MSc soil mechanics
MSc in Soil Mechanics (H2U3), or
... [with Environmental Geotechnics (H2UN)], or
... [with Engineering Seismology (H2U4)], or
... [with Business Management (H2A4)], or
Established in 1950 the MSc course cluster in Soil Mechanics remains the flagship in its subject. The staff profile, present and Emeritus (including four Rankine Lecturers), and first class facilities make the course internationally renowned. Alumni from the course hold senior positions around the world and their work and engagement in the profession ensures the high reputation of these qualifications from Imperial College. Our close links with the Imperial College Engineering Geology, Environmental Engineering, Rock Mechanics and Hydrology Sections ensure that our MSc students are exposed to the latest developments in all aspects of Geotechnics.
Applications are invited from undergraduates completing their first degree, as well as those with relevant industrial and professional experience. Applications may be considered from those with degrees in other branches of engineering and earth sciences. The minimum entry requirement for consideration is a good degree from a UK university (at upper second class or above), or an overseas equivalent. Special cases, based on relevant postgraduate industrial experience, may be made in some circumstances.
Accordion - MSc Soil Mechanics
Aims and objectives
Concerned with the application of soil mechanics in engineering practice; and known for making key advances in soil mechanics such as field instrumentation, residual strength measurements, local strain measurement of soil samples, direct soil suction measurements, advanced numerical modelling procedures, constitutive models and hollow cylinder soil testing techniques. We also strive to give our MSc students a broad knowledge of practical engineering, understanding the realities of the physical world as well as the elegant theories.
The course is designed to provide students with a solid technical basis in the key areas of geotechnics through a coherent, coordinated and balanced degree programme, integrating core engineering science and recent research findings with practical application.
Full or part time study options
The full-time programme is taken over 12 months, with a single entry point per year at the beginning of October, part-time is available on a Term Release part-time basis only.
Download the Guidance for Tier-4 Visa-dependent students for Part-Time study.
The 4 Soil Mechanics MSc courses share approximately 80% of the curriculum (core modules see side column), while the remaining 20% allow specialisation in the areas of Advanced Soil Mechanics, Engineering Seismology, Environmental Geotechnics and Business Management.
Distinctive features of this programme include strong links with industry, emphasis on field-work, laboratory testing using state-of-the-art facilities and numerical analysis using in-house state-of-the-art software, and teaching by leading experts in the field of Soil Mechanics.
The course comprises two terms of lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes and individual coursework assignments and one term devoted to a research dissertation. The lab classes offer first-hand experience of experimental soil mechanics in our modern, purpose-built teaching laboratories.
The programme also includes three field trips; one weekend in each of the Autumn and Spring terms to investigate the engineering geology and geotechnical issues in two distinct areas of the UK and a one-week study tour in the beginning of the Summer term visiting several geotechnical and geological projects in Southern Europe. A year comprises two separate periods. The first includes lectures, tutorials and individual coursework assignments, the second consisting of a research dissertation. The dissertation may be undertaken at College or in collaboration with industry. Other projects have involved a period of data collection or field study abroad. The combined cost of these trips will not exceed £1,000. For more information please download our short MSc Geotechnics flyer (pdf).
Assessments include individual and group courseworks; laboratory and fieldwork projects; presentations to industry; written and oral examinations and a research dissertation. To complete the requirements of the degree, all assessments must be undertaken to the appropriate level. Successful candidates will be awarded the MSc degree of Imperial College London and the Diploma of Imperial College (DIC).
Links with industry
Our courses are supported by a group of Companies which make up our Industrial Bursary Scheme. Current members are: Arab Center for Engineering Studies (ACES), Ardaman & Associates Inc, Arup Geotechnics, Atkins Consultants Ltd, Fugro Geoconsulting Ltd, Gardline Geosciences Ltd, Geotechnical Consulting Group, Geotechnical Observations Ltd, Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB), Mott MacDonald, Royal HaskoningDHV, Tony Gee & Partners, Vattenfall and Wentworth House Partnership. As well as supporting some of our students, a few of these companies host recruitment evenings during the year and also give Visiting Lectures to our students.
Optional add-on module: Business management
Each of these options comprise 120 hours of study and are taken as an alternative to the modules listed in the syllabus.
Syllabus for Business Management
These options also have some entry requirements, to find out more see the Business Management page.
Our courses are supported by a group of 14 Companies which make up our Industrial Bursary Scheme. The Scheme aims to provide industrially funded bursary awards for our students. Funding normally covers the full fees as well as a contribution towards subsistence costs and is available to UK based students. Other funding opportunities include 2 Statoil Scholarships and a number of Departmental fee scholarships.
Companies forming the bursary group organise recruitment events and regularly recruit our MSc graduates contributing to the excellent employability record of our graduates.
