Engineering Geology and Geotechnics BEng (Hons)
BEng Hons Engineering Geology and Geotechnics
BEng Hons Engineering Geology and Geotechnics
Take your first step towards becoming a professional Chartered Engineering Geologist or Chartered Geotechnical Engineer on this unique BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree course – accredited by The Geological Society of London.
As the only engineering degree taught in science anywhere in the UK, this course will enable you to apply geoscience to the built environments of the future.
You’ll learn the fundamentals of geological science and develop the technical expertise to work on the design and construction of tunnels, roads, dams, and surface and underground mine excavations, at a university where engineering geology and geotechnics have been taught for more than 50 years.
- Build a practical engineering geology and geotechnics skillset, including gamma spectrometry, electron microscopy, crystal growth and low temperature physics, and use our specialist petrology, geochemistry and rock mechanics labs
- Get out of the classroom and put what you learn into practice on field trips to locations such as the Isle of Wight, Dorset, Norfolk, the Cotswolds, Scotland and the French Alps
- Take advantage of our outstanding industry links, learning from academics with experience from the heart of the sector, including the British Geological Survey, Atkins and ACOM
- Study on the only Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree to offer at least 44 weeks of paid work placement, at organisations such as Mott McDonald and Ramboll UK
Industrial Bursary Scheme
£1,750 in years 1, 2 and 4
Students on this course may be eligible for additional funding and paid work experience through the Engineering Geology and Geotechnics Industrial Bursary Scheme.
Find out more about what you'll experience on this BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree from Course Lead, Dr Nick Koor.
Dr Nick Koor: So Engineering, Geology and Geotechnics course is all about understanding the interaction between the planet and particularly the geology and geological processes and the built environment.
Between 90 and 100 % of our students graduate and get jobs within the ground engineering sector. We've also got phenomenal links with industry.
So we've got an industrial bursary scheme, companies sponsor our students through the course. It's a competitive interview system for students to get onto that bursary scheme.
The students go into the civil engineering sector, and there's also a lot of students that are going into the renewable energy sector, all of those sorts of environmental careers that are becoming very, very important now. There's a fantastic opportunity to travel and work. You see the world and earn money at the same time.
BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree entry requirements
- A levels – ABB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112–128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, in Science subjects (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology or relevant Technology subject) (calculate your UCAS points)
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Facilities and specialist equipment
Geotechnics laboratoryGain experience with fully automated testing equipment and kit for characterising fine and coarse grained soils in our geotechnics lab, also known as the soils lab.
Find out more about the lab
Design, mix and test different concrete mixes, and observe and record all stages of the concrete production process via a built in camera system and live stream in this lab.
Rock mechanics laboratory
Measure the strength and elasticity of minerals and rocks under simulated geological stress conditions using high-pressure hydraulic apparatus in this lab, and explore properties including fluid-flow permeability, rock and joint friction, and induced seismicity.
GIS and remote sensing lab
Discover more about the planet's physical structures and scientific processes, such as glaciers and coastal flooding, using drone data, aerial and satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems.
Careers and opportunities
Engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers apply their knowledge of earth, soil and rock to the development of the built environment. They assess the geological suitability of locations chosen for the construction of projects such as bridges, dams, roads and tunnels, so that they can be built in a safe and sustainable way.
Both engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers are in high demand in the UK and around the world. The Working Futures demand forecast, reported by Engineering UK, predicts the number of environmental professionals in the construction sector will increase by 35% by 2024.
The role of engineering geologist was also added to the UK's shortage occupation list in 2020.
Study the UK's only engineering degree taught in science
On this BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree, you'll develop fundamental knowledge of geological science, engineering, mathematics and materials, as well as practical skills and techniques that you'll use throughout your career.
You'll graduate with high levels of employability, ready to play a key role across many sectors, including construction, mining and quarrying, and offshore and onshore renewable energy. The knowledge, technical skills and and confidence you'll develop on this course, which includes the option of a year working in industry, will open doors to excellent career prospects and opportunities to work for consultants and contractors across the globe.
