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

Deepen your knowledge, increase your understanding, and develop skills in Civil Engineering, in preparation for a career in industry, commerce or academia.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework
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The MSc in Civil Engineering builds on our renowned research expertise and industrial experience in current aspects of Civil Engineering. 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.

Dundee is a pre-eminent centre for Civil Engineering with internationally-renowned research groups in concrete technology, fluid mechanics, geotechnical engineering, lightweight and deployable structures, and construction management.

Professional Accreditation: ICE/IStructE

This programme is accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) and the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) at Chartered Engineer (CEng) Level. The programme is accredited as follows:

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 www.jbm.org.uk  for further information. The programme is accredited as a Technical MSc.

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Top for research

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.

Our state-of-the-art 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 focused 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?

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

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Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

Modules are taught via lectures and tutorials.

How you will be assessed

The course is assessed by coursework, examination and dissertation.

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:

Credits: 30

This module includes:

  • 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

Credits: 10

This module includes:

  • 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, e.g. 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

Specialist Modules

Students on the MSc in Civil Engineering can take any four specialist modules, subject to approval of the Programme Convenor and timetabling constraints. The four modules must not match the four modules that would be taken as part of one of our named MSc programmes. In any one year, some modules may not be available.

The specialist modules are:

Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • 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

Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • Specialist grouping: Concrete Engineering and Environmental Management
  • Review of the nature of concrete in structures
  • Overview of the causes and mechanisms of deterioration of concrete
  • Chemical attack
  • Corrosion of reinforcement
  • Physical and mechanical attack
  • Production of durable concrete: Mix constituents and composition
  • Integrating durability into design: British and European standards, design, detailing, and workmanship
  • Theoretical evaluation of potential durability of structural concrete
  • Test methods for evaluating potential durability of structural concrete
  • Environmental Benefits of Durable Concrete Construction
  • 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


Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • 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


Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • Introduction and review of concrete constituent materials
  • Cements, aggregates and chemical admixtures, alternative waste and secondary materials
  • Materials for special concretes
  • Optimisation of materials
  • Metrics for sustainable construction
  • Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Review of Environmental Concepts
  • Natural Resources
  • Energy
  • Pollution
  • Recycling
  • Quality of Life
  • Environmental Valuation
  • Environmental Life-Cycle Analysis
  • Other Environmental Impact Assessment Methods
  • Case Studies / Worked Examples

Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • Offshore loadings and risk analysis
  • Offshore soil (types, properties, site investigation)
  • Monotonic and cyclic soil behaviour
  • The behaviour of single shallow offshore foundations and piled foundations
  • Installations with multiple foundations
  • Anchors (types, installation methods and design)
  • The installation and performance of pipelines and cables

Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • Fundamental mechanical behaviour of soils
  • Critical State Soil Mechanics, Laboratory testing of soils
  • Stress paths and applications in engineering analysis
  • Consolidation theory and applications in engineering practice
  • Constitutive modelling and parameter selection
  • Non-linear effective stress models (e.g. Cam Clay)
  • Appropriate use of simple elasto-plastic models
  • Introduction to and application of finite element modelling in Geotechnical Engineering
  • Introduction to physical modelling
  • Basic unsaturated soil mechanics
  • Theory and modelling of contaminant transport
  • Quantative risk assessment
  • State-of-the-practice process and engineering-based remediation techniques
  • Design considerations of liners and landfill covers

Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • Origin of earthquakes and seismic ground motion
  • Effects of earthquakes on the built environment
  • Definition of performance-based design ground motion
  • Site response to earthquake loading: various approaches for design
  • Structural dynamics and modelling
  • Response spectra
  • Inelastic structural response and displacement-based design
  • Seismic structural detailing (capacity design)
  • Remedial methods
  • Soil-structure interaction
  • Seismic behaviour and design of shallow and deep foundations
  • Seismic behaviour and design of earth-retaining and buried structures
  • Stability of slopes during earthquakes
  • Liquefaction of soils: hazard assessment and remedial methods
  • non-seismic dynamic loads
  • vibration propagation and design for vibration
  • Cyclic soil behaviour and rate effects

Credits: 20

This module is taught through problem based learning. You will operate in teams to solve management problems and write a management report, which will be submitted as an item of coursework.

You are encouraged to reflect on the performance of teams and their leaders.

  • working in teams
  • leading project teams
  • completing successful projects
  • assessing the feasibility of projects
  • procurement on projects
  • project risk
  • design in projects

Credits: 20

The module covers the principles of:

  • marine hydrodynamics
  • wave interaction with fixed and floating structures
  • application of engineering principles to design and analysis of ocean structures

The topics covered include:

  • the motion of viscous and ideal fluids
  • water wave mechanics
  • wave diffraction and wave loads
  • hydrodynamics of floating bodies
  • and hydroelasticity

Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • preliminary of numerical analysis and CFD
  • approximations and errors
  • numerical differentiation and integration
  • discretisation of Navier-Stokes equations
  • finite difference, finite volume and finite element schemes
  • grid generation and complex geometries
  • turbulence models (RANS, LES, and DNS)
  • multiphase flow (e.g. particle tracking and VOF)

Credits: 20 

This module includes:

  1. Wave shoaling, refraction & diffraction; wave breaking, radiation stress and wave setup; design water level; coastal structures;
  2. Stokes wave theory; nonlinear long wave theory; introduction to numerical solutions of nonlinear shallow-water equations;
  3. non-cohesive sediment transport theory; fluid-sediment interactions; cohesive sediment processes (flocculation and aggregation); coastal erosion and protection measures; estuarine hydrodynamics & morphodynamics; and
  4. turbulent buoyant jets and plumes theory; dilution characteristics in the marine environment; design of multi-port diffuser systems; internal hydraulics of ocean outfalls.

Credits: 20

This module includes:

  • introduction to Physical Oceanography
  • introduction to wind, wave and tide/current (Hydrokinetic) energies and ocean thermal energy conversion
  • key energy converters
  • buoyancy and stability
  • fundamentals of design and analysis techniques
  • economic,  environmental, ethical, social, and liability considerations in engineering design
  • team design project

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.

Credits: 60

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.

There is a continuing demand for civil engineers particularly in the energy and water sectors and the skills of the civil engineer are highly portable in the multi-disciplinary engineering sectors. 

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.

Applicants 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. For applicants with a non-technical degree, they should hold a 2:1 honours degree or above, and their suitability for one of the MSc programmes will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 5.5
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 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £6,950 per year of study
Rest of UK students £6,950 per year of study
International students (non-EU) £20,950 per year of study
Fee statusFees for students starting 2020-21
Scottish and EU students £8,750 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £8,750 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
International students (non-EU) £21,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for International applicants

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students will increase by no more than 5% per year for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

You apply for this course through our Direct Application System, which is free of charge. You can find out more information about making your application when you click Apply Now below

  Degree Course code
Apply nowCivil Engineering MScP037698

Course Contact

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

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