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Structural Engineering

STUDENT AFFAIRS
340 Structural and Materials Engineering Building
http://structures.ucsd.edu

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.

The Department of Structural Engineering offers programs leading to the degrees of master of science (MS) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) in structural engineering (SE). In addition, an MS in structural engineering with specialization in structural health monitoring and nondestructive evaluation (MS SHM&NDE) and an MS in geotechnical engineering are offered. The graduate program is aimed at training highly skilled professionals in structural engineering with the academic and engineering credentials to assume leadership roles in industry, government, and academia.

The MS program is intended to provide students with additional fundamental knowledge as well as specialized advanced knowledge in selected structural engineering aspects over and above the undergraduate degree course work.

The doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree program is intended to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, or practice in their chosen professional specialties. The PhD program requires a departmental comprehensive examination, a PhD candidacy examination, a PhD dissertation based on new and unique research, and a dissertation defense.

Both degrees offer opportunities for training in one or more of the five primary research focus areas within the SE department:

  • (1) Advanced Composites and Aerospace Structural Systems
  • (2) Computational Mechanics
  • (3) Earthquake Engineering
  • (4) Geotechnical Engineering
  • (5) Structural Health Monitoring, Prognosis, and Validated Simulations

Admission to the UC San Diego graduate program in structural engineering requires at least a BS in engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics with an overall upper-division GPA of 3.0. Applicants must provide three letters of recommendation. Recent GRE general test scores are required for the PhD program. International applicants whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in English by taking the TOEFL test. The minimum TOEFL score required is 550 (paper-based) and 85 (internet-based test [iBt]). Based on the candidate’s choice, qualifications, and career objectives, admission to the program is in one of two categories: MS or PhD.

Applicants seeking enrollment in SE courses via UC Extension’s concurrent registration program are advised to refer to theGraduate Studies Transferring Credit section of the UC San Diego General Catalog for clarification.

Bachelor’s/Master’s Program

The department offers a bachelor’s/master’s (BS/MS) program to enable students to complete both the BS and MS in an accelerated timeframe. Undergraduate students in the Department of Structural Engineering who have at least 148 quarter units with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible to apply. Admission to the bachelor’s/master’s degree program is not automatic. Student applications are reviewed, and the final decision is made by the Department of Structural Engineering. Acceptance into this program is an honor that carries with it practical benefits—the graduate application process is simplified (no GREs required) and advanced students are given access to graduate level courses. Upon acceptance as an undergraduate into the program, a faculty member will be assigned who will serve as the student’s faculty mentor. Interested students should contact the Structural Engineering Student Affairs Office. Students must fulfill all requirements for the BS prior to being formally admitted to graduate status.

Master’s Degree Program

The MS program is intended to provide the student with additional fundamental knowledge as well as specialized advanced knowledge in selected structural engineering topics over and above the undergraduate degree course work. Two plans, the MS thesis plan and the MS comprehensive examination plan, are offered. The MS thesis plan is designed for those students with an interest in research prior to entering the structural engineering profession or prior to entering a doctoral degree program. The MS thesis plan involves course work leading to the completion and defense of a master’s thesis. The MS comprehensive examination plan involves course work and requires the completion of a written comprehensive examination covering multiple courses that the student has taken. The MS comprehensive examination will be comprehensive and cover two focus sequences and at least one additional technical elective that the student has taken. The examination must be completed no later than the end of the eighth week of the quarter the student intends to graduate.

MS students will be required to complete two out of seven core course electives. The courses are SE 200, SE 201A, SE 202, SE 203, SE 241, SE 271, SE 233 (or SE 276)*. They can be counted toward a focus sequence or a technical elective.

*The student can count either SE 233 or SE 276A as a core course, but not both.

In the core courses, the instructor selects one problem on the midterm or final exam (could be a project/long HW) to be the comprehensive exam problem. A separate Pass/Fail score is assigned to this problem. (The problem may still count toward the total exam score.) The minimum passing score is 60/100. Any two courses from core electives may be selected for the MS comprehensive plan. A passing score must be obtained in both courses. If you are using a core course for a focus area too, then you need to list a fifth technical elective. It needs to be twelve courses total. If you use both core courses for two focus areas, then six technical electives are needed.

Technical electives can be any science, mathematics, or engineering graduate course or approved SE upper-division undergraduate courses.

MS students must complete forty-eight units of credit for graduation. For the MS comprehensive examination plan all forty-eight units of credit must consist of regular courses (twelve courses). For the MS thesis plan, thirty-six units (nine courses) from regular courses are required, in addition to twelve units of graduate research for the master’s thesis. For both MS plans, students are required to complete a minimum of two sequences from the following focus areas:

  1. Advanced Composites
  2. Computational Mechanics
  3. Earthquake Engineering
  4. Geotechnical Engineering
  5. Solid Mechanics
  6. Structural Analysis
  7. Structural Design
  8. Structural Health Monitoring and Nondestructive Evaluation

Focus areas for the departmental qualifying examination are listed above. The department has opportunities to select students in these areas to participate in special seminars, reviews, and research at leading collaborating institutes and laboratories such as the Los Alamos National Laboratories. In special cases, according to necessity, the faculty adviser of a student may submit a written request to the GAC to form one new focus sequence, as a SE or breadth focus sequence; the new focus sequence must be within the general area of structural engineering and the request will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

