A huge sandy-coloured concrete dam holds back a body of blue water

Mode of Study

Full-time, Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date

September 2022

Accredited

Yes

Overview

Apply your geological knowledge to engineering and construction projects both onshore and offshore with our MSc Engineering Geology degree.

Earth systems and environmental sciences at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 4th of all post-1992 universities for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our amazing sports science research 

You'll learn the advanced skills needed to understand the impact of geological conditions on engineering structures such as tunnels, dams, mines, quarries, offshore platforms and wind farms. You'll plan and conduct detailed investigations into surface and subsurface geology to identify adverse ground conditions, and design suitable remedial measures for these types of structures.

Geological expertise is critical in all types of civil engineering projects – and when you graduate, you'll be able to meet the industry requirements for specialist engineering geologists. The course will lead to a career in the environmental, engineering geological and geotechnical sectors, and is an important step on the path to becoming a Chartered Geologist.

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Learn about the advanced application of geology to the built environment from staff and researchers with extensive expertise in engineering geology and geotechnics.
  • Build the skills and knowledge required for a career as a chartered geologist.
  • Get hands-on experience of engineering geological mapping techniques, geomorphological and terrain analysis, applied GIS and remote sensing using current industry standard applications and techniques.
  • Become skilled in lab techniques using our suite of labs and testing facilities, including our soil and rock mechanics laboratories.
  • Develop your advanced engineering geological and geomorphological mapping and data collection skills with an overseas residential field trip to Southern France, which is part of the course and covered by the course fees.
  • Complete your own research project in the UK or abroad with opportunities to work with industrial partners on a joint project. Previous partners have included multinational engineering companies, SOCOTEC and Fugro.

Accredited by:

The Geological Society 
Accrediting body

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.

MSc Engineering Geology - Dr Nick Koor

Dr Nick Koor, course leader for MSc Engineering Geology talks about the benefits of studying the course at the University of Portsmouth.

Okay, my name is Nick Koor, and I lecture on the Master's degree in Engineering Geology at the University of Portsmouth.

The MSc in Engineering Geology is all about understanding geology and geological processes and then understanding that interaction with the built environment. A number of our students have opportunities to go and do placements with companies because we have a very, very good relationship with industry, that's one of our major strengths as a university and certainly as a school.

Take this MSc full time, so it's two days a week, Monday and Tuesday, or you can do it part time in two years. And we have quite a number of students that do that, particularly from the UK. So they're already working in the industry and they're just upskilling - they want to get their Master's degree so that they can progress professionally.

What you'll study on this MSc Engineering Geology degree course

Full-time

All modules on this MSc Engineering Geology are core.

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Define and evaluate the principles and framework of contaminated land investigation, remediation and redevelopment.
  • Categorise contaminated land within a geoscience and geoenvironmental framework.
  • Implement risk-based contaminated land investigation and design a conceptual site model
  • Assess and interpret evolving guidance and legislation relating to groundwater protection, and to understand and be able to evaluate source protection zones around abstraction wells.
  • Determine the relationship between groundwater quality and quantity and the implications for groundwater resource management.
  • Analyse and predict water quality implications in the context of groundwater pollution and its prevention.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design integrated ground investigations and critically evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different ground investigation methods in different terrains.
  • Critically discuss and systematically compare the principal methods of geophysical and invasive ground investigation techniques.
  • Explain the concepts of a geotechnical risk register and critically evaluate their use in site investigations.
  • Critically evaluate the importance of geological history in site investigation and theoretically examine the engineering problems associated with specific terrains.
  • Systematically identify, map and evaluate geologically important features including slope failure, rock slopes, discontinuities, and geological structure according to type and age and anticipated geotechnical performance using remote sensing information and field based mapping techniques.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design and implement an advanced research project that is based upon the systematic collation, synthesis and analysis of primary data acquired by the student.
  • Prepare a comprehensive literature review and critically evaluate and discuss the research literature in the context of the students own research project.
  • Systematically analyse primary and/or secondary data using new skills and knowledge and use this new information to critically evaluate a clearly defined research hypothesis.
  • Undertake advanced analysis to generate new understandings and critically discuss these results in relation to identified limitations and within context of previous published research.
  • Report scientific results through different media including: thesis report written to a specified word limit using publication quality diagrams and figures.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically analyse the basic response of intact rock to changes in stress state.
  • Critically review the concepts of strength and deformability under a range of applied stress regimes, and be able to specify, analyse and interpret standard tests to characterise strength and deformability.
  • Analyse the strength and deformability of rock at a range of scales.
  • Collect and collate appropriate rock mass and discontinuity data and understand how this data informs rock engineering design in a range of contexts.
  • Identify, analyse and critically evaluate the nature, cause and prevention of stress induced failure in surface and underground excavations.
  • Identify, analyse and critically evaluate the nature, cause and prevention of structurally controlled failure in surface and underground excavations.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically review the importance of the ground profile in geotechnical design and how this profile is developed.
  • Critically analyse complex ground data-sets to develop appropriate geological, ground and geotechnical models.
  • Analyse how soil characteristics are derived and be able to specify, analyse and interpret laboratory and field tests to appropriately characterise soil.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate soil behaviour in a range of engineering contexts.
  • Review the geotechnical design process and the role of design codes.

