School of Engineering

MEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

Do you want to create sustainable solutions that make a genuine difference to lives and to our planet? Through this accredited, four year degree, you will gain the skills and knowledge needed to play a key role in design, creation and maintenance of the vital infrastructures that support lives in our increasingly populated and changing world. Guided by our experienced academic staff, you will apply mathematics and science to solve real world problems, from flood defences to structural design.

In the 2016 National Student Survey, 95 per cent of students said staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching and 100 per cent of students said the course is intellectually stimulating. 

Other courses like Civil Engineering...

Key features

  • Start your professional career from day one with a course accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation. As a student member, you’ll join a network of over 80,000 members worldwide, as well as having the opportunity to get involved in our active local branches. Our MEng (Hons) degree is accredited by the professional institutions as fully satisfying the educational base for a Chartered Engineer (CEng). 
  • Immerse yourself in the real world of civil engineering through site visits, field courses and visiting lectures from leading Chartered Civil Engineers working on major projects.
  • Benefit from our new £19 million Marine Building, which offers you opportunities to learn water engineering and coastal engineering. We offer major options in structural engineering and flood modelling to equip you to specialise in design and flood risk management. 
  • Learn from our teaching staff of professionally qualified experts with relevant experience from the civil engineering industry and researchers with national and international reputations. 100 per cent of our students say our staff are good at explaining things [source: Unistats].
  • Get ahead in your career by spending an optional placement year working as a paid student engineer, a great opportunity to further your knowledge and make important industry contacts.
  • Learn a host of design skills from problem solving to sustainable development, as well as developing the critical thinking that plays a key role in the work of a civil engineer, including interpreting and analysing data.
  • Develop your professional skills including communication, self-management, team working and leadership, all vital in pursuing a rewarding career.
  • Increase your employability by taking an HSE-recognised diving qualification as part of your course, allowing you to work professionally in underwater technology.
  • Study core subjects including engineering surveying, geotechnics, hydraulics, management, materials, and structural analysis.
  • Join our extensive network of Chartered Civil Engineer graduates from Plymouth University and now work at all levels in the industry both nationally and internationally.
  • In the 2016 National Student Survey, 95 per cent of students said staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching and 100 per cent of students said the course is intellectually stimulating.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll be introduced to the role of the professional civil engineer, understanding of the application of mathematics in engineering and the behaviour of civil engineering structures. Working in both laboratory and field, you’ll develop skills in surveying, computer aided design and the properties of engineering materials. We’ll begin your professional development through site visits, group-based design activity and visiting industry speakers.
    Core modules
    • BPIE114 Stage 1 Civils Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • CIVL100 Civil Engineering Practice 1

      This module introduces and develops your understanding of the skillset, competencies and professional responsibilities required of civil engineering practice. Your professional skills will be developed by participating in site visits, carrying out practical exercises, learning from practising professional engineers and engaging in activities sponsored by the professional bodies.

    • CIVL101 Civil Engineering Practice 2

      This module covers basic land, site and building surveying methods that are commonly used in the construction industry. It builds on previous knowledge of survey control networks and other surveying principles by teaching students how to communicate their design intent by means of free hand sketching and the production of two and three dimensional CAD models, using standard industry software.

    • MATH187 Engineering Mathematics

      The module provides students with a number of fundamental mathematical skills and techniques which are essential for the analysis of engineering problems.

    • MATS123 Materials for Civil Engineering and Construction

      This module will enable students to develop an understanding of the origins and properties of materials commonly used by the civil engineering industry. Students will be engaged in the practical testing of materials in order to judge their relative strengths and weaknesses. Health and safety matters associated with each of the materials will also be highlighted.

    • STAD117 Structural Analysis and Design I

      This Module equips student with basic and essential structural analysis and design skills that are key requirements for Civil and Structural Engineering disciplines. This module also introduces students to practical applications of these concepts using hand calculations, laboratory and computer software tools to enhance their deeper understanding.