A sequence is composed of three preapproved courses from the same focus area. The courses comprising the focus sequences are listed in the table in this section. To meet the specific needs of some students, other focus areas may be developed by a student in consultation with his or her adviser, but these must be preapproved by the SE Graduate Affairs Committee. To allow for greater flexibility in the program, the remaining credits required from courses may be earned by completing additional focus sequences, parts of focus sequences, or other appropriate courses. Students may elect to take other appropriate technical electives (with the approval of their adviser and the SE Graduate Affairs Committee). In special cases where an undergraduate course may be used, the arrangement must be preapproved by both the academic adviser and the Graduate Affairs Committee. Units obtained in SE 290 and 298 may not be applied toward course work requirements. No more than four units of SE 296 may be applied toward course work requirements and only with prior approval of the SE Graduate Affairs Committee.

A student can never take one course and get credit for two courses even though the courses are cross-listed (listed under two different course numbers/titles/departments) or if there are both an undergraduate and graduate version of the course with different course numbers and/or course titles.

The department also offers a seminar course each quarter that emphasizes the latest research topics and industry practices in structural engineering (SE 290). MS students must complete three quarters of SE 290 to meet graduation requirements, but they do not have to be taken consecutively. Students are strongly recommended to take SE 290 every quarter. Students who cannot fulfill the SE 290 requirement in any quarter must be enrolled in an alternate structured seminar course/program, which must be approved by the SE Graduate Affairs Committee.

A faculty mentor will be assigned for each student during their first quarter. The names of the assigned faculty mentor will be shared before or at graduate orientation. The faculty mentor will assist students with their academic plans and any other questions they may have.

Focus Sequences

Structural Analysis

SE 201A. Advanced Structural Analysis

SE 201B. Nonlinear Structural Analysis

SE 202. Structural Stability

SE 203. Structural Dynamics

SE 204. Advanced Structural Dynamics

SE 205. Nonlinear Mechanical Vibrations

SE 206. Random Vibrations

SE 215. Cable Structures

SE 224. Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis

SE 233. Computational Techniques in Finite Elements

Structural Design

SE 151B. Design of Prestressed Concrete

SE 154. Design of Timer Structures

SE 211. Advanced Structural Concrete

SE 212. Advanced Structural Steel Design

SE 213. Bridge Design

SE 214. Masonry Structures

SE 220. Seismic Isolation and Energy Dissipation

SE 223. Advanced Seismic Design of Structures

SE 224. Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis

SE 254. FRP in Civil Structures

Computational Mechanics and Finite Elements

SE 233. Computational Techniques in Finite Elements

SE 276A. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics I

SE 276B. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics II

SE 276C. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics III

SE 277. Error Control in Finite Element Analysis

SE 279. Meshfree Methods for Linear and Nonlinear Mechanics

SE 280. Finite Element Computations in Solid Mechanics

Earthquake Engineering

SE 203. Structural Dynamics

SE 206. Random Vibrations

SE 220. Seismic Isolation and Energy Dissipation

SE 221. Earthquake Engineering

SE 222. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

SE 223. Advanced Seismic Design of Structures

SE 225. Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis

SE 227. Seismic Design and Analysis of Nonstructural Components and Systems

SE 243. Soil-structure Interaction

Geotechnical Engineering

SE 181. Geotechnical Engineering

SE 222. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

SE 241. Advanced Soil Mechanics

SE 242. Advanced Foundation Engineering

SE 243. Soil-structure Interaction

SE 244. Numerical Methods in Geomechanics

SE 246. Unsaturated Soil Mechanics

SE 247. Ground Improvement

SE 248. Engineering Properties of Soils

SE 249. Rock Mechanics

SE 250. Stability of Earth Slopes and Retaining Walls

Advanced Composites

SE 251A. Processing Science of Composites

SE 251B. Mechanical Behaviors of Polymers and Composites

SE 252. Experimental Mechanics and NDE

SE 253A. Mechanics of Laminated Composite Structures I

SE 253B. Mechanics of Laminated Composite Structures II

SE 253C. Mechanics of Laminated Anisotropy Plates and Shells

SE 254. FRP in Civil Structures

SE 260A. Aerospace Structural Mechanics I

SE 260B. Aerospace Structural Mechanics II

SE 261. Aerospace Engineering Design

SE 262. Aerospace Structures Repair

SE 266. Smart and Multifunctional Materials

SE 281. 3-D Printable Robotics

SE 285. Structural Optimization

SE 286. Design Optimization for Additive Manufacturing

Solid Mechanics*

SE 202. Structural Stability

SE 207. Constitutive Modeling of Metals

SE 234. Plates and Shells (or MAE equivalent)

SE 235. Wave Propagation in Elastic Media

SE 252. Experimental Mechanics and NDE

SE 270. Fracture Mechanics

SE 271. Solid Mechanics for Structural and Aerospace Engineering

SE 272. Theory of Elasticity

SE 273. Inelasticity

Structural Health Monitoring and Nondestructive Evaluation

SE 202. Structural Stability

SE 204. Advanced Structural Dynamics

SE 205. Nonlinear Mechanical Vibrations

SE 206. Random Vibrations

SE 224. Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis

SE 252. Experimental Mechanics and NDE

SE 263. Nondestructive Evaluation

SE 264/164. Sensors/Data Acquisition for SE

SE 265. Structural Health Monitoring Principles

SE 266. Smart and Multifunctional Materials

SE 267. Signal Processing

SE 268. Structural System Testing and Model Correlation

SE 269. Validation and Verification of Computation Models I

SE 282. Diagnostic Imaging

*Students taking the solid mechanics focus sequence are required to take SE 271, SE 272, and one of these courses: SE 273, SE 252, or SE 235.

