tall mega tower for Doha as part of their Civil Engineering degree programme.

Find out more

“I applied to Southampton because of its growing reputation as an up and coming university and its status as a top university for civil engineering.”

Peter Herrod-Taylor, MEng Civil Engineering graduate

“I chose Southampton University and the School of Civil Engineering and the Environment as both have an outstanding reputation and I found the staff extremely friendly and approachable. The quality of teaching is very good and importantly, no question is seen as too trivial. The department has supported, pushed and taught me the skills to reach my full potential.”

Louise Otter, BEng Civil Engineering graduate
Getting practical experience

46% of your time will be spent putting your theory into practice through lab sessions and field trips like the Construcationarium in year 1

Getting practical experience

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Accredited Logo

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements


GCSE English Language, at Grade C or above


A Levels:

GCE A-level A*AA (A level Mathematics and an A level in another science subject from Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Geology, Further Mathematics. The third A level subject is flexible but it cannot be General Studies, Critical Thinking or Use of Mathematics.)

BTEC Higher National Diplomas are considered on individual merit. Foundation courses are considered on individual merit, generally around 75% achievement is required overall with a minimum of 75% in Mathematics and Science options.


International Baccalaureate 36 points overall, 18 at higher level including 6 in both Higher Mathematics and Higher science
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, minimum of 85% in Mathematics (level 5 or Advanced) and 1 science
French Baccalaureate 15/20 overall, Minimum of 15/20 in Mathematics and 1 science


English Language requirements

If your first language is not English, we need to ensure that your listening, written and spoken English skills would enable you to enjoy the full benefit of your studies. For entry onto our programmes, you will need an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or an equivalent qualification.

Equivalent Qualifications

We are always happy to receive other UK and international applications from candidates with alternative qualifications, which are assessed on individual merit. If you are unsure about our entry criteria, please contact our admissions staff who would be happy to provide advice in advance of your application.

Selection process:

Intake: 75 across all Civil Engineering programmes
Average applicants per place: 10

Once we receive your UCAS application, it will be considered, and if you are based in the UK you will probably be invited to attend a visit day. The visit day consists of a series of activities including presentations, lab demonstrations, tours, opportunities to meet with present students and an individual meeting with an academic member of staff where you will be asked you about your background and interests and given an opportunity to raise any questions you may have about our courses. Applicants with non-standard qualifications may be asked to attend a formal interview. Our decision on your application will be conveyed to you through UCAS.

The selection process involves consideration of all aspects of your application. The key attributes we are looking for in applicants, as well as academic ability, are interest in civil/environmental engineering, good communication skills, evidence of team working and self-management, awareness of broader social, economic and environmental issues and the potential to contribute to the University of Southampton as a learning environment and as a wider community.

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy. In accordance with the University’s commitment to inclusivity, we welcome applications onto this programme of study from students with disabilities. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (e.g. hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly any practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.


Typical course content

Each year of our four year MEng Civil Engineering course is divided into two semesters with subjects introduced through a series of individual modules. The weighting of each module varies according to its specific content, which are assessed through a combination of coursework and examination. This course focuses on teaching you the fundamentals of engineering, while design modules within each year provide you with the opportunity apply your engineering knowledge and to develop the core design and personal skills central to becoming a successful engineer. The design modules, a significant individual project in the third year, and the module options in the fourth year offer you the opportunity to tailor your degree according to your own interests. This course shares the first three years with our BEng Civil Engineering course.

Year 1

The first year provides a solid grounding in engineering science and design with an emphasis placed on civil and environmental engineering. Core modules covering Mathematics, Mechanics, Structures, Materials and Thermofluids are taught alongside other Faculty disciplines and encourage interaction between students of all engineering disciplines. Key design skills including sketching, drawing, model making and computing, along with personal skills in observation, critical thinking, team work and communication are introduced through workshops and a design and manufacture project. The year concludes with the Constructionarium, a week long construction activity held at the Construction Training Board's site in Norfolk. Land surveying skills are also taught.

All modules are compulsory. There are no optional modules in Year 1.

Year 2

The second year builds on the core engineering science and design taught in Year 1. Mathematics and statistics continue to be taught alongside other Faculty disciplines while, structural analysis, structural design, materials, numerical methods, soil mechanics, construction management, and hydraulics are tailored to civil and environmental engineering needs and applications. A group design project provides the opportunity to further develop and apply the design skills introduced in Year 1.

All modules below are compulsory. There are no optional modules in Year 2.

Semester Two

Soil Mechanics

Year 3

The third year builds on the core engineering science and design taught in Years 1 and 2. Highway and traffic engineering is introduced while structures, geotechnics and water related subjects are taught to greater depths. A group design project offers further opportunity for you to develop and apply design skills while, an individual research project allows you to tailor your engineering focus according to your own specific interests. The majority of modules are specific to civil and environmental engineering. However, you also have the opportunity to choose a language or curriculum innovation module to further broaden your learning.

Semester Two


You must select 15 - 30 credits of the following modules:

If you have selected only 15 credits from the above modules then you may choose a further 15 credits from the below list:

Interdisciplinary: Business Skills for Employability
Interdisciplinary: Living with Environmental Change
Interdisciplinary: Ethics in a Complex World
Interdisciplinary: The Management of Risk and Uncertainty

Year 4

The fourth year represents the opportunity for you to tailor the focus of your degree by choosing six optional modules. A year long group design project, linked to research and industry sponsors, gives you the opportunity to develop a highly refined engineering design solution within a real world context. Project economics and management are taught to provide further transferrable skills for a successful future in industry.

