Civil engineering is concerned with the techniques and procedures by which dams and reservoirs, water supply and sewage disposal systems, power stations, ports, offshore works, transport systems, bridges, tall buildings and other structures are planned, designed, built, surveyed, tested, operated, maintained and decommissioned. The course includes a broad range of activities including field courses, individual projects, design work and laboratory work.
For domestic students the course structure follows the Chinese higher education system and is based on a four-year program with the possibility of spending two years at The University of Nottingham's UK campus.
For international students the course structure follows the UK higher education system and is based on a three-year program with the possibility of spending two years at The University of Nottingham's UK campus.
In the preliminary year, the focus is on a special programme and English for academic purposes. Designed by staff at the University’s Centre for English Language Education, this programme prepares students for their degree courses. Common modules of study across all degrees include:
This year is not compulsory for students with appropriate qualifications for year two entry.
Year 2 (Qualifying year)
This module introduces you to structural engineering and the analysis of structures. The module starts with the concepts of static mechanics and will help you to apply them to the analysis of statically determinate structures. Over the course of this module you will learn the analysis of stresses and strains, virtual work method, stain energy method, analysis of arches and cables, among others.
This module provides an introduction to the core areas of geotechnics. It covers the following topics: origin and types of soil, soil as a 3-phase material, soil description and classification, water in soils, stresses in soils, yield and failure criterion, soil compaction, ground investigation.
This module introduces the basic concepts of hydraulics in civil engineering. The topics covered include: units and dimensions of physical quantities, the fundamental properties of fluids, hydrostatics and static pressure, applications of static pressure: boundary forces; buoyancy; pressure measurement.
- Mathematical Methods for Civil Engineering
This module covers fundamental tools to manipulate vectors and matrices relevant to applications in engineering, and introduces fundamental concepts and applications of differentiation and integration in one and more dimensions. The module will cover: calculus of functions of one variable; vector and matrix algebra, with application to systems of linear equations; eigenvalues and eigenvectors of matrices; partial derivatives and application to stationary points and Taylor series; gradient, divergence and curl of fields; multiple integrals; first order ordinary differential equations.
Group Design Project:
This module is a group design project which is problem based and focuses on the application of knowledge and skills, from across the taught modules in the qualifying year in civil engineering, through team working. In Semester 1 groups will cost and develop a construction programme for a major civil engineering project. They will then act as the construction organisation, managing resources to ensure timely and cost-effective completion of the work. In Semester 2 a two-stage design of an engineering structure will be carried out. The initial stage will lead to a presentation of options; the detailed design stage will result in a design dossier. The final task will be to design and construct a model structure, which will be tested in the laboratory.
Portfolio of Civil Engineering Studies:
This module is a collection of a student's work, accumulated over the period of one year and presented as a portfolio demonstrating Professional Understanding, Skills, and Personal Development. Teaching is delivered through a collection of workshops, each normally timetabled for two half days per week for two weeks and comprising a taught or seminar element, self-directed study and an assignment. There will be 5 series of workshops: Drawing & Design; Computational Methods; Engineering Themes; Profession & Management; Engineering Surveying. Through the workshops the students will learn basic engineering skills and gather awareness of the profession. Competence in skills and professional understanding will be demonstrated through assignments associated with each workshop. A commentary document will discuss a student’s choice of workshops and how these choices complement their personal development plan.
Surveying field course:
This is a six day residential course during the spring semester, offered as a compulsory component of Portfolio of Civil Engineering Studies. Students work on group exercises in surveying, mapping and setting out.
Year 3 (Part I)
This module extends the fundamental behaviour established in Structural Analysis 1. It covers the concepts of: virtual work; analysis of indeterminate structures using the flexibility method; analysis of indeterminate structures using the stiffness method; instability of structural systems; plastic analysis and design; vibration.
- Fundamentals of Materials
This module introduces you to the basic engineering materials (concrete, metal, asphalt, timber, etc.) and their properties. Topics covered include: elastic behaviour of materials, tensile testing, fracture, fatigue, creep, time/environmental dependency, rheological properties of fluids and mixtures, and thermal properties.
This module extends the relationships established in Geotechnics 1 to consider broader principles. Topics include: shear strength, lower and upper bound theorems of plasticity, lateral earth pressure, slope stability, and bearing capacity.
This module extends the relationships established in Hydraulics 1 to consider broader principles, including: conservation of mass (continuity), momentum and energy, steady flow in pipes and pipe systems, quasi-steady pipe flow, and open channel flow.