Further resources for this programme
|Pdf document||Student Handbook - Geotechnics Cluster 2017-2018
Student Handbook - Geotechnics Cluster 2018-2019
|Webpage||Syllabus and modules|
|Webpage||Programme Specification - Geotechnics Cluster|
|Webpage||Term release options|
|Webpage||Entry on the College Prospectus|
|Pdf document||Professional skills development for Master's studentsProfessional skills development for Master's students|
|Pdf document||Geotechnics Cluster - Printable Flyer|
|Resources for this course|
MSc Application Information
|Award||Sponsor||Eligibility and number of awards||Value|
|Departmental MSc Scholarships||The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering||All candidates who have indicated their wish to be considered for available funding at the application stage.
Awards will be based on academic excellence and relevant experience.
Number of awards: tbc
Application Deadline: 31 March 2019
|Full or partial tuition fee waiver|
|Geotechnics MSc Industrial Bursaries||A consortium of Geotechnical employers||Bursaries are awarded to successful applicants to the Geotechnics Cluster MSc courses on excellent academic and professional records, supported by relevant references and a strong personal statement. Priority is given to UK-Based applicants.
Number of awards: 5-10
Deadline to apply: 31 May 2019
|Typical contributions of £5,000 to £10,000 towards the course tuition fees and in some cases, subsistence|
|Rees Jeffreys Road Fund Bursaries
|Rees Jeffreys Road Fund||Bursaries are awarded to students who obtained a first degree of at least 2.1 standard or equivalent and who wish to pursue a masters course in a subject directly related to highways and transportation. Apply through the Department.
Number of awards: Up to 3
Deadline to apply: 30 May 2019
|Brian Large Bursary||Brian Large Bursary Fund||Bursaries are awarded to full-time, UK resident, applicants, who have obtained a first degree of at least 2:1 standard or equivalent and who wish to pursue a masters course in a subject directly related to transport.
Number of awards: Up to 3
Deadline to apply: 30 May 2019
|These are the only sources of funding available within the Department. For European and Overseas applicants there are many foundations and organisations who can help with and advise on funding, including the British Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Society for Underwater Technology (Geotechnics). Enquiries should be directed to the relevant organisation.|
|Departmental contact for||Name, email and phone number|
|MSc and Scholarships||Fionnuala Donovan, Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 5929|
|Geotechnics MSc Industrial Bursaries||Sue Feller, Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6077|
|Rees Jeffreys Road Fund Bursaries
Brian Large Bursary
|firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6100|
Minimum academic entry requirements
- A good Upper Second or First Class Degree result (or International equivalent), in engineering or another numerate discipline, or Masters level degree qualification
- Good mathematical skills (B or above at A-level or equivalent qualification)
- Relevant Postgraduate industrial experience is favoured
- English Language qualification (where relevant)
Applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to present an English language qualification, passed at the appropriate level. This may follow the application if not available at the time of submission. Please see the College English language requirements for postgraduate applicants for information. Please also check that your previous study meets the minimum academic requirements by country index.
Note: The Department may set higher requirements than those specified by the College as minimum entry requirements and that places are not guaranteed for any applicant. Relevance of degrees and eligibility can be checked with the Department.
The application process and essential information
When to apply
The application cycle opens late October / early November for entry in the following October. Early application is recommended, in order to ensure that any scholarship application deadlines are met. We receive the bulk of applications in December/January, and offers for places are normally issued after that time.
We do not have an official deadline for application, we close to applicants when we have made sufficient offers to fill the available places. Application before the end of March of the year of entry is advised.
Before you apply:
- Prepare transcripts of study, which you normally request from your University. These should include all modules you have undertaken and the marks you have been awarded in each. If you are still undertaking your degree studies, please provide a list of the modules you are undertaking in your final year. If they are not in English, please include a translated copy. Always ensure that you include a copy of the University Marking Scheme.
- If English Language is a requirement, please ensure that you have familiarised yourself with the English Language qualifications accepted by the College and the expected level of achievement in each. If not available at the time of application, the English Language qualification information can follow.
- Identify two individuals to act as referees on your behalf. Ensure that they are in a position to write a letter of support appropriate to the application which you are submitting, and that they are familiar with you, your abilities, your achievements and your potential for postgraduate study. Reference letters are confidential and must come direct from the referee to the College, not via the applicant. The letters must be recent, relevant and dated.
- Prepare an up-to-date CV-Resume and a Personal Statement (or letter of motivation).
When completing the online form please ensure that you include:
- Brief details on Secondary Level education; how you propose to fund your studies (if via scholarship, please ensure that you provide details of those you have applied to and the date you will expect a response); as well as the expected or final outcome of your degree(s) of study.
