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Advanced Geotechnical Engineering - MSc

Course Description

Our MSc in Advanced Geotechnical Engineering is a European-Accredited Engineering Master Degree programme.

It will give you the skills you need to address real-world ground engineering problems and the technological challenges faced every day by the geotechnical engineering profession.


The Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc will nurture and develop your understanding of the principles and theories behind ground engineering.

Topics include deep foundations in urban areas, tunnelling, foundations for energy infrastructure, deep water energy resources exploration and field monitoring.

During your studies you will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and practical understanding of scientific methodology you have acquired on a research project under the guidance and advice of an experienced supervisor.

This will help you develop the skills to acquire, analyse, and critically evaluate data, and then draw valid, defendable conclusions that can withstand professional scrutiny.

Graduates are highly employable, and may progress to relevant specialist PhD or EngD research programmes in the field.


This programme is studied over one academic year (full-time) and between two and five academic years (part-time or distance learning). It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.

On successful completion of this MSc programme students will be deemed to have completed the further learning necessary to combine with a suitable BEng (Hons) degree fulfilling the academic base for the professional qualification of Chartered Engineer.

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Geotechnical Engineering Group Modules
-Advanced Soil Mechanics
-Energy Geotechnics
-Geotechnical Structures
-Deep Foundations and Earth Retaining Structures
-Soil-Structure Interaction

Selected Structural Engineering Group Modules
-Subsea Engineering
-Structural Safety and Reliability
-Earthquake Engineering

Selected Construction Management Group Modules
-Construction Management and Law
-Construction Organisation
-Project and Risk Management

Selected Infrastructure Engineering Group Modules
-Infrastructure Systems Interdependencies and Resilience
-Infrastructure Investment and Financing
-Infrastructure Asset Management
-Sustainability and Infrastructure

Selected Water and Environmental Engineering Group Modules
-Groundwater Control
-Water Resources Management and Hydraulic Modelling
-Dissertation project

Students must choose eight modules from those listed above. For the main and subsidiary awards there are restrictions on the choice of modules within each module group. These are outlined in the table above.


The programme aims to provide graduates with:
-A comprehensive understanding of some of the challenges faced during the analysis, design and construction of foundation and geotechnical structures
-The ability to select and apply most appropriate analysis methodology for problems in ground engineering including advanced and new methods
-The ability to design foundations in a variety of ground conditions
-A working knowledge of the key UK, European and some International standards and codes of practice associated with the analysis and design of foundations and the ability to interpret and apply these to both familiar and unfamiliar problems
-The necessary technical further learning towards fulfilling the educational base for the professional qualification of Chartered Engineer


The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding
-A knowledge and understanding of the key UK, European and International standards and codes of practice relating to ground engineering
-A knowledge and understanding of the construction of different types of geotechnical structure on different ground conditions
-A comprehensive understanding of the principles of engineering mechanics underpinning ground engineering
-The ability to understand the limitations of ground analysis methods
-The knowledge and understanding to work with information that may be uncertain or incomplete
-A knowledge and understanding of ground engineering in a commercial/business context
-Knowledge and understanding of sustainable development related to ground engineering
-A knowledge and understanding of the common and less common materials used in ground engineering
-An understanding of construction management
-A critical awareness of new developments and research needs in ground engineering

Intellectual / cognitive skills
-The ability to apply fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging ground engineering problems
-A critical awareness of new developments in the field of ground engineering
-The ability to critically evaluate ground engineering design principles and concepts
-The awareness of the commercial, social and environmental impacts associated with foundations
-An awareness and ability to make general evaluations of risk associated with the design and construction of foundations including health and safety, environmental and commercial risk

Professional practical skills
-The ability to interpret and apply the appropriate UK, European and some International standards and codes of practice to foundation design for both familiar and unfamiliar situations
-The ability to apply fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies
-The ability to apply the appropriate analysis methodologies to common ground engineering problems as well as unfamiliar problems
-The ability to collect and analyse research data
-The ability to tackle problems familiar or otherwise which have uncertain or incomplete data
-The ability to use theory or experimental research to improve design and/or analysis
-The ability to generate innovative foundation design
-The awareness of professional and ethical conduct

Key / transferable skills
-Oral and written communication (presentation skills)
-Synthesis and graphical presentation of data
-3D spatial awareness
-Use of sketching and engineering drafting
-Use of word processor, spreadsheet, drawing/presentation
-Technical report writing
-Independent learning skills
-Ability to develop, monitor and update a plan
-Reviewing, assessing, and critical thinking skills
-Teamwork, leadership and negotiation skills
-Time management

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Visit the Advanced Geotechnical Engineering - MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

Student Profiles

Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Minimum of 60 per cent in a UK honours degree in civil engineering (or related subject) accredited to CEng with a minimum of 60 per cent in Soil mechanics/Geotechnics subjects. Alternatively a minimum of 70 per cent in a UK honours degree in civil engineering (or related subject) accredited to IEng, plus approval from the relevant institution. Overseas equivalent qualifications are also welcome. If you do not hold the required qualifications, you may still be eligible for the MSc if you have had five years’ experience in the in the geotechnical sector or a professional qualification (for example CEng).

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Recipient: University of Surrey

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