School of Earth and Environment

Engineering Geology MSc

(Full time / Part time) 2017 start

Masters in engineering geology


Key facts

  • Duration/Mode:
    12 months full time
    24 months part time
  • UK/EU fees: £7,250 (total)
    International fees: £19,750 (total)
  • Entry requirements:
    A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in geology or a related subject
  • Language requirements:
    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
  • Course terms and conditions

This course provides concentrated one-year training in engineering geology and related geotechnical subjects to prepare you for professional practice in engineering geology and geotechnical engineering.

It gives you a grounding in the application of geological principles to a wide range of fields within civil and mining engineering.

Studying engineering geology will provide you with excellent job opportunities as a result of high calibre academic training, as well as the development of strong skills in terms of both critical and independent thought and team work.

Most of our graduates join environmental consulting companies and consulting engineers, while others go on to PhD studies.

Engineering Geologists

Engineering Geologists are found worldwide working on a wide range of problems, from foundation and mine design to the assessment of seismic and landslide risk.

Their understanding of how groundwater and pollutants travel through the ground may impact on the safe design and construction of excavations and waste disposal sites.

They use geological and geomorphological mapping to identify geological hazards and allow for safe development. Their understanding of the ground and how it responds to static and dynamic loads can influence safe and sustainable siting and design of engineering structures.

It is vital that we design and build in a manner which is safe, environmentally friendly, cost effective and sensitive to climate change.

Engineering geologists, with a unique understanding of the ground, and a broad appreciation of rates of geological processes over engineering time, are intimately involved in this process.

Alumni Profile

"My MSc in Engineering Geology has given me a good and relevant knowledge base for my role. ... I have drawn on specific aspects of the course frequently."

Lucy Griffith, Gardline Geosciences

Read More

Alumni Profile

"The course has greatly improved my employment prospects. It has a global approach to the subject, rather than being solely focused on UK aspects. "

Neal Gunn, Geotechnical engineering consultancy, Australia

Read More

Course highlights:

  • Your teaching will be delivered by the School of Earth and Environment with substantial input from the School of Civil Engineering.
  • Attend a series of School seminars and wider university events. The University frequently hosts the Yorkshire Geotechnical Group (Institution of Civil Engineers) and is involved with the Yorkshire Regional Group of the Geological Society.
  • Complete a 4 month individual dissertation project often with organisations outside the University such as consulting engineers, civil engineering contractors and the British Geological Survey.
  • The School's £23m building gives you access to world-class research, teaching and laboratory facilities, many of which will be available to you throughout your studies.
  • Benefit from our strong connections with industry:
    • We have been training Engineering Geologists over 50 years and maintain links with alumni who can be found in many companies across the globe.
    • Industry colleagues contribute to teaching and an Industry Advisory Board informs the content of this course.

Programme team

Be taught by staff from across the school, mainly:

Dr Jared West (Programme Leader)

Dr Mark Hildyard

Professor Steve Hencher

Dr Bill Murphy

School of Civil Engineering:

Professor Barry Clarke

Dr Doug Stewart

Visiting and emeritus lecturers:

  • Mr Matthew Baldwin, visiting Lecturer in Site Investigation (Vinci Construction)
  • Dr Bob J. Fowell visiting Lecturer in Rock Mechanics
  • Dr Evan Passaris, visiting Professor in Geotechnical Engineering (Atkins)
  • Dr Chris Danilewicz, visiting Lecturer in Engineering Geology (CH2M-Hill).


Be assured that the quality and relevance of our teaching has been recognised by an independent body of academics and industrialists through our Geological Society of London Professional Accreditation.


Geological Society accreditation will reduce the amount of experience required for you to reach Chartered Geologist status, an important career step in Geoscience.

This degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) if you have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng(Hons) or an Accredited IEng (Full) BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree. The degree is also an accredited European Engineering degree.

Course content

Take 2 terms of lectures and laboratory classes, followed by approximately 4 months of individual work, leading to the submission of a dissertation; and supervised fieldtrips and industrial and construction site visits.

You can also study this course part-time. Please contact the Admissions Team if you are already working within the industry, we can discuss possible routes to allow continued employment.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Geological Investigation and Characterisation 30 credits
  • Soils Engineering 30 credits
  • Rock Engineering 30 credits
  • Engineering Geology: Dissertation Project 60 credits
  • Hydrogeology and Contaminant Processes 15 credits
  • Hazards, Resilience and Sustainable Engineering 15 credits

Learning and teaching

You will be taught via lectures, individual and group class-based practicals, laboratory practicals, field courses and independent project work.


