MEng Civil Engineering

The course

UCAS code
5 years
Delivery type

Solve the civil engineering problems of tomorrow's world. Civil Engineering at Heriot-Watt is ranked in the top 20 universities in the UK and 3rd in Scotland in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


MEng Civil Engineering covers materials, structures, geotechnics, water engineering, and transportation engineering, and will provide you with the key skills and knowledge required to become a professional civil engineer working in industry.  

You’ll concentrate on analysis and behaviours of materials in the early years of the degree, with a focus on design and management as you progress through your studies.  

Your personal development within a professional environment will be supported and developed throughout your studies to ensure you gain the core technical skills and personal qualities required to strive within the dynamic built environment industry at the highest possible technical level. 

Our Expertise 

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active civil and structural engineers, construction professionals, industry-leaders, and academics. 

96% of Heriot-Watt University’s engineering research was classed as world-leading in the REF 2021 review, which ranked us 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for engineering research through a joint submission with the University of Edinburgh. 

Our MEng Civil Engineering programme is directly informed by the world class research carried out by Heriot-Watt’s Institute of Sustainable Built Environment (ISBE) which sits within the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS). EGIS is one of the United Kingdom’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. The institute’s academic team conduct high-value and high-impact research on fields covering sustainability, digital innovation, design, and management of the built environment. The research relevance of this undergraduate programme ensures your studies remain innovative and industry focused. 

This School is also part of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design, a leading body recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Centre is one of only four such centres established at United Kingdom universities that jointly form a national network to demonstrate and exchange best practice in teaching and research for the sustainable built environment.

Your learning environment  

Our MEng Civil Engineering is taught though a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory practicals, projects, and field trips allowing you to get to know and build relationships with your teaching staff, academics, industry professionals, and peers. Your learning will be assessed through a combination of coursework and examination.  

During your studies, you’ll benefit from and have access to our specialist equipment, computing software, and laboratories, including a light structures lab with equipment to test steel reinforcing bars, immersive virtual reality software, a wave basin which can simulate any sea condition, a geotechnics lab with a range of soil testing equipment, a hydraulics lab with three tilting flumes and state of the art measurement capabilities, a building services lab containing fully-instrumented laboratory test rigs for drainage, and an extensive structures lab with a rail track test centre and a fatigue testing facility.   

Gaining employability skills is at the heart of our programme and you’ll have lots of opportunity to gain practical experience. In year two you can participate in a week-long field course, “Constructionarium”, which provides hands-on construction working alongside professional engineers and tradesmen to construct scaled down versions of buildings, bridges, dams, and other engineering structures from all around the world.   

Outside of the classroom, you can get involved with the Heriot-Watt Student Union and there are lots of ways to do so including participating in student groups, becoming a student representative or a school officer, and joining societies. There are several engineering societies, and you may wish to join the:  

Societies provide a great opportunity to meet likeminded people, get involved in regular social and networking events, and gain insights into career prospects.  

Customise your learning 

You’ll take eight mandatory courses in the first three years of your degree, and you can transfer to another programme within the discipline until the end of year three. 

Year one will introduce you to mechanics, construction and building services technologies, and mathematics for engineers and scientists. You’ll also take a course designed to inspire awareness of the contribution of your discipline to tackling global challenges, and its connection to other disciplines. You’ll work in teams, learn to cope with complexity, gain core study skills, and thrive on ambiguity.  

In year two, you’ll be introduced to hydraulics and hydrology, the analysis of determinate structures, materials, stress analysis and element strength, and surveying and geographical information systems software. You’ll also further develop your mathematics and statistics skills for engineers.  

Year three will see your knowledge of structures, elements, geotechnics, hydraulics and hydrology strengthen. You’ll also strengthen your design skills in transport design, infrastructure, and society, and learn about environmental technology and management.  

You can study at our Edinburgh campus in year four or can apply to participate in an exchange programme to one of our partner universities. The exchange programme allows you to spend your year four abroad at a partner university, returning to Edinburgh to complete year five.  

If you study at our Edinburgh campus, you’ll take five mandatory courses providing you with knowledge on geotechnical applications, and foundation engineering. You’ll also participate in a collaborative group exercise as part of a design project and complete your dissertation. You can customise your learning in year four by choosing three optional courses from a range of around ten specialist courses.  

In year five, you’ll complete a mandatory professional design project linked with and supported by local practitioners. This project will provide you with the opportunity to experience complex engineering design, enhance your fundamental technical design skills, and work on finding solutions in an interdisciplinary nature. You’ll choose five optional courses in year five based on your specific interests of civil engineering.  

If you studied at a partner institution in year four, then you’ll be supported in making appropriate course choices in year five.  

