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MSc Tunnelling and Underground Space (H21F)

Tunnelling and Underground Space

A course designed with the tunnelling industry to provide the knowledge and professional skills for its next generation of engineers

This is a specialist Master’s course designed to support students with a background in civil engineering, mining engineering or engineering geology to develop their career as a tunnelling engineer.

New tunnelling projects are planned all over the world, and the course equips students to contribute to these exciting developments. The course covers all stages in the project life cycle - from feasibility and planning through to design and construction management - with particular emphasis on health and safety, managing project risk, and communication and leadership skills. Graduates from the programme are sought after by leading international companies as they look to address a skills shortage in this area.

A range of study options are available to suit individual circumstances. You may already be working in tunnelling and wish to consolidate and formalise your knowledge, or you may be looking to join the industry, at any level.

  • Enrol on the MSc full-time for 12 months (October to September)
  • Enrol on the MSc part-time for 24 months or 36 months
  • Enrol not on the full MSc but another award (PGDip, PGCert, or PGA) - see here for details

Graduates from this course have gone on to work for employers including: AECOM, Morgan Sindall, Mott MacDonald, London Bridge Associates, Balfour Beatty, Atkins, Normet (UK) and Network Rail. They have pursued roles as design engineers, project managers, construction site managers, materials engineers and asset managers.

Watch the video (above) to find out more about the course from academics, students and industry links.

Teaching is delivered by a growing group of academic staff at Warwick who also carry out cutting-edge research in tunnel design and innovative construction methods. University staff are complemented by a wide range of speakers from industry who strongly influence the course with their up to date knowledge and practice. Learning takes place in a small group context in a modern environment benefitting from excellent library and computing facilities. Visits are organised to tunnelling sites or companies to gain first-hand experience of the industry.

The MSc is made up of 8 taught modules and a project (total 180 CATS). Contact time for the taught modules is in one-week blocks (Monday to Friday). There is also a two-day course induction at the start of October for all new students.

For full-time students, the project is a group design exercise on a realistic tunnelling scheme, giving excellent preparation for industry. Part-time students undertake an individual research project in their second or third year, which may be on a topic related to their work if they are already employed in the tunnelling sector; otherwise it may be a topic offered by the School of Engineering, usually linked to its current research.

  • Geological Investigation and Ground Characterisation ( ES94W - 15 CATS )
  • Underground Construction Methods ( ES95A - 30 CATS )
  • Communication and Leadership ( ES97I - 15 CATS )
  • Rock Mechanics ( ES95C - 15 CATS )
  • Tunnel Design ( ES94V - 15 CATS )
  • Finite Element Methods for Tunnelling ( ES96V - 15 CATS )
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Considerations in Tunnelling ( ES94Y - 15 CATS )
  • Construction Management ( ES96Q - 15 CATS )
  • Individual Project (part-time students) ( ES97L - 45 CATS )
  • Group Design Project (full-time students) ( ES97M - 45 CATS )

This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Please note that the detailed module information available via hyperlink is applicable for the current academic year (2020-21).

Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our central website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.


The School of Engineering conducts high-quality research in Tunnelling and Underground Space which complements the teaching activities for the MSc. A strong emphasis is placed on applied innovation and research is often undertaken in partnership with industry. Recent examples of research activities are described under the following headings:

Tunnelling Methods

Materials Technology and Structural Performance

Ground Improvement and Ground-Structure Interaction

Members of academic staff mostly closely involved with tunnelling research are as follows:

Prof Colin Eddie

Dr Alan Bloodworth

Other closely related research groups at Warwick are:

Structural Engineering Group

Ground Engineering Group

MSc Individual Research Projects

If you study with us as a part-time student, over either two or three years, you will carry out an individual research project leading to a dissertation and final presentation. If you are already employed in tunnelling while studying for the MSc, your project will often be related to a technical challenge in your workplace. Alternatively, you may undertake a project suggested by the School of Engineering that usually aligns with its current research.

Click here for examples of recent MSc Individual Projects.

Entry Requirements:

In order to come to Warwick, you need to hold an unconditional offer. All applicants must satisfy the general postgraduate admissions requirements and also those of the course which they wish to pursue.

    • A second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a relevant branch of engineering or science degree.
      • You can see how your current degree score or GPA equates to the British system on the International Office's equivalent scores table.
    • Two academic references. You should nominate referees who can provide an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for your chosen programme of study.
    • Maths requirement: All applicants will be expected to know the prescribed mathematical concepts shown here.. The onus is on the individual to ensure that they understand the required material in order to cope easily with the course. We are looking for competence in the majority of mathematics that is taught in the first and second year of an undergraduate Engineering or Physics course. We reserve the right to request that you undertake a short online test assessment.
    • English Language Qualification: If your first language is not English you will be expected to obtain one of the following recognised English Language qualifications:
      • IELTS (Academic): Overall score of 6.5 with no component less than 6.0
      • TOEFL (iBT): Overall score of 92 with minimum components; Reading 22, Listening 21, Speaking 23, Writing 21
      • Other tests are accepted, click here for details of Band A scores.

      You may be exempt from this requirement if you have been educated entirely in English for the duration of your first degree and completed this qualification within the last 2 years.

            In addition to your academic qualifications and experience, Course Selectors will look for evidence of your interest in the course and your understanding of the demands of postgraduate work.

