Geotechnical Engineering MSc

Nicholas W Nov 15, recropped March 17

Student Profile

About me

Name: Nicholas
Course: Geotechnical Engineering MSc
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: Canada/UK

Choosing Newcastle

"I always wanted to study abroad at some point in my life. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia, and working in a consulting firm for four years, I felt I wanted to step further into my academic life and obtain my Master’s degree. I immediately wanted to go to Europe. I looked around at many schools throughout the UK and the rest of the continent, and found Newcastle University.

"The modules offered on the Geotechnical Engineering Master’s programme at Newcastle University are perfectly tailored to what I want to focus on in my career back home in Vancouver. They aren’t excessively focused in a particular specialised area – they encompass a very broad spectrum of geotechnical aspects, and as a junior engineer who is still exploring the numerous aspects of the geotechnical engineering field, the one-year programme suits me very well."

Studying at Newcastle

"I enjoy how each module teaches subjects that differ from each other, yet there is an underlying common connection throughout them all. You can use formulas and certain methods from one subject and apply it to the next.

"I also enjoy the relatively small class sizes; it makes it easier to familiarise yourself with others and allows for the classes to be more interactive. I would definitely recommend my course to others in my field thinking of getting their Master’s degree. Newcastle University is very easy to apply to, both through the online application portal and also when registering as a student when starting your studies.

"As a geotechnical engineering student, I’ve always have had relatively small class sizes of approximately 30-40 pupils, which is a very comfortable class-size to have. The same goes for here at Newcastle. It’s very easy to get acquainted with peers and it’s easier to form teams and study groups, which helps improve my grade.

"As a postgraduate student, having a timetable that uses block-teaching (teaching one module at a time for a couple of weeks) is brand new to me, as I’m used to taking four or five courses per term, having lectures scattered throughout the week. I’m getting used to it, as it involves far more 9-5 lecture days, but it also gives the opportunity to focus on one class at a time, which for me is preferred. The week long breaks from lectures to focus on assignments also allow me to reorganise myself and reset my schedule and habits to become more efficient and take care of errands or tasks outside of school. It also allows more time to visit places within and outside Newcastle."

Postgraduate community.

"I have had some opportunities to meet postgraduates outside my field in some NUSU hosted events (such as the Welcome Week for postgraduates and Fresher’s Week for all students), which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also get together with many friends from my classes, mainly inside the MSc project rooms to work on our assignments and finish off lab reports.

"I feel very welcomed at Newcastle as a postgraduate student, and as an international student as well. It’s very accommodating and comfortable, and I have gotten to know the campus and city very well."

Funding my studies

"I received information before I started my course about funding through emails from the University, and information regarding the cost of tuition and living, as well as where I could apply to many scholarships the University offered. I am funding my studies mainly with personal savings, however I have received partial contributions from the Newcastle University International Postgraduate Scholarship."

Career aspirations

"In my field, having a Master’s degree has become more of a highly recommended asset rather than an optional possession. As a geotechnical engineer, I don’t produce any physical products that show the quality and value of my knowledge, but rather my knowledge and skills are what is valued, grown from experience and personal insight.

"Newcastle University is helping me comprehend more of the detailed aspects of geotechnical engineering, and by gaining more knowledge of what my desired career field entails, it will only benefit me more when I return to my career as a geotechnical consultant."


"I am staying in Claremont Place, privately rented accommodation located just off campus. I found it whilst searching on the internet and it was an alternative to student residence as I felt I wanted more privacy and more independence as a postgraduate student. I love the location, being just a five-minute walk from my lecture buildings, the Student Union and the quad."

Living in Newcastle

"I love how centralised the city is; the main attractions (city centre, quayside, campus, etc) are within just a 15 minute walk of each other. I also love how the main city centre is not a hectic metropolitan city, but rather like a more modest European town, which is very comforting as a foreign student. It’s not a bustling, overrated British city, but rather a friendly, welcoming big town that has many young people and places and sights to see which I enjoy very much."

Remembering Newcastle

"The highlight of my time here has been getting back into my old academic, student-style living habits. I had an incredible time as an undergrad in Canada, and I am already starting to feel like my old self again. I anticipated having a difficult time transitioning from career life to postgraduate life, but I have already gotten reacquainted with it, and having that is a highlight for me."