School of Engineering

BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering

Gain the skills and knowledge needed to be a key player in today’s civil engineering industry. With our accredited course you’ll develop expertise in providing sustainable, environmentally responsible solutions for society's demands. You can also benefit from an optional year’s placement in paid professional employment. The BSc (Hons) is accredited by professional engineering institutions for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer.

Key features

  • Start your professional career from day one with a course accredited by the  Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation. Our BSc (Hons) is accredited by our professional engineering institutions for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and partly meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng). 
  • Immerse yourself in the real world of civil engineering through site visits, field courses and visiting lectures from leading Chartered Civil Engineers working on major projects.
  • Benefit from our new £19 million Marine Building, which offers you opportunities to learn water engineering and coastal engineering.  
  • Learn from our teaching staff of professionally qualified experts with relevant experience from the civil engineering industry and researchers with national and international reputations. 100 per cent of our students say our staff are good at explaining things [source: Unistats].
  • Get ahead in your career by spending an optional placement year working as a paid student engineer, a great opportunity to further your knowledge and make important industry contacts.
  • Learn a host of design skills from problem solving to sustainable development, as well as developing the critical thinking that plays a key role in the work of a civil engineer, including interpreting and analysing data.
  • Develop your professional skills including communication, self-management, team working and leadership, all vital in pursuing a rewarding career.
  • Increase your employability by taking an HSE-recognised diving qualification as part of your course, allowing you to work professionally in underwater technology.
  • Choose major options in geotechnics or coastal engineering design. 
  • Join our extensive network of professionally qualified Chartered Civil Engineer graduates from Plymouth University and now work at all levels in the industry both nationally and internationally.
  • Progress onto the BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering or the MEng (Hons) Civil Engineering after either one or two years of study on the BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering, subject to academic performance.
  • To complement your formal learning we offer regular PALS sessions that provide the opportunity for you to learn with and from your peers. Share knowledge, discuss ideas, and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll be introduced to the role of the professional civil engineer, understanding of the application of mathematics in engineering and the behaviour of civil engineering structures. In the summer you’ll have the option to earn a HSE SCUBA diving qualification (subject to aptitude test and health and safety requirements and additional costs).
    Core modules
    • BPIE100 Stage 1 Placement Preparation

      Focusing on assisting you in your search for a placement, this module will also help prepare you for the placement itself.

    • CIVL101 Civil Engineering Practice 2

      This module covers basic land, site and building surveying methods that are commonly used in the construction industry. It builds on previous knowledge of survey control networks and other surveying principles by teaching students how to communicate their design intent by means of free hand sketching and the production of two and three dimensional CAD models, using standard industry software.

    • MATH188 Engineering Mathematics

      This module begins with a review of basic mathematical techniques and then moves on to cover important functions, complex numbers, calculus and the use of matrices. Many examples used in the module are drawn from Engineering applications.

    • STAD118 Structural Analysis and Design I

      This module considers the concepts of structural mechanics in order to develop an understanding of structural behaviour. It will be based on procedures and practices adopted by the professions in order to develop the working knowledge of current standards and code of practice of structural design. The module is supported by the use of computer software and laboratory work.

    • CIVL100 Civil Engineering Practice 1

      This module introduces and develops your understanding of the skillset, competencies and professional responsibilities required of civil engineering practice. Your professional skills will be developed by participating in site visits, carrying out practical exercises, learning from practising professional engineers and engaging in activities sponsored by the professional bodies.

    • MATS123 Materials for Civil Engineering and Construction

      This module will enable students to develop an understanding of the origins and properties of materials commonly used by the civil engineering industry. Students will be engaged in the practical testing of materials in order to judge their relative strengths and weaknesses. Health and safety matters associated with each of the materials will also be highlighted.

    • MECH121PP Team Engineering (Engineering Design in Action)

      This module helps students foster a technology-based, innovative and creative design identity. This is achieved through development of critical skills coupled with professional, multi-disciplinary teamwork. A practical focus is provided by a range of multi-facetted group design and engineering science projects based upon open-ended, real-world problems.

  • Year 2
  • Explore the core disciplines of civil engineering, from structural analysis and design to hydraulic engineering through lectures, practical activities, site visits and a field course. We’ll introduce you to some specialist areas of the industry, including water engineering, or our unique diving and underwater technology module (for students who have completed the HSE SCUBA qualification).
    Core modules
    • BPIE200 Stage 2 Placement Preparation

      Building on the year one module (BPIE100), this module continues supporting you with your search for a placement and your preparation for the placement itself.

    • COUE218 Introduction to Coastal Engineering

      This module constitutes an introduction to the subject of coastal engineering. It provides an overview of the fundamental concepts of coastal systems and the wider context of conceptual design, together with the basic theory of wave and tidal theory. The programme will consist of a series of lectures and example classes supported by laboratory demonstration using a wave facility, site visits and a group project studying examples of coastal engineering schemes.

    • HYFM226 Hydraulic and Engineering Analysis

      The module builds on the engineering analysis skills developed in stage 1 and introduces further mathematical techniques needed to support the study of civil engineering problems. The analytical principles of hydraulic engineering systems are introduced. The module is supported by laboratory work.

    • MGMT222 Construction Management

      The aim of this module is to deepen students' knowledge and understanding of commercial aspects of construction management and project planning. In addition the module aims to build practical skills in the use of project planning software and the practical use of codes of conduct that guide appropriate personal behaviour in professional engineering practice.

