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MSc Tunnelling and Underground Space (H214)

Applications accepted for 30th September 2019:


This is a specialist Master’s course designed to prepare students with a background in civil engineering or engineering geology for a career as a tunnelling engineer. The course prepares students to carry out and manage tunnelling projects through their lifecycle - from geological investigation and ground characterisation to feasibility study and selection of construction method, to analysis and design, to health, safety and environmental risk assessment and construction programming and project risk management.

This degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng(Hons) or an Accredited IEng (Full) BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree. See Joint Board of Moderators for further information.

This degree is endorsed and supported by the British Tunnelling Society and the International Tunnelling Association.

Hochtief-Murphy JV Crossrail Thames Tunnel visit

This photo shows some of our MSc students on a site visit to the Crossrail Thames Tunnel. Many thanks to Hochtief-Murphy JV for such an enjoyable and interesting day.

Learning Options

  • Enrol on the MSc full-time for 12 months (October to September)

  • Enrol on the MSc part-time for 24 months

  • Study an individual module (without enrolment on the MSc) as a one week short course

The MSc is made up of 8 taught modules and a project (total 180 CATS). Contact time for each taught module is a one-week block (Monday to Friday). This enables part-time students to continue working while doing the MSc, and also enables people working in industry to take single modules as a short course. There is also two days of induction to the course at the start of October for all new students.

For full-time students the project is a group design project on a realistic tunnelling scheme, giving excellent preparation for industry. Part-time students undertake an individual research project in their second year, which may be on a topic related to their work if they are already employed in the tunnelling sector.


ES94V Tunnel Design (15 CATS)

ES94W Geological Investigation and Ground Characterisation (15 CATS)

ES94Y Health, Safety and Environmental Considerations (15 CATS)

ES95A Underground Construction Methods (30 CATS)

ES96Q Construction Management (15 CATS)

ES97I Communication and Leadership (15 CATS)

ES96V Finite Element Methods for Tunnelling (15 CATS)

ES95C Rock Mechanics (15 CATS)

ES95B Project (45 CATS)

For module dates, refer to the Short Courses page.

Apply for this course

How to apply

Industry Links

The British Tunnelling Society (BTS) support the course by providing bursaries and student prizes, by providing a Steering Board to advise on the syllabus, and by providing module champions and guest lecturers. Approximately 20% of teaching is delivered by guest lecturers from industry who give up their time freely to support the course. This ensures that the course is relevant, and specialist subjects or interesting case studies can be presented by the experts with first-hand experience of design and construction.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a related subject. For overseas students an English language certificate is also required.

Fees and Scholarships/bursaries

Information on tuition fees can be found by following this link. This MSc has 'Standard Course Fees'. For overseas students (outside the EU) this MSc comes under Band 2.


The British Tunnelling Society offer scholarships to individuals holding a civil engineering or mining based degree and are resident in the UK. For the 2018/19 academic year they will offer 1 scholarship @£10k **DEADLINE TO APPLY 28th JULY 2018**

The following companies are also offering financial support:

Balfour Beatty offer 1 studentship @£15k available to any applicant, plus 1 scholarship @£15k available to existing employees only [contact: roger.bridge(a t)].

Other funding opportunities

School of Engineering Scholarship

Other Scholarships

Careers in Underground Space

This Warwick Engineering MSc programme is a specialist course suitable as preparation for a career in industry. For a flavour of what an engineering career in underground space might be like, watch the following video produced by the International Tunnelling Association.

And here is an article about careers underground.



Shingai Mutukwa
Part-time student Oct 2014 - Sept 2016
Now working for Network Rail

I am a part-time student, employed by Network Rail as a Senior Engineer. Approximately two years ago my Head of Department asked, “What makes you go ooh?” That simple question made me think about what I really wanted to do. I had been interested in tunnelling for a while but I did not think I could be a tunnel engineer as my background is in mechanical engineering. Despite my non-civil engineering background my Head of Department made it possible for me to get tunnelling experience.The first tunnelling project I worked on was the Holme Tunnel partial reconstruction. I was hooked from the first day I walked onto site. Managing the various challenges had me yearning to learn more. Following the project I decided to strengthen the work based learning with academic learning.The course has been both challenging and rewarding. The technical modules are delivered in collaboration with industry experts. This opportunity to learn from leaders in industry is invaluable. I have learnt a vast amount and my employer is already reaping the benefits of their investment.Networking with peers and industry experts is the best part of this course. The British Tunnelling Society is very passionate about developing the next generation of tunnel engineers this is apparent through the events held through the year. The MSc has already helped me in my journey to becoming a Tunnel Engineer. The skills I have developed have given the confidence to explore new options within the industry. Additionally the networks I have built will help as I progress through my career.

mehdi_hosseini.jpg Mehdi Hosseini
Full-time student Oct 2014 – Sep 2015
Now working for London Bridge Associates

’Before starting the course I had worked in tunnelling industry for 14 years in various projects. My desire to improve my academic knowledge along with reputation of the MSc motivated me to leave my career and start the course. Before applying for this course I compared the curriculums with the similar courses in different universities in some countries and I found this course more practical. The most important part of this course that makes it unique is the guest lecturers that come from tunnelling industry. In addition to academic lecturers, different tunnelling methods are covered by specialists who are the best in that field. This was a great opportunity for me to discuss with the most experienced people in tunnelling industry. After graduation from the course I came back to the industry with more knowledge, confidence and a reputable qualification. It has been wonderful for me and I am happy for my decision.’’

cate_anthony.jpgCate Anthony
Full-time student Oct 2012 – Sep 2013
Now working for Dr Sauer & Partners, London

"The module that taught me the most is the double Underground Construction Methods course, I found that it highlighted things that I would not have otherwise learned in industry but that I may take forward into any position I hold on the future. One of the aspects that I felt was particularly beneficial was the proportion of industry taught material. This enabled me to gain insight into real-life experience of projects very dissimilar to anything I have previously encountered, it meant that the learning we received was actual industry practice and not purely theoretical. It made the course feel completely relevant and often gave us an opportunity to meet some of the best in the business."


Andrew Farmer
Full-time student Oct 2014 – Sep 2015
Now working for Underground Professional Services

“I wanted to further specialise after my undergraduate degree and I was fortunate enough to be sponsored for a place on the MSc which led to employment afterwards. I had always been interested in geotechnical engineering and underground structures so it was the perfect course and career move for me. The course was great; I ended up becoming close friends with other members of the course who are now my colleagues and fellow members of the BTS whom I am able to see at future BTS events at the ICE.The course is set out so that every module is began with a pre-work test, I actually found this really useful because it encouraged me to prepare better than I perhaps would have otherwise for the modules so that once they had actually begun I was really able to understand and follow the material that was being discussed in class.It was also nice to be able to study to my own schedule; I was able to do lots of activities and enjoy my hobbies alongside my studies.This MSc has enabled me to get a good job in the tunnelling industry, and is a great foundation for working towards chartership as well as adding value to yourself as an Engineer.Tunnelling is a growth sector in the UK and many countries worldwide so having the MSc will also improve job security and the chance to work on many interesting projects in the future.”


For enquiries about the course structure and syllabus, please contact the Course Director: Dr Alan Bloodworth

For admissions enquiries, please contact Postgraduate Admissions