Structural Engineering

Overview of Concentration

In civil engineering, the term “Structural Engineering” is used to define the segment of the profession that deals with the analysis and design of civil structures, mainly buildings and bridges. While buildings and bridges have been built since the beginning of time, the ways of analyzing and building them has slowly evolved over the centuries thanks to discovery of new materials and tools.  However, in the last twenty years, advancements in computer technology and the discovery of new materials have boosted the field of structural engineering beyond any imagination.  Today, new buildings are so tall that can literally “reach the sky” and new bridges can link continents.  In the near future, buildings and bridges will be built with technology that will be able to measure continuously their response to the environment, e.g. to earthquake, wind, traffic, etc., and to immediately provide corrective actions to guarantee the safety and comfort of the people.  Modern structural engineers will have to learn how to deal with these continuous challenges: this can be achieved only with a solid educational background on the theoretical fundamentals, which is strong on the latest and most advanced methods of analysis and design, well informed on real-life applications and, above all, open to new technology and practices.  This is the trademark of the graduate education in structural engineering at Columbia University.



The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics prides itself for offering a flexible graduate program in structural engineering where students, under the supervision of an advisor, can tailor a program of study to fit their individual interests.  Students have the opportunity to fulfill the 30 credit requirement by choosing from a large variety of courses: from fundamental mechanics courses, e.g. Advanced Mechanics of Solids and Theory of Vibrations, to more advanced structural analysis (e.g. Elastic and Plastic Analysis of Structures) and design (e.g. Advanced Design of Concrete and Steel Structures) courses as well as courses led by world-leading design companies, e.g. Design of Large-Scale Buildings organized by Thornton-Tomasetti.  With the vision of creating a broader education where students are exposed to the latest trends in analysis and design, the Department has created a set of graduate courses that are taught by some of the leaders in the field of structural engineering;  for example, courses like Design of Large-Scale Buildings, taught by Richard Tomasetti, founder of Thornton-Tomasetti, or Design of Large-Scale Bridges, taught by Ted Zoli, bridge chief engineer at HNTB, or Multi-Hazard Design of Structures, taught by Raymond Daddazio, co-president of Thornton-Tomasetti, expose the students to the latest developments in building and bridge design worldwide and offer them a unique opportunity to get in contact with leaders in the industry, which could be beneficial for future employment.



The concentration in structural engineering follows the same requirements of any other concentration in the Master’s program in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.  A total of 30 credits is required.  Courses will be selected among those offered by the Department and by the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

There are no required courses.  Students interested in structural engineering are advised to select 10 courses among those listed below.

CIEN E4021x Elastic and Plastic Analysis of Structures
CIEN E4022y Bridge Design and Management
CIEN E4100y Earthquake and Wind Engineering
CIEN E4111x Uncertainty and Risk in Infrastructure Systems
CIEN E4130x Design of Construction Systems
CIEN E4210x Forensic Structural Engineering
CIEN E4212y Structural Assessment and Failure
CIEN E4213x Elastic and Inelastic Buckling of Structures
CIEN E4226y Advanced Design of Steel Structures
CIEN E4232x Advanced Design of Concrete Structures
CIEN E4233x Design of Large-Scale Bridges
CIEN E4234y Design of Large-Scale Buildings
CIEN E4235x Multihazard Design of Structures
CIEN E4236y Design of Prestressed Concrete Structures

ENME E4113x Advanced Mechanics of Solids
ENME E4114y Mechanics of Fracture and Fatigue
ENME E4214x Theory of Plates and Shells
ENME E4215x Theory of Vibrations
ENME E4332x Finite Element Analysis I


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