Geotechnical Engineering MSc (Eng)

Year of entry

Masters Study and Funding online event

Watch on demand to receive expert advice on how to fund your Masters and invest in your future. Book your place

Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in civil engineering or a related engineering, science or mathematical discipline where relevant subject areas have been studied.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£13,750 (Total)
International fees
£31,000 (Total)

Course overview

Two students in a Civil Engineering lab. One student is holding a sample.

The ground is the greatest area of technical risk in construction — therefore the demand for qualified specialists in geotechnical engineering is ever-growing, both in the UK and internationally.

Our Geotechnical Engineering MSc covers the practical application of geotechnical engineering to reduce construction risk and optimise the design of geotechnical structures to ensure they are safe, sustainable and resilient.

Understanding this risk is the underlying philosophy of this course. It brings together the expertise you’ll need to address a range of real-world geotechnical problems in industry, including shallow and deep foundations, soil-structure interaction, ground as a source of energy, environmental geotechnics, and slope and ground stabilisation.

You’ll study in the School of Civil Engineering which ranks highly globally and is actively involved in developing ‘internationally excellent’ research — much of which shapes the course.

This means you’ll be learning the latest insights in the field whilst building industry-relevant skills in investigation, characterisation, analysis, design and risk within a business context — all of which are highly sought after in this profession, and transferable across industries.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Our globally-renowned research conducted right here in our School feeds directly into the course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking in areas such as energy geotechnics, numerical analysis of coupled flow and adapting geotechnical structures to climate change.
  • Advance your knowledge and skills in critical areas sought after in industry such as engineering, transport infrastructure strategy, numerical modelling, energy geotechnics and geotechnical investigation.
  • Conduct your own individual investigative project as part of your course and gain industry experience investigating a real-world problem.
  • Access research-grade equipment and specialist facilities in experimental geotechnics to enhance your learning.
  • Experience excellent practical and theoretical teaching delivered by a programme team with a wealth of expertise and industrial experience across many relevant areas such as engineering in complex soils, numerical modelling, experimental geotechnics, engineering design and the characterisation of the ground.
  • Master the most up-to-date practices and techniques recognised in industry on a course that has been directly informed and advised by the Industrial Advisory Committee and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Related Course

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

The apprenticeship will provide you with an extensive understanding of the ground, geological and design processes vital to all construction and infrastructure projects.

Course details

You’ll gain in-depth knowledge of geotechnical topics and be trained in relevant field and laboratory techniques for the practice of geotechnical engineering. You’ll develop the skills required to use modern analytical and numerical approaches to solve geotechnical problems such as the design of foundations, slopes, retaining structures and underground space.

During the first half of the year, you'll cover a range of modules that will develop your skills in geotechnical design and analysis, preparing you for the second semester where you'll apply those skills to more advanced topics such as energy and geotechnical structures and transport infrastructure.

You’ll look at topics such as the properties and behaviour of the ground, mathematical and computer models relevant to geotechnical engineering and advanced design techniques.

Project work

Over the summer months, you’ll work with your supervisor to complete your independent research project which is one of the most satisfying elements of this course. It’s a chance for you to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you’ve gained, focusing on a real-world problem that explores your specific interests and/or relates to your career ambitions.

All our modules also include design projects which are based on real-life case studies.

Example projects for Geotechnical Engineering MSc students have included:

  • Dealing with the effects of climate change on transport infrastructure
  • Using industrial waste products as a resource in geotechnical engineering
  • Analysing underground space for storing carbon and nuclear waste
  • Improving geotechnical design by including value as a design parameter

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.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

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

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
MSc Dissertation 60
Geotechnical Investigation and Characterisation 30
Energy Geotechnics 15
Constituitive Models and Numerical Analysis 15
Transport Infrastructure Strategy 15
Groundwater Pollution and Contaminated Land 15
Geotechnical Engineering (MSc) 15
Foundation Engineering (MSc) 15

Learning and teaching

Our groundbreaking research feeds directly into teaching, and you’ll have regular contact with staff, who are at the forefront of their disciplines, through lectures, seminars, tutorials, small group work and project meetings. Throughout your studies, you’ll also benefit from a structured support system, with a personal tutor who will offer help and advice about your approach to studying and how to become adept at independent learning.

Independent study is also important to the programme, as you develop your problem-solving and research skills as well as your subject knowledge.

Programme team

The Programme Leader, Peter Woodward, is Professor of High-Speed Railway Engineering (Geotechnics). He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Permanent Way Institution. He has been published widely in the international geotechnical engineering literature on the behaviour of railway tracks, including geodynamics and critical velocities. Previously he was a company technical director for over 10 years and a practising engineer in railway track reinforcement and stabilisation. His interests include both numerical and experimental research.

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.


A range of coursework, practicals and a dissertation contribute to your final assessment. There are many activities including individual and group work, presentations, technical reports, design exercises, laboratory work, in-class tests and exams. We use formative assessment to help you develop your knowledge and understanding and improve your performance.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in civil engineering or a related engineering, science or mathematical discipline where relevant subject areas to geotechnical engineering have been studied. We would expect applicants to demonstrate strong engineering and maths knowledge.

A bachelor degree with a 2:2 (hons) will be considered for candidates with at least one years’ relevant experience.

Applications from professionally qualified and experienced candidates will also be considered. We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information please contact the Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Civil Engineering (6 weeks) and Language for Science: Civil Engineering  (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

31 July 2024 – International applicants

8 September 2024 – UK applicants

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Civil Engineering

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £13,750 (Total)

International: £31,000 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

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

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

Geotechnical engineers are integral throughout the whole process of building structures — from concept to construction. This means the demand worldwide for the expertise you’ll have once you graduate from Leeds is ever-growing, with the potential to take you across the world.

Studying our Geotechnical Engineering MSc degree will equip you with the advanced knowledge in all aspects of the field and a relevant skill set sought after by many industries, opening the door to an exciting amount of career opportunities.

Plus, The University of Leeds is in the top 5 most targeted universities in the UK by graduate recruiters, according toHigh Fliers’ The Graduate Market in 2024 report.

Geotechnical engineers work for client organisations including major asset owners, international consultants, main contractors and specialist consultants and contractors. The range of specialist skills that geotechnical engineers acquire means that they can develop either as technical experts or managers.

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one. We have a wide range of careers resources — including our award-winning Employability team who are in contact with many employers around the country and advertise placements and jobs. They are also on hand to provide guidance and support, ensuring you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Employability events — we run a full range of events including careers fairs in specialist areas and across broader industries — all with employers who are actively recruiting for roles.
  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate, you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies and upcoming events.
  • Qualified careers consultants — gain guidance, support and information to help you choose a career path. You’ll have access to 1-2-1 meetings and events to learn how to find employers to target, write your CV and cover letter, research before interviews and brush up on your interview skills.
  • Opportunities at Leeds — there are plenty of exciting opportunities offered by our Leeds University Union, including volunteering and over 300 clubs and societies to get involved in.

Find out more about career support.