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Course content

Geotechnics provides insight into geological engineering design work and highlights complications that can arise from engineering production. For example, they can predict and measure damage caused by natural disasters, and innovate ways to reduce and prevent future issues through the construction of structure such as dams. Our developing world needs safe and stable space, as our infrastructures expand onto new land and those who work in the line of work will ensure that this can happen effectively.

Upon graduation, you will have the skills to undertake professional employment in the civil, environmental, engineering geology, geotechnical engineering and mining-related industries. It also provides specialist knowledge in tunnel, surface and underground excavation design, and applied hydrogeology and risk assessment.

This programme is taught by the internationally established and world-class Camborne School of Mines (CSM), a combined mining school and geoscience department. It is taught over two semesters and individual projects are undertaken throughout the summer, often as industrial placements. The programme is suitable for geology and engineering graduates wishing to specialise in applied geotechnics

This degree is professionally accredited under licence from the Engineering Council, as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng (Hons) undergraduate first degree.

Programme Structure

You will study 180 credits to obtain an MSc and 120 credits for a PgDip. You can either study the course full time over a year or part-time over 3 years.

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules can include:

  • Project and Dissertation
  • Excavation and Geomechanics

Optional modules

Some examples of the optional modules are:

  • Health and Safety in the Extractive Industry
  • Project Management
  • Economics, Processing & Environment
  • Hydrogeology
  • Underground Construction
  • GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Surface Excavation Design
  • Mine Planning and Design
  • Soil and Water Contamination
  • Underground Excavation Design
  • Site Investigation including Near Surface Geophysics

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

The taught part of the programme is structured into two terms. Field visits and practical field-based assignments are used, where appropriate, to emphasise key areas within each module.

For the award of the Masters (MSc), you must pass four modules and complete a project and dissertation. To obtain a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip), you must pass two modules and a project with dissertation.

The project is undertaken from June to September, after the second semester examinations. You are encouraged to undertake projects directly linked with industry, which may result in industrial placements for the project period. The projects are normally design-based and allow further specialisation in a topic that is of particular interest to you. This could involve the use of state-of-the-art engineering design software, risk and hazard analysis and other analytical techniques.


Visit the MSc/PgDip Applied Geotechnics page on the University of Exeter website for more details!

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