For the MS in structural engineering (SE75), SE 207, Topics in Structural Engineering, will be acceptable to use toward a focus sequence requirement pending petition and approval of the Graduate Affairs Committee (GAC).

The thesis defense is the final examination for students enrolled in the MS thesis plan and must be conducted after completion of all course work. Upon completion of the research project, the student writes a thesis that must be successfully defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by a committee composed of three faculty members. A complete copy of the student’s thesis must be submitted to each member of the MS thesis committee (comprised of a minimum of three faculty) at least two weeks before the defense.

MS in Structural Engineering with Specialization in Health Monitoring and Nondestructive Evaluation (SHM&NDE)

The master of science in structural engineering with specialization in structural health monitoring and nondestructive evaluation (SHM&NDE) provides highly interdisciplinary knowledge incorporating three broad technology areas: (1) sensing technology, (2) data interrogation, and (3) modeling and analysis. The intersections and integration of these technology areas are fundamental to supporting structural health monitoring and nondestructive evaluation, which may be defined as the process of making an uncertainty-quantified assessment, based on appropriate analyses of in situ measured data, about the current ability of a structural component or system to perform its intended design function(s) successfully. This discipline within structural, civil, mechanical, and aerospace engineering is a fundamental capability that supports “design-to-retirement” life cycle management of systems.

Two degree options in SHM&NDE will be offered: MS thesis option and MS comprehensive examination option. Students in both plans must complete thirty-six units of credit for graduation. For both options, students must complete two core courses, SE 263, Nondestructive Evaluation, and SE 265, Structural Health Monitoring Principles (eight total units). Additionally, the MS SHM&NDE thesis plan involves regular course work (twenty units) and graduate research (eight units) leading to the completion and defense of a master’s thesis. Correspondingly, the MS comprehensive examination plan involves regular course work (twenty-four units) and a mentored independent study (SE 296) capstone course. The deliverables will be given to the SE 296 faculty mentor, assessed by the faculty mentor, and both the deliverables and assessment will be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Committee for final approval. The comparative distribution of units for each of the two degree options is shown in the table below:

Requirement

Thesis option (units)

Comprehensive option (units)

Core course

SE 263. Nondestructive Evaluation (4)
SE 265. Structural Health Monitoring Principles (4)

SE 263. Nondestructive Evaluation (4)
SE 265. Structural Health Monitoring Principles (4)

Capstone experience

No requirement

SE 296. Independent Study or approved equivalent (4)

Thesis research

SE 299. Graduate Research (8)

No requirement

Focus sequence 1

One from Focus Area 1 (4)

One from Focus Area 1 (4)

Focus sequence 2

Two from Focus Area 2 (8)

Two from Focus Area 2 (8)

Focus sequence 3

Two from Focus Area 3 (8)

Two from Focus Area 3 (8)

Technical elective

No requirement

One from Technical Elective (4)

Total units

36

36

Many courses currently offered within the Jacobs School of Engineering may be grouped into the three focus areas comprising each technology area described above, as shown in the following list:

A. Sensing Technology (Focus Area 1)

SE 252. Experimental Mechanics and NDE

SE 264. Sensors and Data Acquisition for Structural Engineering

SE 266. Smart and Multifunctional Materials

SE 268. Structural System Testing and Model Correlation

SE 286. Design Optimization for Additive Manufacturing

CSE 237A. Introduction to Embedded Computing

ECE 257B. Principles of Wireless Networks

B. Data Interrogation (Focus Area 2)

SE 267. Signal Processing and Spectral Analysis

SE 268. Structural System Testing and Model Correlation

SE 282. Diagnostic Imaging

ECE 251A. Digital Signal Processing I

ECE 251B. Digital Signal Processing II

ECE 251C. Filter Banks and Wavelets

ECE 253. Fundamentals of Digital Image Processing

ECE 254. Detection Theory

MAE 283A. Parametric Identification: Theory and Methods

CSE 254. Statistical Learning

CSE 255. Data Mining and Predictive Analytics

CSE 250A. Principles of Artificial Intelligence: Probabilistic Reasoning and Learning

CSE 250B. Principles of Artificial Intelligence: Learning Algorithms

ECE 271A. Statistical Learning I

ECE 271B. Statistical Learning II

C. Modeling and Analysis (Focus Area 3)

SE 201A. Advanced Structural Analysis

SE 202. Structural Stability

SE 203. Structural Dynamics

SE 205. Nonlinear Mechanical Vibrations

SE 206. Random Vibrations

SE 224. Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis

SE 233. Computational Techniques in Finite Elements or SE 276A. Finite Elements in Solid Mechanics I

