About this course
Discover how to help the world develop resilience to increasing urbanisation, climate change and natural disasters, on this MSc Civil Engineering.
The course is ideal if you’re a civil engineering graduate interested in boosting your career prospects. You'll learn the skills to solve problems in building design, water supply, infrastructure, structural and bridge engineering, geotechnical engineering, and earthquake engineering.
You’ll gain a sound understanding of civil engineering design and applications through core and specialist modules covering:
- coastal and maritime engineering
- the environment
Depending on your module choices you can develop different skills. For example, during our structural engineering modules you'll learn how to use industry standard finite element analysis software. This is important for the design of structures and foundations in other modules.
Dr Benjamin Cerfontaine is a Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering. His research focuses on offshore geotechnics and infrastructure for renewable energy. Visit Dr Cerfontaine's profile page to learn more about his work.
If you have a related undergraduate degree and wish to enter the field of civil engineering you may be interested in our conversion pathway.
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. Learn more about accreditation on the Joint Board of Moderators website.
“Southampton was perfect for me. It has a fantastic reputation and is a very well respected Russell Group university for civil engineering. The department has one of the largest geotechnical departments in Europe. The new Boldrewood Campus houses brand new laboratories and equipment for geotechnics and infrastructure.”
This course is based at Highfield and Boldrewood.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the Course Description Document
The Course Description Document details your course overview, your course structure and how your course is taught and assessed.
Changes due to COVID-19
Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, any future restrictions could mean we might have to change the way parts of our teaching and learning take place in 2022 to 2023. This means that some of the information on this course page may be subject to change.
Find out more on our COVID advice page.
You’ll need a 2.1 degree in civil engineering or a related subject.
Find the equivalent international qualifications for your country.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need all of the following scores as a minimum:
IELTS score requirements
- overall score
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
This civil engineering degree is divided into two semesters. In each semester you’ll choose from a range of modules including earthquake engineering and groundwater hydrology and contamination. You can also opt to develop your knowledge of project economics, and law and contracts.
You’ll complete a final research project with a dissertation to develop your critical-thinking and technical expertise.
At the start of the course, you’ll take part in a group outdoor activity so that you can get to know your fellow students. To support your learning we also arrange seminars at the beginning of each semester covering:
- study skills
- language support
- careers and employability
- your dissertation
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2022-23
Year 1 modules
You must study the following modules:
Data Analysis & Experimental Methods for Civil and Environmental Engineering
This module concerns the design of experimental or observational studies aimed at enabling the understanding, analyses and interpretation of data and to deliver datasets from which robust, statistically defendable conclusions can be drawn. Essentially the...
MSc Research Project
Within the context of your programme of study, students will undertake independent, original and critical research on a relevant topic. Students will then communicate the research objectives, methodology, analysis, results and conclusions effectively both...
You must also choose from the following modules:
Advanced Finite Element Analysis
This module is aimed at providing exposure to and understanding of advanced, specialist areas of Finite Element Analysis and their underlying Solid/Structural Mechanics concepts. It then concentrates on using this knowledge for solving discipline-specifi...
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering
Geotechnical design underpins the performance of vital civil engineering infrastructure related to energy, water, transport and the built environment. This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of geotechnical analysis for a range of civil ...
Advanced Structural Engineering
This module covers the advanced design of reinforced concrete structures, prestressed concrete structures and steel-concrete composite structures. For each of these structural typologies, the fundamental principles of structural behaviour and design requi...
The bioenergy industry is undergoing rapid growth due to the policy drivers underpinning the current interest in bioenergy, such as energy security and climate change. This module provides an overview of key topics on sustainable bioenergy production, inc...
Coastal and Maritime Engineering
This module will introduce you to the range of skills needed in the determination of design requirements and conditions, planning, and the design of coastal structures. These skills comprise the determination of wave conditions, the determination and anal...
Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Design of Steel Buildings
This module provides an overview of the breadth of earthquake engineering as a discipline, providing the most important knowledge and intellectual skills for students to be able to assess earthquake hazards and ground motions (shaking), and then to analys...
Energy Performance Assessment of Buildings
This module gives an overview of the policy issues, various planning aids and assessment methods available to quantify energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings. Students will be able to use different tools to investigate building energy performan...
Energy Resources and Engineering
On completion of the module, you will have developed a broad understanding of energy resources, engineering technologies for energy conversion and have an appreciation of solutions available to meet the world's power demands. You will be able to formulate...
Flood Modelling and Mitigation
Floods are amongst the most damaging and costly of all natural hazards. Worldwide, frequent occurrences of heavy rainfall and other drivers combine with high levels of human exposure and high-value and vulnerable assets to produce multi-billion losses eve...
This module will introduce you to the analyses often used in the design of gravity, embedded and reinforced soil retaining walls, simple shallow and pile foundations, the assessment of slope stability and slope stabilisation schemes. It will build on the ...
Highway and Traffic Engineering
This module will provide you with a good knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of road traffic flow and its analysis, using this as a basis for you to be able to undertake operational analysis and design of key features of the road transport sys...
Project Economics and Management
Your studies to date have given you a comprehensive understanding of how civil and environmental engineering projects work in a physical sense. This module will give you a systematic understanding of how such projects work in financial, economic, social a...
