Postgraduate study
This full-time course provides specialist technical knowledge and skills to students wishing to specialise in structural engineering.
MSc Structural Engineering
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (Upper 2nd class honours degree or international equivalent)
Other requirements
Applicants need to have studied structural analysis and structural design in each year of their undergraduate programme.
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,785 - Terms apply
International fees
£22,815 - Terms apply
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.
University Park Campus



This postgraduate programme allows you to develop a detailed theoretical understanding of structural engineering, and how to apply that understanding to practical design situations. These include the response of structures to extreme loading, such as winds and earthquakes.

The course integrates theory, application and design. Theory will be introduced alongside its application using in advanced software and computer modelling, in structural engineering and in BIM, so that you can see how it relates to real-world problems.

Structural design is a core element of the course, providing you with the opportunity to extend your knowledge of steel and concrete structures. Tall buildings and bridges provide further opportunities for you to integrate advanced analysis with design in a practical context.

Key facts

  • the programme 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 department has extensive facilities, including a strong floor for structural testing, hydraulics lab, large centrifuge for geotechnical research and teaching and atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel.
  • the department has extensive links with industrial sponsors and other organisations, locally, nationally and internationally.

Full course details

The course is studied over one academic year of 12 months. A total of 120 credits of taught modules are studied in Autumn and Spring semesters and a research project of 60 credits is undertaken in the summer period. 

It can provide you with the technical knowledge you need to develop a wide range of analytical, decision making and critical thinking skills, needed for their application to structural engineering problems.

Once you have successfully completed this course you will be able to conceive, model, design and analyse a wide range of innovative structures and apply advanced concepts in structural engineering.

The distinguishing features of this programme are the integration of theory, application and design, and the response of structures to extreme loading (earthquake engineering and wind engineering).  Integration is achieved by exploiting a computer modelling thread. This provides students with the opportunity to apply advanced structural analysis (finite elements, non-linear analysis, structural dynamics) using state of the art software.  Using this platform, these techniques are applied within a practical context (steel structures, concrete structures, bridge engineering and earthquake engineering) which is developed further in a major design project.

Learning outcomes include:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the relevant scientific principles of structural engineering and a critical awareness of current problems and new insights in the field
  • the ability to use fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies
  • an awareness of the commercial and social contexts in which engineers operate, and knowledge and understanding of management and business practices, their limitations, and how these may be applied in the context of structural engineering
  • an awareness of relevant regulatory requirements governing engineering activities in the context of structural engineering
  • understanding of and ability to make general evaluations of risk issues in the context of the particular specialisation, including health and safety, environmental and commercial risk
  • advanced knowledge and understanding of a wide range of engineering materials and components.


"UoN students have strong technical and academic background as well as practical project skills. In general the calibre of UoN students is very high, and they have the ability to implement their work into practice. I have hired 7 graduates/engineers for my team in the past couple of years.”

Dr Bachar Hakim, Head of Pavement Design and Asset Management, Transportation, AECOM


Academic English preparation and support

If you need additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

A specialist engineering course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.




Sixty credits of taught modules are studied in each of the autumn and spring semesters. A research project worth sixty credits is then completed in the summer period.

Module availability on non-compulsory modules is subject to timetabling and pre-requisite restrictions.

Core modules (Total credits: 180)

Civil Engineering Research Project (summer): 60 credits

Summary Of Content: This module forms the major research project element for the selected 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 the specific area under examination.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture  3 weeks 1 week 1 hour

Tutorial sessions as appropriate throughout the summer period. A typical average period of 2 weeks between tutorials is expected. Tutorials may be for individuals or small groups locally arranged with supervisor.

Method of Assessment: one dissertation (100%) 10,000 -20,000 words.

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

Previous research projects have included:

  • wind tunnel testing for tall buildings
  • base isolation for reducing ground-borne vibration
  • the effect on ordinary and high strength concrete columns when introducing polypropylene fibres
Dynamics and Wind Engineering (autumn): 20 credits
Summary of Content: For efficiency and clarity, the module will have complementary themes running in parallel at times, as shown below:

Wind Engineering Theme

Dynamics Theme

Basic meteorology

Global circulation; subtropical cyclones; gradient winds

Single degree of freedom (SDOF) systems

Equation of motion; damping cases; free and forced vibration

Wind characteristics

Wind spectra; parent winds; turbulence; atmospheric boundary layer

Multiple degrees of freedom (MDOF) systems


Bluff body aerodynamics

Flow around cylinders and buildings; pressure coefficients

Continuous systems


Wind Engineering Tools

Eurocode; wind tunnel modelling; computational wind engineering

Wind-structure interaction

Buffeting; vortex-induced vibration; galloping; flutter

The module will involve two pieces of individual courseworks in wind loading and buffeting.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 3 week 2 hours

 Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
coursework 1 15.00 Individual project using Eurocde to predict forces on a low-rise structure.
coursework 2 15.00 Individual project using Matlab coding to model the dynamic response of a building to wind excitation. 
3hr Exam 70.00  
Advanced Structural Analysis (autumn): 20 credits
Summary Of Content: The module will introduce concepts of linear and nonlinear finite element theory for structural engineering. Content will involve finite element formulation, i.e., bar, beam, plane stress, plane strain and plate/ shell elements as well as their implementation within the direct stiffness method. Aspects of material and geometrical nonlinearities will be examined and the particular cases of concentrated and distributed plasticity beam element formulations for skeletal structures will introduced. Load, displacement, and general control nonlinear static analysis schemes will also be examined and implemented for the solution of finite element problems. Concepts will be practiced through two individual pieces of coursework on linear and non-linear finite element theory respectively. Coursework will involve both a theory implementation and an analysis aspect using software.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 2 week 2 hours
Workshop 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 - Finite Element 15.00  
Coursework 2- Non-linear analysis 15.00  
3 hr exam 70.00
Bridge Engineering (spring): 20 credits
Summary Of Content: The module will look into the analysis and design of bridge structures, including definition of loading, structural analysis methods for deck and piers, and design of deck, piers and foundations of steel and concrete bridges.

A group project consists of the conceptual design of a bridge and the detailed design of key structural elements. 

Method and Frequency of Class: 

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 2 week 3 hours

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 30.00 Group design project
Presentation 1 5.00 Group presentation of design, 20 mins
Exam 1 - 3 hr exam 65.00  
Earthquake Engineering (spring): 20 credits
Summary Of Content: This module will introduce the principles of Earthquake Engineering. The module will focus on:

(i) the fundamental theory and principles of Seismology, seismic motion sensors and the analysis of seismic data,
(ii) the seismic analysis of structures, including the response spectrum approach and fragility curves, pushover analysis,
(iii) the principles of performance based-design of structures and common mistakes in practice
(iv) the seismic analysis of buildings

The module will include a individual submission on the analysis of a structure subject to a design earthquake, and a group project on the analysis and design of a structure against earthquake using pushover analysis.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 2 week 3 hours

Lectures include design examples and design workshops.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
coursework 1 25.00 Individual submission of the analysis of the structure response of a structure using response spectrum (4000 words)
coursework 2 25.00 Group submission of a report and presentation for the analysis and design of a structure for design earthquake using push over analysis (6000 words)
Exam 50.00 3 hr exam
Tall Building Group Design Project (spring): 20 credits

Summary Of Content: This module will use the design of a tall building as a platform for students to practise and apply the skills that they have developed through the modules in the Autumn Semester. Students will work in groups to tackle a tall building design problem based on an architect’s brief and an identified site. Detailed models of the proposed solution will be developed and evaluated using design and analysis software. The scope of the project will cover the social and engineering context of the proposed tall building; the principal structural system; evaluation of loading; outline design of foundations; and presentation of the design.

 Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 1 week 2 week 2 hours
Workshop 11 weeks 2 week 4 hours

Lectures are only held at the start of the project and will not continue throughout the semester.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 - Group Interim design submission 20.00 Written report (1500 words)
Coursework 2 - Group Final Design Submission 30.00 Written report (3000 words)
Presentation - Group Presentation of Design 20.00 20 min for Group Presentation
VIVA 30.00 Individual VIVA on project and individual diary of activities throughout the semester.15 min VIVA and diary (1000 words)
Advanced Structural Design (autumn): 20 credits

Summary Of Content: This module will look into the design of specialised structural systems such as composite beams and floors, portal frames, tubular trusses, and pre-stressed concrete beams and slabs. It will also look into connection behaviour, the design of steel moment connections and sway stability of buildings. A major group design exercise will illustrate the approach to the design of complete structures.

Taught Semester: Autumn

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of weeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 2 weeks 3 hours

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 35.00 Group Design Coursework: 60 pages max plus drawings and group presentation
Exam 1 65.00  3 hour exam

Please note that all module details are subject to change. For more details on our modules, please see the module catalogue.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Faculty of Engineering Scholarships

UK/EU Students

Funding information can be found on the Graduate School website.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

The blend of academic study and development of practical and professional skills that the course provides is an ideal preparation for the future challenges of working in a multidisciplinary environment. Graduates of this course will be highly sought after and will be suitable to enter into a professional career related to the field of structural and civil engineering.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 100% of postgraduates in the department who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £26,500.

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

Career Prospects and Employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

If you take up postgraduate study with us you will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops.

*The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data:



This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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