Mastering underground construction at Warwick 15 Aug 2019

TunnelTalk reporting

Applications for September 2020 entry to the MSc in Tunnelling and Underground Space at the University of Warwick, UK, will open in mid-September 2019. The specialist course is designed for students with a civil engineering, mining or engineering geology background to develop their career as a tunnelling engineer. It is supported by the British Tunnelling Society (BTS) and endorsed by the ITA.

Origins of the Warwick MSc in Tunnelling

The course covers all stages of the project lifecycle, from feasibility and planning to design and construction management. It also emphasises health and safety, managing project risk, and communication and leadership skills. Teaching by university academics is complemented by speakers from the industry, as well as visits to work sites.

“This opportunity to learn from leaders in the industry is invaluable,” said Shingai Mutukwa, who studied at Warwick between 2014 and 2016. “I have learnt a vast amount and my employer is already reaping the benefits.”

The degree comprises eight taught modules and a project, which is either a group design exercise for students studying full time or an individual research project for part-time students. Taught modules include:

University of Warwick campus
University of Warwick campus
  • Geological investigation and ground characterisation
  • Underground construction methods
  • Communication and leadership
  • Rock mechanics
  • Tunnel design
  • Finite element methods for tunnelling
  • Health, safety, and environmental considerations
  • Construction management

Co-ordinating the course is Dr Alan Bloodworth, associate professor at the School of Engineering and a specialist in composite and reinforced concrete structures, sprayed concrete linings, settlement analysis, soil-structure interaction, and the impact of climate change on infrastructure. Dr Bloodworth leads most of the modules except for those covering rock mechanics; health, safety and environmental considerations; and construction management. Every module also has an industry-based BTS Champion to bring practical insight into the academic environment.

Course coordinator Dr Alan Bloodworth
Course coordinator Dr Alan Bloodworth

Study is available full-time over one year or part-time over two or three years. Students are also able to attend individual modules as one-week short courses. Further information about the course can be found on the University of Warwick website.

The Warwick MSc is the only specialist tunnelling degree in the UK, although the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London both include a strong focus on underground construction within their civil and geotechnical engineering curricula.


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