MSc/PGDip/PGCert Advanced Structural Engineering

Postgraduate, Full-Time

Develop skills in the analysis, design and assessment of engineering structures subject to normal, seismic and extreme loading and environmental conditions.

  • Napier code:

    52722MM

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    1 year, or 18 months for January start

  • Award:

    MSc/PGDip/PGCert

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

Accredited by relevant professional bodies and designed to meet the needs of the modern construction industry, this course offers a wide range of structural engineering principles, as you learn about issues relating to steel and concrete structures and foundations.

Through this highly technical course, studied one year full-time or two years part-time, you will develop skills in numerical simulation using a variety of advanced software.


Craiglockhart campus under construction

You will also learn failure analysis methods, the Eurocodes and the code of practice for the design of various construction materials, research skills and the legal issues surrounding construction.

The course is accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT). Industry practitioners are regularly invited as guest speakers and lecturers.

Subjects include

  • Advanced mechanics of materials and FEA
  • Advanced structural concrete
  • Advanced; structural steel design
  • Forensic engineering;
  • Foundation design to eurocode 7
  • Structural; dynamics and earthquake design
  • MSc thesis

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

As a qualified structural engineer with advanced training, you will be in demand in the construction industry worldwide. Alternatively, you may choose to use this course as the basis for further education or extensive research.


The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) degree at 2:2 or above with a background in Civil Engineering.  

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience within the industry.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Home/EU £3,750 £5,850
Overseas £12,620 £13,000

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Advanced Structural Concrete ( CTR11118 )

Concrete: constituents and their properties, plastic and hardened properties, strength, durability and influencing factors as well as strengths, stiffness, fracture parameters, loading/environmental conditions, constitutive relationships, plastic and visco-plastic models, cracking models. Reinforcement: properties, bond-slip, stiffening, dowel action, constitutive relationships. Reinforced concrete (RC): stress-strain relationship of concrete and steel and their relevance to reinforced concrete design, the importance of the interaction between concrete and steel and its influence on RC behaviour and structural response. Durability of reinforced concrete: durability of reinforced concrete and influencing factors. Basic principles of: EC2: design of (prestressed) concrete structures and components. EC4: Design of composite structures.

Further information

Advanced Structural Steel Design ( CTR11119 )

Eurocodes: EN1990, EN1991 and EN 1993 Lattice girder design: secondary bracing and secondary bending systems. Buckling Instability: modes of buckling instability, i.e. local, flexural, LTB, torsional etc. Structural stability of frames: second-order effects. Buckling behaviour of thin plates: in-plane compression, shear, bending and bearing. Plate Girder Design: single span plate girder design, i.e. flanges, webs, stiffeners & welds. Fatigue Analysis: constant/variable amplitude fatigue loading, S-N curves, cycle counting using rainflow and reservoir methods. The use of EN 1993-1-9 in relation to weld design.

Further information

Forensic Engineering ( CTR11100 )

Material behaviour: corrosion, creep, fatigue, fracture, ageing, weathering, protection systems, soil failures, effects of ground water Structural Considerations: Loading effects, climatic conditions, construction procedures, temporary works Investigations: Site investigation, collecting and gathering evidence, lab testing, modelling failures, safety considerations during investigations Reporting: Presenting data, findings, conclusions and recommendations aurally and through written reports, Expert witness presentations, court proceedings, codes of practice, legal consequences

Further information

Geotechnical Earthquake and Offshore Engineering ( CTR11134 )

General (and Re-cap): Bearing capacity theory, philosophy of Eurocode 7 and 8, limit state design, EQU and GEO limit states, design approaches, shallow footing design, design of deep foundations: by ground test results; by load test results, reinforced concrete design of footings. Cyclic behaviour of soils: Dynamic properties of soils, their measurement and interpretation. Pore water pressure development, soil liquefaction and stiffness degradation Seismic geotechnical design: Seismic bearing capacity according to Eurocode 8. Mononobe-Okabe approaches for the calculation of earth pressures Offshore geotechnical design: Cyclic behaviour of piles. Interaction diagrams. ICP and API design methods

Further information

MSc Dissertation ( CTR11111 )

Research Theory and Experimentation: research hypothesis, research design, experimentation and data gathering, hypothesis testing and data analysis Research Presentation: abstracts, synopses, documentation, writing, referencing and presentation

Further information

Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Design ( CTR11102 )

Introduction: types and sources of dynamic loading, structural vibration and consequences; Single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) systems: motion, natural frequency, undamped/damped free vibration, excitation response, numerical analysis; Multi-degree-of-freedom (MDOF) systems: property matrices, mode shapes, mode superposition; Continuous systems: longitudinal/transverse vibration; Case studies: earthquake ground motion; Eurocode 1998 (EC8): Design of structures for earthquake resistance.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.