- Advanced Mathematical Methods for Civil Engineering
This module covers fundamental tools to manipulate complex numbers as well as ordinary and partial differential equations relevant to engineering. The module will cover: complex numbers and their application to differential equations; second order linear ordinary differential equations (homogeneous and inhomogeneous), methods for partial differential equations relevant to Civil Engineering problems.
Civil & Structural Steel Design Project:
This module provides the students with an opportunity to take a design project from concept through to an advanced design stage covering structural, steel, geotechnical, infrastructure, and services considerations, working as a group. The module will build on prior knowledge and implement learning from the Part I core academic modules and portfolio workshops. The project will run year-long with the first semester focused on assessing the site conditions, conceptual designs and an evaluation of the structural loads. The second semester will advance the steel frame design including design calculations and consideration of other, non-steel, Civil Engineering aspects such as cladding material, access and services provision.
Portfolio of Civil Engineering Studies 2:
This module is a collection of a student's work, accumulated over the year and presented as a portfolio demonstrating Professional Understanding, Skills, and Personal Development. Teaching will be delivered through ‘workshops’, each normally timetabled for two half days per week for two weeks, comprising a taught or seminar element, self-directed study and an assignment. There are 9 sets of workshops, some of which overlap with Portfolio of Civil Engineering Studies 1: Drawing and Design; Computational Methods; Profession & Management; Engineering Surveying; Technical Communication; Construction Materials; Experimental Science; Building Information Modelling (BIM); Transportation.
Year 4 (Part II)
- Structural Concrete Design
This module introduces you to reinforced concrete construction. Topics include: analysis and design of reinforced concrete beams, analysis of the RC section, modelling failure in flexure and in shear, design assumptions and implementation in design codes, predicting deflections for RC beams in flexure, analysis and design of reinforced concrete columns, interaction diagrams for axial load and bending, column design charts, analysis and design of slender columns, analysis and design of RC slabs, conceptual behaviour of one-way and two way spanning slabs, analysis and design of one-way slabs using beam model, analysis of two-way slabs using yield line analysis, analysis of punching shear, design of reinforcement to resist punching shear.
This module extends geotechnical principles into the areas of steady state and transient groundwater flow and seepage. Coverage includes: steady state flow in porous media; 1-D and 2-D flow analysis techniques; compressibility; ground improvement; foundations; retaining structures; introduction to Eurocodes; introduction to the role of geotechnical engineering in delivering sustainability.
- Hydraulic Design and Experiments
This module introduces students to real-world hydraulic applications and designs using the theory that they learnt in Hydraulics 1 and Hydraulics 2. The topics covered include: urban drainage system; river flow and flooding; water supply. Four laboratory experiments including Sluice Gate with Hydraulic Jump and Scouring will illustrate theoretical and empirical concepts of hydraulics in more detail.
- Advanced Mathematical Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations for Engineers
This module covers advanced analytic mathematical techniques used to provide exact or approximate solutions to common classes of ordinary differential equations typical in Engineering.
- Computerised Mathematical Methods in Engineering
The methodology and associated numerical techniques are introduced to enable a selection of mathematical operations to be evaluated with the use of computer-based software algorithms to problems that cannot be solved analytically.
This module will introduce the components of railway track structures, conventional and otherwise. It will include analysis of forces on a railway track and consequent deflections, stresses etc, alignment design principles, and an overview of the railway as a total system including operational issues, signalling and control.
- Structural Deformation Monitoring
This module describes the theoretical and practical aspects of structural deformation monitoring. Subjects covered include: engineering deformation monitoring; deformation monitoring using GNSS; deformation monitoring using remote sensing techniques; data capture techniques and products; finite element modelling; data analysis techniques; recent developments.
This module introduces you to traffic engineering. Topics will cover: fundamentals of traffic flow theory, some elements of traffic data collection, traffic signal control, and transport modelling to determine traffic flow distribution.
BEng Individual Investigative Project:
Students choose a project in their preferred discipline and plan a detailed investigation. Typically projects involve lab work, field investigations or computer modelling, and require data collection and analysis. Once the investigation is complete, a detailed report is prepared.
BEng Group Design Project:
This module provides students with an opportunity to use digital design, planning, analysis and presentation tools to support the collaborative design and planning of a reinforced concrete building. Students get introduced to fundamental concepts and applications of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Under the umbrella of BIM this module brings together Construction Management and Structural Design and makes students aware of the potential of emerging digital design technologies.
Of the 30 undergraduates who graduated from the department in 2018 and continued onto postgraduate studies, 66.7% were admitted by world top 50 universities according to the 2019 QS World University Rankings.