SE 235. Wave Propagation in Elastic Media or MAE 238. Stress Waves in Solids

SE 236. Wave Propagation in Continuous Structural Elements

SE 253A. Mechanics of Laminated Composite Structures I

SE 254. FRPs in Civil Structures

SE 260. Aerospace Structural Mechanics I

SE 262. Aerospace Structures Repair

SE 268. Structural System Testing and Model Correlation

SE 269. Validation and Verification of Computational Models I

SE 270. Fracture Mechanics and Failure Mechanisms

Additionally, the technical elective course required for the comprehensive option may be chosen from any of the focus area lists above (provided it is not being counted as a focus area requirement), or from this additional preapproved list of courses:

SE 200. Applied Mathematics in Structural Engineering

SE 204. Advanced Structural Dynamics

SE 234. Plates and Shells

SE 253B. Mechanics of Laminated Composite Structures II

SE 276B. Finite Elements in Solid Mechanics II

MAE 208. Mathematics for Engineers

MAE 272. Imperfections in Solids

MAE 273A. Dynamic Behavior of Materials

ECE 250. Random Processes

ECE 251D. Array Processing

ECE 255A. Information Theory

ECE 272A. Stochastic Processes in Dynamic Systems

ECE 275A. Parameter Estimation

CSE 250C. Machine Learning Theory

For the MS thesis option, the eight-unit graduate research (SE 299) culminates with the preparation of a written research thesis. The thesis must be successfully defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by a committee composed of three faculty members. The committee will consist of three faculty members, one with expertise in each of the three focus areas. A complete copy of the student’s thesis must be submitted to each member of the MS thesis committee at least two weeks prior to the defense.

For the MS comprehensive option, the four-unit independent study (SE 296) must be conducted as a capstone experience project. This project is intended to provide a mentored project whereby students integrate knowledge learned from their technology areas into solving a problem from structural health monitoring/prognosis or nondestructive evaluation. The specific deliverables associated with the capstone project experience will be proposed by the student together with the SE 296 faculty mentor and will be approved by the director of the MS program by the end of the quarter preceding the one in which the student intends to register in SE 296. The deliverables will be delivered to the SE 296 mentor, assessed by the faculty mentor, and both the deliverables and assessment will be submitted to the director of the MS program for final approval.

Because of the inherent interdisciplinary nature of the MS SHM&NDE program, research within SE 296 or SE 299 may be conducted at outside locations (industry or government facilities). In this case a scientist or engineer on location, with an adjunct faculty appointment at UC San Diego, will be identified as the SE 296 faculty mentor or the SE 299 adviser and who will also be a member of the thesis committee.

All students in this degree program, for both degree options, must register in SE 290, Seminar, for any two quarters while enrolled in the program.

MS in Geotechnical Engineering

The MS program is intended to provide students with additional fundamental knowledge as well as specialized advanced knowledge in geotechnical engineering over and above that available in the BS in structural engineering at UC San Diego (SE 181, SE 182, and SE 184). Students seeking to pursue the MS program in geotechnical engineering should have an undergraduate degree in structural or civil engineering. Further, students are required to take SE 181 and SE 182, or their equivalents at another university, as a prerequisite to pursuing the MS degree in geotechnical engineering. Exceptions to this will not be granted, though SE 182 may be taken concurrently with other MS course work with instructor and adviser approval.

The MS program includes required core courses and technical elective courses. MS students must complete forty-eight units of graduate course credit for graduation (twelve courses). Students must obtain approval from their adviser and the SE Graduate Affairs Committee on proposed course work to complete the degree. Although there are no foreign language requirements with the MS program in geotechnical engineering, CCGA recognizes that foreign language competence may be an important element of graduate education of doctoral programs. Two MS plans are offered—the MS comprehensive examination plan and the MS thesis plan. All MS students will be assigned an adviser upon entering the MS program who can provide guidance on selecting between these plans. Students may switch advisers after the first quarter. Students must choose between the MS comprehensive examination plan and the MS thesis plan by the end of the second quarter of study.

In addition to the forty-eight units, students must complete three quarters of SE 290 to meet graduation requirements, but they do not have to be taken consecutively. Students are strongly recommended to take SE 290 every quarter.

The MS comprehensive examination plan requires forty-eight units (twelve courses) of regular course work and completion of a written comprehensive examination covering the course work. The comprehensive examination must be taken no later than the end of the eighth week of the quarter for which the student intends to graduate. In the core courses, the instructor selects one problem on the midterm or final exam (could be a project/long HW) to be the comprehensive exam problem. A separate Pass/Fail score is assigned to this problem. (The problem may still count toward the total exam score.) The minimum passing score is 60/100. A passing score must be obtained in all four courses.