Explore this module


Part-time

All modules on this MSc Engineering Geology are core.

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Define and evaluate the principles and framework of contaminated land investigation, remediation and redevelopment.
  • Categorise contaminated land within a geoscience and geoenvironmental framework.
  • Implement risk-based contaminated land investigation and design a conceptual site model
  • Assess and interpret evolving guidance and legislation relating to groundwater protection, and to understand and be able to evaluate source protection zones around abstraction wells.
  • Determine the relationship between groundwater quality and quantity and the implications for groundwater resource management.
  • Analyse and predict water quality implications in the context of groundwater pollution and its prevention.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design integrated ground investigations and critically evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different ground investigation methods in different terrains.
  • Critically discuss and systematically compare the principal methods of geophysical and invasive ground investigation techniques.
  • Explain the concepts of a geotechnical risk register and critically evaluate their use in site investigations.
  • Critically evaluate the importance of geological history in site investigation and theoretically examine the engineering problems associated with specific terrains.
  • Systematically identify, map and evaluate geologically important features including slope failure, rock slopes, discontinuities, and geological structure according to type and age and anticipated geotechnical performance using remote sensing information and field based mapping techniques.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically analyse the basic response of intact rock to changes in stress state.
  • Critically review the concepts of strength and deformability under a range of applied stress regimes, and be able to specify, analyse and interpret standard tests to characterise strength and deformability.
  • Analyse the strength and deformability of rock at a range of scales.
  • Collect and collate appropriate rock mass and discontinuity data and understand how this data informs rock engineering design in a range of contexts.
  • Identify, analyse and critically evaluate the nature, cause and prevention of stress induced failure in surface and underground excavations.
  • Identify, analyse and critically evaluate the nature, cause and prevention of structurally controlled failure in surface and underground excavations.

Explore this module

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically review the importance of the ground profile in geotechnical design and how this profile is developed.
  • Critically analyse complex ground data-sets to develop appropriate geological, ground and geotechnical models.
  • Analyse how soil characteristics are derived and be able to specify, analyse and interpret laboratory and field tests to appropriately characterise soil.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate soil behaviour in a range of engineering contexts.
  • Review the geotechnical design process and the role of design codes.

Explore this module

All modules on this MSc Engineering Geology are core.

Additional content
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design and implement an advanced research project that is based upon the systematic collation, synthesis and analysis of primary data acquired by the student.
  • Prepare a comprehensive literature review and critically evaluate and discuss the research literature in the context of the students own research project.
  • Systematically analyse primary and/or secondary data using new skills and knowledge and use this new information to critically evaluate a clearly defined research hypothesis.
  • Undertake advanced analysis to generate new understandings and critically discuss these results in relation to identified limitations and within context of previous published research.
  • Report scientific results through different media including: thesis report written to a specified word limit using publication quality diagrams and figures.

