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Civil Engineering (HLA)


Civil Engineering Higher Level Apprenticeship

Entry year
Academic Year 2024/25
Entry requirements
5 years (Part Time)
UCAS code

You will be tackling some of the biggest challenges of the modern world, such as achieving sustainable living in an increasingly urbanised society. As the demands on resources like water, energy and land increase, there is a strong need for qualified Civil Engineers with the relevant technical skills but who also possess an ethical awareness of the environmental impact of the projects they undertake.

It is a broad discipline that deals with the very infrastructure of society from our bridges to our water and energy resources, and our roads. Our degree programmes are concerned with the planning, design, construction, sustainability, management and maintenance of this infrastructure. Fields of activity include structures, transportation, foundations and water engineering.

The programme aims to produce apprentices equipped for professional roles in industry, the professions and public service. The programme will be submitted to Joint Board of Moderators for accreditation as meeting the academic requirements for IEng and Partial CEng.

Civil Engineering was one of the founding degrees at Queen's, making it one of the oldest in the UK and Ireland. Staff lead high-quality research and are recognised for their excellence in teaching.

Civil Engineering Higher Level Apprenticeship Degree highlights

Civil Engineering also ranks Joint 9th in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Complete University Guide 2021).

Professional Accreditations

  • Civil Engineering at Queens is an Academic Partner of the Institution of Civil Engineers and we have one of the highest graduate employment rates in the Russell Group of Universities.
  • The programme will be submitted for accreditation to the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) comprising the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Structural Engineers, Institute of Highway Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Permanent Way Institution on behalf of the Engineering Council for 3 Institution of Civil Engineers is a Registered Charity in England & Wales (no 210252) and Scotland (SC038629) Website Wording for Accredited Courses Version 2 Revision 7 – 03 August 2022 the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng).


Industry Links

  • Our strong links with employers gives you access to a range of opportunities, for example the opportunity for sponsorship through the national QUEST Scholarship Scheme. We also have an extensive Civil Engineering Advisory Panel, which includes members from the major employers.

Career Development

  • Our programme requires apprentices to be in Civil Engineering employment from the outset. It is designed around the needs of apprentices and employers, offering access to work leading staff and exciting learning opportunities.

Internationally Renowned Experts

  • Queen’s is a leader in civil engineering research, and our exceptional teaching is informed by the latest research into global challenges like environmentally sustainable urban development and prosperity, and technological innovation. You’ll learn from staff and guest lecturers who are engaged in international, award winning research and practice.

Student Experience

  • We have a vibrant Queen’s University Belfast Engineering Society (QUBES) which is actively engaged in professional meetings and social activities. These activities are supported and nurtured by the academic staff.

Student Testimonials

Course Structure

IntroductionThis degree is designed to provide apprentices with a good foundation for a professional career as a chartered Civil Engineer. Emphasis is placed on the practical application of theory through design and laboratory work. The degrees contain an element of choice, but all apprentices are required to take courses which will equip them with the technical, management and professional skills needed for a career in civil engineering.
Years 1 & 2Apprentices study the fundamentals of civil engineering theory and practice. This forms the transition from the basic mathematics and sciences studied at secondary level to engineering applications.

Year 1 & 2 courses provide a foundation in engineering, construction materials, surveying, and engineering design, structural behaviour and hydraulics.
Years 3Year 3 is when the knowledge in core topics: structures, geotechnics, management and site characteristics are further enhanced in preparation for practice/learning. This year provides a flavour of the different fields within Civil Engineering and will help apprentices to identify their career path.
Years 4 & 5Theory is applied in a professional context in Years 4 & 5. The modules offered are related to modern methods of construction, digital technology in construction, infrastructure methods, management and research. Important skills will be developed in project management, modern methods of construction and how civil engineers work in a changing environment. The modules offered in these two years are unique to HLA programme and provide a holistic overview of the infrastructure management and will equip apprentices with skills to communicate to a wider audience.

All apprentices undertake a major individual research project aligning to their practice.

People teaching you

Danny McPolin

Director of Civil Engineering

Natural and Built Environment

Contact Teaching Times

Medium Group Teaching3 (hours maximum)
Typically 3 hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week.
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial3 (hours maximum)
Typically 3 hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week.
Large Group Teaching3 (hours maximum)
Typically 3 hours of lectures.
Personal Study6 (hours maximum)
Typically 6 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities etc.

Learning and Teaching

At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and apprentice support to enable apprentices to achieve their full academic potential.

