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    Civil Engineering

    Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

    This course offers a broad-based knowledge in civil engineering covering geotechnical, structural and water engineering, giving you the skills to become an effective civil engineer.
    Civil engineering student

    Course description

    This course offers a broad-based knowledge in civil engineering covering geotechnical, structural and water engineering, placing an equal emphasis on both analysis and design. You'll dissect these three areas and their interconnections, giving you the skills to become an effective civil engineer. 

    The core modules give you a grounding in engineering analysis and design. In the second semester, you can follow your interests and choose from a list of specialist modules.

    Our department is research-led, meaning you’ll be taught about the latest ideas and concepts within the field, while the advanced research project provides you with an opportunity to explore a current issue in civil engineering in much greater detail.

    You'll be equipped to work on strategies to remedy problems such as making our construction practices more sustainable and efficient, ensuring a safe and clean water supply for future generations, or tackling coastal flooding and groundwater pollution.


    This degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) comprising of 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 the JBM website for further information.

    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.


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Research and Professional Skills

    This module fosters best practice in engineering-related research/professional skills and delivers a range of training activities to meet the needs of professional engineers dealing with research and technological development.

    15 credits
    Structural Analysis

    This module is designed to give you fundamental knowledge and skills related to the analysis and design of concrete and steel structural elements. Significant emphasis in this module is on the fundamental understanding of how structural members work and of the analysis behind the design codes. This helps the engineer develop a feel for the behaviour of beam and column elements that is often missing when design is based solely by using codes of practice or by the direct application of prescribed equations. This understanding will become more vital for efficient and sustainable structures into the future.

    15 credits
    Advanced Geotechnics

    The module will provide students with a greater understanding of 'modelling' in geotechnical engineering, applied to the analysis and design of large scale geotechnical structures and systems, such as embankment dams, levees and tunnels. This will critically extend to the interpretation, analysis and forensic review of both successively implemented and failed geotechnical systems. Aspects of uncertainty and risk will be developed related to ultimate and serviceability limit states, using a range of historical case histories within the published literature. Investigative analysis will be conducted in the context of a student project that is focused on forensic analysis of failure, benefiting from data from the literature and numerical modelling. This will be complemented by a consideration of soil having a particulate / continuum duality, and by an examination of the role of physical modelling (such as using a geotechnical centrifuge), analytical models, constitutive models, and the geological model.

    15 credits
    Geotechnical Design

    This module is designed to develop (a) your understanding of the use of limit analysis in geotechnical engineering and (b) the concepts behind geotechnical limit state design and how safety and idealisations are built into design calculations to deal with the complexity of groundwater, soil behaviour and modelling issues. Through lectures, tutorial sheets, and software exercises, you will develop your knowledge of design calculations for retaining structures and foundations in the context of Eurocode 7. You will also develop your ability to use a range of state of the art engineering design concepts and tools.

    15 credits
    Advanced Engineering Research Study

    This module represents a major element of the Masters programme, with the aim of enabling you to learn skills in scientific investigation and in running and presenting a project. You are required to submit a comprehensive (bound) report describing the individual work that you have done during the summer semester.

    60 credits

    Optional modules:

    Engineering Hydraulics

    This module aims to provide a solid base for the analysis of water flows in closed and open ducts. The module provides basic physical insights of the dynamics of laminar and turbulent flows in pipes and open channels. It will also give you a detailed overview of the governing equations and assumptions involved in their application at different scales of analysis. You will gain understanding and competence in the analysis of flows in different contexts and the practical application of these to solve common water engineering problems.

    15 credits
    Engineering Hydrology and Hydrogeology

    This module is intended to provide an introduction to Hydrology and Hydrogeology for MSc Water Engineering and MSc Civil Engineering students, to equip you with basic quantitative skills for conducting mass balance calculations as well as hydrological and hydrogeological investigations. The module content comprises the prediction of rainfalls, quantitative and qualitative analysis of water movement over the surface and through the subsurface, the estimation of flood flows, the study of hydrologic and hydrogeological processes along with the range of space and time scales at which they occur, an overview of hydrological and hydrogeological measurement techniques, and an overview of current issues in the field, such as climate change.

    15 credits
    Advanced Concrete Design

    This module aims to give those with a basic background in the design of reinforced concrete structures an understanding of selected advanced topics in the field, including the use of new concepts, construction techniques and materials. The module also provides a revision of some of the fundamental principles of reinforced concrete design. In particular, it deals with short and long-term deflections, creep, shrinkage, ductility, section analysis, prestressing, shear and cracking.

