MSc Transportation Infrastructure Engineering: Sustainable Highways / Sustainable Railways


Program Description

This course has two distinct pathways; Sustainable Highways and Sustainable Railways.

  • Highway engineering is concerned with the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of highways, including vehicular, cycle and pedestrian highways and with their effective management. All this must be achieved as sustainably as possible.
  • Railway engineering is concerned with the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of railways, extending to rapid transit (tram) systems, and with their effective management. All this must be achieved as sustainably as possible.

Both of the pathways within this MSc programme take a radical, hands-on approach by linking traditional teaching intimately to near-real life highway and railway engineering problems. It provides the technical knowledge and skills to develop the analytical, decision-making and critical powers required to solve, in a sustainable way, genuine, practical highway and railway engineering problems. It will help you to develop transferable skills which could lead to a successful career in highway or railway engineering.

Practical and realistic, industry-inspired projects (reviewed by industry advisors) will be used from the outset. Much of the material taught in lectures and seminars will be assessed via highway or railway project work, performed both individually and in design teams. Project work, engineering design, analysis and critique are central to all parts of the course.

The University has a dedicated research centre, the Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre (NTEC), which carries out research into the fields of transportation and pavement engineering, as well as rail track engineering and rail system reliability. It is one of the world's leading centres in this research area. This MSc draws mostly on the expertise of the research staff and activities in NTEC, supplemented by outside experts and practitioners.

Key facts

  • The Faculty of Engineering has recently invested over £3million into upgrading our facilities, including the provision of dedicated design studio space.
  • The faculty conducts research that has been recognised by the Research Excellence Framework (2014) as being world-leading or internationally excellent, placing it in the UK’s top ten universities for engineering.
  • NTEC is a world-class highway engineering centre with state-of-the-art laboratories. It has extensive links with industrial sponsors and other organisations, locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Our research is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK industrial and commercial companies, UK government departments, charities and the European Union.

Presessional English for Academic Purposes

The Centre for English Language Education (CELE) runs a 5-week Engineering English language and study skills course. This course is designed in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering to prepare students going into engineering programmes.

If you are close to the English language level you need to go on to your MSc course and you meet the entry requirements for the relevant CELE course, you may be eligible for a joint offer. This means that:

  • you only need one TIER 4 visa and CAS
  • you take a 10 or 5-week English Language and Academic Skills preparation course, and then go onto your MSc course
  • you have a guaranteed place on the MSc course
  • your progression to the MSc is automatic, provided you attend and complete all the coursework

Course details

The MSc includes several core modules which rapidly lead from a basic understanding of advanced application. Much of the study will be linked to the highway or railway design and assessment tasks that are derived from real-world situations, devised in collaboration with our industry advisors.

The compulsory core modules are designed to give you a strong foundation in the skills and methodology necessary to successfully complete your personal dissertation project over the summer period. They are also designed to give you skills in team working and problem-solving in the context of highway or railway infrastructure – skills that should enhance your employability.

In addition, you will be able to choose two modules from a substantial list of approved civil engineering modules so that you can either further develop your studies in the general field of the MSc or so that you can take some widening topics.

The dissertation project is a chance to carry out a major piece of independent study under the supervision of a suitable member of academic staff. It could be research-based or practice-based, depending on your interests.

Core modules

  • The modules you will take depend on whether you choose the Sustainable Highway Engineering or the Sustainable Railway Engineering pathway. All students will take the core modules listed below. The alternative modules are also listed below for each pathway, as well as optional modules.

    Core modules

    Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure Engineering (full year): 40 credits

    Transportation Infrastructure Design Workshop (full year): 20 credits

    Advanced Topics in Transportation Infrastructure ( full year): 10 credits

    Transportation Infrastructure Project Planning (spring): 10 credits

    The appended number indicates the relative weighting of each element.


    Railway pathway:

    Railway Infrastructure Engineering (full year): 20 credits

    Railway Infrastructure Dissertation Project (summer): 60 credits

    Highway pathway:

    Highway Infrastructure Engineering (full year): 20 credits

    Highway Infrastructure Dissertation Project (summer): 60 credits


    Highway Infrastructure Engineering (full year): 20 credits


    Railway Infrastructure Engineering (full year): 20 credits

    Choose 20 credits worth of other modules. If you wish, you may choose the Highway or Railway Engineering Infrastructure module that you are not taking as part of your pathway, or you may choose other available modules in the University as agreed between you and the course director.

    The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


The blend of academic study and development of practical and professional skills that the course provides is an ideal preparation for the future challenges of working in a multidisciplinary environment. Graduates of this course will be highly sought-after and enter a range of careers related to the field of highway or railway engineering.

Entry Requirements

  • Entry requirements: 2.1 (Upper 2nd class Hons degree or international equivalent)
  • Other requirements: Applicants need to have studied multiple courses in related engineering such as Structures, Geotechnics, Materials and Transportation Engineering. Non-standard applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Significant amounts of relevant work experience may be considered as an alternative.
  • IELTS: 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element.
Last updated Nov 2018

About the School

TheFaculty of Engineering at Nottinghamis known for its world-class research, inspirational teaching, and diverse academic community.

TheFaculty of Engineering at Nottinghamis known for its world-class research, inspirational teaching, and diverse academic community. Read less
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