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MSc Bridge Engineering

Course Description

Our Bridge Engineering MSc, which has been running for over 35 years, will provide you with advanced capabilities in specialist aspects of bridge engineering.


Successful completion of this programme will aid you in pursuing a career as a bridge engineer with either a consultancy, a specialist contractor or a local authority.

Programme overview

If you are a graduate student, you will find the programme of substantial use in developing your knowledge and skills base for bridge analysis, design and management. For those who are practising bridge engineers, the programme is an opportunity for you to update your knowledge of current design and assessment codes and guidelines, and to familiarise yourself with developments in new techniques for the design, construction and management of bridges.

The Bridge Engineering programme provides a wide range of modules addressing the whole life-analysis of bridge structures. It is also possible to take optional modules from some of our other study streams, covering structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, water engineering, construction management, and infrastructure engineering and management.

Successful completion of this programme will aid you in pursuing a career as a bridge engineer with either a consultancy, a specialist contractor or a local authority.

Why not explore some of our past and present student profiles, including Alex Salter (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/my-surrey-experience-%E2%80%93-alex-salter-msc-bridge-engineering-dl), Ian Sandle (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/my-surrey-experience-%E2%80%93-ian-sandle-msc-bridge-engineering), Evangelos Alexakis (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/my-surrey-experience-evangelos-alexakis-msc-structural-engineering) and Mina Giagia (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/discover/mina-giagia-msc-structural-engineering).

Programme structure

The modular arrangement is intended to tailor the programme to your individual needs and provide maximum flexibility in terms of attendance of full-time and part-time students.

The majority of modules run for eleven weeks and comprise approximately 33 hours (three hours per week) of class time and 120 hours of self-study and assignments.

Successful completion of four modules is required for a student to gain a Postgraduate Certificate, eight modules for a Postgraduate Diploma. Eight modules and a dissertation are required for the award of an MSc.

Individual modules can be used to contribute towards a continuing professional development programme.

Module overview

To achieve the MSc Bridge Engineering, you will need to pass eight modules, with at least four being chosen from the Bridge Engineering group of modules and a further two being chosen from the Bridge or Structural Engineering groups of modules. The remaining two modules are a free choice from all the Civil Engineering module groups.

There are over 30 modules available, each worth 15 credits, covering the general areas of bridge engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, water engineering and construction management. The MSc is classified as technical for the purposes of accreditation by the relevant professional bodies.

Bridge Engineering modules - module descriptions

Bridge Deck Loading and Analysis:

Loading: types of load; traffic loads; application of loads; load combinations; partial safety factors; shrinkage and temperature loads; the use of influence lines. Analysis: types of bridge deck and their behaviour; distribution of loads; skew deck analysis; use of influence surfaces; computer methods (grillage, finite element, finite strip).

Bridge Management:

Inspection, assessment and strengthening; technical approval procedures; maintenance strategies, systems and procedures; whole-life costing and asset management; the assessment of reinforced concrete, pre-stressed concrete, steel and composite bridges; load testing of bridges; methods of strengthening; the design of bridges for durability of maintenance.

Long Span Bridges:

Historical perspective and case studies; the analysis, design and construction of long span cable-supported bridges; the design of the main elements – cables, towers, hangers, deck and foundations; construction processes; aerodynamic considerations.

Steel and Composite Bridge Design:

Propped and unpropped construction; serviceability and ultimate limit states; design for bending, shear and combined bending and shear, continuous construction, plastic analysis; reference to current codes of practice; the design of steel plate girders for shear and bending interaction; the design of transverse stiffeners; fatigue behaviour of steel bridges and connections; appraisal to Part 10 BS 5400; means of improving fatigue performance of steel bridges; the design of bolted and welded steel bridge connections; the design of longitudinally and transversely stiffened webs and flanges for box girders; the design of plate elements, longitudinal stiffeners and cross frames.