The MS thesis plan is designed for students with an interest in research prior to entering a professional career or a doctoral degree program. For this plan, thirty-six units (nine courses) of regular course work are required, along with twelve units of graduate research (SE 299) for work on an MS thesis. The thesis defense is the final examination for students enrolled in the MS thesis plan and must be taken no later than the end of the eighth week of the quarter for which the student intends to graduate. The thesis must be defended in a public presentation with an oral examination conducted by a committee composed of three faculty members. A complete copy of the thesis must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the defense. In addition to the forty-eight units, students must take SE 290 every quarter in the first year for the MS thesis plan and are strongly recommended to take it for at least one quarter in the subsequent year.

Core Courses

MS students in geotechnical engineering must complete the following four core courses:

SE 241. Advanced Soil Mechanics

SE 248. Engineering Properties of Soils

SE 242. Advanced Foundation Engineering

SE 250. Stability of Earth Slopes and Retaining Walls

Geotechnical Technical Electives

Students must select with approval from the Graduate Affairs Committee at least four courses (MS comprehensive examination plan) or three courses (MS thesis plan) from the following list of geotechnical technical electives. Guidance on selection of the technical electives is provided later.

SE 207. Soil Dynamics

SE 246. Unsaturated Soil Mechanics

SE 222. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

SE 247. Ground Improvement

SE 243. Soil-structure Interaction

SE 248. Engineering Properties of Soils

SE 244. Numerical Methods in Geomechanics

SE 249. Rock Mechanics

Other Technical Electives

Students may select with approval from the Graduate Affairs Committee any from the following list of other technical electives to meet the twelve required courses beyond the required core courses, geotechnical technical electives, and research graduate credits (if applicable). It should be noted that some of the technical electives have prerequisites that must be fulfilled as noted in the lists below. Guidance on selection of the technical electives is provided below.

SE 181. Geotechnical Engineering

SE 235. Wave Propagation in Elastic Media

SE 182. Foundation Engineering

SE 272. Theory of Elasticity

SE 201A. Advanced Structural Analysis

SE 274. Nonlinear Finite Element Methods

SE 203. Structural Dynamics (Prerequisite: SE 201A)

SE 276A. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics I

SE 206. Random Vibrations (Prerequisite: SE 203)

SE 276B. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics II

SE 211. RC/PC Design

SE 276C. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics III

SE 212. Steel Design

SIO 225. Physics of Earth Materials

SE 213. Bridge Design

SIO 226. Introduction to Marine Geophysics

SE 220. Seismic Isolation and Energy Dissipation (Prerequisite: SE 201A)

SIO 227A. Introduction to Seismology

SE 221. Earthquake Engineering (Prerequisite: SE 201A)

SIO 227B. Advanced Seismology

SE 223. Advanced Seismic Design of Structures

SIO 239. Introduction to the Rheology of Solid Earth

SE 224. Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis

 

Suggested Course Sequences

The following course sequences are included to provide guidance in selecting technical electives based on common themes among the technical electives. Although a maximum of eight technical electives (3–4 geotechnical technical electives and 4–5 other technical electives) are required beyond the four required core courses, more classes may be listed for each of the suggested focus sequences based on the common themes. It should be noted that some of the technical electives have prerequisites that must be fulfilled as noted in the lists below.

Geotechnical Engineering:

Students following this course sequence will gain an in-depth understanding of both geotechnical fundamentals and soil-structure interaction phenomena. Students following this course sequence may also choose technical electives to gain expertise in related topics in geology.

SE 248. Engineering Properties of Soils

SE 244. Numerical Methods in Geomechanics

SE 249. Rock Mechanics

SE 247. Ground Improvement

SE 207. Soil Dynamics

SIO 225. Physics of Earth Materials

SE 246. Unsaturated Soil Mechanics

SIO 226. Introduction to Marine Geophysics

SE 222. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

 

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering:

Students following this course sequence will still gain an understanding of geotechnical fundamentals and soil-structure interaction but will also gain specialization in different aspects of geotechnical and structural earthquake engineering.

SE 201A. Advanced Structural Analysis

SE 223. Advanced Seismic Design of Structures

SE 203. Structural Dynamics (Prerequisite: SE 201A)

SE 235. Wave Propagation in Elastic Media

SE 206. Random Vibrations (Prerequisite: SE 203)

SE 243. Soil-Structure Interaction

SE 207. Soil Dynamics

SE 244. Numerical Methods in Geomechanics

SE 220. Seismic Isolation and Energy Dissipation (Prerequisite: SE 201A)

SIO 227A. Introduction to Seismology

SE 221. Earthquake Engineering (Prerequisite: SE 201A)

SIO 227B. Advanced Seismology

SE 222. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

 

Geomechanics:

Students following this course sequence will still gain an understanding of geotechnical fundamentals and soil-structure interaction but will also gain specialization in computational techniques that can be applied to the study of geotechnical and structural engineering problems.

SE 248. Engineering Properties of Soils

SE 274. Nonlinear Finite Element Methods

SE 249. Rock Mechanics

SE 276A. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics I

SE 207. Soil Dynamics

SE 276B. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics II

SE 226. Groundwater Engineering

SE 276C. Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics III

SE 235. Wave Propagation in Elastic Media

SIO 225. Physics of Earth Materials

SE 243. Soil-Structure Interaction

SIO 226. Introduction to Marine Geophysics

SE 244. Numerical Methods in Geomechanics

SIO 239. Introduction to the Rheology of Solid Earth

SE 272. Theory of Elasticity

 

Geotechnical and Structural Engineering:

Students following this course sequence will still gain an understanding of geotechnical fundamentals and soil-structure interaction but will also gain skills necessary to pursue a joint career in geotechnical and structural engineering.

