Structural Engineering MSc

Study level: Postgraduate
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Structural engineers shape the world with their problem-solving abilities.

Year of entry


Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



1 year full-time
2 years part-time
2 years sandwich

Course code


Start date

May 2024

Course overview

This accredited course is offered to UK and overseas civil engineering and cognate science/engineering graduates wishing to specialise in structural engineering.

This specialist course is designed to provide advanced analytical and professional skills across planning, design and operational areas of timber, steel, concrete, sustainable composite and lightweight materials and structures. A technical focused MSc research project is also mandatory for students enrolled on this course.

  • This highly practical course is delivered with input from industry to help you establish or advance your career as a structural design engineer.
  • You will have the option to apply for a ‘work placement’ opportunity2, designed to further develop your skills and knowledge with the aim of maximising your employability prospects. See modules for more information.


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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2023

Why you should study this course

Coventry University offers modern facilities in our High Performance Engineering Centre, including construction site management simulation.

  • The course is delivered by academic lecturers and guest speakers (subject to availability) in collaboration with civil engineering employers, such as Underground Professional Services and Morgan Sindall.
  • The course is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of engineering principles and practices, together with methods used to analyse, design, test and monitor structural engineering systems, materials and structural performance.
  • From concept to construction, we aim to cover the technical skills required to analyse, design and develop sound solutions to structural engineering projects. Using case studies, practical sessions, simulation labs and site visits to live projects (subject to availability), you will have the opportunity to apply engineering principles and use computer modelling techniques to analyse complex engineering systems, gaining valuable experience of the work you will be able to carry out in an industrial context.

Accreditation and professional recognition

This degree is accredited1 by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) for the 2023-24 intake on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng accredited undergraduate first degree. It should be noted that candidates completing the MSc who hold an underpinning accredited IEng degree or a non-accredited bachelor’s degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to determine whether they will meet the educational base for CEng registration.

The JBM represents the Institution of Civil Engineers, The Institution of Structural Engineers, The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Institute of Highway Engineers. See the Joint Board of Moderators website for further information.

Chartered Management Institute

Chartered Management Institute

As part of this course, you will undertake a professional development module which is currently accredited by the Chartered Management Institute for the 2023-24 intake. Upon successful completion of this module, you will gain the CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice at no additional cost. Further details can be found under the modules and on the Professional Development module web page.

Coventry University’s accreditation with CMI is currently ongoing for the relevant modules and is regularly reviewed and monitored by the CMI through their quality systems.


Coventry University has signed an academic-professional partnership agreement with The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) as part of IHE’s Academic-Professional Partnership Scheme. The purpose of the scheme is for the IHE to provide support, advice and guidance on the membership of a professional Institute. The IHE can also provide advice and assistance on the routes toward professional registration for students studying civil engineering with a particular interest in highways and transportation. For more information visit the IHE website.

What you'll study

You will have the opportunity to learn the laboratory testing procedures and techniques used to assess material and structural performance, using modern and upgraded loading equipment automated with data loggers, saturated and unsaturated stress path soil testing apparatus and commercial civil engineering material mixing and synthesising equipment.

The course culminates in a technical research project, during which you can apply the theoretical and practical knowledge acquired so far from your academic training on real structural problems. Previous research projects have covered a wide range of topics, including: human structure interaction problems in long span, hybrid and slender structures; non-conventional reinforcement design for rigid pavements and overlays; the effects of joints rigidity on steel frames; and study of fire performance of post-tensioning concrete slab buildings.


  • This module aims to extend your previously acquired knowledge of structural design of steel structures, empowering you to tackle structural designs of greater complexity. You should develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of design techniques for complex steel connections, as well as demonstrate expertise in their application.


  • This module is designed to extend your previously acquired knowledge of applied numerical methods. You should develop and apply knowledge and understanding of advanced methods of computer modelling and analysis and demonstrate expertise in their usage.


