Structural engineering is a discipline that encompasses the design, analysis, and construction of safe and durable structures that can withstand various loads and environmental conditions. It is an essential component of civil engineering and architectural endeavours. With its rich history and diverse architectural heritage in the UK, structural engineering plays a pivotal role in creating iconic landmarks, modern buildings, and critical infrastructure.
Structural engineers apply principles of physics and mathematics to develop innovative solutions, using materials such as concrete, steel, and timber to harmonize aesthetics, functionality, and safety. They work closely with architects, construction teams, and other experts to translate design concepts into reality while adhering to codes and regulations. Sustainability and resilience have become crucial components of modern structural design engineering, in alignment with the UK's dedication to environmentally friendly and adaptable construction practices. Structural engineering moulds the built environment by combining creativity and technical expertise to create lasting and inspiring structures both within the UK and worldwide.
Top 10 Universities to Study Structural Engineering
Structural engineering shapes the built environment, blending creativity and technical expertise to construct enduring and inspiring structures across the UK and beyond. Learn more about the 10 best degrees in the UK (Guardian University Guide) below.
Cambridge's four-year engineering programme offers a progressive curriculum in structural engineering. Beginning with foundational concepts in Year 1, students explore mechanical engineering, structures, and more. Year 2 deepens understanding while emphasising design through projects like earthquake-resistant structures. Year 3 focuses on specialisation, with choices like aerospace or civil engineering and a language option.
Year 4 advances specialisation further, featuring diverse papers and a substantial individual project closely linked to ongoing research. Successful completion leads to BA and MEng degrees, equipping graduates with advanced theory and practical skills in structural engineering.
- Suggested Course: MEng Engineering
- Entry Requirements: A Level: A*A*A IB: 40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level
- International Fees: £37,293
Imperial's accredited one-year MSc in General Structural Engineering course offers advanced concrete, steel, and composite structure design, analysis, and evaluation training. Key areas include mechanics, design techniques, and advanced numerical methods. Core modules cover reinforced concrete and steel structure behaviour and design, structural analysis fundamentals, and the design of steel buildings.
An in-depth understanding of reinforced concrete design, including slabs, deep beams, shear walls, and pile caps, is also emphasised. This programme equips students with comprehensive skills to handle complex structural engineering challenges proficiently.
- Suggested Course: MSc General Structural Engineering
- Entry Requirements: 2:1 in civil engineering, natural sciences, earth sciences or other numerate disciplines.
- International Fees: £38,600
Oxford's MEng Engineering Science offers a comprehensive four-year degree, cultivating a broad understanding of diverse engineering disciplines while promoting specialised knowledge. The curriculum merges creativity, science, mathematics, and practical experience to solve real-world problems. Renowned for teaching quality and research, Oxford's Department of Engineering Science fosters interdisciplinary connections, enhancing fundamental comprehension across engineering fields.
The first two years focus on foundational topics, and in the final two years, students can specialise in areas like biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, information, or mechanical engineering. Accredited every four years, the programme prepares graduates for chartered engineer designation and emphasises the significance of industrial experience.
- Suggested Course: MEng Engineering Science
- Entry Requirements: A-levels: A*A*A to include Mathematics and Physics. The A*s must be in Mathematics, Physics or Further Mathematics. Advanced Highers: AA/AAB. International Baccalaureate (IB): 40 (including core points) with 776 at HL (with 7s in HL Mathematics and Physics)
- International Fees: £44,240
The Civil Engineering MSc at UCL offers an advanced exploration of various disciplines such as structural dynamics, sustainable design, transport, geotechnics, and more. Tailored for BEng civil or structural engineering graduates, it equips students with contextual awareness, transferable skills, and professional engineering growth opportunities.
UCL's dynamic multidisciplinary department in the heart of London provides an excellent learning environment, fostering teamwork skills and strong industry connections. This programme empowers students to pursue a professional career in civil engineering, offering a diverse array of optional modules to customise their learning experience.
- Suggested Course: Civil Engineering MSc
- Entry Requirements: A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in civil or structural engineering or a closely related subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
- International Fees: £35,000
The MSc in Structural Engineering programme is structured with eight 15-credit taught course units and a 60-credit research dissertation. It encompasses advanced theories, design principles, and finite element modelling in steel and concrete structures, including seismic and fire engineering. Notably, the course delves into extreme loading scenarios, such as fire and earthquake, under the guidance of renowned experts.
The curriculum provides a solid foundation in experimental methods, research techniques, and practical design. The multidisciplinary department offers diverse expertise and industry experience, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. Mandatory units encompass advanced structural analysis, earthquake engineering, fire engineering, and more.
- Suggested Course: MSc Structural Engineering
- Entry Requirements: A minimum Upper Second Class UK Honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant science or engineering discipline.