Pre-stressed Concrete Bridge Design:

Pre-stressed concrete: simple design equations; kern limits; losses; cable design; end block design; differential shrinkage; continuous beams. Box girders: design concept; construction methods; cost benefits; global analysis; pre-stress design; distortion effects; end blocks; diaphragms; reinforcement.

Durability of Bridges and Structures:

Overview of durability; the durability of concrete, metals, reinforcement in concrete and polymers; testing and monitoring structures; the assessment of structures, repair methods and materials; the design and construction of durable structures; failures of durability and their consequences.

Modes of study

Apart from the usual full-time mode, there are also part-time options. The majority of Bridge, Geotechnical and Structural Engineering modules can be studied by distance learning through the use of an interactive web-based e-learning platform (SurreyLearn).

Distance learning:

This programme can be studied via distance learning, which allows a high level of flexibility and enables you to study alongside other commitments you may have. Full information about our distance learning programme can be found in the following document: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/sites/default/files/distance-learning-civil-engineering-2015.pdf


These courses have been accredited by The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), ‭The Institution of Structural Engineers ‭(IStructE), The Institute of Highway ‭Engineers (IHE) and The Chartered ‭Institution of Highways & Transportation ‭(CIHT). In addition the programmes have ‭EURACE accreditation.

MSc Bridge Engineering (technical) (1 year FT, 2-5 year PT and DL)

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. See http://www.jbm.org.uk for further information.

Further Learning Programme (for candidates with IEng approved HND/HNC/FdEng/FdSci)

This programme is approved as meeting the Further Learning requirements for an Incorporated Engineer for candidates who have an IEng approved first qualification. See http://www.jbm.org.uk for details of approved qualifications.


Our Admissions Policy (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/policies/postgraduate-admissions-policy) provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Bridge Engineering page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Alex Salter

4446.jpg "I undertook my MSc at Surrey as a part-time distance learning student whilst working full time in an engineering design consultancy. I found the flexibility to attend lectures at the University as well as being able to switch to distance learning very useful, especially when my work commitments got in the way of lectures.

I started my MSc degree in Bridge Engineering at Surrey having finished my BEng in Civil Engineering three years previously. My engineering industry experience helped me focus my studies and module choices towards the areas that interested me, and to the topics that would progress my career.

The standard of the course material and the relevance of the modules within industry are second to none, with the course staff and lecturers putting in significant effort to make sure you feel part of the programme even if you’re studying as a distance learner.

Surrey’s Bridge Engineering MSc achieves the right balance between theoretical study and practical design, providing you with a well-rounded degree that you can use within industry.

I feel that I’ve significantly gained and furthered my career by undertaking a part-time distance learning MSc at Surrey. Surrey maintains its reputation as one of the top universities for postgraduate teaching on Civil Engineering. "

(Student Profile)

Ian Sandle

4447.jpg "I completed my first degree in Civil Engineering back in 1986 and have worked in various design, management and specialist civil engineering roles since then.

"In 2008, a change of direction took me to my employer’s highway structures group and I was looking for some CPD courses to bring me up to speed. Some of the Bridge Engineering modules from the Surrey MSc programme stood out as meeting my needs so I signed up with the intention of doing perhaps two or three modules.

"However, the quality of the lectures and course material as well as the challenge and sense of achievement kept me coming back for more, and in four years I was able to complete the programme of eight modules plus the project. It was hard work, but the flexibility of the part-time programme enabled me to study as well as continue with full time employment and look after my young family.

"The project within Surrey’s Bridge Engineering MSc was particularly rewarding as I was able to link an independent piece of research work with a real-world project for my employer.

"Surrey has given me the technical background and specialist knowledge I need to carry out my current role in bridge engineering. And of course the MSc is a valuable addition to my CV."


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 .


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

A minimum of 60 per cent in an honours degree in civil engineering accredited to CEng, or a minimum of 70 per cent in an honours degree in civil engineering accredited to IEng. Overseas equivalent qualifications are also welcome. Alternatively, at least five years’ relevant industrial experience (preferably codified design) or a professional qualification (for example, CEng).

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