School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

MSc Coastal Engineering

This MSc equips graduates of engineering or science degrees with the knowledge and skills needed to work within the coastal engineering industry. You'll study core topics in coastal and port engineering, be introduced to numerical modelling techniques, obtain hands-on experience of using state-of-the-art software tools and carry out physical modelling of coastal structures within the COAST laboratory.

Supervised and supported by members of the COAST Engineering Research Group, you will also have the opportunity to undertake a substantial research project focused on an aspect of coastal engineering.

Postgraduate opportunities – virtual drop-in sessions

Find out more about postgraduate study in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at one of our virtual drop-in sessions.
  • 21 May 2024

Careers with this subject

For Civil Engineering graduates this programme will help you work as a specialist coastal engineer. For other applicants the course provides you with the skills and knowledge to work alongside engineers within the sector. Previous graduates work as scientists, researchers or engineers at graduate destinations such as Arup, Mott MacDonald, the Environment Agency, Symprove, HR Wallingford, Mining Searches UK, Canterbury Council and JBA Consulting.

Key features

  • Equips engineering and science graduates with knowledge and understanding of engineering and coastal processes enabling them to work in this strategically important sector.
  • Learn how to quantify the loading effects of waves, tides, surges and manage the influences of climate change: sea level rise and greater storminess.
  • Discover how coastal structures - breakwaters, groynes, sea walls - are designed to protect against flooding and coastal erosion.
  • Understand how modern ports are designed for the needs of international trade.
  • Work in our acclaimed COAST Laboratory to develop skills in physical modelling and interact with our COAST researchers or collect data in Plymouth Sound.
  • Students in engineering, science and the arts have access to a range of specialist equipment and innovative laboratories in our new engineering and design facility.
  • Obtain hands on experience in numerical modelling using modern industry software.
  • This degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) comprising of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, Institute of Highway Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Permanent Way Institution 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.* See jbm.org.uk for further information.
*It should be noted that candidates completing the MSc who hold an underpinning accredited IEng degree or a non-accredited bachelor degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to determine whether they will meet the educational base for CEng registration.

Course details

  • Programme overview

  • Study the theory of waves, tides, surges and modern techniques in coastal data collection and analysis, including GIS and remote sensing. You also study core topics in coastal and port engineering, gain research skills, are 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 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

    • Port and Harbour Engineering (COUE506)

      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.

    • Advanced Coastal Engineering Modelling (COUE508)

      This module covers the modelling techniques and software tools used in modern coastal engineering practise. Topics include the modelling of waves, currents and sediments; the modelling of coastal engineering designs and their impacts; the use of software tools of data analysis for coastal engineers.

    • Coastal and Offshore Engineering (COUE510)

      This module covers essential theoretical concepts for coastal and offshore 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 and offshore engineers, introduction to coastal and offshore structure design.

    • Research Skills and Methods (MAR513Z)

      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.

    • Interdisciplinary Design Project (PRCE508)

      The module introduces the learner to working on a 'real world' interdisciplinary design project comprising the integration of a number of interlinked design challenges relating to core elements of their Civil and Civil and Coastal Engineering studies. The work will be undertaken in managed teams. The project scope will range from design concept through to construction.

    • MSc Dissertation (PROJ517)

      You will demonstrate practical skills and knowledge of research methods to plan and implement high quality research. You will carry out a substantial research investigation on a topic of your choice and report upon the aims, methodology, data analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and conclusions through a high quality, scholarly and professional write-up of the project, either as a formal dissertation or journal paper.

    Optional modules

    • Remote Sensing and GIS (MAR518)

      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.

    • Mechanics of ORE Structures (MAR536)

      This module will cover engineering aspects of offshore 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.

    • Climate Change: Science and Policy (GEES506)

      This module explores the science and policy of climatic change, including lessons from the past and the relevance of past climates to the global warming debate. We question climate change detection and attribution, feedbacks and uncertainty in climate change. We explore political actions through international political agreements and national policies and adaptation strategies and management of change in the UK

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 2023 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 ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service. 
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
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 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. 
For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office.
For an informal enquiry, please contact Dr Martyn Hann by email: martyn.hann@plymouth.ac.uk.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,900 £10,400
International £18,000 £19,800
Part time (Home) £550 £580
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. More information about fees and funding.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 10% or 20% discount on tuition fees for home students 
  • £2,000 discount on tuition fees for international students 
.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

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

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. 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.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information or email 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 weeksof 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 in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC)offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.
Pre-masters in Engineering
Find out more at plymouth.ac.uk/upic or contact our team at info@upic.plymouth.ac.uk

Rhys Southgate, MSc Coastal Engineering student conducting research
COAST Laboratory, Marine Building

Facilities and resources

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 £19 million Marine Building and dedicated engineering laboratories equipped with industry standard software.

Babbage Building: where engineering meets design

"The building provides a state-of-the-art setting to inspire the engineers and designers of tomorrow, making it the ultimate place to bring together students, academics and industry in an environment that not only benefits them but also society as a whole." – Professor Deborah Greaves OBE
Situated on the western edge of our city centre campus, the landmark new facility is home to the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and offers additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
New Engineering and Design Facility

Our final year projects

Let our graduates inspire you

athena swan bronze

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

People

Meet our school technical staff 

Our technical staff are integral to the delivery of all our programmes and bring a diverse range of expertise and skills to support students in laboratories and workshops.