  • This module aims to provide you with the technical knowledge and skills to develop the analytical, decision-making and critical powers required to solve soil-structure interaction problems with Ground Engineering, along with the transferable skills to enable a leading career in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical Engineering). This module focuses on delivered lectures, problem solving and experimental testing sessions.


  • This module aims to extend your previously acquired knowledge of structural analysis. You should develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced methods of analysis and demonstrate competence in their application to earthquake engineering. The module deals with structural vibrations with emphasis on advanced applications of analysis and implications for design.


  • This module aims to extend your previously acquired knowledge of structural mechanics and design principles for the plastic analysis of structures, including steel beams, steel frames and concrete slabs. You should develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced techniques and demonstrate expertise in their application.


  • This module is aimed to give you a deeper insight and understanding into the fundamental principles and theory about the structural behaviour and design criteria of prestressed concrete and composite structures. The module introduces the fundamental principles and methods of prestressing.


  • This module is aimed to give you an understanding of fundamentals of structural health and performance issues of civil structures. It explores structural health and performance monitoring techniques, state-of-the-art data acquisition and analysis.


  • The project calls for the application of academic knowledge (some gained during master’s level study, some from previous education), engineering judgment, professional skills and personal resourcefulness to analyse challenging civil engineering / construction problems in a comprehensive manner and propose well justified and presented solutions.


  • This module is specifically designated to satisfy the requirement of accreditation for a Technical MSc course as specified by the Joint Board of Moderators. This module aims to develop your research and investigative skills by carrying out an independent investigation into a technical area of Civil Engineering under the supervision of a member of academic staff experienced in the field.


  • The module aims to assist and prepare you in the transition to postgraduate education by developing your academic skills to improve and enhance your personal effectiveness as a learner. The module will look at areas such as critical reading, academic writing and referencing skills.


  • This module is designed to provide additional support before undertaking your final research project. It provides a mechanism to support the scoping of the research and will reinforce knowledge of research design and methods and aim to ensure their effective application to your area of interest.


  • This module aims to provide you with a framework of knowledge and understanding of how to effectively lead and develop people in a strategically diverse and inclusive way. You will be given the opportunity to develop strategic priorities for leadership, equality, diversity and inclusion.


With work placement pathway

The ‘With work placement’ opportunity2 enables you to apply in semester 1 for an optional work placement of up to 12 months, extending the duration of your master’s to 24 months. The placement provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability upon graduation. The work placement would take place in semesters 3, 4 and 5.

Please note that the optional placement modules will incur an additional tuition fee of £4,000. Placement opportunities may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Work placements are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of the Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the work placement option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Each module consists of five days of tuition spanning over two weeks, followed by independent study and completion of assessments.

You will also be given training in research methods to prepare you for the Integrated Project and individual Research Project.

The Integrated Project is normally team-based and investigates a real engineering problem. In the past, students have revaluated the £55-60 million projects at the Coventry A45/A46 By-pass and the i54 Wolverhampton Junction Technopark.

Companies such as Underground Professional Services, currently involved in HS2 rail projects, often suggest research topics for our MSc students. For example, one such project is on the method of monitoring strength gain in sprayed concrete at the tunnel’s crown, comparing thermal imaging (SMUTI) and penetrometer methods.

You may have opportunities2 to attend Midlands Structural Engineers and Geotechnical Engineers workshops, visit constructions sites, such the Coventry A45/A46 by-pass, and design offices, which are organised in conjunction with industry collaborators. You will also be invited to special visiting researcher seminars and talks. Workshops and field trips may be subject to additional costs and are subject to availability.

This course can be studied on a full-time or part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Please request information about studying this course part-time.

Teaching contact hours

The number of contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week in the taught semesters. Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 35 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

Your project-based semester will be supervisor supported, self-directed study in the region of 38 hours per week as well as supervisor meetings around 1 hour per week and optional workshops supporting your project, which can add up to 10 additional hours across your project semester.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods may include:

  • Formal examinations
  • Written tests
  • Computer modelling work
  • Thesis and coursework.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

Structural engineering is a global industry, and this course has typically attracted students from around the world, providing a multicultural learning experience.

