Geotechnical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
36 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in geoscience, civil engineering or a related science or mathematical discipline.
Full entry requirements
UK fees
Please see fees section below
International fees
Not applicable
Available to UK residents only

Course overview

Student conducting research in School of Civil Engineering

Here at the University of Leeds, we’ve been training ground engineering professionals for over 50 years. We have strong links with local and national ground engineering contractors and consultants, ensuring our teaching and research is up-to-date and relevant to the latest industry trends.

Our Geotechnical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship MSc is designed to deliver the Geotechnical engineer (integrated degree) standard from the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education.

It meets the demands of a range of job titles within the ground engineering sector including Engineering Geologist, Geo-environmental Engineer, Geotechnical Engineer and Tunnelling Engineer, to name a few.

The apprenticeship will provide you with an extensive understanding of the ground, geological and design processes vital to all construction and infrastructure projects. You’ll also have chance to put taught theoretical skills into practice, with access to industry-grade equipment and facilities throughout the course.

You'll develop the knowledge and advanced skill set in soil and rock engineering, hydrogeology, ground investigation and sustainable approaches to modern engineering required to progress your career in industry.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Our globally-renowned research conducted across School of Earth and Environment and the School of Civil Engineering feeds directly into the course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking in engineering and geology.
  • Advance your knowledge and gain a grounding in the application of geological principles to a wide range of fields appropriate to ground, civil, environmental and mining engineering.
  • Access research-grade equipment and specialist facilities including rock mechanics, engineering geology and geotechnical (RMEGG) laboratories and dedicated computing facilities.
  • Experience excellent practical and theoretical teaching delivered by a programme team consisting of geoscientists and researchers who specialise in industry-relevant areas like geo-engineering, innovative design and sustainable approaches to modern infrastructure developments.
  • Study in a School with over 50 years of experience in training ground engineers which regularly hosts the Yorkshire Geotechnical Group (Institution of Civil Engineers) and is involved with the Yorkshire Regional Group of the Geological Society.

Related courses

You may also be interested in our Geotechnical Engineering MSc (Eng) or our Engineering Geology MSc which are both offered as 12-month full-time or 24-month part-time courses.

Course details

This apprenticeship consists of four semesters of taught modules (class and computer-based practical work) and laboratory classes spread over two academic years, before entering into a significant period of individual work for the end point assessment in year 3.

Each module, while separate, will help to develop a holistic understanding of ground engineering processes and requirements, covering a range of inter-related topics.

Modules are taught on fixed days throughout the two semesters, which run from October to December and January to May.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Geotechnical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship MSc in the course catalogue


There are 60 credits of taught modules in each of the first 2 years.

Year 1

Compulsory modules:

Geotechnical Investigation and Characterisation – 30 credits

Develop your ability to characterise the ground for engineering purposes and develop various types of geological and geotechnical models.

Hydrogeology and Contaminant Processes – 15 credits

You will learn the basics of hydrogeology including the fundamental physics of flow and contaminant transport through porous media, aquifer hydraulic properties and how to measure them, aquifer structure and heterogeneity, issues of groundwater control in construction, and contaminated land investigation, assessment and remediation.

Hazards, Resilience and Sustainable Engineering – 15 credits

Develop knowledge in the identification, monitoring and mitigation of engineering geological hazards which may result in impact on people or assets.

Year 2

Compulsory modules:

Soils Engineering – 30 credits

You will learn the basic principles of soil mechanics and foundation engineering as practiced by civil engineers.

Rock Engineering – 30 credits

Provides a solid grounding in fundamental rock mechanics theory, and introduces students to numerical modelling, and to rock engineering practices for underground excavation and tunnelling.

Year 3

Compulsory modules:

Geotechnical Engineering End Point Assessment – 60 Credits

The end-point assessment module involves completing a significant and defined piece of work with a real business application. This project based work must be based on the development and testing of a hypothesis in relation to a geotechnical/ground engineering investigation through development of a 10,000 word report.