SE 201A. Advanced Structural Analysis

SE 222. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering

SE 248. Engineering Properties of Soils

SE 224. Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis

SE 249. Rock Mechanics

SE 235. Wave Propagation in Elastic Media

SE 211. Advanced Structural Concrete

SE 243. Soil-Structure Interaction

SE 212. Steel Design

SE 244. Numerical Methods in Geomechanics

SE 213. Bridge Design (Prerequisite: SE 201A)

SE 247. Ground Improvement

Doctoral Degree Program

The PhD program is intended to prepare students for a variety of careers in research, teaching and advanced professional practice in the broad sense of structural engineering, encompassing civil and aerospace structures, earthquake and geotechnical engineering, advanced composites, and engineering mechanics. Depending on the student’s background and ability, research is initiated as soon as possible. All students, in consultation with their advisers, develop course programs that will prepare them for the departmental comprehensive examination and for their dissertation research. However, these programs of study and research must be planned to meet the time limits established to advance to candidacy and to complete the requirements for the PhD degree.

The department also offers a seminar course each quarter dealing with current research topics in structural engineering (SE 290). PhD students must complete three quarters of SE 290 prior to the DQE to meet graduation requirements, but they do not have to be taken consecutively. Students who cannot fulfill the SE 290 requirement for one, two, or three of the quarters much have taken an alternate structured seminar course/program, which must be preapproved by the SE Graduate Affairs Committee. It is also strongly recommended that all PhD students enroll in SE 290 for at least one quarter in every subsequent year.

Doctoral examinations:

A structural engineering PhD student is required to pass three examinations:

1. Department Qualifying Examination

The department qualifying examination (DQE) is the first examination, which should be taken after three to six quarters of full-time graduate study with a minimum cumulative UC San Diego graduate GPA of 3.5. The examination covers four focus areas in structural engineering, which is specified by the PhD student and approved by the faculty adviser and the Graduate Affairs Committee. This examination is intended to determine the candidate’s core fundamental structural engineering knowledge and his/her ability to successfully pursue a research project at a level appropriate for the doctorate. It is administered by at least three faculty members in structural engineering.

Although the student may elect to satisfy one examination area by course work, the student is responsible for material pertaining to four focus areas. In order to satisfy an area by course work, all the courses in that area must have been taken at UC San Diego, the grade in each course is B or better, and the overall GPA in that area is at least 3.5. In order to ensure appropriate breadth, the focus areas should consist of the following:

(a) two focus areas within structural engineering which are closely related to the student’s research interests
(b) one focus area within structural engineering that is not directly related to the student’s area of research
(c) one minor focus area outside the Department of Structural Engineering. Minor areas too closely related to the major areas will not be approved by the Graduate Affairs Committee.

Sample courses:
  • SE Focus Area 1: three courses
  • SE Focus Area 2: three courses
  • Breadth Focus Area: three courses
  • Non-SE Focus Area: three courses

Since the examination areas must be approved by the Graduate Affairs Committee, students are advised to seek such approval well before their expected examination date, preferably while planning their graduate studies. Although students are not required to take particular courses in preparation for the departmental examination, the scope of the examination in each area is associated with a set of three graduate courses, generally focused areas offered or approved by the department. A candidate can develop a sense of the level of knowledge expected to be demonstrated during the examination by studying the appropriate syllabi and/or discussing the course content with faculty experienced in teaching the courses involved. The departmental qualifying examination may be a written or oral examination, at the discretion of the committee.

Doctoral students who have passed the departmental qualifying examination may take any course for an S/U grade, with the exception of any course that the student’s PhD Comprehensive Examination Committee stipulates must be taken in order to remove a deficiency. It is strongly recommended that all structural engineering graduate students take at least one course (other than research) per academic year after passing the departmental qualifying examination.

An updated list of sample focus areas for PhD students is available in the structural engineering Graduate Handbook.

The Solid Mechanics Focus Sequence, which is jointly taught by the Department of Structural Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, cannot be used to satisfy the outside structural engineering requirement. Students intending to specialize in the emerging areas of structural health monitoring, damage prognosis, and validated simulations are advised to take courses in the focus areas of structural health monitoring and elective courses MAE 283, MAE 261, ECE 251AN, ECE 251BN, ECE 254, and CSE 291, which can be used to satisfy the outside structural engineering requirement.

Since the examination areas must be approved by the Structural Engineering Graduate Affairs Committee, students are advised to seek such approval well before their expected examination date, preferably while planning their graduate studies. Although students are not required to take particular courses in preparation for the departmental comprehensive examination, the scope of the examination in each area is associated with a set of three graduate courses, generally in focus areas offered or approved by the department. A list of focus areas is available in the Structural Engineering Graduate Handbook. A candidate can develop a sense of the level of knowledge expected to be demonstrated during the examination by studying the appropriate syllabi and/or discussing the course content with faculty experienced in teaching the courses involved. The departmental comprehensive examination may be a written or an oral examination, at the discretion of the committee.

