School of Engineering

MSc Coastal Engineering

Do you want to be involved in the defence, protection and management of the world’s coastlines? Aimed at engineers and physical scientists, our MSc Coastal Engineering combines the theory of waves and tides with coastal modelling, port engineering and management. Supported by a team of experienced staff in one of the largest coastal engineering research groups in the UK, you’ll gain expertise to help progress your future career.

Sydney Sunrise at Waverton, Sydney, Australia.  Image courtesy of Getty Images.  

Key features

  • Broaden your coastal engineering expertise by selecting from a range of options, including port policy and management, modelling of coastal processes, remote sensing and GIS, mechanics of marine renewable energy structures, and assessment of coastal resource impacts. 
  • Deepen your knowledge through collaboration with our large, internationally-recognised research group.
  • Be inspired by our new £19 million Marine Building, housing the acclaimed COAST laboratory which offers facilities for teaching water and coastal engineering as well as conducting world-class research.
  • Benefit from a degree 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. 
  • Recent graduates work as scientists, researchers or engineers at graduate destinations such as: Arup, Mott MacDonald, Environment Agency, Symprove, HR Wallingford, Mining Searches UK, Canterbury Council and JBA Consulting. 


Course details

  • Programme overview
  • You’ll study the theory of waves, tides, surges and modern techniques in coastal data collection and analysis, including GIS and remote sensing. You’ll study core topics in coastal and port engineering, gain research skills, be introduced to numerical modelling techniques and obtain hands-on experience of using state-of-the-art software tools. Towards the end of the programme, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a substantial research project focused on an aspect of coastal engineering, supervised by academic staff actively researching this field.
    Core modules
    • COUE506 Port and Harbour Engineering

      This module presents the fundamental elements of the layout, design and construction of modern port structures, and provides students with the necessary understanding of the forces and loadings acting of them. The subject combines 3 elements not often found together in engineering: the requirements of a major transport infrastructure, the harsh marine environment, and the design of highly specific structural solutions.

    • COUE507 Coastal Engineering

      This module covers essential theoretical concepts for coastal engineers. Topics include: water wave theory, wave transformation processes, shallow water waves, coastal environments, climate change, introduction to flood defence, introduction to data analysis & software tools for coastal engineers, introduction to coastal structure design.

    • MAR513Z Research Skills and Methods

      This module aims to equip students with the practical skills and contextual framework for conducting high quality research. Emphasis is placed on workshop opportunities to acquire and practice research planning, analysis, communication, writing and oral presentation skills.

    • PRCE505 MSc Dissertation

      The student will complete a research project of their choosing, and communicate their motivation, methodology, and conclusions through a formal dissertation or journal paper.

    Optional modules
    • MAR512 Assessment of Coastal Resources and Impacts

      This module reviews the dynamics of the coastal ocean and explores methods to assess MRE resource availability and potential environmental impacts. Observational methods for understanding coastal morphology, ecosystems and forcing mechanisms such as waves, tidal currents and tidal elevation are examined. Methods for impact mitigation and management are discussed. Case studies from around the world are utilized.

    • MAR518 Remote Sensing and GIS

      This module introduces the principles of geographical information systems and remote sensing of marine, polar and coastal environments. Field data will be acquired using GPS and radiometric instrumentation. Emphasis is placed on the critical evaluation of remote sensing data and analysis tools in varied scenarios and on developing practical computing skills.

    • MAR519 Modelling Marine Processes

      This module introduces the fundamental concepts of modelling marine processes. Emphasis will be placed on the mechanisms that drive marine environment and principles of their numerical implementation. The methods of modelling and the-state-of-the-art oceanic models are also introduced. The key element is development of practical skills in operation with numerical models and critical analysis of the model output.

    • MAR528Z Mechanics of MRE Structures

      This module will cover engineering aspects of marine renewable energy conversion. The module comprises lectures and tutorials, invited industry lectures, a field trip visit to a marine engineering company and a wave energy converter performance experiment in the COAST lab.

    • MAR706 Port Policy and Management

      This module will play a central role in your examination of the significance of port policy and the management of ports in the modern supply chain management system and logistics framework.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Coastal Engineering Programme Specification September 2019 2370

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2) in engineering or physical science subject e.g. geography, environmental science or physics.

Students with advanced standing who can evidence an academic ability to similar levels may also be considered.

Applicants with overseas qualifications can check their compatibility with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service. 

English language requirement 

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5. 

For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,500 £9,500
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) £550 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student


How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September, with some January starts also available. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

Facilities and resources - MSc Civil Engineering / Coastal Engineering

From dedicated computer laboratories to a wealth of electronic information, you’ll benefit from a range of facilities and resources that will help your learning and development.

Our facilities include our new £19 million Marine Building and dedicated engineering laboratories equipped with industry standard software.

Find out more about our exceptional engineering facilities and resources

Let our graduates inspire you

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