Learning and assessment

Educational aims of the programme

Our MEng in Civil Engineering programme aims to:

  • Provide a thorough grounding in Civil Engineering together with a proper appreciation of the role and responsibility of the engineer in society, so that you have the skills needed for a wide range of professional careers as a leader in engineering practice and business, technology research and development.
  • Provide a degree structure that is relevant to the students, industry and staff and responsive to changes in technology and the needs of the industry.
  • Provide a lively, informed learning environment, which gains maximum benefit from the internationally respected research being carried out by the academic staff and which develops independent learning and an ethos of lifelong professional development.
  • Provide an attractive programme to students irrespective of their race, background, gender or disability from within the UK or overseas.

Furthermore the Civil Engineering undergraduate masters programme aims to

  • Provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate enhanced ability through the higher achievement required in these programmes
  • Provide enhanced development of skills and knowledge particularly through group design
  • Provide additional knowledge and understanding of project economics/management and the opportunity to broaden and/or deepen your technical understanding through additional modules with a focus on Transport and Infrastructure.

The educational objective of the undergraduate Civil Engineering masters programme is to develop graduates who within 2 to 5 years are:

  1. expected to obtain jobs in industry and apply their knowledge and skills to business, technology, or postgraduate study, to solve problems for society in the civil engineering field.
  2. able to respond to changes in the environment and changes in society to best serve the needs of society of today and of the future.
  3. able to engage in independent scholarship and lifelong professional development.
  4. global professionals who can engage with other professionals and the public irrespective of, nationality, race, background, gender or disability for the benefit of society.

Teaching and learning methods

Here in Southampton, we are committed to high standards in teaching and learning. Teaching takes place over two semesters: the first runs from October to February and the second from February to June. The teaching is delivered in a variety of formats: lectures, laboratory and design classes, project work and field trips.


Lectures provide an overview of a topic, helping you to understand the key concepts and issues. Students are expected to undertake further reading beyond lectures to enhance their knowledge and understanding. Laboratory classes provide opportunities for students working in small groups to conduct experiments that demonstrate and support the theory taught in lectures.

Design & Project work

There is a strong emphasis on design and project work throughout the MEng in Civil Engineering degree programme. In the first year, students take part in design classes and, in subsequent years, work in small groups, organising their time to meet deadlines under the guidance of our academic staff. Projects often involve input from external organisations.

Field trips, Site Visits and Laboratory Experiments

We regard hands-on experience of the engineering topics that you will study as very important to gaining an understanding of the practical issues involved.

In the first two years, the teaching of the core subjects of structures, hydraulics and geomechanics is supported by lab classes. Subjects such as geology and maritime/coastal engineering include field trips. Throughout the course, visits to construction sites are arranged where possible, to illustrate the ultimate application of knowledge in civil and environmental engineering.

Field trips take place to support geology and specialist optional modules. In addition, we have recently introduced a six-day residential field course, known as the Constructionarium, for first-year students. On this course, students gain first-hand experience of construction by working with professional contractors and consultants to build reduced-scale versions of well-known structures, such as the Millau viaduct, at the National Construction College in Norfolk.

Assessment methods

Modules on the undergraduate Civil Engineering masters programme are normally examined at the end of each semester, and an element of coursework usually contributes to the final grade for the module.

Satisfactory performance is required in each year to progress to the next stage. Feedback is an essential part of the learning process, and students receive verbal and written feedback on their work and progress.

Expert staff

Southampton is a research-led university with academic staff who are working at the forefront of their fields. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) places Southampton in an elite top group in the Civil Engineering Unit of Assessment, coming second in the UK on a ‘Medals Table’ basis. Our Grade Point Average was equivalent to the top 5* rating in the 2001 RAE. RAE measures the quality of research in UK universities and colleges and the results determine the allocation of research funding.

Many optional programme units are taught by staff who have specific research interests in these areas. This research is focused in four divisional areas: Environment, Energy and Coasts, Infrastructure and Transportation. In addition, a number of cross-disciplinary research centres have expertise in areas such as coastal and offshore engineering, rail research and sustainable energy. Students have opportunities to collaborate with researchers working in these fields, particularly through project work. Many staff have extensive experience of providing expert advice and consultancy to external organisations such as government agencies and commercial companies, and this is reflected in their teaching.

The tutorial system

Every student on the MEng in Civil Engineering is assigned a personal tutor when they start their university degree. Your course tutor changes every semester, but your personal tutor will stay the same throughout your time here. Your personal tutor will meet you when you enrol, and you will see him/her three or four times a term in the first year, for academic as well as pastoral support. Your personal tutor is accessible throughout your time in Southampton.


We have our own team of administrators who act as a point of contact for day-to-day advice and information for undergraduate students. They are also responsible for collecting assignments and issuing the documents and forms which are required during your period of study.

Programme leader

Dr Alan Bloodworth

Career Opportunities

The civil engineering industry provides excellent employment opportunities for graduates from our MEng Civil Engineering programme.

The course is designed to enable graduates to become civil engineers, and is accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers, providing the first stage towards Chartered or Incorporated Engineer status.

We work closely with employers in the civil engineering industry to give students industrial experience during the course. This includes the Southampton University Corporate Civil and Environmental Scholarship Scheme (SUCCESS), which provides industrial sponsorships to students studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. The industrial sponsorship includes an annual bursary, summer work placements and possible long-term employment after graduation. All first- and second-year Civil and Environmental Engineering students are eligible to apply. Once awarded, the sponsorship is normally effective until you graduate. Our close ties with the ICE ensure that you receive expert guidance on employment opportunities, and many of our final-year students are sponsored with employment guaranteed on completion.

The year four project with a major civil engineering company gives you a chance to work with potential employers and gives valuable industry experience. 

When you graduate with your MEng in Civil Engineering, you will have established connections with employers in the industry and you will have gained valuable industry experience. The final year of the course is industrial-style - with problems and solutions of a standard which would be expected in industry.