Researchers at work in an engineering lab.
  • Postgraduate taught
  • MSc

Geotechnical Engineering

Examine the theory of geomechanics and explore the properties of soils and soft rocks.

Examine the theory of geomechanics and explore the properties of soils and soft rocks

Improve your lab research skills in state-of-the-art facilities

Further your learning on study field trips in the UK and abroad

Course key facts

Minimum entry standard

  • 2:1 in civil engineering, natural sciences, earth sciences or other numerate disciplines

View full entry requirements

Course overview

Focus on advanced aspects of soil behaviour, related theoretical frameworks and their application to geotechnical problems on this one-year, MSc course.

This course will provide you with a solid technical basis in the key areas of geotechnics through a balanced degree programme which integrates core engineering science and recent research findings with practical applications.

You'll gain first-hand experience of experimental soil mechanics working in modern, purpose-built laboratories, through a mixture of theoretical and practical learning.

This degree will also enable you to forge strong links with industry and enhance your fieldwork skills on a series of trips to areas of geological and geotechnical interest in the UK and abroad.

This course is part of the geotechnics cluster of courses at Imperial. These streams share approximately 80% of the curriculum, while the remaining 20% allows specialisation in the areas of advanced Soil Mechanics, Engineering Seismology, Environmental Geotechnics and Engineering Geology.


This page is updated regularly to reflect the latest version of the curriculum. However, this information is subject to change.

Find out more about potential course changes.

Please note: it may not always be possible to take specific combinations of modules due to timetabling conflicts. For confirmation, please check with the relevant department.

You’ll take all of these core modules.

Core modules

You’ll also undertake a specific piece of independent research.

This could take the form of a critical review, a laboratory- or field-based experimental investigation, or a modelling/numerical analysis project. 

Your project and results will be reported in a research dissertation.

Professional accreditation

This MSc degree is accredited on behalf of the Engineering Council by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM), comprising:

  • Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Institution of Structural Engineers
  • Institute of Highway Engineers
  • Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation

This degree is recognised 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**. 

Registering as a Chartered Engineer will improve your career prospects and provide higher earning potential. It will also help to demonstrate your commitment to professional standards, the engineering profession and sustainable development.

Our accreditation agreement with members of the Joint Board of Moderators is renewed every five years. The current accreditation agreement is due to be renewed in 2026.

**Candidates completing the MSc who hold an underpinning accredited IEng degree or a non-accredited Bachelor's degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to determine whether they will meet the educational base for CEng registration.

Teaching and assessment

Balance of teaching and learning


  • Lectures and seminars
  • Independent study

  • 30% Lectures and seminars
  • 70% Independent study

Teaching and learning methods

  • Person at lectern giving speech
  • Four students sitting in a tutorial
  • Laboratory practicals
  • Computer sessions
  • Field trips
  • ID badge for site visit or facility tour
    Site visits
  • Blackboard virtual learning environment
    Virtual learning environment
  • Books for research studies
    Research project

Balance of assessment


  • Coursework and practicals
  • Examinations

  • 34% Coursework and practicals
  • 66% Examinations

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Group projects and presentations
  • Papers from a written report
    Field trip notes and presentations
  • A person completing a written exam
    Written exams and e-examinations
  • Research dissertation

Entry requirements

We consider all applicants on an individual basis, welcoming students from all over the world.

How to apply

Apply online

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can choose up to two courses.

Application deadlines – Round 4 closes on Friday 5 July 2024

Tuition fees

Home fee




£8,800per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Overseas fee




£20,450per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

How will studying at Imperial help my career?

Hand holding soil and a plant

Develop the essential core knowledge and skills for a career in soil mechanics.

Person surrounded by small images of other people

Build relationships with industry contacts you'll meet throughout the program.

Chemistry research on computer screen

Work in the field, conduct lab tests, and analyse numerical data to gain practical experience.

Consultant with a speech bubble

Become an international consultant, contractor or work for a governmental body or academic institution.

Graduate Cap above rolled Degree

Our graduates often pursue further study in master's programs or doctoral research in geotechnics.

Terms and conditions

There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to Imperial. These include key information about your tuition fees, funding, visas, accommodation and more.

Read our terms and conditions

You can find further information about your course, including degree classifications, regulations, progression and awards in the programme specification for your course.

Programme specifications