    • STAD120PP Introduction to Structural Engineering

      This module is an introduction to structural engineering. It covers aspects of how a structure behaves, how stability is achieved, how robustness is achieved and the concept of load paths through a structure. Conceptual design and outline sizing of structural elements are introduced. Health & Safety and sustainability issues are introduced.

  • Year 2
  • Explore the core disciplines of civil engineering, from structural analysis and design to hydraulic engineering through lectures, practical activities, site visits and a field course. We’ll introduce you to specialist areas of the industry, including coastal engineering and water engineering, with the opportunity to take an optional module to develop skills in sampling, survey, underwater photography and inspection techniques (for students who have completed the HSE SCUBA diving qualification).
    Core modules
    • BPIE214 Stage 2 Civils Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (BPIE111) and to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • GEEN212 Geotechnical Engineering

      The module introduces different cyclic geological processes then covers the systematic methodologies that help identify, classify and test these materials, with the view to defining their (engineering) strength. Engineering concepts are introduced in order to predict the behaviour of these geotechnical materials in response to any applied loading. Initial design methods will be finally introduced.

    • HYFM228 Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering

      This module introduces students to two subjects related to fluid mechanics: hydraulic engineering and coastal engineering. The following aspects will be considered: fundamentals of hydrostatics; the continuity, momentum and energy equations and their applications; coastal systems; waves and water-level variations; coastal engineering in practice.

    • MATH238 Engineering Analysis

      This module builds upon the stage one engineering mathematics module, by introducing students to more advanced mathematical ideas, statistical techniques and numerical methods. The methods and techniques studied are used to solve relevant civil engineering applications, with some emphasis on interpreting the results obtained. Industrially recognised software packages are also used where appropriate.

    • MGMT222 Construction Management

      The aim of this module is to deepen students' knowledge and understanding of commercial aspects of construction management and project planning. In addition the module aims to build practical skills in the use of project planning software and the practical use of codes of conduct that guide appropriate personal behaviour in professional engineering practice.

    • STAD215 Structural Analysis and Design II

      This module extends the theoretical base established by the Stage 1 Structural Analysis and Structural Design modules. It is intended to combine the basic principles of analysis with design to develop an integrated approach to solving problems in Structural Engineering. The module is supported by the use of computer software and laboratory work.

    Optional modules
    • CONS203 Civil Engineering Construction

      This module explores the use of construction techniques on civil engineering projects and approaches to the planning and management such woks. The module is delivered with support from the Civil Engineering Contractor's Association (CECA).

    • HYFM229 Water Management

      The module explores the practical and theoretical aspects of the management of water resources, including methods of surface and groundwater yield evaluation, and the requirements of water distribution networks. It also investigates the factors influencing the response of catchments to rainfall, particularly in the prediction of flooding; and appraises methods of flood alleviation. The module is supported by a site visit.

    • OS207 Scientific Diving

      This module allows suitably qualified students (HSE SCUBA or equivalent) to develop industry and research-relevant skills in measurement and monitoring in the underwater environment using professional SCUBA and related techniques. These will then be applied in a multi-disciplinary context to the planning, execution, analysis and reporting of a field-based sampling activity.

  • Optional placement year
  • By taking the opportunity to spend an optional year in a paid professional employment as a student civil engineer, you’ll gain real world experience and industry contacts which could lead to the possibility of  summer work, sponsorship or a graduate job offer. Our employability service will support you in finding a placement and we offer an extensive network of employers across all sectors.
    Optional modules
    • BPIE340 Civil Engineering Related Placement (Generic)

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study. Help to prepare the student for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Year 4
  • You’ll deepen your understanding of the core technical subjects in civil engineering with a particular emphasis on designing solutions to infrastructure problems, culminating in an industry-focused group design project. You’ll complete a research-based individual project. These projects  focus on laboratory experiments, computer-aided modelling, or field work linked to our staff’s research and professional interests.
    Core modules
    • GEEN313 Geotechnical Engineering 2

      Different theories and design methodologies are introduced succinctly at the beginning of each topic, followed by design practice with detailed worked examples and case studies. The emphasis is on introducing students to the latest analysis tools used in practice, and on making them relate to the outcome of different worked examples.