Railway Engineering and Operations
This module provides comprehensive coverage of the main features of railway engineering and operations, including topics ranging from system planning through to the impacts of noise and vibration. During the module students will develop an appreciation o...
River and Estuary Restoration
To critically examine current knowledge of the application of River Restoration techniques and their transferability to the UK and worldwide. As many river restoration projects are done to improve the status of fisheries, the costs and benefits of techniq...
Structural Stability and Finite Element Analysis
This module builds on the structural mechanics, analysis and design modules in Parts 1 and 2. It covers structural stability and the influence of material and geometric nonlinearity; it also introduces the theory and underlying principles of the finite el...
Transport Management and Safety
A key component of Transportation Planning and Engineering is enabling safer and more efficient use of transport infrastructure through transport management. This often involves making use of new technologies, in particular those related to Intelligent T...
This module builds on theoretical aspects of transport planning and engineering to introduce a more applied approach covering the state-of-the-art in transport modelling. The module is divided into three intermixed strands: 'Transport Demand Models' for p...
Transport, Energy and the Environment
The transport sector is currently heavily fossil fuel dependent and, in advanced economies, accounts for around one quarter of carbon dioxide emissions. This module will provide you with a systematic understanding of the inter-relationships between transp...
Waste Resource Management
The module considers solid wastes from industry, commerce and domestic sources. The concept of a waste management hierarchy is introduced and practical ways in which it might be implemented are discussed. These include waste minimisation, reuse, recycling...
Wastewater Process Engineering
The module assumes a basic knowledge of conventional wastewater treatment systems. The course reinforces the importance of wastewater treatment for the protection of public health and draws attention both to the epidemiology of globally distributed water...
Learning and assessment
You’ll learn to use the latest analysis tools in the design of buildings, bridges, roads, foundations, flood defences, water supply and treatment systems and renewable energy systems.
Practical sessions form a large part of your course. As well as lectures and tutorials your learning may include:
- laboratory classes
- design projects
- practical work
- guest lectures
- field visits
Depending on the modules you take, you may have access to our specialist facilities, including large structures, hydraulics and geotechnical laboratories.
You'll also be encouraged to openly communicate your professional experiences, exchange ideas and share knowledge. We arrange one-to-one tutorials to cater for individual learning differences.
Assessments take place through a combination of exams and coursework in the form of:
- problem solving exercises
- laboratory reports
- design projects
- individual and group projects
- research project and dissertation
You'll carry out a research project and complete a dissertation. The subject of your research project could focus on a topic covered in the course. It will bring together the skills you have learned and show your knowledge of one or more of the subjects you study.
- sourcing and gathering information
- critical analysis
- evaluation and presentation skills
We can provide the subject matter for your dissertation. Topics could include:
- nonlinear structural analysis
- structural mechanics
- seismic analysis and design of structures and bridges
- coastal flood defence
- nanotechnology in water treatment
- railway systems
- underground structures
- geotechnical engineering
As an alternative, you may be able to choose a research project from a different discipline. This is only where the invitation to take part is feasible and you have the background knowledge and competence to meet the project challenges in the available time.
We’ll assign you a personal tutor, and you’ll have access to a senior tutor.
As a graduate from our MSc in Civil Engineering, you'll be well prepared for roles in the sector.
Our graduates secure positions with leading employers in civil engineering, both consultants and contractors and also regulatory and local authorities.
As well as careers in the industry, the transferrable skills you gain make you attractive to a wide range of recruiters, from financial services through to IT and management consultancy.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a thriving entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
- our dedicated start-up incubator, Futureworlds
- a wide variety of enterprise events run throughout the year
- our partnership in the world’s number 1 business incubator, SETsquared
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK students pay £9,250.
- EU and international students pay £27,404.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and any exams.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees.
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Funding your postgraduate studies
A variety of additional funding options may be available to help you pay for your master’s study. Both from the University and other organisations.
Funding for EU and international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
How to apply
- Use the 'apply for this course' button on this page to take you to our online application form.
- Search for the course you want to apply for.
- Complete the application form and upload any supporting documents.
- Submit your application.
Places are limited and we allocate them on a continuous basis from 21 September 2022, until all places are filled. We advise you to apply early to avoid disappointment.
We expect to close applications for this course on Friday 7 July 2023 (11:59pm UK time).
This course may stay open after this date if places are still available.
Application assessment fee
We’ll ask you to pay a £50 application assessment fee if you’re applying for a postgraduate taught course.
This is an extra one-off charge which is separate to your tuition fees and is payable per application. It covers the work and time it takes us to assess your application. You’ll be prompted to pay when you submit your application which won’t progress until you've paid.
If you're a current or former University of Southampton student, or if you’re applying for certain scholarships, you will not need to pay the fee. PGCE applications through GOV.UK and Master of Research (MRes) degree applications are also exempt. Find out if you’re exempt on our terms and conditions page.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We'll assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We will aim to send you a decision 6-8 weeks after you have submitted your application.
If we offer you a place, you will need to accept the offer within 30 working days. If you do not meet this deadline, we will offer your place to another applicant.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to give you specific feedback on your application if you are unsuccessful.
We may invite you to an interview, which will take place by phone if you live abroad. You'll get an email from the admissions tutor if we'd like to talk to you before offering you a place.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
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