- Highlight your mathematical qualifications and capabilities.
- Include in your application the email contact details of your referees. These must be professional email accounts, we do not accept reference letters submitted from private accounts (gmail, yahoo, etc...). Please ensure your referees are aware of this requirement. Where the referee does not have a professional email account, then a standard reference letter on original official letter-headed notepaper will be an acceptable alternative. These should be sent direct to the College.
- As a rough guide - if you are yet to graduate, two academic references are appropriate. If you have been out of education for more than two years, and in full-time relevant employment, then two professional references would likely be more appropriate. Other applicants should consider nominating one professional and one academic referee. If we require further references we will advise you following receipt of the references from your nominated referees.
- Following submission of the online application:
- You will receive an email acknowledgement that your application has successfully submitted.
- Within a few days you will receive a reference number, this is an 8-digit number starting with 0, is called your College Identifier Number (CID), and must be quoted in all correspondence.
- You will be able to track your online application until it is forwarded to the Department. Your online e-service account from then on will read "with Department" until a decision on your application is returned. You will, however, receive notifications by email when your referees submit their letters of support online.
Application documentation [guidance]:
Admission is very competitive and the admissions panels will pay close attention to all aspects of your application, the following is provided for guidance:
- Academic reference letter: will outline your academic strengths, achievements and suitability for the programme to which you have applied. This includes any information on your relative performance within your cohort, any other pertinent information, including personal knowledge of you, the applicant, and any activities in which you have engaged that might highlight your non-academic activities or personal qualities.
- Work reference letter: [for those currently or previously in employment] will outline the nature and duration of your relationship with the referee. It will inform your industrial/professional experience and abilities, and explain how further training [MSc specific] would enhance your personal development, skills and contribution to the industry or company.
- Personal Statement: will show clearly defined career path including short and medium-term goals, outline personal achievements and motivations, and highlights from your CV-Resume. This is your opportunity to personalise your application, to show you as an individual, setting yourself apart from other applicants. Ensure that it is interesting, relevant and concise.
- CV-Resume – should be clear, concise and easily legible.
- Transcripts – where available, include complete transcripts containing final degree outcomes and marking schemes. For applicants in the final year of study, partial transcripts are fine but should be accompanied by a list of final year modules and project/dissertation title. These should be provided in English.
- Outcome of Degree – this should be included in all cases, whether actual or predicted. Please include the marking scheme.
- Additional documentation – please include if relevant, but do not clutter the application. We will come back to you to request items if we feel that they are relevant or necessary.
Your application should be complete, clean, include all relevant information and be interesting to the reader – approach it as you would a professional job application. Choose your referees carefully and ensure that they are aware of what information should be included in support of your application.
The following additional tools may be used as part of the decision-making process:
- Interview [in-person or Skype] and/or
- Video submission responses to questions and/or
- Additional mathematical, language or other tests as appropriate.
|H2G1||MSc Advanced Materials for Sustainable Infrastructure|
||MSc Concrete Structures|
|H2A3||MSc Earthquake Engineering|
|H2A1||MSc General Structural Engineering|
|H2U5||MSc Structural Steel Design|
|H141||MSc Engineering Fluid Mechanics for the Offshore, Coastal and Built Environments|
|H2UM||MSc Environmental Engineering|
|H2A8||MSc Environmental Engineering with Business Management|
|H2UP||MSc Hydrology and Water Resources Management|
|H2B1||MSc Hydrology with Business Management|
|H2U3||MSc Soil Mechanics|
|H2A4||MSc Soil Mechanics with Business Management|
|H2U4||MSc Soil Mechanics with Engineering Seismology|
|H2UN||MSc Soil Mechanics with Environmental Geotechnics|
|H2UR||Intercollegiate MSc Course in Transport|
|H2B3||Intercollegiate MSc Course in Transport with Business Management|
The Departmental Process:
Your online application is received in the Postgraduate Office of the Department, where it is held until it is considered complete. It is then subject to preliminary screening before forwarding to individual clusters for consideration. Please note that some applications do not pass preliminary screening, and it is possible for a decision to be returned to the College at this stage.
For candidates who have cleared preliminary screening, a completed application ready for forwarding to the MSc clusters will include:
- Both of your reference letters, it is your responsibility to ensure that these are received - you can check this via your e-service account.
- Transcripts, partial or complete, of all degrees you have undertaken, or are currently undertaking.
- Personal Statement.
The MSc Cluster Admissions Panels consider applications, and in some cases interview applicants or request further information, before decisions are made. We aim to process completed applications within 2-6 weeks of receipt by the relevant Admissions Panel.
Decisions are informed to, and processed by, the College Admissions Office, notifications are sent to the email address on record.