Module Descriptors – Master of Science in Structural Engineering

Core Modules

Structural Engineering Design

This module will develop the students’ competences in structural design to an advanced level. It will cover the aspects of structural design including concepts, structural forms, sustainability, and detailed design. It will cover the topics including combined effects of axial force and bending, slender columns, and two-way slab systems in concrete; design of steel members for axial, flexure and torsion, as well as design of different types of connections. The students will also gain knowledge about the various available materials such as high performance concrete and steel, and the effects of the hot weather in the Gulf region on the properties of these materials.

Advanced Structural & Seismic Analysis

This module will enable students to gain knowledge and understanding and provide scientific information on Advanced Matrix Analysis, structural dynamics and Seismic Design. It is expected that by the end of the module, learners should be able to analyse any framed structure subjected to applied loads, temperature variations, initial strains, and/or support settlements using the direct stiffness method in the context of finite element formulations. This module will also include the topics of ground motion, and the calculation of structural response to seismic action.

Structural Rehabilitation

This module will enable students to gain knowledge and understanding and provide scientific and practical information on a wide range of structural durability issues. The module discusses a number of chemical as well as physical deterioration mechanisms of concrete and reinforced concrete and the modelling and predicting of their effects and also discusses what to consider in the design, selection of materials, and the construction processes to improve and control the concrete durability, the deterioration of other structural materials such as steel, concrete and composites will also be covered. This module will also enable students to gain knowledge and understanding of the process of inspecting of structural deterioration and a range of methods of repairs, retrofitting, and protection.

Advanced Structural Design

This module will enable students to gain in depth knowledge and provide comprehensive scientific information on advanced concepts in reinforced concrete design, analysis and design of prestressed concrete, and advanced structural steel systems. It will cover the design of deep beams as well as a comprehensive design of a prestressed concrete girder along with the losses calculation.  It also includes complete design examples for structural steel members and connections. The students will also gain knowledge about the composite materials and the related design concepts.

Foundation Engineering

This module aims to extend students’ knowledge of the physical properties, flow-through properties, and failure mechanisms of granular materials in a geotechnical engineering context. The focus is on applying advanced understanding of mechanics to geotechnical problem solving with an emphasis on fluid-soil interaction. The approach links soil mechanics theory (e.g. seepage, consolidation and settlement) to practical applications (e.g. deformation of foundations) via physical models and case studies. The geo-engineering software Plaxis will be used to provide the students with a hands-on experience in the design of complex foundation systems.


Elective Modules

Special Topics in Structural Engineering

This module provides students with an opportunity to gain an in depth understanding of the theories and issues on advanced topics in Civil Engineering. The module would cover new theories and/or technologies and/or applications that are not offered in the current modules descriptions.

Sustainable Built Environment

The module introduces the fundamental principles guiding sustainable development of the built environment including avoidance or minimisation of negative impacts on the environment; conservation and efficient use of natural resources; preservation of cultural patterns; and ecological harmony and respect for biodiversity.  The concept of sustainable development is discussed within the limitations imposed by the present state of technology and the social organisation of environmental resources, and by the ability of the biosphere to absorb the effects of human activity.  The module introduces tools for measuring and evaluating the impact of urban development on the environmental as well as the social economic wellbeing of the urban system.

Infrastructure Management

Infrastructure systems are fundamental for the economic growth and operation of any public services. Enterprises and public authorities depend on infrastructure systems for all aspects of daily operations. The module aims to introduce students to the challenges that existing in the development and operation of infrastructure projects. The module will develop student’s understanding and knowledge of infrastructure assets development and operation.

 Construction Project Management Professional Practice

This the module aims to provide students with advanced level knowledge, skills and experience to appreciate the complex landscape of contemporary civil and construction projects; and to develop students’ knowledge, practical understanding and skills of project management professional practice within the construction and built environment industry; looking specifically at stakeholders, planning, contacts, risks, BIM, health & safety and sustainability – and the interlink between the interdisciplinary, diversity and multifaceted nature of civil and construction projects.

Management of Project

This unit is designed to provide a foundational perspective on the challenges of managing projects by placing them in their organisational context and introducing students to the range of management issues that are incorporated in the ‘management of projects’ paradigm. The keynote lectures will also introduce students many of the subjects that will be considered in greater depth in the core and optional modules in the MSc Management of Projects.  The unit will introduce students to the APM Body of Knowledge and PMI project management processes. Also the model will introduce students to recent advanced PM methodologies.


Having successfully completed the six modules in the taught stage of the programme, students who wish to proceed to the master’s degree (Dissertation route) take the dissertation stage. The dissertation is intended to give students an opportunity to focus on an aspect of the taught subject matter and investigate it in more detail. This will help them consolidate their capacity for independent study, and to learn some of the techniques needed to conduct research and develop knowledge in the subject area of the programme of study.

This is a research project. The only piece of work to be submitted for examination is a dissertation, and this is a written report on the research. There are thus two aspects to consider: the research and the writing. Both are governed by implicit rules common to the discipline of formal research; part of the students’ training is to become familiar with these rules. Typically, the dissertation word count will range between 20K-40K words, excluding references and appendices.

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