Explore this module


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.

Facilities

Scientist testing soils

Geotechnics laboratory

Gain experience with fully automated testing equipment and kit for characterising fine and coarse grained soils in our geotechnics lab, also known as the soils lab.

Find out more about the lab

A female student standing in front of hydraulic equipment in our Rock Mechanics Laboratory

Rock mechanics laboratory

Measure the strength and elasticity of minerals and rocks under simulated geological stress conditions using high-pressure hydraulic apparatus in this lab, and explore properties including fluid-flow permeability, rock and joint friction, and induced seismicity.

Learn more about the lab

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master’s prepares you for

This course offers potential for career advancement in a range of engineering and geological disciplines, or entry into more senior roles.

It builds on the topics that you'll have covered as part of undergraduate geology or civil engineering studies and offers the opportunity to specialise in geotechnical and geo environmental engineering.

Accreditation by the Geological Society of London recognises the advanced professional and scientific training offered by this course.

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles such as:

  • Engineering geologist
  • Environmental engineer
  • Geo environmental engineer
  • Geo environmental consultant
  • Geologist
  • Geoscientist
  • Geotechnical engineer
  • Land referencing consultant
  • Oil and gas engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Site engineer
  • Surveyor

Graduates of this course have gone on to work for companies such as:

  • Aecon
  • WSP
  • Fugro
  • Structural Soils
  • Optikos
  • Hydrock Consultants

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

I needed to specialise as it is more competitive now and having a Master’s helps me have an edge above the rest. The University has helped me build up my CV with relevant skills to my chosen career path.

Ezrin Shafii, MSc Engineering Geology

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.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

Full-time (1 year)

  • On-campus, in-person teaching, 2 days per week
  • 10-20 hours independent learning per week, with support from extensive online materials

Part-time (2 years)

  • On-campus, in-person teaching, 1 day per week
  • 5-10 hours independent learning per week, with support from extensive online materials

Teaching

Teaching

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 on this course includes:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • workshops
  • fieldwork

We also organise networking and professional development opportunities, including a programme of visiting speakers from businesses and industry.

Assessment

You'll be assessed through:

  • coursework
  • poster and oral presentations
  • technical reports
  • lab reports
  • online tests
  • essays
  • examinations

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.

Assessments are industry-relevant and designed to help with employability.

Teaching staff

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

Malcolm Christopher Zordan Whitworth Portrait

Dr Malcolm Whitworth

Reader in Engineering Geomorphology and Natural Hazards

Malcolm.Whitworth@port.ac.uk

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Nicholas Paul Koor Portrait

Dr Nick Koor

Reader in Geological Engineering

Nick.Koor@port.ac.uk

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Andrew David Gibson Portrait

Dr Andy Gibson

Associate Head (Academic)

Andy.Gibson@port.ac.uk

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Arash Azizi Portrait

Dr Arash Azizi

Lecturer

arash.azizi@port.ac.uk

Read more

Reading the Rocks

Listen to MSc Engineering Geology course leader, Dr Malcolm Whitworth, discuss the ways that he and his team study landscapes in order to predict and prepare for natural hazards, such as erosion or earthquakes as part of the Life Solved podcast series.

External Audio

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.

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

Supporting your learning

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 development 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)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

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 Café offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths 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.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2022 start)

  • Full-time: £9,400
  • Part-time: £4,700 per year

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full time: £9,400
  • Part time: £4,700 per year
  • Full time: £18,300
  • Part time: £9,150 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.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Environment, geography and geosciences scholarships

International students may be eligible for the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences (SEGG) Scholarship.

Find out if you're eligible and how to apply

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

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

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 postgraduate taught courses

Discover how you can fund your postgraduate studies at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

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 photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Field trips: Travel and accommodation for the visit to Southern France is included in the course fee.
  • 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.

Entry requirements

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2022

  • A second class 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.

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 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

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.

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 date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September 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?

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2022

Apply now (Full-time) – 1 year

Apply now (Part-time) – 2 years

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 2021, 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.

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

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.