Geotechnical Engineering and Management Masters/MSc/Diploma/Certificate

Postgraduate degree programme Geotechnical Engineering and Management Masters/MSc/Diploma/Certificate:

This programme is designed to support high-level training and enhance both the technical and managerial skills of graduates and experienced personnel who work in or aspire to a career in the construction or related industries. 

There is a wide range of opportunity in the Civil Engineering profession for geotechnical specialists, particularly those who combine geotechnical knowledge with essential managerial skills aspects associated with the Construction Industry.

Modern structures, such as buildings, embankments and dams, must satisfy exacting stability and deformation criteria, and they may have to be sited on weak or compressible ground. It is the responsibility of the geotechnical engineer to plan and direct the necessary ground investigations and laboratory testing, interpret the results, and propose methods of design and construction to overcome difficulties caused by inadequate ground.

The long-term performance of the structure must be predicted, and instruments may have to be installed to check the prediction. This needs a sound knowledge of engineering geology, soil and rock mechanics, current civil engineering design, and of construction management and practice.

This MSc programme is designed to support high level training and enhance both the technical and managerial skills of recent graduates or experienced personnel who work in, or aspire to a career in, the construction or related industries. This programme is aimed at Civil Engineers and Geologists who wish to widen their professional scope or to specialise in geotechnical engineering with the addition of modern managerial skills. To summarise the detailed information above, the teaching concentrates on four essential aspects of the subject:

  1. Physical, chemical and mechanical properties of soils and rocks; ground investigation; field and laboratory testing
  2. Engineering geology and site investigation
  3. Analysis, design and construction of foundations, retaining walls, embankments and slopes including methods of ground reinforcement and improvement.
  4. Managerial skills for the construction industry, including groundworks and risk management, BIM in infrastructure and infrastructure planning process

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Petros Isidorou

Petros Isidorou

MSc Geotechnical Engineering

“The University of Birmingham is one of the best educational institutions in the UK. It has been providing a Masters course in Geotechnical Engineering since 1956, which has developed an excellent reputation. Job prospects after graduation are excellent!”

This course is offered in both full-time and part-time modes:

  • Masters degree/MSc: 12 months full-time, 24-36 months part-time
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 10 months full-time, 24-36 months part-time
  • Postgraduate Certificate: 10 months full-time, 24-36 months part-time

This programme is designed to support high-level training and enhance both the technical and managerial skills of graduates and experienced personnel who work in or aspire to a career in the construction or related industries. It is aimed at civil engineers and geologists who wish to widen their professional scope, or to specialise in geotechnical engineering with the addition of modern managerial skills.

The programme consists of taught modules (lectures, seminars, laboratory classes and workshops), a site visit and a research project. External lectures are provided by experts and leaders from industry to supplement the key academic parts of the programme. 

The syllabus includes:

  • Engineering geology
  • Soil mechanics
  • Laboratory testing
  • Foundation engineering
  • Earthworks
  • Slope stability
  • Retaining structures
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Ground improvement
  • Contaminated land assessment and remediation 
  • Groundworks and risk management
  • BIM in Infrastructure
  • Nationally Significant Infrastructure Planning process

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Why study this course

Why study this course at Birmingham? short we offer two masters courses in Geotechnical Engineering that provide flexibility, broad subject coverage, high quality delivery and excellent job prospects on graduation. One course allows a full development of all the important technical aspects associated with Geotechnical Engineering while the other course builds on a strong technical core and yet allows new developments in management practice to be covered. Our courses are ideally suited to recent graduates or those seeking to boost their career prospects.

Birmingham has been providing a highly respected masters course in geotechnical engineering for more than 50 years now and has built up an excellent reputation for providing the graduates industry needs:

“For the past years Atkins has recruited students from the MSc course at the University of Birmingham. I have found that the MSc course provided the students with a comprehensive and diverse understanding of Geotechnical Engineering, which has allowed the recruits to develop their careers. The course is successful in providing the essential technical aspects in the subject, but also allows a sound practical application of the skills learnt” Neil Fraser, Divisional Director, Atkins Ltd, Birmingham.

Our courses are continually updated to meet the ever changing environment faced by geotechnical engineering, underpinned by excellence in research with strong links from industry. Graduates often secure employment long before they graduate or use it as a stepping stone in their career development.

Rob Tranter, former full time student, "Coming from an assistant geologist position in a small consultancy the MSc course has allowed me to appreciate the technical theory behind geotechnics and how to apply that theory to actual geotechnical problems. I have found the course to be structured with defined learning outcomes supported by helpful lecturers. I feel that the course prepares engineers for entry into industry having a confident grasp of the subject that allows for contribution to any geotechnical project."

The best in geotechnical engineering

Maintaining high standards in teaching and research has enabled us to consistently produce outstanding graduates. Find out about some of our most recent award winning alumni.


Research Project 60
Soil Mechanics 20
Foundation Engineering 20
Slopes and Retaining Structures 20
Ground Investigation 20
Engineering Earthworks 20
Infrastructure Development Planning 20

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to keep them up-to-date, which may require changes to module content. Also, key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees 2017/18

UK/EU students

  • MSc full-time: £9,810
  • Postgraduate Diploma full-time: £7,590
  • Postgraduate Certificate full-time: £3,795

International students

Further funding information

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available, further information is in our funding database.

Learn more about fees and funding.

For further information contact the department directly or email

Entry requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Engineering, Science, Geology, Geography or Mathematics). Practical experience will also be taken into account.

Learn more about entry requirements. 

International students
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements. Standard English language requirements apply.

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now


Candidates must pass the written examinations, achieve a satisfactory project assessment, submit satisfactory coursework, satisfy practical training requirements and comply with University Regulations. Successful candidates are awarded the degree of Master of Science (Geotechnical Engineering and Management) at the Degree Congregation held in December following the end of the Programme.

Candidates who score an overall average of 70% or more are awarded a degree of Master of Science with Distinction

Staff details

The course is taught by several University staff and by visiting lecturers who provide material that is enhanced by a depth of research and industrial experience. The University staff teaching on the programme include:

  • Professor David Chapman
  • Professor Ian Jefferson 
  • Dr Gurmel Ghataora
  • Dr Dexter Hunt
  • Dr Nicole Metje
  • Dr Alexander Royal

Visiting include:

  • Professor Peter Braithwaite (Independent consultant)
  • Professor Martin Culshaw (British Geology Survey)
  • Professor Terry Ingold (Independent consultant)
  • and many other leading industrialists in the geotechnical engineering

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Professional accreditation

The MSc version of this degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng(Hons) or an Accredited IEng (Full) BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree.

See for further information.