    • HYFM321 Hydraulic Engineering 2

      This module builds upon a fundamental understanding of basic hydraulic theory, to develop knowledge, understanding and ability to use theoretical principles to analyse steady and unsteady hydraulic systems comprising pipes, open channels, hydraulic machines. The module also introduces theory underpinning the use physical hydraulic modelling.

    • PRCE310 Individual Project

      The individual project enables the student to research an approved topic related to civil or coastal engineering. It comprises a critical review of background literature and current knowledge that allows the student to identify a focus for their inquiry. Guided by an academic supervisor, the ensuing investigation comprises theoretical development, experimental and / or computational work, and a final analysis.

    • STAD323 Structural Engineering 3

      This module focuses on the analyses and design of whole structures i.e. multi-storey buildings, and individual structures such as retaining walls. Computer modelling and approximate analysis form a major part of the module.

    • STAD324 Structural Engineering 4

      This module introduces students to standard industry design practices and builds on their previous knowledge by introducing them to bridges and complex low rise / multi storey building structures. The module provides students with the opportunity to develop their conceptual design skills and adopt a holistic approach to structure design by considering the "whole" as well as the individual elements.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll further develop your growing expertise in the technical areas of civil engineering science with an emphasis on computer-aided modelling. In preparation for your future career, you’ll sharpen your project management skills, focusing on the commercial aspects of the civil engineering business, through a group-based design project collaborating with other engineering disciplines, such as mechanical engineers.
    Core modules
    • GEEN501 Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

      It is expected that students completing this module would be able to (have the option to) pursue a career in geotechnical design, given the level of analysis used (examples include the calculations of the deflection around a tunnel cross section, along a laterally loaded pile or along a combined foundation).

    • HYFM504 Advanced Hydraulic Engineering

      This module investigates the hydraulic engineering factors influencing the computational modelling and management of riverine flood risk. It appraises the relative merits of techniques used in civil engineering practice for flood modelling and for flood risk management, with an emphasis on reliability assessment. The module is supported by the use of computer software and laboratory work.

    • MATH511 Advanced Engineering Analysis

      This module consists of two parts: Advanced IT & Advanced Engineering Analysis. The IT part explores the benefits and limitations of IT in engineering practice. State of the art tools will be introduced and experts from industry will demonstrate practical applications of IT to complex engineering projects. The 2nd part of the module uses a range of numerical methods for the solution of various engineering problems.

    • MGMT503 International Engineering Business Management

      In this module students will deepen their knowledge and understanding of general engineering and professional practice through a critical analysis of systems used to conduct engineering business at an international level.

    • PRCE513 Interdisciplinary Design

      This module enables students to undertake a major project to solve an Interdisciplinary Design Problem. Students, working in groups will select and implement a design project from initial concept to a fully documented, planned, and costed proposal for potential stakeholders. Students are expected to address a broad spectrum of design outcomes (infrastructure, structures, integrated systems etc).

    • STAD505 Advanced Structural Engineering

      This module develops deeper understanding of complex structural analysis techniques & practical applications and understanding of the limitations of Codes of Practice. Approximate analysis and simplified hand calculation are also used along with practical applications of dynamic & torsion loads & the design of complex structure based on ¿real world¿ scenarios with a practice-led approach.

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

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

MEng Civil Engineering Programme Specification September 2017 2223

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

124 - 136

A typical offer will be: 128 UCAS points, to include a minimum grade B in A level mathematics and a minimum grade C in a second science/technology or relevant subject. Excluding general studies.

18 unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM in a related subject, to include all mathematics units with merit. BTECs should have a grade E at A or AS level mathematics alongside.]

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

International Baccalaureate: 32 points overall to include 5 at Higher Level mathematics and a second relevant subject. Standard Level mathematics is NOT acceptable in lieu of Higher Level.

English accepted within Higher Level = 4+ (A1) or 5 (A2/B) Standard Level = 5+ (A1) or 6 (A2/B).

All Access courses: not accepted for MEng, unless the applicant has additional qualifications or experience.

Other non-A level qualifications also considered, please enquire

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

International students

Scholarships are available for international students.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

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.