Fast track your engineering geology and geotechnics career
This degree offers a fast track towards a career as a professional Chartered Engineering Geologist or Chartered Geotechnical Engineer when you do additional training.
After you complete the course, you'll be in high demand on engineering projects in global locations such as Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Canada and Hong Kong, as well as in the UK.
The industrial links I have gained throughout my time at Portsmouth put me in a great position when I graduate. Graduating with over a years’ worth of industry experience will allow me to be highly employable with excellent career prospects.
What areas can you work in with an engineering geology and geotechnics degree?
Recent graduates have been involved with:
- major site investigations for international projects
- investigation and stabilisation of old mine workings
- coastal engineering
- flood alleviation projects
- dam site investigation and design
- major tunnelling projects in the UK and overseas
- development of deep mines in South Africa and Australia
What jobs can you do with an engineering geology and geotechnics degree?
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- graduate engineering geologist
- graduate tunnelling engineer
- graduate geotechnical engineer
- graduate mining geotechnical engineer
- graduate foundation engineer
Ongoing careers supportAfter you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability Service as you advance in your career.
Olivia is a Design Engineer at AKT II, having graduated in 2019 with an Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree from the University of Portsmouth.
Find out what Olivia's role entails and how she’s applying the skills she learnt during her time studying with us.
Olivia: I'm Olivia Houghton and my role is Design Engineer.
I went to study Engineering Geology because I always knew I enjoyed maths and I really liked environmental sciences. When I had a firm look into the degree, it looked really interesting. You can go into a lot of different paths, so you can work in construction or renewables or project management. I think for me, that's why I wanted to pick it.
When picking a degree, the most important thing is being passionate about it and enjoying it because you spend the three or four years there learning it and if you don't enjoy it, it's just going to be a long ride.
When I went to the open day, I got a really good vibe from it. The city is really nice, obviously it's by the beach as well. Then also, the lecturers are really nice and really welcoming. They also work a lot in the industry as well themselves so they have a really good knowledge of everything. They explained the course really well and made it seem it's going to be an enjoyable so I just went for it.
During my industrial placement at uni, I worked for Geotechnical and Environmental Associates. I first worked with them in the summer between first and second year for two months and then I worked with them again between second and third year for a year. One of the main things I took from my placement year is just how important it is to get the experience because you can go to uni and learn academics and learn everything in the three years, but actually applying it to an actual job is a completely different situation, and it makes you kind of understand what you're doing more at uni.
I think as well, I enjoyed third year a lot more because I kind of understood what I was learning and why I was learning it, and also everyone who had done a placement year has got better grades because obviously you've done it and you've applied it, so you know what you're talking about more.
When I get the train home, I always go through Liverpool Street and it's nice knowing that my company helped design this and also the building we work in as well. My company designed this as well. So this is nice knowing that the company I work for is doing really exciting projects and cool things.
I think my most proud moment of my journey is probably getting the job I'm in now. When I first graduated, I never thought I was going to work for a company like this, working on the projects I do. For me, coming here every day in a really cool office, working in a really cool job is my proudest moment.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year in the UK or overseas to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. A placement year gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you stand out to employers after the course.
We're the only university in the UK to offer this Engineering Geology and Geotechnics course with a sandwich work placement year. Your placement will give you at least 44 weeks of paid work experience.
You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement year.
You’ll return to university to complete your studies in year 3 with first-hand knowledge of the industry and valuable experience on your CV.
We have great links with employers in the ground and mining engineering industries and will support you in finding a placement. Previous students have secured placements at:
- Ramboll UK
- Mott McDonald
- BAM Ritches
- Peter Brett Associates
- Wardell Armstrong
- Miller Piling
Doing this placement year will really help my opportunities getting my dream job because all companies I research ask for experience in the field.
BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics graduate Zoe Horrell talks about her placement with Red Rock Geo.
Zoe Horrell: One of the reasons I chose the course was because they offered me the placement year, and I think gaining experience in the field you're working in is completely invaluable.
I think doing the placement year will really help me in progressing what I want to do in my career because most companies require experience for jobs, and I also think it's helped me develop myself and get an insight into the working world.
