About the course
Structural engineers help to make, shape and maintain the built environment. They are professionals who enjoy innovation, a challenge, opportunities, responsibility and, excitement in a varied and very satisfying career.
The MSc programme in Structural Engineering is designed to attract both international and home students, who wish to pursue their career in civil and structural engineering. To meet the increasing demand for structural engineers to design more safe, economic and environmental friendly buildings, the programme content has specifically been designed to give a thorough grounding on current practice with regards to dealing with structural fire and earthquake resistances and design of carbon neutral buildings.
A particular feature of the course content lies with the emphasis on the performance-based, structural design philosophy. The strong focus on these aspects will appeal to any students who intend to become the next generation of structural engineers after graduation.
Structural engineering is a profession that provides a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference to people's lives and their environment. In the current century, climate change is an increasingly important issue which needs to be tackled - and the role of the structural engineer in tackling climate change is immense.
To meet these challenges, structural engineers need to combine traditional structural engineering expertise with an understanding of a wide range of issues related to design of zero carbon buildings. There is a significant shortage of structural engineers with the requisite knowledge, skills, and experience to deal efficiently with complex issues for designing structurally sound, elegantly simple and environmentally sustainable buildings. The skills shortage and its effects on the construction industry will be further exacerbated by the huge demand from some rising economic powers.
This new MSc programme has been developed in response to this growing need for graduates aware of current challenges in structural engineering. The primary aim of this programme is to create master’s degree graduates with qualities and transferable skills for demanding employment in the construction and civil engineering sector. The graduates will have the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development and acquiring new skills at the highest level.
The programme is currently taken full-time, over 12 months. Each taught module will count for 15 credits, approximating to 150 learning hours. The modules will be taught over the first eight months and during the final four months, students will conduct an individual research project worth 60 credits (Dissertation).
Nonlinear Structural Analysis & Finite Element Method
Structural Dynamics & Seismic Design
Advanced Construction Materials and Structural Retrofitting Technology
Advanced Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete Design
Advanced Steel Design
Case Studies of Modern Structures and Sustainable Structural Design
Research Methods and Professional Studies
Msc Civil Engineering Dissertation
Structural Design for Fire
Foundation, Earthworks and Pavement Design and Construction
The philosophy behind the teaching and learning strategy we use is largely underpinned by high quality and accessible learning opportunities developing over the years by the University and the College, which are highly acclaimed standards and practices for learning and teaching.
In addition to teaching, the academics staff of this MSc programme are active in research. Teaching is therefore informed by research, giving you the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in structural engineering from leading experts in their chosen fields of specialisation.
Contact between students and academic staff is relatively high at around 20 hours per week initially to assist you in adjusting to university life. As the programme progresses the number of contact hours is steadily reduced as you undertake more project-based work. You will be taught by various approaches that complement each other in achieving the set learning outcomes.
How you will be taught
Lectures: These provide a broad overview of the main concepts and principles you need to understand, give you with a framework on which to build and expand your knowledge on through private studies.
Laboratories: Practical’s are generally two or three-hour sessions in which you can practice your observational and analytical skills, and develop a deeper understanding of theoretical concepts.
Design Studios: In a studio you will work on individual and group projects with guidance from members of staff. You may be required to produce a design or develop a solution to an engineering problem. These sessions allow you to develop your intellectual ability and practice your teamwork skills.
Computer Sessions: These allow for the opportunity to develop knowledge and experience of structural analysis and design software packages and apply them to structural engineering problems. Students have access to computers outside scheduled sessions to allow them to develop their transferable skills and learn at their own pace and time as well.
One-to-one Tutoring: On registration for the course you will be allocated a personal tutor who will be available to provide academic and pastoral support during your time at university. You will get one-to-one supervision on all project work.
Input from Guest Lecturers: Industry practitioners are invited to present lectures on the real structural engineering projects at regular seminars. The seminars are designed to facilitate informal interactions between students and guest lecturers, encouraging student active engagement in the discussions.
Site Visits: Learning from real-world examples is an important part of the course. You will visit sites featuring a range of structural engineering approaches. This exposure will provide you with invaluable experience including opportunities to debate on the real projects.
Each of the taught modules is assessed either by formal examination, an assignment, or a balanced combination of two. Methods of assessing assignments include essay, individual/group report, oral presentation and class test.
Information on assignments in terms of the aims, learning outcomes, assessment criteria and submissions requirements are clearly specified at the beginning of the academic year. Detailed feedback on assignments is provided to students to assist them in achieving the required learning outcomes. The research project is assessed by dissertation and oral presentation.
Emphasis on safety and sustainability: This MSc programme is distinctive because of its emphasis on building safety and sustainability and disaster mitigation of civil structures – with four taught modules totalling 60 credits. The dissertation projects will also be closely linked to ongoing research in these areas.
Industry support: Brunel has a very active Industrial Liaison Panel, which is immensely supportive of our programmes. The Panel and the companies have also shown keen interest in offering industrial support for the new programme through assistance such as support with project dissertations and site visits.
Guest speakers: Our strong contact with industry is also used to invite experienced industry practitioners to come and give talks on specialist topics at regularly organised seminars. The seminars also serve as a platform for student project presentations, which goes to build their confidence level because of the recognition and value their project gains through such dissemination.
Supporting professional development: Under a professional development module, you will be required to actively pursue your personal development planning through continuously recording and record keeping of progress being made throughout the course duration. Personal tutors will offer support to their tutees by regularly checking these records (i.e. a Personal Development Log (PDL) and discussing any relevant issues with the aim of supporting them to find solutions.
Women in Engineering and Computing Programme
Brunel’s Women in Engineering and Computing mentoring scheme provides our female students with invaluable help and support from their industry mentors.
This new course has been designed in close consultation with industry and we are currently in the process of seeking accreditation for it from the major professional institutions (JBM). Related courses in the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences are already accredited.
To ensure the programme addresses current industry concerns, it was developed in compliance with international standards, using Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge as a guide. The programme also satisfies the requirements of the major civil engineering professional bodies (JBM) as stipulated in their guidelines on coverage given to the teaching of structural engineering.