In Civil Engineering we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our apprentices to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

  • E-Learning technologies
    Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Canvas. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops in a flexible learning space; IT and statistics modules; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use specialist IT programmes associated with design in practicals and project- based work etc.
  • Lectures
    Introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
  • Personal Tutor
    Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Year 1 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.
  • Practicals
    Where you will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts. You will be expected to attend a number of practicals per week depending on your year of study. These are designed to reinforce the core subjects you are studying.
  • Self-directed study
    This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s apprentice when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
  • Seminars/tutorials
    Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups. These provide an opportunity for apprentices to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. You should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups.
  • Supervised projects
    In final year, you will be expected to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic or practical methodology that you have chosen. You will receive support from a supervisor who will guide you in terms of how to carry out your research and will provide feedback to you on at least 2 occasions during the write up stage.
  • Work Based Learning
    The Civil Engineering HLA includes Work Based Learning (WBL). The purpose of which is to enhance the apprentice journey by connecting the two pillars of on-the-job and off-the-job learning together and providing a richer experience. The on-the-job learning will be recognised within the programme and will contribute 50 CAT points of academic credit across the first two years of the HLA. The WBL relates to content which all civil engineers will develop at a very early stage in their career and will be developing during their four days per week of training with their employer. The subject matter for WBL which will contribute to the degree will be based on concepts which all apprentices would be expected to encounter very early in their careers regardless of the background of their employer (Client, Consultant, Contractor). All Civil Engineers will be expected to develop drafting & communication and basic surveying skills. These skills are developed within modules typically containing Design and Surveying components. The specific example of ‘drafting’ or ‘surveying’ will vary from employer to employer so examples utilised (structures, road layout, pipe networks etc) in demonstrating these skills will vary. However, the core skill developed can be demonstrated universally.


Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

  • The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each course. Some courses are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each course is assessed are shown in the Apprentice Handbook which is provided to all apprentices during their first year induction.


As apprentices progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, course co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University apprentices are expected to take a greater role in reflecting on this and taking the initiative in continuously improving the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
  • Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
  • Placement employer comments or references.
  • Online or emailed comment
  • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
  • Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Hydraulics (20 credits)
  • Year 2

    Core Modules

    Geotechnics 2 (20 credits)
  • Year 3

    Core Modules

    Industrial Project (40 credits)
    Structures 3 (20 credits)
    Geotechnics 3 (20 credits)

Entrance requirements

A level requirements
BBC including grades BB in Mathematics and at least one from Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Digital Technology, Environmental Technology, Geography, ICT (not Applied ICT), Physics, Software Systems Development, Technology and Design or Double Award Life & Health Sciences.

Applicants not offering Physics at A-level should have a minimum of a grade C/4 in GCSE Physics or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/44.

A maximum of one BTEC/OCR Single Award will be accepted as part of an applicant's portfolio of qualifications with a Distinction being equated to a grade B at A-level and a Merit being equated to a grade C at A-level.
Irish leaving certificate requirements
H3H3H3H3H4 including Higher Level grades H3 in Mathematics and a Science subject (see list under A-level requirements)

If not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 required in English.
BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma
(QCF) BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits at Level 3), with overall grades DDM. Distinctions will be required in four specified units (40 credits), including Mathematics for Technicians and Further Mathematics for Technicians.


(RQF) BTEC National Extended Diploma (1080 GLH at Level 3) with overall grades DDM. Distinctions will be required in four specified units, including Engineering Principles and Further Engineering Mathematics.

Extended Diploma/National Extended Diploma must be relevant.

Applicants are also required to have GCSE Mathematics at grade C/4.

Applicants not offering Physics at A-level should have a minimum of a grade C/4 in GCSE Physics or GCSE Double Award Science grades CC/44.
Access/Foundation Course
Successful completion of a relevant Access Course with 65% in each module.

Must be a relevant Access Course including two modules in Mathematics (Level 3) and two modules in Physics and/or Chemistry (Level 3).
BTEC Higher National Certificate
For applicants offering a relevant Higher National Certificate (HNC), the requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 6 Merits and remainder Passes. Merit grades will be required in three specified units to include e.g.

Applied Mathematics for Construction and the Built Environment
Applied Mathematics for Complex Engineering Problems
Structural Analysis and Design.

A relevant HNC in Engineering is required, including Analytical/Mathematical units or other units deemed suitable by the university.

Applicants are also required to have GCSE Mathematics at grade C/4.

All applicants completing an HNC are considered for entry to Stage 1 (Year 1 of a 5 Year part-time HLA programme).
BTEC Higher National Diploma
Applicants offering a relevant Higher National Diploma (HND) may be considered for entry to Stage 2 (Year 2 of a 5 Year part-time HLA programme). The relevant HND must include:

Applied Maths for Construction and the Built Environment or Applied Maths for Complex Engineering


Structural Analysis
Science & Materials
Soil Mechanics and Hydraulic Principles

or other units deemed suitable by the university.

Applicants must have at least 2 first year units at Merit grade and the remainder Passes. Students would be required to achieve 8 Merits from units assessed in final year. A Merit grade would be required in each of the stipulated units outlined above.

