Civil engineers using surveying equipment

Civil Engineering MSc

Build on your knowledge & understanding of civil engineering to postgraduate level. Graduates frequently work as environmental consultants or in construction.

Key information


This course is Accredited

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Work toward Chartered Engineer status with an accredited Master's that helps you become a critically reflective practioner in civil engineering.

On this MSc Civil Engineering, you'll develop postgraduate-level skills and knowledge covering the different phases of public works projects, from planning and design to construction and management. You'll master the theory and use of Finite Element Method (FEM) tools, apply numerical analysis techniques, and explore the ways in which engineering can engage with environmental issues.

Our syllabus is regularly updated in consultation with industry specialists, so you can be sure of building your strategic management skills in line with what the sector needs. You'll also be able to shape this degree to meet your own needs, as you plan and deliver an integrated design project exploring your engineering interests.

You'll be studying with lecturers who are professionally engaged with the sector, working closely with the construction industry and its professional bodies alongside their research and teaching, and you'll have opportunities to develop your industry contacts through our visiting speakers. When you graduate, you'll be qualified to work toward your Chartered Professional Review, to take on professional roles in the civil engineering field, or to dig into PhD research and an academic career. 


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

Course highlights

  • Master civil engineering science, using structural analysis, numerical analysis, and solving engineering problems using the Finite Element Method (FEM) and FEM software packages
  • Apply your skills to practical problems as part of our partnership schemes with local and global organisations, and design an integrated project that focuses your learning on your career interests
  • Use our laboratory facilities – including an environmental lab and computing equipment – in support of your lectures and seminars, and join workshops and talks with industry practitioners
  • Study for a Master's that follows the current needs of the industry, shaped by advice from our Industrial Advisory Committee, made up of senior executives from leading client, contracting and consulting organisations


This degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) comprising the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, Institute of Highway Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Permanent Way Institution on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the academic requirement for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng). To hold accredited qualifications for CEng registration, candidates must also hold a Bachelor (Hons) degree that has been accredited as partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng). See for further information.

  • It should be noted that candidates completing the MSc who hold an underpinning accredited Bachelor degree accredited for IEng only or a non-accredited bachelor degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to determine whether they will meet the educational base for CEng registration.

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements​


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2024 / January 2025 start

  • A second-class honours degree in Civil Engineering or a related subject, or equivalent industrial and work experience and/or qualification.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 (or equivalent) with no component score below 5.5.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Costs and funding

Tuition fees

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full-time: £10,400
  • Part-time: £5,200 per year

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £10,400
  • Part-time: £5,200 per year

International students

  • Full time: £19,200
  • Part time: £9,600 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Female Master's student
Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees, so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: Such as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.


What you'll study


You'll study 5 core modules, plus your dissertation and an option that interests you.

You'll learn about Finite Element Modelling and apply FEM software packages to identify complex challenges, translate physical behaviours into robust mathematical formulations, conduct parametric studies on component interactions, and critically assess the validity of data-driven structural proposals.

Analysing relationships between infrastructure and community through technical and social lenses, you'll quantify effects, select tailored mediation techniques, engage pressing challenges from contamination to ecology, and propose balanced sustainable growth pathways compliant with legislation.

In this module, you'll evaluate engineering sites, foundation designs and current research in the field. You'll undertake site response analysis and advanced soil testing, learn to meet relevant codes of professional practice, and design structures that can resist earthquakes. When you complete the module, you'll understand the foundations that support wind turbines for the renewable sector.


You'll appraise software for planning, monitoring and controlling projects. In teams, you'll create BIM models and see integration in action. Analysing data from models, you'll make informed decisions. With critical insight into projects and processes, you'll be at the forefront of BIM theory and practice.

In this module, you'll look at the impacts of social injustice related to climate change within the built environment. As you explore issues such as the circular economy, carbon capture and storage and retro-fit, you'll learn to work critically with scientific papers and 'grey' literature published outside traditional academic channels.