    • GEEN211 Geotechnical Engineering 1

      Geotechnical Engineering is an important discipline within Civil Engineering, for instance in the design of foundations, soil retaining structures, and slopes. This module introduces Geology, and the properties/ behaviour of soil as relevant to Civil Engineering projects. Field trips a lab session are included in the module.

    • STAD214 Structural Engineering 2

      This Module extends the theoretical base established by the Stage 1 Structural Engineering module and considers the analysis and design of statically indeterminate structures.

    Optional modules
    • MASC201 Measurement and Monitoring in the Underwater Environment

      This module allows suitably qualified students (HSE SCUBA or equivalent) to develop industry and research-relevant skills in measurement and monitoring in the underwater environment using professional SCUBA and related techniques. These will then be applied in a multi-disciplinary context to the planning, execution, analysis and reporting of a field-based sampling activity.

    • SURV203 Surveying and the Built Environment

      This module develops students' knowledge and expertise in surveying techniques for spatial data collection in the built environment. It also illustrates the incorporation of 3d spatial data in the design, monitoring and re-development of structures in the built environment.

    • CONS201 Civil Engineering Construction

      The module considers the construction of major civil engineering works and the approaches to planning and undertaking works, health and safety management, sustainability and environmental impact.

  • Optional placement year
  • By taking the opportunity to spend an optional year in a paid professional employment as a student civil engineer, you’ll gain real world experience, industry contacts and the possibility of summer work, sponsorship or a graduate job offer. Our employability service will support you in finding a placement and we offer an extensive network of employers across all sectors.
    Optional modules
    • BPIE340 Civil Engineering Related Placement (Generic)

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study. Help to prepare the student for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year
  • You’ll deepen your understanding of structural analysis and design, advanced hydraulics, construction management and sustainable and safe construction, by immersing yourself in an industry-focused group design project. You’ll also explore what interests you most with a research-based individual project which runs throughout the year. These projects typically involve laboratory, computer-aided modelling, or field work linked to our staffs’ research and professional interests.
    Core modules
    • STAD325 Structural Engineering 3

      This module introduces students to standard industry design practices and builds on their previous knowledge by introducing them to the design of low rise and multi storey structures. Students will also be taught to design individual structural elements within the building envelope. Approximate forms of analysis will be used to asses a structural model and to develop an understanding of structure interaction.

    • HYFM319 Applied Hydraulic Engineering

      The module extends the theoretical base established in hydraulic analysis and applies the knowledge to commonly encountered hydraulic engineering design problems in water distribution systems, open channels and river engineering. The module is supported by laboratory work.

    • GEEN311 Geotechnical Engineering 2

      Geotechnical Engineering is an important discipline within Civil Engineering. Geotechnical Engineering 1 considered the properties and behaviour of `soil¿. This module considers application of this knowledge in analysis/ design of foundations, soil retaining structures, and slopes. Reference is made to Eurocode 7 where appropriate.

    • PRCC304 Interdisciplinary Design Project

      This group project requires students to combine their theoretical, analytical and practical skills, applying them to the design of a civil engineering project which will encompass not only core civil engineering knowledge, but also the specialist areas of study selected by the student.

    • PRCE308 Individual Project

      The Individual Project is an in-depth research investigation integrating aspects of the course. The project will include theoretical, computational and/or experimental work, in addition to a critical literature review. The subject of study must relate to civil/coastal engineering and/or computer-aided design. The topic may be suggested by the student or selected from a list provided by project supervisors.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Civil Engineering Programme Specification September 2017 1827

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

220 UCAS points, to include a pass in AS or A level mathematics

International Baccalaureate: 26 points overall, to include Higher Level mathematics at grade 4 

Other non-A level qualifications also considered, please enquire

English language requirements

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email


With 86 per cent of graduates employed in a professional or managerial role six months after graduation, the connections we provide are meaningful and will have a direct impact on your employability.

We’ll give you the advice and support you need to begin the career of your choice.

Find out more about how we prepare you for a career in civil engineering


Are you a year 12/S5 student thinking about a possible career in civil engineering or coastal engineering? We are running an EDT sponsored Headstart residential course in July.

Experience how we meet the challenges of providing infrastructure for society through civil and coastal engineering.

Welcome to civil engineering at Plymouth

Dr Liz Hodgkinson, Lecturer, School of Marine Science and Engineering, and our student Tom discuss what it’s like to study here and show you some of our facilities.

Watch our video to find out more about studying civil engineering at the University of Plymouth.

Facilities and resources

From dedicated computer laboratories to a wealth of electronic information, you’ll benefit from a range of facilities and resources that will help your learning and development.

Our facilities include our £19 million Marine Building and dedicated engineering laboratories equipped with industry standard software.

Find out more about our exceptional civil engineering facilities and resources


Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

Connecting with the industry

As a course focused on employability, we’ve developed a number of relationships with the industry to help provide you with the connections and opportunities you’ll need to begin your career.

We work closely with industry experts, organisations and awards to enhance your employability.

Work placements

A placement year will give you the opportunity to experience working life, and could lead to a job offer upon graduation.

Gain valuable experience by taking industry placements throughout the UK and abroad.

Harriette Scowen - work placement case study

I really enjoyed my year placement at AECOM. Being able to see how the knowledge I learnt in my first two years at university could be put into practice really inspired me and has encouraged me through my third year.
Find out more about Harriette Scowen

Stephen Green-Price - work placement case study

Looking back over my year, I feel like carrying out a placement year has been a massive benefit to me in a variety of aspects.
Find out more about Stephen Green-Price