Civil Engineering MSc/Diploma
- Delivery: Distance Learning
- Programme type: Taught Programme
- Study location:
This programme is designed to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to work at a high level in the design and construction of major infrastructure projects. Its structure allows students to choose from a broad range of courses including foundation engineering; safety, risk and reliability; water and wastewater treatment and project management, among others. This programme design allows students to select courses which best fit their personal and professional needs, ensuring maximum added value to each individual’s study aspirations. Delivered only by Independent Distance Learning (IDL) this programme is ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family.
Our students and graduates
Our students are recruited mainly from the civil engineering profession and are typically looking to broaden their knowledge base, extend their technical expertise or gain further learning to meet the needs of the professional institutions. Applicants from other backgrounds planning to develop a career in civil engineering will also be considered. Graduates of this programme are much sought after by civil engineering employers, working in areas such as transport, water and wastewater engineering and the energy sector.
The Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE)
This programme is delivered by Heriot Watt University’s Institute for Infrastructure and Environment. As a Civil Engineering postgraduate student you will be part of the Institute’s Graduate School, connecting you with staff, research associates and fellow students engaging in cutting-edge research in areas such as water management, ultra-speed railways, construction materials, geomechanics and more.
This MSc 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 www.jbm.org.uk for further information.
This programme is supported by the Civil Engineering Industry Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from major multi-national employers AECOM, ARUP, Balfour Beatty, Halcrow, Jacobs and WSP Group. This committee convenes regularly and advises on the programme content and structure, ensuring quality, up-to-date content and relevance to industry needs.
Teaching and research excellence
Our teaching staff is engaged in a wide range of research within the field of civil engineering, with 50% of that research recognised as being internationally excellent by the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008). Our track record in teaching civil engineering is strong, with our undergraduate programme ranked 2nd in Scotland in the 2013 Guardian University Guide and 2nd in the UK in the 2012 National Student Survey. Over half of our teaching staff are chartered engineers.
With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt is one of the UK’s leading universities, and Scotland’s most international. Find out more about Heriot-Watt University’s reputation, rankings and international profile.
This programme, led by Dr. Alan Cuthbertson, is composed of eight optional courses for those studying at PGDip level, each assessed by examination. For those looking to complete the programme at MSc level two synoptically-linked research projects are also required.
- Environmental Geotechnics
- Environmental Hydrology & Water Resources
- Ground Engineering
- Indeterminate Structures
- Sustainability in Civil Engineering
- Project Management: Theory & Practice
- Earthquake Engineering
- Foundation Engineering
- Safety, Risk and Reliability
- Urban Drainage and Water Supply
- Water and Wastewater Treatment
- Project Management: Strategic Issues
At MSc level, students are required to complete two synoptically-linked research projects. Research projects are set by the Course Leaders and will aim to cover key themes and learning outcomes of the programme. Each of these projects will be completed over one semester.
Assessment of all courses is based on 100% examination. However, formative coursework components for the different courses taken will remain compulsory. Further details of the assessment methods can be found in the relevant course descriptor.
- Degree MSc in Civil Engineering
- Present Job Civil engineer at Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company
Uchechi Umunna studied an MSc in Civil Engineering by Independent Distance Learning (IDL), graduating in 2012. He works as a civil engineer in Nigeria.
Can you tell us about where you work, and describe your role briefly?
I work as a civil engineer with a gas processing company in Nigeria called Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company. My main responsibilities include carrying out civil engineering reviews to ensure that designs, construction, modifications and structural repairs are fit-for-purpose to meet technical, regulatory, safety, operating, and maintenance requirements.
Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on at the moment?
A project I am currently working on is an upgrade of one of the company’s marine offloading facilities. The upgrade is meant to address the degradation of the existing earth retaining sheet pile wall around the berth. The facility was initially design as a temporary facility to be decommissioned five years after its construction. Therefore, no corrosion protection measures were applied to the steel structures. However, the company has now made a decision to extend the service life of the facility, hence the upgrade.
Why did you choose Heriot-Watt and the programme that you studied?
I chose Heriot-Watt because of its strong reputation and track record in teaching engineering. Making the decision to study an MSc was a fairly easy choice for me having worked as a civil engineer for over five years at the time. I was looking to expand on the knowledge from my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and gain more in-depth understanding in the areas of foundation and ground engineering. While I was researching the course contents of the various universities, I was glad to find out that Heriot-Watt offered a very rich mix of optional courses on their MSc in Civil Engineering Programme. I decided on the distance learning route having carefully analysed the loss of potential earnings associated with studying a full time programme.
