The course

Delivery
Distance learning
Course type
Taught
Location
Online
Entry date
September

Contact

Overview

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.

Distance learning

Delivered only by online 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. Students receive comprehensive materials for each course through an online Virtual Learning Environment.

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.

Programme duration

An Independent Distance Learning (IDL) programme - whether at PgDip or MSc level - can be completed in a minimum of 2 years. On average, our PgDip programmes studied via IDL are completed in 2-3 years, while MSc programmes are completed in 2.5-7 years. Most students intend to complete their studies via IDL within 2-3 years.

Professional recognition

This degree is accredited 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. See www.jbm.org.uk for further information.

Industry links

This programme is supported by the Civil Engineering Industry Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from major multi-national employers AECOM, Arup, Atkins, 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.

Course content

   Detailed course guide

This programme, led by Dr. Sandhya Patidar, 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.

Semester 1 Semester 2

Students choose four courses from the following optional courses:

  • Environmental Geotechnics
  • Environmental Hydrology & Water Resources
  • Ground Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Sustainability in Civil Engineering
  • Project Management: Theory & Practice

Students choose four courses from the following optional courses:

  • Indeterminate Structures
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Safety, Risk and Reliability
  • Urban Drainage and Water Supply
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment
  • Project Management: Strategic Issues

Course descriptions

Please find below the course descriptions. For more information on courses, please contact the Programme Leader.

Environmental Geotechnics

Semester 1 (optional)

This course aims to give students an appreciation of the role of contaminated land within geotechnical engineering, developing understanding of current UK legislation and government policy relating to methodologies for dealing with contaminated land. In this regard, the course enables learners to understand the practical relevance of the remediation technologies within the context of site contamination and to gain knowledge of the engineering measures adopted at landfill sites for the safe disposal of waste. Subjects and topics covered include:

Historical pollution sources and extent; qualitative and quantitative risk assessment; site investigation; remediation methods; legislative background; characteristics of landfill sites and wastes.

Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources

Semester 1 (optional)

The aim of this course is to provide the students with a thorough understanding of the hydrological basis of water resources assessment, planning and management. In this regard, the course is designed to provide the learners with a board introduction to hydrological modelling, as well as a detailed appreciation of the following topics:

Methods of meteorological data collection & analysis techniques; surface water resources; collection and analysis of low stream-flow data; reservoir planning & design; uncertainty analysis in water resources planning; groundwater occurrence, evaluation & management.

Ground Engineering

Semester 1 (optional)

The overall aim of this course is to provide the students with detailed knowledge and understanding in ground engineering for geotechnical engineers, extending the knowledge gained in undergraduate geotechnical courses to allow the learners to apply theoretical design and analysis to practical problems.

Subjects covered in this course include: Site investigation and soil sampling techniques; analysis of slope stability problems and failure modes; earth pressure analysis and retaining walls; application of geotextiles in geotechnical, highway & railway engineering; methods of ground improvement through compaction, grouting, consolidation and drainage.

Earthquake Engineering

Semester 1 (optional)

This course aims to provide the student with an understanding of the nature of seismic forces and the response of structures subjected to such loading, as well as to provide an the learner with an introduction to earthquake-resistant design and the seismic assessment of structures. The main subjects covered in the course syllabus include:

Introduction to engineering seismology; waves in elastic media; introduction to Eurocode 8; simplified and multi-modal response spectrum analyses; elastic & inelastic systems; time history and frequency domain analyses; soil-structure interaction – transmitting boundaries; methods of seismic structural assessment; structural repair and strengthening techniques.

Sustainability in Civil Engineering

Semester 1 (optional)

This course aims to equip students with the interdisciplinary attitudes, skills and knowledge necessary to allow them to contribute to the delivery of sustainable development within the civil engineering industry. This will include a broad introduction to the concepts, drivers and definitions associated with sustainability, as well as an overview of the history of sustainable development.

More specific topics covered in the course syllabus include: Urban design qualities and sustainable cities; the planning & leglislative framework; strategic environmental & environmental impact assessments; project design and planning; national and international sustainability indicators; audits and certification for sustainability and available assessment tools and methodologies.

Project Management: Theory and Practice

Semester 1 (optional)

This course aims to provide the student with an understanding of the concepts and practices of construction project management used to provide value added services to clients. The course develops understanding of the issues related to the management of construction clients and other project stakeholders and how their needs can be co-ordinated, managed and delivered from the project’s design stage through production to occupation and maintenance within the context of client satisfaction and the overarching construction project constraints of time, cost, quality sustainability, health and safety management.

Subjects covered in the course syllabus include: Construction project management concepts; standards and services; organisational structures for delivery of project management services; management strategies for clients and stakeholder briefing; issues related to management of construction project design process, and budget setting; tools/techniques for construction project planning and control of costs, time, risk and quality; issues relating to TQM and health and safety; teamwork and leadership roles.

Indeterminate Structures

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to provide students with a variety of techniques to analyse forces and displacements in linear, statically determinate and statically indeterminate skeletal structures. In this context, the course enables learners to strengthen their ability to model such structures and to understand the relationship between the mathematical models used in analysis and the behaviour of the real-world structures. It also introduces the safe and efficient use of commercial software packages for the static analysis of linear elastic beam and the plastic analysis of frames structures, as well as the modelling of structural behaviour in a laboratory environment, providing an awareness of health and safety issues in the latter. Subjects covered in the syllabus include:

Statically indeterminate structures; moment distribution; plastic analysis of frames.