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to our rock mechanics, engineering geology and geotechnical laboratories, allowing you to collect and interpret data related to the geotechnical and mining sectors around the world.

These labs are able to conduct soil and rock description and testing including uniaxial, triaxial testing, direct shear tests, consolidation, slake durability and permeability tests all to ISRM, CIRIA, EuroCode and other recognised standards.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


In years 1 and 2 covering the taught component of the apprenticeship, assessment will be based on practical, written and oral assignments, these include a range of activities from laboratory reports to examinations. Throughout the course, there are opportunities for formative feedback on assessments ahead of summative assessments. Reflecting professional practice, some modules are assessed entirely by project or design-based coursework.

Developing effective team working skills is key to working as a ground engineering professional where work is often conducted as part of large multi-disciplinary group. To reflect this, some of these assessments are undertaken as group work offering an authentic experience of the professional environment.

In year 3, the end-point assessment is defined by the Standard and involves an independent project (report and presentation) and Interview (underpinned by a portfolio of evidence accrued during the apprenticeship).


Entry requirements

  • A degree in geoscience, civil engineering or a related science or mathematical discipline where relevant subject areas to engineering geology or geotechnical engineering have been studied. Typically this will be a bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) classification or above. Applicants with a bachelor degree with a 2:2 (hons) with significant relevant professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Demonstrate strong engineering and maths knowledge.
  • Be employed in an appropriate role and at an appropriate level, in either a levy-paying or non-levy paying institution. Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their apprenticeships. Applications for this course should be made via the line manager in the first instance. Employers should contact the School of Earth and Environment for more information.
  • Have a satisfactory application.

In addition, prior to being submitted for the End Point Assessment you will be required to show that you have achieved GCSE English Language / English Literature and Mathematics at grade 4 or above (or grade C or above if awarded under the previous GCSE grading scheme), or have achieved Level 2 Functional Skills in English and Mathematics (or any agreed equivalencies).

Individuals are eligible for apprenticeship funding through an employer’s apprenticeship service account or government-employer co-investment if they have a valid and eligible residency status. Non-UK nationals are eligible for funding if they have permission from the UK government to live in the UK (not for educational purposes), and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least the previous three years before the start of the apprenticeship. Full eligibility criteria are outlined in Annex A of the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Apprenticeship Funding Rules.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, please contact the Admissions Team.

How to apply

Application deadline

24 July 2024

Selection to this programme is made by employers; in addition to the academic entry requirements it will be at the discretion of your employer whether a candidate meets the requirements for the course. Apprentices will be required to already hold a post with their employer and continue working for them throughout the duration of this apprenticeship. Please contact the School of Earth and Environment for details of how to apply.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment
School of Civil Engineering

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: Please see fees section below

Fees will be paid by your employer organisation through the UK Apprenticeship Scheme, subject to eligibility. There will be no costs incurred by you.

You must be fully employed by a UK-based organisation and your contract must not expire prior to the end of the training programme.

If you are employed by a large company, which pays the UK Apprenticeship Levy, the fees will be paid in full by the levy, once your employer has registered with the Digital Apprenticeship Service.

If you are employed by a non-levy paying organisation, they can apply to reserve funding through the Apprenticeship co-investment scheme. Places are limited and the company will have to pay 5% of the cost of the fees and the Government pay the remaining 95%.

Your employer will be required to enter into a formal written contract with the University of Leeds.

Please note you will not be eligible for tuition fee or maintenance loans from the Student Loan Company.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

No funding is applicable to this apprenticeship as your fees will be paid by the employer organisation through the UK Apprenticeship Scheme, subject to eligibility.

For more information please see the Fees section.

Career opportunities

This apprenticeship is designed to equip you with the specialist skills and knowledge you’ll need to advance in your career, whether that be working for contractors, asset owners and operators, consultants, developers, local government and regulatory bodies.

We have over 50 years of experience training ground engineers meaning you'll be taught by experts in the field that’ll help you enhance your understanding and develop the advanced skills you’ll need to take your next steps in industry.