Course overview

Overall, this MSc seeks to show how advanced engineering techniques can best be applied in industry-relevant practice.

It integrates physical understanding of the constituent materials of road and rail infrastructure and of their deterioration due to traffic and environment, with modern techniques of condition assessment and asset management planning to extend reliable service lives and provide sustainable service for users.

Sustainability is more than a badge – assessing condition, sustainability assessment, diagnosis of faults, risk assessment and decision-making are pervasive features of all the engineering application topics covered by the course, while the more fundamental topics in the programme provide tools to achieve these.

This course takes a radical, hands-on approach by linking traditional teaching intimately to near-real life engineering problems.

Why choose this course?


This degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng accredited undergraduate degree.

Top 10

The School of Psychology is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for research power

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Project-based learning

Our course is project and workshop based along with traditional lectures

Top Labs

Top UK University Transportation Infrastructure Laboratory

Course content

All students will take the core modules listed below, which includes a 60-credit research project, which is completed over the summer. The project will be matched to your interests and will be supervised by an academic member of staff.


Core Modules

Advanced Topics in Infrastructure Engineering 20 credits

This course is designed to give an in-depth understanding of the practical issues involved with the management of transportation infrastructure. The course comprises; 1) a series of presentations by external speakers on a wide range of transportation topics, giving insight into real-world problems and their solutions; and 2) the details of condition evaluation, performance prediction, maintenance and strengthening design, in the context of infrastructure system management.

Assessment method

Two elements of coursework on presentations (50%), two elements of coursework on pavement engineering (20%) and an exam (30%).

Transportation Infrastructure Design Workshop (Full year) 20 credits

This module will consist of project work to be carried out in groups. The projects will consist of realistic designs of large transportation infrastructure projects, either railway or highway links; phased to support the parallel taught modules.

In Semester 1 alignment issues will be tackled, followed by design of pavement/track and associated drainage, earthworks and (in outline) structures.

In Semester 2 evaluation data on existing pavement/track will be analysed, leading to designs for strengthening/renewal and consideration of sustainability issues and future maintenance strategy. The final phase will involve design of signalling systems, signs, markings etc, and working up construction quantities, costs and programme.

Assessment method

This module is assessed by 100% coursework, including individual and group workshop submissions.

Highway and Pavement Design and Materials 20 credits

This module covers the application of the core transportation infrastructure engineering principles, specifically to the highway field. Four major areas are included: Highway alignment, pavement engineering, infrastructure maintenance, and materials. Coverage includes:

  • the design of highway layouts
  • design of pavement structures and surfaces using different techniques and materials
  • together with the deterioration mechanisms involved
  • maintenance/preservation methods to ensure that paved roadway surfaces last longer and perform better

Assessment method

This module is assessed by individual coursework (20%) and an exam (80%).

Traffic Engineering 10 credits

This module introduces some of the theory that forms the technical basis of the management and control of urban road networks, including; traffic flow theory, transport modelling and operation of traffic signal control systems.

Assessment method

This module will be assessed 100% by exam.

Railway Technology 10 credits

This module will introduce the components of railway track structures, conventional and otherwise. It will include analysis of forces on a railway track and consequent deflections, stresses, alignment design principles, and an overview of the railway as a total system including operational issues, signalling and control.

Assessment method

This module is assessed by individual and group coursework (40%) and an exam (60%).


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 1 hour

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 1 20.00 Track maintenance group coursework - 4 spreadsheet returns at approx. 2 hours.
Coursework 2 20.00 Track design individual coursework - 1,000 word report
Exam 60.00 One 2 hour exam
Infrastructure Asset Management 10 credits

This module considers the use of system reliability assessment techniques to support asset management decision making. It covers the analysis of asset failure data, how to construct and analyse asset degradation models and how to use optimisation techniques to enable the selection of optimal maintenance strategies.

The techniques will be discussed in the context of their application to asset infrastructures.

Assessment method

This module will be assessed by a class test (20%) and an exam (80%).


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 20.00 Class test
Exam 80.00  
Sustainable Construction and Life Cycle Assessment 10 credits

This module is designed to deliver an understanding of sustainability principles and how, in particular, transport infrastructure engineering as well as the wider construction industry can contribute to sustainable development.

The module will include the following themes:

  • Sustainability: an introduction to sustainability, sustainable development; sustainable construction; and how transport infrastructure engineering can contribute to sustainable construction.
  • Environmental impacts of infrastructure construction: a review of the positive and negative environmental impacts of construction including resources and waste and energy and climate change.
  • Social impacts of infrastructure construction: a review of the positive and negative social impacts of construction including; corporate social responsibility, responsible sourcing, poverty reduction and sustainable development goals.
  • Assessment: indicators, assessment systems, environmental life-cycle assessment, life-cycle cost analysis.


Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Workshop 11 weeks 1 week 1 hour

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 100.00 2 hour exam
Managing Infrastructure and Systems 10 credits

This module considers some of the most commonly-used system reliability assessment techniques applied to support system management.

It covers the construction of reliability models that use basic component failure information to describe specific system failure modes, the qualitative and quantitative analyses of these models, and the critical evaluation of systems using the analytical results. The models will be discussed in the context of their application to engineering systems and infrastructure assets.

The module aims to provide students with:

  • an understanding of the basic statistical, probabilistic and mathematical concepts required to predict the reliability of components and systems.
  • a detailed knowledge of the most commonly used system reliability assessment techniques.
  • the ability to critically evaluate systems and assets using mathematical models.

Assessment method

This module will be assessed by an in-class test (20%) and an exam (80%).

Research Methods and Project Proposal 10 credits

This is a compulsory module for all students studying an MSc in the Department of Civil Engineering. The course facilitates the development of skills that can be applied within a research project, including a literature review and writing skills, development of technical research skills, initiating a review of literature generally relating to the design/research project which they will undertake in the summer research project, and developing a proposal for the activities to be conducted in the summer research project.

The module will incorporate a mixture of learning environments/resources, including a Nottingham Open Online Course (NOOC) relating to technical writing and literature review techniques, formative feedback provided by academic staff and other students, 2-week technical workshops organised within the Department of Civil Engineering which will provide technical training in areas of interest to the student or of specific benefit to the proposed project (two workshops to be completed, selected from a number of options), and interaction with an individual supervisor who will be a member of staff specialising in an area related to the student’s project.

  1. The form of assessment includes a report containing a literature review related to the subject area chosen by the student and a reflective commentary on how formative feedback was used in developing their writing
  2. submissions required as part of the technical workshops
  3. a presentation and viva which details the preliminary aims, objectives, methodology, programme of activities, resource plan, and project-level risk assessment for their summer project.
Civil Engineering Research Project 60 credits

This module forms the major research project element for the MSc courses in the Department of Civil Engineering. It will normally take the form of a scientific investigation whether it involves experimentation or an extensive review of work already completed by others. Typically, but not exclusively, it will include the following:

  • Project definition and aim
  • Literature review
  • Practical experimentation / investigation
  • Presentation of results
  • Critical analysis of findings

The detailed technical content of the module will depend on the specific area under investigation.

Assessment method

A 10,000-20,000 word dissertation (100%).

The project area is flexible and will be supervised by an academic member of staff.

Previous research projects have included:

  • Assessment of Experimental Results for Fracture Parameters of Asphalt Mixtures
  • Carbon-Footprint of Track Beds on China High-Speed Railway
  • Finite Element Analysis of Rail Slab Track Structure
  • Systems Modelling for Highway Maintenance
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Saturday 25 June 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Project work
  • Independent study
  • Lab sessions
  • Group study

Teaching and learning takes place through a combination of lectures, seminars (both teacher- and student-led), project work, individual consultations, literature study, practical work including laboratory work, group interaction and discussion and learning through self-directed study.

How you will be assessed

  • Examinations
  • Exams
  • Dissertation
  • Presentation
  • Reports

Some 110 from 180 credits of modules are assessed only by coursework, of which the Summer dissertation project contributes a third of the MSc. For the remainder, you'll take exams in January and in May/June. Most of the modules incorporate coursework assessment - typically 20-40% of the module. So, overall, coursework is the basis of around 70% of the assessment.

Contact time and study hours

Lectures take up approximately 11 hours per week. Most weeks there will be a 1.5 hour long seminar on an industry case-study and a design workshop. Some weeks there will be laboratory classes.  You'll also have a tutor meeting. In total, class time is around 15 hours per week. The timetable for these varies each year. In addition, you'll need to be spending time in coursework and working in design teams, so you'll be spending more than 30 hours working every week.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 or international equivalent in Engineering or related subject. Significant amounts of relevant work experience may be considered as an alternative.


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2023 entry to be confirmed in August 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific title.


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates are working for engineering design companies, for national highway and railway authorities and for construction companies. Some have gone on to PhD study

Career progression

96.5% of postgraduates from the Department of Civil Engineering secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £26,500 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £27,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Joint Board of Moderators

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.

The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT)

Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE)

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

Institution of Structural Engineers

  • This degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators of the ICEIStructECIHT and IHE.

Chartered Engineer (CEng)

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 for further information.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" My specialism is in self-healing materials for roads, railways and airports. I encourage our students to try novel material formulations so that construction material no longer just acts to carry trucks, trains or planes but also repairs itself, collects solar energy or provides its owner with information about its condition. "
Dr Alvaro Garcia Hernandez, Associate Professor

Related courses

This content was last updated on Saturday 25 June 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.