Vast overseas employment opportunities
Why take this course?
Engineering geological expertise is critical to all types of civil engineering projects such as tunnels, dams, mines, quarries, offshore platforms and wind farms.
This course provides you with the advanced skills to carry out detailed investigations into surface and subsurface geology, identification of adverse ground conditions and the design of suitable remedial measures of engineering structures.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Be taught by internationally recognised experts with extensive expertise in engineering geology and geotechnics
- Gain experience of environmental assessment techniques, plus a range of other skills such as mapping using GIS, GPS and remote sensing technologies
- Go on numerous fieldtrips, both locally and overseas, to undergo specialist field training
What opportunities might it lead to?
This course is accredited by the Geological Society of London. It offers advanced professional and scientific training providing an accelerated route for you to attain Chartered Status, such as Chartered Geologist (CGeol) and Chartered Scientist (CSci) on graduation.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- aid organisations
- environmental organisations
- offshore work
- civil sector roles
- insurance companies
I chose to come to Portsmouth due to its excellent track record in the subject and the fact that it was recommended by a number of people within the industry.
Darren Burbury, MSc Engineering Geology student
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- A 2:2 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant Earth Science or Civil Engineering field such as Geology, Earth Science Civil Engineering or a related discipline. Applicants with industrial and work experience will also be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £6,400 part time: £3,200 p/a* (2 years)
2017/18 entry: full time: £6,400 part time: £3,200 p/a* (2 years)
2016/17 entry: full time: £13,700 part time: £6,850 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400 part time: £7,200 p/a*
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Programme specification
- Accreditations & Endorsements
Structure & Teaching
You can opt to take this course in full-time or part-time mode.
The course is divided into two parts. The first part comprises of the lecture, workshop, practical and field work elements of the course, followed by a five-month independent research project. The course is a mixture of taught units and research project covering topics including site investigation, soil mechanics and rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering design, contaminated land, slope stability and rock engineering.
Here are the units you will study:
- Rock and Soil Mechanics: These topics are integral to the role of an engineering geologist. You will gain an advanced understanding of the geo-mechanical behaviour of rocks and soils and how they behave under different geotechnical design scenarios. You will also develop key skills in the assessment, description and testing of geological materials in order to understand and quantify their behaviour, using current British and Eurocode standards.
- Soil and Rock Engineering: This unit will give you an advanced understanding of engineering and design in soils and rock masses, including fundamental design principles associated with common geotechnical solutions encountered on engineering geological and civil engineering projects.
- Contaminated Land and Groundwater: These are important considerations in all types of construction and so an understanding of both is essential. You will learn key techniques for the identification and assessment of contaminated land and groundwater resources in an engineering geological context.
- Ground Models: You will train in the development of geological ground models and geomorphological terrain models within the content of engineering geological practice, essential parts of any investigation.
- Ground Investigation Techniques: You will gain advanced experience of ground investigation using invasive techniques, in-situ tests and geophysical methods – essential to an engineering geologist's skill base.
- Landslides and Slope Instability: On this unit you will develop an advanced understanding of landslide systems, types of slides in soils and rocks and methods for identification and numerical analysis.
- Field Reconnaissance and Geomorphological Mapping: The techniques covered on this unit are integral to the course and an essential skill for any graduate wishing to work in this area. You will have fieldwork training in techniques such as geomorphological mapping and walk-over surveys combined with interpretation of remote sensing and aerial photography imagery.
- Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing: On this unit you will cover the key tools for terrain evaluation and be trained in the acquisition and interpretation of aerial photography and satellite imagery, and the integration and analysis of spatial datasets using GIS.
- Independent Research Project: This give you the opportunity to undertake an original piece of research to academic or industrial standards, typically in collaboration with research staff in the department or external industry partners. In addition to submission of a thesis report, you also present the results of your project at the annual postgraduate conference held at the end of September.
Teaching and Assessment
The course provides a balanced structure of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You will learn through hands-on practical sessions designed to give you the skills in laboratory, computer and field techniques. The course also includes extensive field work designed to provide field mapping and data collection skills.
How are you assessed?
Assessment is varied, aimed at developing skills relevant to a range of working environments. Here’s how we assess your work:
- poster and oral presentations
- project reports
- literature reviews
- lab reports
Dr Malcolm Whitworth
Earth and Environmental Sciences
This course provides excellent MSc accommodation, with state-of-the-art geotechical, computing and analytical laboratory facilities available to you throughout and the support of friendly and approachable staff who have extensive research and consultancy experience. It also offers excellent career prospects, and is run with a strong emphasis on employability with placement and work experience opportunities readily available.
Facilities & Features
Our field trips consist of a series of residential technique trips (typically two or three days in duration) undertaken in the UK. They include training in soil and rock descriptions to current UK and EU standards, rock mass assessment, geomorphological mapping, landslide mapping and terrain evaluation. You will also venture overseas for a week-long study tour to study large-scale engineering geology projects in complex geological terrains. There are also plenty of opportunities for you to complete your research project abroad with previous destinations including Ghana, France and Hong Kong.
We offer a fully equipped geological, geochemical and a recently refurbished geotechnics lab. Brimming with ultra-modern equipment, here’s a taste of what you’ll be able to work on:
- x-ray diffractometer and spectrometer equipment
- photogrammetry equipment
- a nutrient autoanalyser
- large shear box for soil testing
- triaxial test cell, Brazilian and uniaxial test rigs for rock testing
Specialist Software and Equipment
You will have access to field equipment, including GPS mapping and slope survey kit, as well as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and image processing software (ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine, ER Mapper, ENVI). All of these facilities are fully supported by dedicated technical support staff and are freely available whenever you should need to use them.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
You will be expected to buy your own field equipment (e.g. compass, clinometers, hammer, hand lens, notebook) at the start of your study. The costs are £125.
The cost of travel or accommodation for compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee, but you will need to pay for meals and other subsistence costs. Compulsory project work is normally carried out in the UK, and you will be required to contribute to travel, accommodation and meals, These costs are likely to be in the region of £50 - £500 depending on the nature of the project. You will be provided with essential safety equipment for fieldwork and site visits (hard hat and reflective jacket). If you require additional field equipment you will be required to purchase these items. Total costs will be in the region of £130.
Careers & Opportunities
Demand for geotechnical and engineering geology specialists combined with the vocational nature of this course and the extensive training you will receive means that you are likely to quickly find employment in the industry. Potential roles include geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists, mining engineers and tunnelling engineers for major mining companies, as well as environmental, geological and geotechnical consultancies.
You will also have excellent opportunities for employment overseas. Some of our previous graduates can now be found working in many countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
This course also has strong research and analytical components, ideal if you wish to pursue further research to PhD level.
We aim to provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with course leaders. You can also go to a range of academic and support-based talks to get the information you need to consider when studying at postgraduate level with us.
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry are:
- Wednesday 1 March 2017, 1pm - 5pm
- Wednesday 26 April 2017, 1pm - 5pm
Other opportunities to visit
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.