As part of the Global Professional Development module, you will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding of international, cultural and ethical issues, coupled with the principles of consultancy and the theories and practices found in leadership. We will also draw on best practice transport projects from around the world.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.

Normal entry requires a minimum 2:2 UK or overseas undergraduate honour's degree in Civil Engineering.

Holders of CEng accredited bachelor’s degree can enrol on the course provided they meet the entry requirements. This will automatically meet the educational base for Chartered Engineer status.

Holders of an IEng accredited or an overseas bachelor’s degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to be formally approved for CEng. They may be required to complete extra modules if their bachelor's degree is deemed to be not technical enough.

Applicants with professional/industrial experience and/or training, but not meeting the normal entry requirements will be considered on their merits, with the understanding that on completion of the award they may not be eligible for Chartered status as they will not be fulfilling the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) requirements. Applicants are therefore strongly advised to check with the JBM and Engineering Council before committing to the course.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Typical entry requirements

Normal entry requires a minimum 2:2 UK or overseas undergraduate honour's degree in Civil Engineering.

Holders of CEng accredited bachelor’s degree can enrol on the course provided they meet the entry requirements. This will automatically meet the educational base for Chartered Engineer status.

Holders of an IEng accredited or an overseas bachelor’s degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to be formally approved for CEng. They may be required to complete extra modules if their bachelor's degree is deemed to be not technical enough.

Applicants with professional/industrial experience and/or training, but not meeting the normal entry requirements will be considered on their merits, with the understanding that on completion of the award they may not be eligible for Chartered status as they will not be fulfilling the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) requirements. Applicants are therefore strongly advised to check with the JBM and Engineering Council before committing to the course.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year Request fee information
EU £11,200 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page and see the university's Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities4.

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Simulation Centre

Our interactive training centre includes a ‘virtual’ construction site with fully equipped site cabins and an observation deck. Here, you can take part in role-play exercises to prepare you for a range of situations in the workplace.

Female student working in structures lab with male student looking on.

Structures laboratory

Includes eight test frames, two of which are fully programmable ‘top of the range’ Instron universal test machines. It also includes a strong floor area with associated framing and ancillary measurement devices.

Two male students pouring materials into a machine.

Materials laboratory

Includes industrial standard timber and steel workshops, a concrete mixing area with three pan mixers, programmable environmental chambers, a range of ovens and curing tanks and various materials testing apparatus.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • Apply knowledge and wide-ranging understanding of health, safety and environment principles and legal framework within which the construction industry operates and undertake full ethical and professional responsibilities in the discharge of your duties.
  • Apply in-depth knowledge and detailed understanding of structural analysis and design, innovative construction and performance assessment and maintenance techniques to civil engineering structures.
  • Apply innovative and advanced computational methods and simulation tools to model and analyse complex structural and coupled-field engineering systems.
  • Apply wide-ranging understanding of experimental, analytical and numerical techniques for investigative studies in structural and geotechnical engineering.
  • Apply detailed understanding in proposal development and writing; use innovative knowledge in sourcing, analysing and presenting data; and apply research methodologies to undertake independent technical investigation and academic writing of a specialised topic.
  • Develop your personal abilities in teamwork, leadership and communication.
  • Apply corporate strategy and systems theory to the management of projects in engineering and construction industry.

You may want to apply for this course if you are considering specialising in Structural Engineering or require further qualification to advance your career within the public and private sector as a civil or structural engineer.

If you are already working within the profession, the course provides an opportunity to enhance previously acquired knowledge regarding the latest issues and technological advances. For example, all design-related modules are taught in accordance with the new structural Eurocodes. In addition, we employ civil and structural engineering software, such as ANSYS and MIDAS for teaching and learning.

Where our graduates work

Some of our graduates have gone on to work for Jacobs, Atkins and AECOM as structural/civil engineers. You could also move into construction, design, project management or go on to pursue an academic or research-oriented career.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.