• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Science & Engineering
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Study finite element analysis, bridge engineering, earthquake engineering.

The MSc in Structural Engineering is part of the Division of Civil Engineering's extensive programme of postgraduate studies and research. The course builds on the Division's renowned research expertise and industrial experience in current aspects of civil engineering.

This course, taught by researchers in a world-class department, will prepare you for a successful career in industry, commerce or academia.

The programme offers a combination of core modules providing skills generic to engineering and research, and specialist modules providing in-depth and advanced knowledge, together with industry or research related projects in a wide range of areas. These include space structure dynamics, eye biomechanics, cable-stayed bridges, water tower dynamics, pre-stressed concrete design, and analysis of fabric structures.

Part-time students also have the option of relating their research project directly to ongoing work within their employment.

By studying for this course, you will also develop your transferable skills in research methods, communication and management of large and small scale projects.

Civil Engineering at Dundee is ranked top in Scotland for research. You will have the opportunity to engage with leading edge research at Dundee, meaning we attract students of the highest calibre and our graduates are highly sought after by employers worldwide. Students studying on our masters programmes benefit from our renowned research expertise and industry experience.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will benefit from our renowned research expertise and industry experience, as well as access to advanced world-class experimental and computational facilities.

We have recently undertaken a major upgrade of laboratory facilities particularly in the areas of Concrete Technology and Geotechnical Engineering, thanks to an investment of £1.8M from the European Regional Development Fund and the University to create the Scottish MArine Renewables Test (SMART) Centre for Concrete and Geotechnics. This has resulted in new state-of-the-art commercial grade experimental equipment being commissioned, strengthening our capability in these research areas and enhancing our capacity for experimentally focussed work.

The University of Dundee is home to a state-of-the-art geotechnical centrifuge, only one of three in Europe capable of earthquake replication. The purpose of the centrifuge is to enable small scale models of geotechnical structures such as tunnels, foundations or retaining walls to be tested under the high-stress conditions experienced by these structures at full scale. This is achieved by increasing gravity. The Dundee centrifuge is 3m radius and capable of carrying models up to 1000 kg mass and at accelerations up to 100 times earth’s gravity. Whilst “in flight”, various additional loads can be applied to the models, including earthquake shaking, large scale fault rupture, environmental wetting/drying, and translational and rotational loading can be applied using our robot.

Who should study this course?

It is designed both for people pursuing a higher degree soon or immediately after obtaining their first degree, and for those with considerable work experience.

How you will be taught

Modules are taught via lectures and tutorials.

How you will be assessed

The course is assessed by coursework and examination.

What you will study

The programme consists of 180 credits. The credits are made up as follows:

Core modules 40 credits
Specialist modules 80 credits
Research project 60 credits

(One credit represents 10 hours of notional student effort)

Core Modules

These provide skills generic to engineering and research. The two modules are:

Carrying out a literature search. Analysing literature. Writing a literature review. Quantitative and qualitative approaches to research. Planning a research project. Planning a presentation. Delivering a presentation. Statistical analysis of data. Hypothesis testing. Preliminary work on your research project.

30 credits

Background to legislation: safety statistics; causes of accidents. Framework of Health and Safety Legislation. The Health and Safety at Work Act; CDM Regulations; COSHH, Construction Regulations Managing Construction Health and Safety. Implementing the CDM regulations. International and Governmental Environment Policy and Targets. What is Sustainable Construction? Minimisation of Construction Waste and Pollution Prevention Guidelines on Construction and Demolition Sites. Environmental Assessment Methods, eg ISO 14000 and BREEAM (BRE Environment Assessment Method). Use of Recycled Materials in Production of Cement and Concrete. ‘Brown’ Land Remediation with cement. Examples of Best Practice for Recycling, Reuse and Reconstitution. Site visit to review the use of recycled materials in concrete production.

10 credits

Specialist Modules

The specialist modules provide in-depth and advanced knowledge, and build upon our recognised expertise in concrete technology. These cover the following topics:

Finite Element Analysis

Introduction and key concepts; mesh design; shape functions; plane stress; stiffness matrices and load vectors; computational aspects; beam, plate and shell elements; iso-parametric elements.

Bridge Engineering

Introduction to structural forms; computational structural modelling; bridge deck analysis; cable stayed bridges; bridge loadings.

20 credits

Earthquake Engineering

Origin of earthquakes and seismic ground motion; Structural dynamics and response spectra; Seismic structural design and detailing; Soil-structure interaction; Seismic behaviour and design of foundations; Seismic behaviour and design of retaining walls; Stability of slopes during earthquakes.

Concrete Assessment

Review of common defects in concrete and concrete structures and their effect on serviceability. Inspection, Testing and Assessment of Concrete Structures. Performance and Integrity Testing

Planning and Interpretation of In-situ testing. Strengthening Methods for Concrete Elements. Characteristics of repair materials.

20 credits

Introduction, configurations, performance, jointing systems, composite structures, sensitivity, strength, approximate and accurate analysis.

Steel frame alternatives, composite structures, cable-supported structures, fabric structures, stability and strength, analysis.

20 credits

Introduction to construction systems. Factors influencing mix design and specification. Production, delivery and placing of ready-mixed concrete. Finishing and curing of concrete. Quality Assurance. Materials for formwork/specialized systems. Evaluation of formwork pressure/striking times. Basic formwork design. Manufacture of precast concrete. Erection and assembly of precast concrete. Case studies. The design process with reinforced concrete. Structural form. Materials / stress and resistance of members. Joints, connections and constructability. Materials and forms of concrete masonry construction. Plain concrete masonry design. Reinforced concrete masonry design. Masonry detailing and construction issues.

20 credits

Research Project

The research project is made up of two parts:

Students work on one project, the first part, CE50028 is completed before April. Students who satisfy the progression requirements then complete CE50007.

Carrying out a literature search. Analysing literature. Writing a literature review. Quantitative and qualitative approaches to research. Planning a research project. Planning a presentation. Delivering a presentation. Statistical analysis of data. Hypothesis testing. Preliminary work on your research project.

30 credits

The aim of the project is to allow students to undertake a substantial, individual programme of research, either experimental, analytical, in-depth survey, or on-site, which addresses a specific engineering problem. The topic of the project will be related to the student’s MSc specialism.

The project will enable students to put into practice skills learnt in some or all of the Core modules, and to build upon the knowledge and understanding gained in the specialist modules.

60 credits

We are proud of our achievements in graduate employment. The blend of science, technology and management education and training gained in a unique learning environment that is both challenging and friendly, makes our graduates attractive to employers in civil engineering and a wider range of sectors.

Graduates from Dundee have gone on to achieve high level positions in most sectors of the profession. These include consulting engineers and contractors, the offshore industry and research organisations.

Year of Entry: 2016

You should normally have, or expect to have an honours degree at 2.2 or above, or equivalent professional or overseas qualifications, in a relevant academic discipline.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2016/17
Scottish and EU students £4,500 per year of study
Scottish and EU applicants for this course may be eligible for a PSAS tuition fee loan
Rest of UK students £4,500 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £15,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants
Fee statusFees for students starting 2017/18
Scottish and EU students Not applicable for 2017/18
Rest of UK students Not applicable for 2017/18
Overseas students (non-EU) Not applicable for 2017/18

Postgraduate Students Allowances Scheme (PSAS)

Scottish and EU applicants for this course may be eligible for a PSAS tuition fee loan

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate (UKPASS) website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the How to Apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course Code
Apply NowStructural Engineering MScP023134

Course Contact

Dr Ian Mackie
Science and Engineering
+44 (0)1382 384702