Applicants are also required to have GCSE Mathematics at grade C/4.
Foundation Degree
Applicants offering a Foundation Degree in a relevant subject eg Civil Engineering may be considered for entry to Stage 2 (Year 2 of a 5 Year part-time HLA programme). The Foundation Degree must include:

Mathematics 1 and Mathematics 2 plus two modules from: Structural Analysis & Design, Fluids & Hydraulics or Geology & Soil Mechanics


Mathematics & Structures and Further Mathematics plus two modules from: Fluid Mechanics & Water Resources, Surveying for Civil Engineering or Geology & Soil Mechanics


Mathematics for Engineers and Mathematics & Structures plus two from: Fluid Mechanics & Water Resources, Surveying 1 or Introductory Geology & Soil Mechanics

Applicants must have at least an average of 50% in first year modules with all modules passed. Students would be required to achieve an average of 55% in final year modules with no less than 50% in relevant modules.

Applicants are also required to have GCSE Mathematics at grade C/4.
All applicants
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Applicants must provide evidence of their ability in appropriate skills and knowledge to undertake the programme. Guidance is available for such applicants on the University's website (see link below) and any evidence submitted will be assessed by subject specialists who will determine an applicant’s suitability for the course. Applicants may be required to attend for interview.

For entry in 2024 applicants will be considered for Stage1/Stage 2 depending on skills and knowledge demonstrated within the evidence provided.
Applicants must satisfy the University’s General Entrance Requirements as specified in the University Calendar of General Regulations. In addition, the following minimum criteria apply:

GCSE (or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) – English Language at Grade C/4 or above (Level 2 Essential Skills in Communication is acceptable in lieu of a Grade C/4 in GCSE English Language).

Selection Criteria

In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your application.

In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your application.

At the time of application for the BEng Civil Engineering, (part-time), Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA), applicants must have already secured remunerative employment. Applicants are required to provide details of their employer and attach a scanned copy of their letter from the employer detailing the offer of employment.

1 When completed, the form, together with the required supporting documents, should be scanned and emailed to the Admissions and Access Service (, as soon as possible, and not later than the closing date indicated. (Please see point 3 below.)

2 The application form should be accompanied by:

• scanned copies of all qualification certificates/transcripts, for qualifications already completed;
• a scanned copy of your letter from the employer detailing the offer of employment;
• a covering email may also be submitted.

3 Time limited application - Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and not later than Friday 26 July 2024 at 4.00 pm. However, in the event that the BEng Civil Engineering (part-time) HLA receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close applications earlier than advertised. When capacity is reached, eligible applicants will be placed on a waiting list and should places become available, they will be notified. In these circumstances it may be necessary to consider applications in date/time order of receipt. Applications received after the closing date will be regarded as late and will be considered only if vacancies exist when all applications received by the closing date have been processed.

Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your application form, which is considered by an Admissions Manager/Officer from the Admissions and Access Service and, if appropriate, the Academic Selector from the School. Therefore, it is important to include all required information.

If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the Admissions and Access Service at Queen's University ( providing full details of your enquiry.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes

INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)



Career Prospects

On graduating with an Honours degree, apprentices are able to choose from a range of rewarding and challenging careers in Civil Engineering and are also sought after in accountancy, commerce, education and research. The majority of graduates take up posts associated with design and construction. Our engineering graduates are also to be found in many other areas of employment where the skills and discipline of evaluating facts, decision making and management have provided them with the basis for rewarding and interesting careers.

Studying for a civil engineering degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions.

Although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in Civil Engineering significant numbers develop careers in a wide range of other sectors.

Employment Links
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of local, national and international employers including, some of who provide sponsorship through the national QUEST Scholarship Scheme. Queen’s is among the top universities in the number of scholarships gained. In addition, we have a Civil Engineering Advisory Panel including members from the major employer sectors. This panel forms the benchmark for the UK Civil Engineering Accrediting body, the Joint Board of Moderators.

Additional Awards Gained

Prizes and Awards,JBM%2Daccredited%20civil%20engineering%20degree.

Degree Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £0
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £0
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £0
EU Other 3 N/A
International N/A

No tuition fees are payable by students for the degree apprenticeship as it is funded by the Department for the Economy’s Higher Level Apprenticeship programme. Please refer to for further information.

1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study and will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Note that the tuition fees quoted above are for the 2023-24 academic year and are for indicative purposes only as the fees for 2024-25 have not yet been finalised. These fees will be subject to an inflationary increase. All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study and will be subject to an annual inflationary increase for each year of the course, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.

If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.  

Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.  

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Civil Engineering Higher Level Apprenticeship costs

How do I fund my study?

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at


Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How and when to Apply

1. How to Apply
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Natural and Built Environment. Application for the BEng Civil Engineering, (part-time), Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA), is by Direct Entry and prospective applicants are now able to access the application form here.

Download Undergraduate Prospectus


Register your interest
Course Vacancy Status

Below is the current vacancy status for this course. For further information please contact us.

Student Type
Places available?
NI and RoI Students
GB Students
International and EU (not RoI) Students