    15 credits
    Design of Earthquake Resistant Structures

    The aim of this module is to teach the principles of modern seismic design of structures, the methodology of the European design code (Eurocode 8) and the main concepts of seismic performance of structures. The module will be delivered through lectures and computer-lab sessions in which you will be working on a project.

    15 credits
    Sustainable Drainage and Green Infrastructure

    This module will introduce you to Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and Green Infrastructure. Lectures and design exercises will be used to develop your understanding of why SuDS are preferred to conventional stormwater management approaches, and to equip you with the skills to design SuDS schemes to meet relevant performance objectives. Guest lectures will raise your awareness of the inter-disciplinary aspects of SuDS, through topics focusing on, for example, urban planning, ecology and biodiversity, plant and soil processes, rainwater harvesting and evapotranspiration. The module will also include a site visit to a local SuDS scheme and discussion/interaction with an industry practitioner. Independent literature research will enable you to explore a current topic in SuDS research in detail.

    15 credits
    Computational Methods in Water Engineering

    This core module is designed to improve your conceptual understanding of computational skills and numerical methods applied to solve practical hydraulic engineering problems. It introduces you to several mathematical and computer programming skills and involves writing your own computer codes and use openly-accessible freeware. They will be applied for computing groundwater flow with contaminant transport and free-surface flows. Through the lectures, tutorials, weekly and final assessment coursework, as well as group discussion, you will develop your knowledge in the field of computational hydraulics, including both theoretical and practical capabilities. You will also develop your ability to communicate effectively and professionally through individual report writing and interactive class participation.

    15 credits
    Design and Management of Sewer Systems

    This module will provide students with a high level of knowledge and understanding as to how sewer and stormwater drainage systems operate in the UK. Teaching will focus on acquiring knowledge about current and emerging regulatory, management and design practices. Students will be required to understand the environmental and sustainbility issues associated with this type of infrastructure system. Students will apply industry standard design approaches in a case study, considering hydraulic and pollution concepts to evaluate and modify the performance of the case study network to meet current regulatory requirements, anticipated future pressures whilst considering the long term sustainability of the system. Students will be expected to demonstrate their level of knowledge and understanding via application in the case study sewer network.

    15 credits
    Sustainable Water Resources Systems

    What are the many aspects to consider for the sustainable planning, design and operation of water infrastructure? And to begin with, what is sustainability in practice? This six-block module is aimed at providing you with concepts and analytical tools to handle the complexity of delivering solutions for water sustainability. More specifically, the course covers tools to a) navigate the competing demands from the various sectors that rely on water systems, including trading-off economic, social, ecological and regulatory considerations across multiple scales; and to b) navigate the uncertain impacts of climatic, social, environmental and economic change on water supplies and demands.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    Find out what makes us special at our next online open day on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    1 year full-time


    We use a variety of teaching methods to support your learning, including tutorials, lectures, group project work, virtual learning environments and individual research. Some modules may feature input from our industrial partners, laboratory work or site visits.


    Your assessments will include formal examinations, coursework and research projects. Regular feedback is also provided, so that you can understand your own development throughout the course.


    Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

    Civil engineering is at the forefront of improving the way we live. Whether it's designing the infrastructure that keeps our day-to-day lives running smoothly - from buildings and bridges to clean water supplies - or working to meet the ever-changing needs of our society in the areas of sustainability, renewable energy and climate change, you'll be helping to create and protect the world we live in.

    Our courses will make you the kind of engineer the world needs right now; forward-thinking, interdisciplinary, environmentally conscious, and capable of the kind of complex thinking our rapidly changing society needs. Wherever you choose to start your career, you'll be in demand.

    We're eighth in the UK for civil engineering, according to the Times Good University Guide 2022, and the Complete University Guide 2022. Our research is internationally recognised, and we work closely with industry and government to ensure that our research has real world impact.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree (BEng, MEng, BSc) in civil or structural engineering or another appropriate engineering or science subject.

    You will need a strong background and high previous performance (equivalent to 2:1) in at least one structural engineering-related module, at least one geotechnical engineering-related module and at least one water engineering-related module.

    We'll consider your application if you have appropriate professional qualifications and work experience, but you'll need a strong background in the areas covered on the course.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 5711

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.