- International Fees: £32,500
The MSc Structural Engineering at Leeds offers a strong foundation through core modules in structural analysis, foundation engineering, and design with concrete, steel, and composites. Emphasis on real-world application includes a design project, where you'll propose solutions to structural challenges and create construction plans, and an independent research project.
Topics covered span earthquake zone design, advanced concrete and steel design, and optimisation techniques. This programme equips you with comprehensive skills for success in structural engineering, fostering expertise in research, design, and management, ensuring you're well-prepared to tackle industry challenges.
- Suggested Course: Structural Engineering MSc (Eng)
- Entry Requirements: A bachelor's degree with a 2:1 (Hons) in civil engineering or an engineering discipline where relevant subject areas such as foundations, structural mechanics, soil and fluid mechanics, structural analysis and structural design have been studied.
- International Fees: £28,000
The Civil and Structural Engineering at Newcastle offers a comprehensive engineering education, providing skills to transform architectural and structural designs into practical solutions and address global challenges. Practicality is emphasised, incorporating site visits, hands-on labs, and placements. It covers key disciplines, including sustainable engineering, mechanics, materials, and structural design.
In later stages, the structural engineering course integrates specialist areas like architecture, building systems, and structural analysis. A significant individual project allows for in-depth research. The curriculum ensures a well-rounded engineer capable of designing sustainable structures, managing construction, and embracing ethical considerations. Throughout, real-world application and practical experience are central to the learning process.
- Suggested Course: Civil and Structural Engineering BEng Honours
- Entry Requirements: A-Level ABB including Mathematics or Further Mathematics. International Baccalaureate 32 points with Mathematics at Higher Level grade 5.
- International Fees: £26,400
The BEng Structural Engineering with Architecture at Edinburgh combines structural engineering and architecture, comprehensively understanding the built environment. This interdisciplinary structural engineering course equips you with skills in the design, analysis, and construction of infrastructure, integrating scientific knowledge and modern engineering tools. You'll study introductory courses in both fields, fostering problem-solving, teamwork, and advanced thinking.
- Suggested Course: BEng Structural Engineering with Architecture
- Entry Requirements: SQA Highers: AABB by the end of S5 or AAAB by the end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6. A Levels: AAA - ABB. IB: 37 points with 666 at HL and 32 with 555 at HL.
- International Fees: £32,200
Sheffield's MSc in Structural Engineering focuses on modern construction materials, innovative design methods, and analysis techniques. Core modules encompass research skills, structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, fire design, and more. This structural engineering course equips students to enhance infrastructure safety, efficiency, and sustainability against seismic, fire, and explosion risks.
Accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators, it aligns with leading engineering institutions' standards, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for impactful roles in civil and structural engineering, with a focus on making essential infrastructure resilient and adaptable.
- Suggested Course: MSc Structural Engineering
- Entry Requirements: Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree (BEng, MEng, or BSc) in civil or structural engineering or another appropriate engineering or science subject.
- International Fees: £27,500
The MEng Civil Engineering at Bristol nurtures creative minds passionate about enhancing the built environment. This programme equips students to design vital structures like buildings, bridges, and infrastructure systems, addressing global environmental challenges. With access to cutting-edge laboratory facilities and hands-on projects, students develop strong engineering foundations, practical skills, and professional expertise.
- Suggested Course: MEng Civil Engineering
- Entry Requirements: A-level- A*AA including A*A (in any order) in Mathematics and a science-related subject. IB Diploma: 38 points overall with 18 at Higher Level, including 7, 6 (in any order) at Higher Level in Mathematics
- International Fees: £27,200
Structural Engineering FAQ
Which university is best for structural engineering in the UK?
The University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of Oxford are highly regarded as the best structural engineering universities in the UK.
What is the scope of MSc Structural Engineering in the UK?
The MSc in structural engineering in the UK equips students with advanced knowledge and skills to design, analyse, and manage various structures. Graduates can work in construction, infrastructure, consulting, research, and sustainable development.
Which country is best for structural engineering?
Countries with strong engineering industries and innovative construction projects, such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Australia, are considered favourable for pursuing a career in structural engineering. Academic standards, research quality, and fee structure of engineering colleges and universities in these countries are among the most lucrative in the world.
Is there a master’s in structural engineering?
Many universities worldwide, including the UK, offer master's programmes in structural engineering. These programmes provide specialised training in designing and analysing structures to meet modern engineering challenges.
What is the highest structural engineer salary?
The highest salary for a structural engineer can vary significantly depending on factors like experience, location, sector, and specialisation. In the UK, experienced structural engineers can earn well over £60,000 per year, while senior engineers with extensive expertise might earn more.
What is the best salary for a structural engineer?
The best salary for a structural engineer is influenced by multiple factors, including experience level, industry, location, and the specific employer. Salaries can range from around £25,000 per year for entry-level positions to over £60,000 per year for more experienced engineers in the UK.