Advanced Structural Engineering MSc

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


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.

Typical entry points to this course are in January and September. Please enquire for more information.

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Mode of Study:

Full-time (available as Part-time)


1 year

Start date:


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Course details

Through this highly technical course you will develop skills in numerical simulation using a variety of advanced software.

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.

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    How you’ll be taught

    The main approach is face-to-face lectures and tutorial. In addition to this, computer labs are used to teach engineering software and structural laboratory will be used to conduct small to large-scale structural test.  You will also undertake independent learning and research. 

    This is a full-time course and is split up into three trimesters. You can choose to start in either January or September.


    • September starts: 12 months
    • January starts: 18 months with a three-month break over the summer (after the first taught trimester)
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    Your performance will be assessed by course work, assignments, laboratory reports and final examination.
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    Heavy structural lab at Merchiston allows to conduct small to large scale structural engineering tests. Computer suites supports students to use different finite element based software to analyse and design structures.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Advanced Mechanics of Material and Finite Element Analysis ( CTR11129 )

Review of Matrix algebra; force method & stiffness method
Stress, strain and their relation, equilibrium and compatibility.
Yield criteria and limit analysis.
Formulation of boundary value problems in elasticity, solution techniques and examples.
Torsion theory, membrane analogy, effect of warping restraint.
method, Solution of large systems of linear equations
Finite element method, solution procedures, and solution bound
Plane strain and plane stress elements
Isoparametric elements
Beam elements
Plate bending elements
Flat shell elements
Structural dynamics & eigenvalue problems
Three-dimensional stress analysis

Further information

Advanced Structural Concrete ( CTR11118 )

Unit 1: Introduction - Materials for making concrete - Properties of Fresh Concrete
Unit 2: Concrete mix design principles and Properties of hardened concrete
Unit 3: Materials science and Fracture Mechanics for Concrete
Unit 4: Dimensional Stability of Concrete
Unit 5: Durability of Concrete and Inspection Strategies
Unit 6: Introduction to Prestressed Concrete Design
Unit 7: Design of Prestressed Concrete Structures – Bending
Unit 8: Design of Prestressed Concrete Structures (Shear) and Composite Prestressed/RC structures
Unit 9: Design of Composite Prestressed/RC structures – Examples
Unit 10: Introduction to Composite Steel-Concrete structures
Unit 11: Design of Composite sections (ULS) and shear connectors

Further information

Advanced Structural Steel Design ( CTR11119 )

Unit 1: Design process and design philosophies, Review of Analysis topics
Unit 2: EC0 and EC1: use of Eurocodes for structural design principles and loading,
Unit 3: EC3: Use of Eurocode 3 for the design of structural steelwork: review of material properties, section classification, axially loaded members (in tension and compression).
Unit 4: EC3: Use of Eurocode 3 for the design of structural steelwork: review of design requirements for flexural members.
Unit 5: Elastic instability implications and advanced examples on the design of Lattice girders (part I).
Unit 6: Advanced examples on the design of Lattice girders (part II).
Unit 7: EC3: Flexural and torsional buckling of lattice girders
Unit 8: EC3: In-plane behaviour of thin plates in lattice girders
Unit 9: EC3: Design approach for lattice girders with stiffeners
Unit 10: Fatigue analysis of steel under different loading conditions

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 of shallow and deep foundations: by ground test results; by load test results.
Cyclic behaviour of soils: Dynamic properties of soils, their measurement and interpretation. Pore water pressure development, soil liquefaction and stiffness degradation. Wave propagation, soil amplification and topography effects.
Seismic geotechnical design: Seismic bearing capacity according to Eurocode 8. Mononobe-Okabe approaches for the calculation of earth pressures, pipeline design.
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 )

Unit 1: Introduction of structural dynamics
Unit 2: Single degree of freedom (SDOF) systems
Unit 3: Un-damped and damped free vibration of SDOF systems
Unit 4: Response of SDOF systems to harmonic, periodic and arbitrary dynamic excitations
Unit 5: Numerical evaluation of dynamic response of SDOF systems
Unit 6: Introduction to Multiple Degree of Freedom (MDOF) System
Unit 7: Introduction to Earthquake Engineering
Unit 8: Principles of structural analysis in Earthquake resistant design.
Unit 9: Estimating seismic actions to Eurocode 8
Unit 10: Seismic analysis in context of profesional Codes (Eurocode 8)

Further information

Timber Engineering ( CTR11136 )

2. An Introduction to the Module, Timber and Timber engineering – Robert Hairstans (RH)
3. Ultimate Limit State & Serviceability Limit State and the Basis of Timber Design – Andrew Livingstone (AL)
4. Member design: analyse and DESIGN statically determinate timber beams, columns and load bearing elements – (AL)
5. Material Grading, Classification and Mechanical Properties: the material properties of time and how it is classified and graded for structural use – Dan Ridley Ellis (DRE)
6. Case Study / Coursework: an overview of a case study with design related coursework activity – (AL)
7. Connections 1: The theory of connection DESIGN and Eurocode design principles – (AL)
8. Connections 2 / Diaphragm Action: An overview of other connection types such as toothed nailed plates and moment connections and also the design of systems using connections such as wall diaphragms – (AL)
9. Engineered and Truss Systems: the DESIGN principles of engineered systems including truss design - Wojciech Plowas (WP)
10. Mass timber design: the DESIGN principles – (WP)
11. Massive Timber Systems: an overview of the varying types of mass timber systems and their structural DESIGN considerations – (RH); Engineering Timber Products and Systems: Case study of structural timber use by an invited guest lecturer – TBC
12. Fire: fire performance of structural timber systems in the temporary and permanent state – Ivor Davies, Dynamics / Vibrational Performance: theory of the dynamic response of timber systems and vibrational performance – (Abel)

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.


Institute for Sustainable Construction

The Institute comprises some of Scotland’s leading built environment applied research and knowledge transfer centres. We cover a range of disciplines, including SMART cities, acoustics, energy, offsite construction, timber engineering, wood science.


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

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a 2:2 or above for a Bachelor (Honours) Degree within the Civil Engineering discipline.

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.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £6,930 tba
Overseas and EU £17,090 tba
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here
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