2. Advancement to Candidacy Senate Examination

The PhD advancement to candidacy senate examination is the second examination required of structural engineering doctoral students. The PhD candidacy examination is an oral examination. In preparation for the PhD candidacy examination (or senate examination), students must have completed the departmental qualifying examination, have a faculty research adviser, have identified a topic for their dissertation research, and have made initial progress in that research topic.

PhD Committee

The committee conducts the PhD candidacy examination, an oral examination, during which students must demonstrate the ability to engage in dissertation research. This involves the presentation of a plan for the dissertation research project. A short, written document, such as an abstract, describing the research plan must be submitted to each member of the committee at least two weeks before the PhD candidacy examination. This requirement can also be met by meeting with the doctoral committee members to discuss the nature of the student’s dissertation research. The committee may ask questions directly or indirectly related to the research project and general questions that it determines to be relevant. Upon successful completion of this examination, students are advanced to candidacy and are awarded the candidate in the doctor of philosophy designation.

At the time of application for advancement to candidacy, in accordance with Academic Senate Regulations 715, a doctoral committee shall be appointed by the dean of Graduate Studies under the authority of the Graduate Council. The committee must have at least four members with UC San Diego faculty appointments: At least two members are from the Department of Structural Engineering (including the committee chair); at least one member must be outside structural engineering faculty (within UC San Diego); at least one member must be tenured or emeritus. Proposed members from other UC campuses, other universities, or industries are exceptions and must be requested in writing.

Example 1

  • SE faculty adviser (committee chair)
  • SE faculty
  • Outside SE faculty (within UC San Diego)
  • Outside SE faculty (within UC San Diego) 
    (At least one of the committee members must be tenured or emeritus.)

 Example 2

  • SE faculty adviser (committee chair)
  • SE faculty
  • SE faculty
  • Outside SE faculty (within UC San Diego)
    (At least one of the committee members must be tenured or emeritus.)

Requirements before the Dissertation Final Defense Examination

Mentorship and teaching experience are required of all structural engineering PhD students prior to the dissertation defense. The mentorship and teaching experience can be satisfied by lecturing one hour per week in either a problem-solving section or laboratory session for one quarter in an undergraduate course, as designated by the department. The requirement can be fulfilled by teaching assistant service or by undertaking a structured teaching training program for academic credit (through SE 501 and in consultation with the course instructor that quarter). This requirement can also be satisfied by serving as a research mentor to a team of undergraduate or graduate students in a structured, ten-week environment. Students must contact the Graduate Student Affairs Office in the department to plan and obtain approval for completion of this requirement.

This dissertation defense examination may not be conducted earlier than three quarters after the date of advancement to doctoral candidacy. These three quarters total include the quarter the student officially advances and the quarter they file for graduation. Summer is not included, just the regular academic year. For clarification, if the student defends in winter 2021 then the soonest the student would be able to defend is fall 2022. Again, the earliest would be fall 2022, as long as the student is registered in all three quarters.

3. Dissertation Final Defense Examination

The dissertation defense is the final PhD examination. Upon completion of the dissertation research project, the student writes a dissertation that must be successfully defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by the doctoral committee. The form of the final draft must conform to procedures outlined in the instructions for the Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses “Bluebook.” A complete copy of the student’s dissertation must be submitted to each member of the doctoral committee approximately three weeks before the defense. While the copy of the dissertation handed to the committee is expected to be complete and in final form, it should be noted that students are expected to make changes in the text per the direction of the committee as a result of the defense.

The student must make two separate appointments with the Graduate Division Office. The first appointment will be scheduled prior to defending and will cover in-person formatting of the dissertation and forms required to graduate. The second appointment is when the candidate submits the dissertation and all final paperwork to the Graduate Division Office. More information about the exam policies can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Upon approval by the dean of the Graduate Division, the student must file the dissertation with the university archivist who accepts it on behalf of the Graduate Council. Acceptance of the dissertation by the archivist, with a subsequent second approval by the dean of the Graduate Division, represents the final step in the completion by the candidate of all requirements for the doctor of philosophy degree.

PhD Time Limit Policy

Time limits are set at the end of a PhD student’s first year. 

Precandidacy Time Limit: Precandidacy status is limited to four years.

Support Time Limit: Doctoral students are eligible for university support for six years.

Total Registered Time Limit: The defense and submission of the doctoral dissertation must be within seven years.

Spring Evaluations: In the spring quarter of each year, department faculty members are required to evaluate their doctoral student’s overall performance in course work, research, and prospects for financial support for future years. A written assessment is given to the student after the evaluation. If a student’s work is found to be inadequate, the faculty adviser may determine that the student cannot continue in the graduate program.