How was your experience of studying by Independent Distance Learning?
The thought of combining a full time job with an MSc programme seemed initially daunting. However, with time I was able to learn how to balance the workloads from work and school. I was motivated by the opportunity to add more value to myself and to grow my career. As the programme allowed me to work and study at the same time, I was able to immediately put into practice a large proportion of the learning from the programme. Overall, it was a wonderful experience.
Can you tell us about some of the things you liked best about your Heriot-Watt experience and the programme you studied?
I was quite impressed by the fact that even though I was thousands of miles away from school, it often felt like I was sitting right there in the classroom. Each time I asked a question, I received a very prompt answer from the lecturer which to me suggested a high level of commitment. I also enjoyed the fact that a large volume of information was very easily accessible via the resources at my fingertips.
I enjoyed every bit of the courses I undertook while studying the MSc in Civil Engineering, particularly Sustainability in Civil Engineering. This course helped me better appreciate the concept of sustainability in terms of effective protection of the environment, prudent use of natural resources, stable levels of economic growth and employment, a better quality of life and social progress for all.
Do you have any advice for students interested in working in your field?
Civil engineers have a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives. Civil engineering structures ranging from highways, bridges, water treatment plants, buildings, etc. all contribute to improving the overall quality of life. If you are motivated by the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the quality of life in your environment and the society as a whole, then you should look into a career in civil engineering.
For more graduate profiles, please visit our Postgraduate profiles page.
For MSc level entry applicants must have:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area. For PG conversion programmes, non-cognate degrees will be considered. Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.
For PG Diploma level entry applicants must have:
- Third class honours degree in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area PLUS 2 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level completed post qualification.
- Cognate or semi-cognate ordinary degree PLUS 3-4 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level following graduation.
- Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Admissions and the number of successful applicants will be restricted.
There is no entry at PG Certificate level except through exceptional agreement with approved learning partners.
Non-graduating study at masters level:
- Entry is based on CV or on formal academic qualifications or graduate (or incorporated) membership of a relevant professional institution.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above.
Applicants who have previously successfully completed programmes delivered in the medium of English language will be exempt from the above requirement subject to submission of documentation. A minimum of one year of full time study or equivalent is required.
Distance learning students
Please note that independent distance learning students who access their studies online will be expected to have access to a PC/laptop and internet.
|Scotland / Non-UK EU||£1050/£750|
* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.
** Fee per course
Additional fee information
** £1050 per course, £750 per research project.
Scholarships & bursaries
Alumni Scholarship Scheme
Carnegie-Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursaries
Applicants must be Scottish by birth, have at least one parent born in Scotland or have been continuously resident in Scotland for a period of three years for the purpose of secondary or tertiary education.
Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
International (Commonwealth citizens)
Department for International Development (DFID) Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme
International (Commonwealth citizens)
Department for International Development (DFID) Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme
East Lothian Educational Trust
Applicants must be a resident of the old county of East Lothian (ie excluding Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig.)
Students who have applied via the Heriot-Watt India office. Please note that this award is available for study at our Edinburgh campus only.
Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust
Restricted to residents of the UK who are a son, daughter, spouse, widow or widower of a commercial traveller, chemist or grocer.
Local Education Authority Awards
Part-time Fee Grant (SAAS)
See SAAS residence conditions.
Postgraduate Student Allowance Scheme (SAAS)
EU and UK applicants who meet the SAAS criteria on eligible courses
Remission of Fees (families of staff)
Spouses/civil partners and children of members of staff, also retired members of staff of the University
Royal Caledonian Schools Trust
Applicants must be of Scots parentage (conditions apply - see below)
SAAS (Postgraduate Students Allowances Scheme) Tuition Fee Loan
EU and UK applicants who meet the SAAS criteria on PSAS nominated courses and who have accepted an offer to study from the School of the Built Environment
Scotland's Saltire Scholarships
Citizens of Canada, the People's Republic of China, India or USA (2 awards for each country)
Employees of Heriot-Watt University
West Lothian Educational Trust
Individuals must have originated in West Lothian or have lived there for the last 3 years.