Foundation Engineering

Semester 2 (optional)

The overall aim of this course is to provide the student with knowledge and understanding of the geotechnical design process, equipping learners with appropriate methods of analysis for settlement and bearing capacity calculations, as well as in examining appropriate national codes and Eurocodes and their implications in geotechnical design.

The syllabus includes the following topics: Introduction to foundation types (e.g. shallow footings; piled foundation types); deformation due to surface loading (e.g. stress distributions; elastic displacement; settlement theory; bearing capacity; consolidation); bearing capacity of foundations (e.g. shallow footings; active/passive pressures; general bearing capacity methods); Piles (e.g. forces and load transfer; capacity; soil types; pile group behaviour)

Safety, Risk and Reliability

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to provide the students with an appreciation and understanding of the basic principles of structural reliability theory. It provides an introduction to concepts of structural safety and risk, as well as probability theory and probability distributions.

Specific topics covered in the course syllabus include: Probabilistic modelling of strength and loads; first order second moment and first order reliability methods; reliability-based code calibration; Monte-Carlo simulation and variance reduction techniques; Introduction to causes of structural deterioration (corrosion, fatigue and fracture); risk based inspection strategies using Bayesian methods.

Urban Drainage and Water Supply

Semester 2 (optional)

This course introduces the learner to the broad theme of Urban Drainage and Water Supply, with the aim of providing understanding of the following topics: runoff estimation, rainfall estimation, system layout/design, pump system design, sediment transport, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, the role of computer simulations, service reservoirs, water distribution practice and groundwater supply. The course includes instruction on the use of Infoworks CS. Subjects covered in the course syllabus include:

Performance requirements (e.g. technical, public safety, whole-life operational, amenity and sustainability); combined and separate sewerage systems; rainwater quantification/climate change; overview of sewer sediments; storm Sewer Design; hydrodynamic flow models; SuDS; service reservoirs; water distribution practice; groundwater supply; leakage.

Water and Wastewater Treatment

Semester 2 (optional)

The aim of this course is to enable learners to understand the processes and technologies for water treatment including conventional and advanced wastewater treatment and the sizing of various treatment units. The course also provides awareness for the learner of the importance of effective wastewater treatment for river pollution control. Specific topics covered in the course syllabus include:

Introduction to water & wastewater characteristics; fresh water treatment (e.g. coagulation and sedimentation, filtration, disinfection); desalination technologies for sea water treatment; wastewater treatment (e.g. preliminary treatment design, primary tank design/secondary treatment, advanced wastewater treatment); land-based, low-energy and sustainable wastewater treatment systems; sludge handling, treatment & disposal; effluent disposal (including re-use).

Research projects

Research Project 1 & 2

Semesters 1,2,3 [Mandatory (MSc only)]

The Research Project courses aim to enable learners to develop a capacity to research and report in depth on a subject of relevance to the student's academic or professional career.

Being synoptically-linked, Research Project 2 (D21RR) continues to develop and expand the research skills that students have undertaken in Research Project 1 (D21RQ). Students are supported throughout both projects by an allocated supervisor. There is no formal syllabus, the research project process is supported by the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) with online resources including PowerPoint slide packs and written guidance material on aspects of good practice in preparing the research project work. Students are introduced to the research project requirements early in the semester and are guided in the completion of the research project.

Assessment

In the MSc marks are gathered from a combination of examination and project work – overall 66% examination and 33% project work. Students are supported and guided by coursework to prepare them for taught course examination assessments.

Additional information

The MSc programme consists of 8 taught courses followed by two research projects you meet the MSc progression standards in the taught courses. The progression standards are an average mark of 50% or higher and no course marks below 40%.

The Postgraduate Diploma programme consists of the same taught courses but does not continue to the research project phase. PG Diploma students must achieve an average mark of 40% or more and have no marks below 35%. PG Diploma students may choose to transfer to the MSc cohort if they meet the MSc progression standards stated above.

Entry requirements

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.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Heriot-Watt University is committed to providing opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Prior learning at postgraduate level is normally recognised to gain exemption from individual courses within a programme based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the courses for which RPL is sought, yet credits from an award already held by an applicant can only contribute to a higher award in the same discipline, e.g. from PG Diploma to MSc. If you believe that you qualify for RPL, please contact the Learning & Teaching Support Team via egis-enquiries@hw.ac.uk, who will guide you through the RPL application procedure.

The school will only consider students' requests for RPL at the time of application for their programme of study.

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 may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree programme. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.

We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)

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.

 

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017 entry (by residency status)
Status* Distance learning**
Scotland / Non-UK EU £1185**
England / Northern Ireland / Wales £1185**
Overseas £1185**

* 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.

Additional fees information

**Students pay £1185 per course and £850 per Research Project. This programme consists of 8 courses (modules). MSc students are also required to complete 2 research projects.

For questions about IDL fees, please contact our Distance Learning Office: egis-idl-enquiries@hw.ac.uk

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships.