Described below are the options and requirements for graduate students seeking an M.S. degree with an emphasis in Structural Engineering. The program is intended to provide students with a strong background in the fundamentals of structural analysis, behavior and design. At the same time, the program permits flexibility in the selection of courses and participation in research experiences, thereby allowing students to tailor their M.S. program according to their background and educational objectives.

The student is responsible for developing a suitable program of study, considering the applicable coursework and research requirements of the specific degree option, in consultation with a faculty advisor in Structural Engineering. In addition to conforming to the requirements described below, graduate students in Structural Engineering must also follow all rules and requirements of the Graduate School and the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering.

Degree Options

The M.S. degree includes both coursework requirements and opportunities for research. To provide flexibility in balancing the emphasis between coursework and research in their M.S. program, students can choose from one of the following three M.S. degree options:

Thesis Option:

The Thesis Option requires a minimum of 30 semester hours for graduation. This includes 24 semester hours of coursework (typically eight courses) and 6 semester hours for the preparation of a thesis (CE 698A and CE 698B).

Graduate School Report Option:

The Graduate School Report Option requires a minimum of 30 semester hours for graduation. This includes 27 semester hours of coursework (typically nine courses) and 3 semester hours for the preparation of a Graduate School Report (CE 398R).

Coursework Only Option:

The Coursework Only Option requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework (typically ten courses) for graduation. There is no research requirement with this option.

Additional Rules

  • Students enrolled in any option must take at least six hours but no more the twelve hours of coursework outside of the major area, in supporting areas of study (i.e., in a minor area). Students should consult with their faculty advisor for approval of courses in the supporting area.
  • Students may include a limited number of upper-division undergraduate courses as part of the M.S. degree coursework program. Grades earned in these courses count towards the graduate GPA. The number of upper-division undergraduate courses that can be counted towards the M.S. degree depends on the degree option, as follows:
    • Thesis Option: Up to three upper-division undergraduate courses (9 hours) can be counted towards the degree, with no more than two courses (6 hours) in either the major or the minor.
    • Graduate School Report Option: Up to two upper-division undergraduate courses (6 hours) can be counted towards the degree.
    • Coursework Only Option: One upper-division undergraduate course (3 hours) can be counted towards the degree.
  • Students enrolled in any option can take at most one course (3 hours) for Credit/No Credit. This course must be in the minor area and requires approval of a faculty advisor in Structural Engineering. (Note that this rule supersedes CAEE department policies, which permit two minor area courses to be taken on a Credit/No Credit basis).
  • Students enrolled in the Coursework Only Option may include the Special Studies in CE course (CE 397) as part of their coursework. CE 397 must be taken for a grade. No other independent studies or research course can be used to fulfill the requirements for the Coursework Only Option. The CE 397 Special Studies in CE course may not be used to fulfill coursework requirements in the Thesis Option or in the Graduate School Option.
  • Students receiving research support are expected to complete the Thesis Option.
  • According to Graduate School rules, graduate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to be in good standing. Please note that a grade of B- is less than 3.0. Further, only courses in which a student earns a grade of C or better may be counted towards the degree.

Additional Comments

  • Students are not required to choose among the three degree options at the time of initial enrollment in the M.S. program. Students should discuss the degree options with a faculty advisor in Structural Engineering and are encouraged to choose one of the three degree options sometime during their first semester or early in the second semester of their program.
  • The three degree options allow students to vary the balance between coursework and research in their M.S. program. The Thesis Option has the largest emphasis on research among the three options. The Coursework Only Option has the largest emphasis on coursework among the three options. The Graduate School Report Option can be considered to lie between the Thesis and Coursework Only Options in terms of emphasis on research.
  • While all three degree options described above are available, the majority of M.S. students in Structural Engineering usually follow either the Thesis Option or Coursework Only Option.
  • As described above, students that are funded as Research Assistants are expected to complete the Thesis Option. However, the Thesis Option is open to all M.S. students in Structural Engineering, whether or not they are funded. Students interested in completing a Thesis, but which are not funded as Research Assistants, are encouraged to discuss potential thesis topics with the faculty in Structural Engineering.
  • The CAEE Department offers a “Departmental Report” Option for M.S. students in CAEE. This option is not available to M.S. students in Structural Engineering.

Prerequisites

Entering M.S. students in Structural Engineering are expected to have already completed at least two undergraduate courses in structural analysis, at least one undergraduate course in steel design and at least one undergraduate course in reinforced concrete design. If this is not the case, the student is expected to correct the deficiency as soon as possible in their M.S. program by taking the appropriate course or courses from the following list:

      • CE 329 - Structural Analysis
      • CE 363 - Advanced Structural Analysis
      • CE 331 - Reinforced Concrete Design
      • CE 335 - Elements of Steel Design

These courses cannot be counted towards fulfillment of coursework requirements for the M.S. degree. Students who have had only a single undergraduate structural design course that covers both steel and reinforced concrete in the same course will be expected to take an additional design course from the list above.

Course Selection Requirements

M.S. students in Structural Engineering should develop a program of courses in consultation with a faculty advisor in Structural Engineering.

According to the requirements of the Graduate School, the M.S. program must include courses both in the major area and in supporting areas. For all degree options, at least six semester hours of supporting work are required. The intent of this requirement is to assure that coursework programs provide both depth and breadth.

A list of suggested courses can be found on the “COURSES page. Any course listed under Courses in Structural Engineering can be counted as a major area course. Many of the courses on this list can also be counted as supporting courses, in consultation with a faculty advisor in Structural Engineering. Supporting course can also be taken in other areas of Civil Engineering (e.g., Construction Materials, Geotechnical Engineering, Construction Engineering and Project Management, etc.), or in other departments. Some suggested courses outside of Structural Engineering can be found in the list of Additional Courses of Interest for Structural Engineering Graduate Students. The list is not intended to be exhaustive; it is provided merely to illustrate the wide variety of course available outside the Structural Engineering area.

In addition to the requirements noted above, all students must include the following in their program of courses:

      • CE 381P – Computer Methods in Structural Analysis
      • CE 397L – Advanced Structural Metals, or CE 397 – Advanced Steel Design
      • CE 383L – Advanced Reinforced Concrete Members, or CE 397 – Advanced Reinforced Concrete Design, or CE 383P – Prestressed Concrete

Alternative program of courses:

Students may propose a program of courses that deviates from the requirements described above. However, the student must justify the alternative program, and must petition the Structural Engineering faculty in writing in advance of undertaking the alternative program of courses. Any alternative program of courses must still meet all requirements of the Graduate School and the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering.