Division of Natural and Built Environment

Division of Natural and Built Environment

Head of Division: Professor David Blackwood

Our programmes are innovative, industrially relevant, challenging, and draw on the professional and research expertise of our staff.

The Division of Natural and Built Environment covers a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate subjects including civil engineering and project and environmental management and technology. The programmes have a common focus on the application of scientific, engineering and project management principles to equip our graduates with key skills to meet contemporary challenges.

The relevance of the courses is ensured by our research and our close links with industry. The Division's professional training tutors are committed to placing students in industrial placements and relevant, often paid, supervised work experience.


The Division offers honours and postgraduate degree programmes which are specifically designed to enable students to acquire the skills and knowledge that are necessary to contribute to the development of a safer and more sustainable society.

Programmes on offer are:

The MEng/BEng (Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering degree is accredited by four engineering bodies. A feature of our programmes is the high degree of engagement with the professional world through laboratory and project work, work placements and through field visits together with input to programmes from industry professionals. Examples of these activities include:

  • A week-long field course in land surveying.
  • Society's infrastructure such as; a working quarry, reservoirs, water treatment plants and landfill sites.
  • Collaborative honours projects.


The research work in the Division contributes in a major way to the University’s research strategy areas of environmental science, technology and management. The research interests of the academic staff are diverse and include sustainable urban drainage systems, anaerobic digestion technologies, sustainability assessment and decision support tools, microbial physiology, environmental microbiology and technology. Our research approach is very much multi-disciplinary and industry-facing.

The Division includes one of the University's leading research centres, the Urban Water Technology Centre. UWTC focuses on knowledge transfer and applied research, and provides services to the environment, water and manufacturing industries. The expertise of our staff is much sought after by professionals, and academic members of the Division actively consult with major companies in the UK and internationally. Consequently the Division have a formidable track record in combining academic skills with commercial expertise in its many projects carried out to date. The cutting-edge knowledge obtained from these activities enhances our undergraduate programmes and enables us offer research-led Masters programmes.

For details of staff research output please see the University research pages.


All the courses make extensive use of the Division's well-equipped laboratories, which provide practical experience to all our students. Our engineering students have access to water, environmental, materials, soil mechanics, geology, structural engineering, and transportation engineering laboratories, whilst on-site surveying and computational software develop their modelling and GIS skills.