Alumni profile: Katy Toms

Katy is now a Chartered Engineer at Aecom and Vice Junior Chair Woman of the Institute of Chartered Engineers (ICE). 

Watch our video to hear her talking about her studies at Plymouth University and how we helped to prepare her for her career in industry.

Industry Profile - Paul Santer

Paul Santer, Regional Director of CECA South West, talks to us about why Plymouth University is a great institution for students to kick-start their career, in both the civil engineering, and coastal engineering, industries.

Industry profile - Jon Benton

Jon Benton, Regional Director for Dawnus Construction, talks us through his time as a Plymouth student, as well as employability prospects as a Plymouth University engineering graduate.

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

Find out more about our exceptional civil engineering facilities and resources

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

HSE Professional SCUBA diving course

Plymouth is unique in offering our students the opportunity to gain the HSE Professional SCUBA certification alongside their degree. The course is an intensive four week full-time programme designed to prepare candidates for undertaking media, scientific and archaeological diving projects. If you are looking to do any underwater work in the UK and be paid, you will require a HSE qualification. The Professional SCUBA course is the minimum requirement if you wish to work on scientific, archaeological or media diving projects.

Learn more about the HSE Professional SCUBA diving course.

Connecting with the industry

As a course focused on employability, we’ve developed a number of relationships with the industry to help provide you with the connections and opportunities you’ll need to begin your career.

We work closely with industry experts, organisations and awards to enhance your employability.

Find out about our industry partners, awards and course accreditation

Louise Hetherington - student profile

As well as learning the academic side of the course, it has also taught me how to work in a team. I have also had the opportunity to take leadership of a team: all vital skills when going out into the workplace.

Find out more about Louise's experience as a student

Work placements

A placement year will give you the opportunity to experience working life, and could lead to a job offer upon graduation.

Gain valuable experience by taking industry placements throughout the UK and abroad.

Harriette Scowen - work placement case study

I really enjoyed my year placement at AECOM. Being able to see how the knowledge I learnt in my first two years at university could be put into practice really inspired me and has encouraged me through my third year.
Find out more about Harriette Scowen

Stephen Green-Price - work placement case study

Looking back over my year, I feel like carrying out a placement year has been a massive benefit to me in a variety of aspects.
Find out more about Stephen Green-Price

Louise Hetherington - work placement case study

Overall the placement has offered me invaluable experience and networking opportunities, both within the company itself, as well as with other local and London based architects, surveyors and contractors.

Find out more about Louise Hetherington's placement

The Tamar Engineering Project

Funding and mentoring for high achievers who might not otherwise consider higher education as a route to a career in engineering.

Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship to study engineering at Plymouth University through the Tamar Engineering Project.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • £3,000 towards living costs per year of study
  • £1,500 course fee waiver per year of study
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.
Read more about the Tamar Engineering Project.

Marina Tiong - graduate profile

If you love working in a challenging world and don’t like to be stuck in the office all day, civil engineering is the career for you.
Find out more about Marina Tiong

Michael Liedtke - graduate profile

My projects range from conducting a feasibility study for a new hydropower scheme in Pakistan to designing new coastal defences along the River Thames.
Find out more about Michael Liedtke

This is Civil Engineering South West 2016

This short film by the Institution of Civil Engineers showcases the South West 2016 shortlisted projects and celebrates the fantastic civil engineering work happening in the region.

It features some of our very own graduates: Dominic Primmer, Katy Toms, Jon Petherick and Tom Whitmore.

View the video

Welcome to civil engineering at Plymouth

Dr Liz Hodgkinson, Lecturer, School of Marine Science and Engineering, and our student Tom discuss what it’s like to study here and show you some of our facilities.

Watch our video to find out more about studying civil engineering at Plymouth University.

What’s the difference between MEng and BEng?

MEng (Hons)

Accredited by the professional engineering institutions on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer. 

BEng (Hons)

Accredited by the professional engineering institutions on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer and partly meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Engineering we recognise that our students are the future of the growing engineering profession. We know that our applicants will thrive in the hands-on environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2017, a range of full-time undergraduate courses within the School of Engineering. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

People