Faculty of Engineering & Design


Duration: 1 year full time (taught).

Application deadline: 30 June (international) / 31 August (home/EU).

Entry requirements: A first or strong second class UK honours degree or internationally recognised equivalent in an engineering or science subject with a high level of structural analysis.

Language requirements: IELTS 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each of the four components).

MSc in Civil Engineering: Innovative Structural Materials

We give you an in-depth understanding of innovative structural engineering materials in today's built environment. You will graduate with the practical knowledge of how to use structural materials to find sustainable and holistic construction solutions.

Construction materials are key to infrastructural development globally. New approaches are now needed for innovative renewable and low-carbon structural engineering materials.

Our course will not only prepare you for a career in the industry, but will also prepare you to continue your studies with a research degree.

Learning outcomes

Our course is for engineering and science graduates who wish to work in the construction industry.

You will develop the skills to use innovative structural engineering materials in sustainable ways for construction. You will also learn how to harness that practical knowledge in a business environment. You will gain analytical and teamwork skills so that you can deal with the open-ended problems typical of structural engineering practice.

You will work with academic specialists in our Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering and benefit from the research expertise of our BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials.

Our course 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. Please visit the Joint Board of Moderators for further information about accreditation.

Collaborative working

The course includes traditionally taught subject-specific units and business and group-orientated modular work. These offer you the chance to gain experience in design, project management and creativity, while working with students from other subjects.

Further details

MSc Innovative Structural Materials programme structure diagram


Group project work

In semester 2 you undertake a cross-disciplinary group activity for your professional development, simulating a typical industrial work situation.

Students and staff discuss the benefits of group activity work as part of the MSc programmes in the Faculty of Engineering & Design.

Individual project work

In the final semester, you undertake an individual research project directly related to key current research at the University, often commissioned by industry.

MSc students and staff from the Faculty of Engineering & Design discuss the benefits of individual project work.

Download our course structure diagram

A full list of units can be found on the programme catalogue.

Semester 1 (October-January)

The first semester provides a foundation in the most significant issues relating to the sustainable use of innovative structural engineering materials in design and construction; and involves units in natural building materials, advanced timber engineering, advanced composites, sustainable concrete technology and architectural structures.

  • Five taught compulsory units
  • Includes coursework involving laboratory or small project sessions.
  • Typically each unit consists of 22 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorials, and may additionally involve a number of hours of laboratory activity and field trips with approximately 65-70 hours of private study (report writing, laboratory results processing and revision for examinations).

Semester 2 (February-May)

Semester 2 consists of a further 30 credits comprising of five core 6 credit units. These units include:

  • Materials engineering in construction
  • Advanced timber engineering
  • Engineering project management.

Students will undertake a group-based design activity and an individual project scoping and planning unit (Project Unit 1). The group-based activity involves application of project management techniques and provides the basis for an integrated approach to Engineering, but with the possibility of specialising in the chosen master's topic.

It is a feature of this programme that the project work proceeds as far as possible in a way typical of best industrial practice. The Semester 2 project activities have significant planning elements including the definition of milestones and deliverables according to a time-scale, defined by the student in consultation with his/her academic supervisor and (where appropriate) his/her industrial advisor.


Summer/Dissertation Period (June-September)

Individual project leading to MSc dissertation.

Depending on the chosen area of interest, the individual project may involve theoretical and/or experimental activities; for both such activities students can use the department computer suites and well-equipped and newly refurbished laboratories for experimental work. The individual projects are generally carried out under the supervision of a member of academic staff.

There may be an opportunity for some projects to be carried out with the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

  • Advanced structures
  • Advanced composites in construction
  • Advanced timber engineering
  • Materials engineering in construction
  • Natural building materials
  • Sustainable concrete technology