You’ll address the impacts of change, corporate social responsibility, diversity in people management, and options for sustainable growth. When you complete the module, you'll be able to demonstrate skills in evaluation of commercial management, analysis of options for growth, and approaching organizational behaviour issues.

You'll use specialized tools to quantify demand across contexts, analyse hydrologic flows, evaluate surface water bodies, study complex groundwater movement, explain desalination engineering, and devise ethical practices that provide equitable water access.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.


Aerial view of the environmental technology field station

Environmental Technology Field Station

Developed in partnership with Southern Water, you can use this facility to familiarise yourself with running a treatment plant, conduct tests using professional standard equipment and measure your hypotheses and results using samples currently in the ecosystem.

Learn more

A female member of staff adjusting imaging equipment for project

Future Technology Centre

Room to model and build prototypes using additive manufacturing machines, and test them out in our advanced testing and imaging facility. Equipment includes a laser sintering machine, 3D printers, 3D scanning microscopy and a Micro CT scanner.

Learn more

CCI Facilities; June 2019

Specialist engineering software

Get experience in essential engineering software such as Google App Scripting, within the context of solving engineering problems, and LTSpice, a SPICE-based analog electronic circuit simulator computer software. Use the software on campus, or connect to our lab computers remotely from home.

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Course structure

The duration of this Master's degree depends whether you study full-time or part-time, and whether you start in September or January: 

  • If you start the course in September, it'll take 12 months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time)
  • If you start the course in January, it'll take 16 months (full-time) or 28 months (part-time)

You can expect:

  • 12 hours of teaching time every week (6 hours part-time). We aim to keep your taught classes within two days of the week (one day part-time), so you will have time for self-guided study or work experience each week.
  • 12 hours of independent study each week (6 hours part time).

In the last 3 months of the course you'll be focusing on your final dissertation project.



Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • discussion groups
  • independent learning strategies


You'll be assessed through:

  • examinations
  • coursework
  • projects
  • dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Full details of assessment can be found in the modules in the 'What you'll study' section.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

John Barry Williams Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor John Williams

Professor of Environmental Technology

School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Faculty of Technology

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Jiye Chen Portrait

Dr Jiye Chen

Associate Professor in Structural Composites

School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Faculty of Technology

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project / dissertation.

January start

Courses that start in January have the same amount of teaching as September-start courses, but they normally run over a longer time period.

January-start courses normally run between 14–18 months, beginning in January and ending in the spring / summer of the following year. There are breaks at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. In the last few months you’ll be writing your project / dissertation.

See key dates

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

Career development

Careers this Master's prepares you for

You'll graduate with a strong understanding of the theory and practice of civil engineering. You'll be confident that your learning is up to date with industry practice, thanks to the regular input of our Industrial Advisory Committee, which invites alumni and other senior engineering executives to influence the content of our course. 

Your demonstrable skills and technical ability in management, structural design and planning will equip you for roles in civil engineering, but also for careers in consultancy, project management, and the wider construction industry. 

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles such as:

  • Civil engineer
  • Graduate structural engineer
  • Assistant site manager
  • Engineer

Career outcomes shown are sourced from the latest available graduate outcome surveys. The data shows career outcomes at 15 months after graduation.

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert careers advice from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Student Placements and Employability Centre. You can access support from our Careers and Employability Centre for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Supporting you

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

All our labs and practical spaces are staffed by qualified laboratory support staff. They’ll support you in scheduled lab sessions and can give you one-to-one help when you do practical research projects.

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Cafe offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your mathematics skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start dates in September and January, as long as there are places available. If you wait until your start month to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Ready to apply?

When you're ready to begin your application, choose your start date.

Start this course in September 2024

Apply now (Full-time)

Apply now (Part-time)

Start this course in January 2025

Apply now (Full-time)

Apply now (Part-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.