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Structural Engineering

The Structures and Mechanics area of emphasis deals with the strength of structures and their response to physical loads. The discipline typically leads to jobs in consulting engineering (designing building structures, bridges, etc.) or in contracting (concerned with the process and fabrication and erection rather than design of the structure). Many students also go on to study structures and mechanics at the graduate level, perhaps specializing further into earthquake engineering, long-span structures, etc.

This is a general guide. Please consult your faculty mentor for more information.

Structural engineering senior year faculty mentoring session recordings

2021 session 2020 session

Required courses

CEE 440 Professional Practice Studio 2
CEE 442 Structural and Geotechnical Capstone, or another CEE capstone course options 5

Strongly recommended courses

CEE 378

Structural Analysis (Essential for structural students to take in Spring Quarter of Junior Year)

CEE 436 Foundation Design 3
CEE 451 Design of Metal Structures 3
CEE 452 Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures 3
CEE 457 Advanced Structures I 3

Recommended courses

CEE 416 Urban Transportation Planning and Design 3
CEE 424 GIS for Civil Engineers 3
CEE 433 Design and Construction of Temporary Structures  
CEE 453 Prestressed Concrete Design 3
CEE 454 Design of Timber Structures 3
CEE 476 Physical Hydrology 3
CEE 477 Open-Channel Flow 3
CEE 481 Hydraulic Design for Environmental Engineering 3

For complete list of CEE courses, see Course Catalog.

Undergraduates who intend to pursue a MSCE in Structural Engineering are invited to take some courses (such as CEE 453) at the graduate level with 500-level course numbers, provided that they can satisfy BSCE degree requirements with other courses. Consult with an adviser or structures faculty member if you are interested in this option. Faculty permission and an add code is required to register for CEE 500-level classes. Submit the add code request online, and forward the email faculty approval to

Employers in some areas of civil engineering prefer students with master’s degrees for certain positions. Although not required, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and other sub-areas often seek those with a master’s degree for entry level positions.

If you are interested in pursuing an advanced degree, such as a master’s or Ph.D., start planning and consulting with faculty mentors and advisors as early as your junior year. The coursework-only MSCE degree can typically be completed in approximately one year (3-4 quarters).