Year five also provides opportunities to participate in a field trip to Barcelona, to view the design of some of the world’s most iconic structures.

Throughout your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to transfer to our Dubai or Malaysia campuses for a year or semester through an inter-campus transfer.  

An exchange or inter-campus transfer is administered by Heriot-Watt’s Go Global programme and allows you to expand your horizons by taking your studies to worldwide destinations.   


We work closely with industry to ensure our course content is up-to-date and reflects the current and emerging needs of industry and employers. You’ll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation. Strong industry mentoring is involved in the year four Design project.  

Global College  

If you do not meet the entry requirements for MEng Civil Engineering, you might consider foundation entry with Heriot-Watt Global College, where you can follow our Engineering with Accelerator Programme which will get you onto the second year of this programme.  


This degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) comprising the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institute of Highway Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, and the Permanent Way Institution on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng). See Joint Board of Moderators for further information.

Emil Viem, Civil Engineering student

I'm very much enjoying my time here. The programme is challenging but the support and guidance from my lecturers make it very manageable.

Emil Viem, Civil Engineering student

Course content

Year 1

The below course structure is subject to developmental change. 

Most courses are worth 15 credits. Some courses are 30 credits. 30-credit courses are stated as such. 

Semester 1

  • Mechanics A
  • Construction Technology 1
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 1
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together A

Semester 2

  • Mechanics B
  • Building Services Technology
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 2
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together B

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Analysis of Determinate Structures
  • Hydraulics and Hydrology A
  • Surveying and GIS
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 3

Semester 2

  • Civil Engineering Materials
  • Stress Analysis and Element Strength
  • Design Studies A - Problem Solving
  • Statistics for Science

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Design of Steel Elements
  • Transportation Design, Infrastructure and Society
  • Indeterminate Structures
  • Geology and Soil Properties

Semester 2

  • Hydraulics and Hydrology B
  • Geotechnics A - Introduction to Soil Mechanics
  • Design of Concrete Elements
  • Environmental Technology and Management

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Dissertation 1 
  • Geotechnics B - Geotechnical Applications
  • Optional course
  • Optional course

Optional courses include:

  • Sustainability for Construction Professionals 
  • Structural Element Design 
  • Catchment Flood Management  
  • Finite Element Method Linear Analysis 

Semester 2

  • Dissertation 1 
  • Civil Engineering Design Project
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Optional course

Optional courses include:

  • Plastic Analysis of Structures 
  • Urban Drainage and Water Supply 
  • Innovation in Construction Practice 
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment 
  • Energy and Buildings 
  • Sustainable and Intelligent Buildings 

Year 5

Semester 1

  • Civil Engineering Professional Design Project (30 credits)
  • Optional course
  • Optional course

Optional courses include:

  • Advanced Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures 
  • Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 
  • Structural Materials 
  • Climate Change, Sustainability and Adaptation 
  • Project Management: Theory and Practice 
  • Value and Risk Management 

Semester 2

  • Civil Engineering Professional Design Project 2 (15 credits) 
  • Optional course
  • Optional course
  • Optional course

You'll choose at least one course from: 

  • Water and Wastewater Treatment 
  • Advanced Design Of Steel And Steel-Concrete Composite Structures 
  • Urban Drainage and Water Supply 
  • Finite Element Method Nonlinear Analysis 
  • River Flow and Flood Modelling 
  • Safety, Risk and Reliability 

Other options include: 

  • Design of Low Carbon Buildings 
  • Statistical Modelling of the Environment 
  • Environmental Planning 
  • Project Management: Strategic Issues 
  • Construction Financial Management 

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Work and study

This is what our MEng Civil Engineering students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 90% are working
  • 0% are studying
  • 5% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £28500
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £29000

Potential career paths

  • Engineering professionals
  • Managers, directors and senior officials

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB (including Mathematics)
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB (including Mathematics at B)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points (including 5 in HL Mathematics)
  • BTEC DMM (in relevant engineering course)
  • HNC B in graded unit (including 1 unit of SCQF Level 7 Maths if you do not have Higher Maths)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including Mathematics at B)
  • A-Levels BCC - ABB (including Mathematics at B)

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements.

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers BB (including mathematics plus AABB at Higher)
  • A-Levels ABB (including B in mathematics)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 35 points (including 6 in HL mathematics)
  • HNC A in graded unit (in a relevant subject area and Mathematics at SCQF Level 7)
  • HND BB in graded unit (in a relevant subject area and Mathematics at SCQF Level 7)
  • BTEC DDM (in relevant engineering course)
  • Global College Successful completion of our Engineering with Accelerator Programme

Year 3

  • HND AB in graded units (in a relevant subject area and Mathematics at SCQF Level 7)

Additional information

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £24,048

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.