My name is Zoe Horrell, I am an Engineering Geology and Geotechnics student in my third year placement from the University of Portsmouth.
For my placement, I've been working for Red Rock Geoscience, which is based in the South West, and for the last eight months I've been at Hemerdon Mine, working on the tailings dam. My responsibilities were doing water pressure testing and rock mass assessment.
You pump water in the ground, and then you see how fast it flows in and that correlates to the permeability of the rock, so then when they build the dam, they know whether they need to put concrete in the ground to stop the water leaking out.
I think doing this placement year will really help my opportunities getting my dream job because all companies I research ask for experience in the field.
After I finish my studies, I would like to travel abroad with my work and gain experience in different locations.
The advice I would give people who are wondering if they should do a placement with their course, I would say take it because the experience you gain is invaluable and you would regret it if you didn't do it!
"I find it rewarding to see projects go from proposal stage all the way through to a fully functioning structure."
What you'll study on this BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.
In your first year, you'll concentrate on the fundamentals of the geological sciences, as well as focusing on engineering mathematics and materials. You'll also develop key field skills on a number of field trips.
Core modules in this year include:
- Engineering Geology and Geohazards – 20 credits
- How the Earth Works – 20 credits
- Mathematical Principles – 20 credits
- Mineralogy and Petrology – 20 credits
- Sedimentology and Palaeontology – 20 credits
- Soils & Materials 1 – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
In year 2, you'll specialise in the more applied areas of the subject and do fieldwork, which is a vital component of this geoscience degree.
Core modules in this year include:
- Geoenvironmental Risk Management – 20 credits
- Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing – 20 credits
- Ground Investigation – 20 credits
- Professional Skills for Geoscientists – 20 credits
- Soils and Materials 2 – 20 credits
- Structural Geology – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
In your final year, you'll complete an independent project where you can decide the geological and engineering based topic, collect samples, carry out lab tests and report on your findings.
Core modules in this year include:
- Engineering Geology and Geotechnics Project – 40 credits
- Geohazard Risk Management – 20 credits
- Quaternary Geology & Geomorphology – 20 credits
- Rock Engineering – 20 credits
- Soils and Materials 3 – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- laboratory reports
- oral and poster presentations
- reports on field-based projects
- computer-based assessment
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- laboratory work
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Engineering Geology and Geotechnics degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as tutorials, lectures, practical classes and workshops and external visits for about 11 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
Supporting your learning
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:
Types of support
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- understanding and using assignment feedback
- managing your time and workload
- revision and exam techniques
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK) for one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to:
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2022 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £18,300 per year (subject to annual increase)
If you apply for this course, you'll be eligible for the Engineering Geology and Geotechnics Industrial Bursary Scheme.
If your application is successful, you'll be awarded:
- A bursary of £1,750 in years 1, 2 and 4
- An 8-week paid work placement after year 1
- A 44-week paid work placement after year 2
If you receive this bursary, you'll be more employable because of your placement experience. And you could receive a better salary when you graduate.
Applying for the bursary
Once you apply for this course via UCAS, you'll need to submit a bursary application before midnight on the last working day in February, prior to starting in October of the same year.
Preferably, you'll have a Maths or Physics A level to get this bursary, but ultimately you'll be assessed on merit rather than strict qualification requirements.
You'll need to attend a separate interview as part of your bursary application. Interviews for the bursary will be held in March/April prior to start in October of the same year. Your interview will take place at the offices of the Geological Society at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
Your travel and accommodation costs for compulsory fieldwork are included in the course fee, with the exception of the Mapping Training Field Course, which takes place around the UK in the summer between the first and second year of study. Travel and accommodation for the Mapping Training Field Course costs around £100. You’ll also need to pay for meals and other living costs on compulsory fieldwork trips.
You’ll need to cover the cost of travel, accommodation, meals and other living costs for any optional fieldwork you do. These costs are normally around £1,200.
For compulsory project work, normally in the UK or Europe, costs for travel and accommodation will range from £0–£1,000.
How to apply
To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – F612
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.