Faculty Adviser

PhD students are placed with a faculty adviser (also known as research adviser/faculty adviser/PI) when they are admitted into the PhD program. A faculty adviser is the academic, research, and program guide for PhD students. Additionally, the faculty adviser is the funding PI for their assigned PhD students. The student’s research and academic performance are evaluated on a quarterly basis via an S/U grade in SE 299. Students who receive a ‘U’ in SE 299 will be placed on probationary status in the following quarter. The student must communicate with the faculty adviser to address any deficiencies and formulate a plan to address issues and deficiencies. Receiving two or more ‘U’s in SE 299 are grounds for dismissal from the student’s research group and/or termination of the PhD program. If PhD students need to change their faculty adviser at any time, they have one quarter to find a new faculty adviser. Upon finding a faculty adviser, the PhD students must fill out the change of adviser form provided by the graduate academic adviser.

PhD in Structural Engineering with Specialization in Computational Science

See “PhD in Mathematics with Specialization in Computational Science” for more information.

The UC San Diego campus offers a new comprehensive PhD specialization in computational science that will be available to doctoral candidates in participating academic departments at UC San Diego.

This PhD specialization is designed to allow students to obtain training in their chosen field of science, mathematics, or engineering with additional training in computational science integrated into their graduate studies. Prospective students must apply and be admitted into the PhD program in structural engineering and then be admitted to the CSME program.

Areas of research in the Department of Structural Engineering will include computational mechanics, computational techniques in finite elements, error control in finite element analysis, nonlinear finite element methods, and finite element methods in solid and fluid mechanics, and fluid-structure interaction. Each faculty member works with graduate student on the listed research topics.

The specialization in computational science requires that students complete all home requirements for the structural engineering PhD. Students are required to pass the departmental qualifying examination, PhD candidacy examination, teaching requirement, and a final defense of the thesis. The qualifying and elective courses for the CSME can be used as part of the advanced course requirement, which is the same as for the structural engineering PhD.

Requirements for the PhD in Structural Engineering with Specialization in Computational Science

Qualifying requirements: In addition to the home department qualifying exam requirements, PhD students must take the final exams in three qualifying exam courses from the list below. Courses taken to satisfy the qualifying requirements will not count toward the elective requirements.

MATH 275 or MAE 290B (Numerical PDEs)

PHYS 244 or CSE 260 (Parallel Computing)

Course to be selected from List A

Students coming with an MS may be able to petition to replace the MATH 275 or MAE 290B with an equivalent class taken at their MS institution.

List A: CSME Qualifying Exam Courses
  1. MATH 270A, B, or C. Numerical Analysis
  2. MATH 271A, B, or C. Numerical Optimization
  3. MATH 272A, B, or C. Numerical Partial Differential Equations
  4. MATH 273A, B, or C. Advanced Techniques in Computational Mathematics
  5. MAE 223. Computational Fluid Mechanics
  6. MAE 232/SE 276A, B, or C (Computational Solids Mechanics)
  7. MAE 280A or B. Linear Systems Theory
  8. MAE 294A. Introduction to Applied Mathematics
  9. PHYS 221 AB. Nonlinear Dynamics
  10. PHYS 243. Stochastic Methods
  11. SE 233. Computational and Technical Aspects of Finite Element Methods
  12. CHEM 285. Introduction to Computational Chemistry
  13. Additional courses to be determined by the executive committee or allowed by petition

Elective requirements: To encourage PhD students to both broaden themselves in an area of science or engineering as well as to obtain more specialized training in specific areas of computational science, students will be required to take and pass three elective courses from the following approved List B (four units per course). The executive committee may approve the use of courses not appearing on the following list on a case-by-case basis. Courses taken to satisfy the elective requirements will not count toward the qualifying requirements.

List B: Relevant Elective Graduate Courses in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering
  1. Any course appearing on List A above
  2. PHYS 241. Computational Physics I
  3. PHYS 242. Computational Physics II
  4. MAE 222. Flow Control
  5. MAE 261. Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics
  6. SE 277. Error Control in Finite Element Methods
  7. SE 278A. Computational Fluid Dynamics
  8. SE 278B. Computational Fluid-Structure Interaction
  9. CHEM 215. Modeling Biological Macromolecules
  10. BGGN 260. Neurodynamics
  11. ECE 272. Dynamical Systems under Uncertainty
  12. CSE 250A or B. Principles of Artificial Intelligence
  13. MATH 210A, B, or C. Mathematical Methods in Physics and Engineering
  14. Additional courses to be determined by executive committee or allowed by petition

Program policies: The following is a list of policies for the PhD specialization with regard to proficiency, qualifying, and elective requirements.

  • Proficiency in computer engineering must be demonstrated by the end of the first year.
  • The qualifying exams must be passed by the end of the second year or, on petition, by end of the third year.
  • The qualifying exams can be attempted repeatedly but no more than once per quarter per subject.
  • The qualifying exams in the home department and the CSME qualifying exams must all be passed before the student is permitted to take the candidacy exam (Senate Exam).
  • Two electives outside the home department must be taken.
  • The two electives can be taken at any time before defending the thesis.
  • One of the electives may be taken Pass/Fail; the other must be taken for a letter grade.

Structural Engineering Seminar

The department offers a biweekly seminar on topics of current interest in structural engineering and on departmental research programs. Students are expected to register and attend the colloquium.

Students have an option of obtaining credit for a structural engineering graduate course by taking the final examination without participating in any class exercises. They must, however, officially register for the course and notify the instructor and the Department of Structural Engineering graduate affairs office of their intention no later than the first week of the course.