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Course Content

Course content

There is a wide range of opportunity in the Civil Engineering profession for geotechnical specialists, particularly those who combine geotechnical knowledge with essential managerial skills aspects associated with the Construction Industry.

Modern structures, such as buildings, embankments and dams, must satisfy exacting stability and deformation criteria, and they may have to be sited on weak or compressible ground. It is the responsibility of the geotechnical engineer to plan and direct the necessary ground investigations and laboratory testing, interpret the results, and propose methods of design and construction to overcome difficulties caused by inadequate ground.

The long-term performance of the structure must be predicted, and instruments may have to be installed to check the prediction. This needs a sound knowledge of engineering geology, soil and rock mechanics, current civil engineering design, and of construction management and practice.

This MSc programme is designed to support high level training and enhance both the technical and managerial skills of recent graduates or experienced personnel who work in, or aspire to a career in, the construction or related industries. This programme is aimed at Civil Engineers and Geologists who wish to widen their professional scope or to specialise in geotechnical engineering with the addition of modern managerial skills. To summarise the detailed information above, the teaching concentrates on essential aspects of the subject: 

  1. Physical, chemical and mechanical properties of soils and rocks; ground investigation; field and laboratory testing
  2. Engineering geology and site investigation
  3. Analysis, design and construction of foundations, retaining walls, tunnels, embankments and slopes including methods of ground reinforcement and improvement.

Course details

This course is offered in both full-time and part-time modes:

  • Masters degree/MSc: 12 months full-time, 24-36 months part-time
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 10 months full-time, 24-36 months part-time
  • Postgraduate Certificate: 10 months full-time, 24-36 months part-time

This programme has developed an excellent reputation since its inception in 1956. Its purpose is to provide advanced training to civil engineers and geologists who wish to widen their knowledge or to specialise in the field of geotechnical engineering. The programme includes lectures, design studies, laboratory classes, a site visit and individual projects. In addition, external lectures are provided by experts and leaders from industry.

With an excellent reputation across the industry, the course focuses on essential aspects of the subject, including: physical, chemical and mechanical properties of soils and rocks; ground investigation; field and laboratory testing; engineering geology and site investigation; analysis, design and construction of foundations, retaining walls, tunnels, embankments and slopes including methods of ground reinforcement and improvement.

The research project allows for detailed study into a particular area of geotechnical engineering and can focus upon laboratory testing, numerical modelling or management of geotechnical processes/applications.

Related links

Learning and teaching

Assessment 

Candidates must pass the written examinations, achieve a satisfactory project assessment, submit satisfactory coursework, satisfy practical training requirements and comply with University Regulations. Successful candidates are awarded the degree of Master of Science (Geotechnical Engineering) at the Degree Congregation held in December following the end of the Programme.

Candidates who score an overall average of 70% or more are awarded a degree of Master of Science with Distinction

Staff details

The course is taught by University staff and visiting lecturers who provide material that is enhanced by a depth of research and industrial experience. The University staff teaching on the programme include:

  • Professor David Chapman
  • Professor Ian Jefferson
  • Dr Gurmel Ghataora
  • Dr Dexter Hunt
  • Dr Nicole Metje
  • Dr Alexander Royal

Visiting include:

  • Professor Peter Braithwaite (Independent consultant)
  • Professor Martin Culshaw (British Geology Survey)
  • Professor Terry Ingold (Independent consultant)
  • and many other leading industrialists in the geotechnical engineering

Employability

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.


Visit the Geotechnical Engineering - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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