            Industrial experience is not a requirement for entry but in cases where the candidate does not satisfy the requirements, it may be taken into account.

            Start your application

            Apply online now through our application portal. You don’t need to complete your application all at once, you can start now and save for later.

            Apply for 2021 entry

            There is a non-refundable online application fee for taught postgraduate courses of £60 for online applications. Unpaid applications remain within the system for 20 days from completing the application form online before being withdrawn automatically. For payment details please contact Postgraduate Admissions

            Application Form Course Details:
            Department: School of Engineering
            Type of course: Postgraduate Taught
            Degree (full time): Tunnelling & Underground Space (MSc) (P-H214F)
            Degree (part time): Tunnelling & Underground Space (MSc) (P-H214P)
            The course codes for other study options are available here.
            New: Industry mentoring scheme for 2021-22

            With the generous support of the British Tunnelling Society and the Terry Crabb Memorial Trust, we are pleased to announce our industry mentoring scheme for all students on the MSc Tunnelling and Underground Space from October 2021.

            Once you start the course, you will be paired with a practicing tunnelling engineer from the industry, who will be able to advise you about job opportunities in this fast developing and exciting industry, and how to prepare your CV and improve your employability skills in preparation for working after graduating from the course.

            When you enrol, you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about your career plans and aspirations, and this will be used to match you as closely as feasible with a mentor from your preferred sector of employment, for example design consultant or contractor. You will then meet with your mentor either in person or online approximately four times through the year to discuss your career plans. The intention of the scheme is that it will be flexible for you as the student to drive the discussions with your mentor, reflecting your own professional development and giving opportunity to enhance your networking skills.


            This MSc Tunnelling and Underground Space degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) comprising of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, Institute of Highway Engineers, and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation on behalf of the Engineering Council 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.* See for further information.

            * It should be noted that candidates completing the MSc who hold an underpinning accredited IEng degree or a nonaccredited bachelor degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to determine whether they will meet the educational base for CEng registration.

            If you are a graduate with a non-accredited degree, this MSc degree will not automatically be regarded as providing the required educational base for a Chartered Engineer. If you wish to know if your package of qualifications (bachelor plus masters) will satisfy the educational base for a Chartered Engineer, you must have your qualifications verified by one of the Individual Case Committees of the JBM member Institutions (refer to the website of the individual Institution for more details).

            There are two main costs for students undertaking postgraduate study - academic fees and living expenses.

            Tuition fees

            Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. For details of the fees and how to pay, please review the Warwick Student Finance pages - Engineering are 'Standard Course Fees Band 2’.

            Living expenses

            As well as tuition fees, students should budget for accommodation, food, books and other general expenditure such as clothes or leisure. Living costs will depend upon your lifestyle and spending patterns.

            International students must be able to prove they have the necessary funds to cover these expenses. For more information on all costs see living expenses.


            The British Tunnelling Society offer scholarships to individuals holding a civil engineering or mining based degree and are resident in the UK.

            The International Tunnelling Society ITACET Foundation offer scholarships to young engineers from emerging economies for ITA-endorsed Masters courses including at Warwick, see:

            The School of Engineering offer scholarships throughout the year, check the page regularly for the latest funding opportunities.

            UK Government Postgraduate Loans

            The MSc Tunnelling and Underground Space (full time only) is a qualifying course if you wish to apply for a Postgraduate Loan. The loans are available to UK and EU students and some others, subject to nationality and residency status – see Master's Loan for the full eligibility criteria.

            Postal address:

            Postgraduate Office
            School of Engineering
            University of Warwick
            Library Road
            CV4 7AL
            UNITED KINGDOM

            Group Design Projects

            If you study with us as a full-time student you will work with other students in a group design exercise during the final term of the course. This will usually be based around a realistic tunnelling project.

            To find out what our students did in previous years, click the links below:

             One of my proudest moments was a few years ago where I stopped my family in the middle of a tube station in London just to tell them I had built the tunnel they were standing in.

            Without the Warwick Tunnelling and Underground Space MSc I would never have had that moment! 

            Cate AnthonyCate Anthony,
            MSc Tunnelling and Underground Space graduate

            Read more from our former students

            Tunnelling Short Courses

            We are planning to offer a small number of continuing professional development courses to be offered online during 2020/21.

            When information on these courses is available, it will be posted here.

            We expect to offer all our Tunnelling and Underground Space modules as individual CPD short courses in the 2021/22 academic year.

            Essential Information

            Degree title:

            Degree of Master of Science in Tunnelling and Underground Space (MSc)


            The degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators, supported by the British Tunnelling Society and endorsed by the International Tunnelling Association.


            1 year full-time
            A 12 month registration with 9 weeks of intensive teaching spread over 30 weeks and a project during the summer term, June-September.

            2 years part-time
            A 24 month registration with 9 weeks of intensive teaching spread over two academic years and a project conducted in the second year.

            3 years part-time
            A 36 month registration with 9 weeks of intensive teaching spread over the first two academic years and a project conducted in the third year.

            Application deadline
            31st July 2021

            Course Start Date
            4th October 2021

            Location of study
            School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, United Kingdom

            Register your interest

            PG Prospectus

            Campus Tour and PG Visits

            Application checklist

            Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

            The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.