  • Access your own dedicated computing suite with lockers available for storing personal items.
  • Test and interpret data related to the geotechnical, mining and petroleum sectors around the world in our Geotechnical and Engineering geology laboratories.
  • Carry out soil and rock testing from triaxial testing, direct shear tests, density tests to slake durability and permeability tests all to ISRM, CIRIA, EuroCode and other recognised standards.
  • Establish the properties and behaviour of rocks and soils through thin section analysis, X-ray diffraction, pulse decay permeametry, computerised axial tomography and other advanced techniques.
  • Use a suite of industry-standard software packages including RocScience and ArcGIS.


You will be assessed on your written and oral assignments, field-based assessments and exams, as well as seminars and a dissertation project.

Alumni Profile

"My MSc in Engineering Geology provided me with a lot of information which helped me in my everyday tasks and allowed me to enroll in my job without facing any technical difficulties."

Ali Zidane, Geotechnical Engineer, Beirut-Lebanon

Read More

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in an earth science, engineering, civil engineering, mining or a related discipline.

If you have a lower qualification, you may also be considered based on relevant industrial experience and/or additional supporting evidence.

We require Mathematics to AS or A level (pass grade) or international equivalent, but this requirement can be waived on an ad-hoc basis given appropriate mathematical content of your first degree or industrial experience.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Science and Engineering B (6 weeks) and Language for Science and Engineering A (10 weeks).

How to apply

Read School of Earth and Environment advice on how to apply.

Early application

This course is very competitive. We advise you to submit your application for 2017 entry as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Visas and Immigration

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Link to admissions policy document


UK/EU fees: £7,250 (total)
International fees: £19,750 (total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Industry scholarships

We appreciate that funding to undertake a postgraduate degree is a significant issue for individual students.

Based on the course's long history of turning out well qualified graduates, we have strong company links which typically offer a number of studentships available for UK/EU students (full and partial awards).

Find out more about our Industry scholarships.

School Scholarships

Find out more about our School scholarships.

Other funding sources:

Panasonic Trust

Funding for professional development and the retraining of engineers in the UK is available from the Panasonic Trust.

Don Keeble Trust via Southern Testing

Bursaries for UK candidates may be available from the Don Keeble Trust run via Southern Testing. Selection critiera applies. Enquiries can be made in the first instance to the School of Earth and Environment.

***If you are thinking of funding the course yourself you should consider that graduates have a high success rate in gaining (generally well paid) employment.***

Career opportunities

After completion of the course, employment prospects are excellent, many of our graduates have several job offers.

Examples of organisations our graduates work for are:

  • AECOMM (formerly URS / Scott, Wilson), Consulting Engineers
  • Arups, Consulting Engineers
  • Atkins, Consulting Engineers
  • British Geological Survey
  • British Waterways
  • Burro Happold
  • Byland Engineering
  • CH2M-Hill (formerly Halcrow), Consulting Engineers
  • Donaldsons Associates
  • Golder Associates, Consulting Engineers
  • Hyder
  • Jacobs-Babtie Group, Consulting
  • Mott MacDonald, Consulting Engineers
  • Robinson Design Group
  • Royal Haskoning
  • Wardell Armstrong, Consulting Engineers.


Careers support

We offer extra support and activities to help you stand out in your chosen field and achieve your career goals.

In particular, employers frequency advertise opportunities via the programme team.

There is also an opportunity to network with industry sponsors at a dedicated Industry Recruitment Day, as well as opportunities to undertake dissertation project work with potential employers.

The School of Earth and Environment has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability and has its own dedicated Employability Officer. Read more about our careers and employability.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Alumni Profile

"The course provided me with an excellent theoretical and practical background, which I am now building on with experience in my employment."

Richard Clark, Cementation Foundations Skanska

Read More

Industry links

You will benefit from our excellent links with the civil engineering industry.

Workshops and seminars are frequently given by colleagues from professional practice, while site visits allow you to see current practice in the field.

We also have an active Industry Advisory Board which meets once per year to consider feedback from students and external examiners, as well as the need to ensure course content is updated to reflect current advances in the subject.

The Industry Advisory Board consists of:

  • Aktins
  • CH2M-Hill
  • Mott MacDonald
  • Wardell Armstrong.

A number of industrial sponsors have donated prizes which can be awarded annually to high achieving students:

  • Soils Engineering Prize for Excellence in Geotechnical Studies at Postgraduate Level, for outstanding all-round performance
  • Atkins Prize for excellence in project work
  • Wardell Armstrong Prize for Engineering Geological Fieldwork.

The Masters has a strong and historical alumni association with Leeds Engineering Geological Society.

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