Graduate Studies in Structures, Mechanics and Materials - MS & PhD Requirements

Graduate Studies in Structures,
Mechanics and Materials

 Graduate Student Studying


Graduate students in the Structures, Mechanics, and Materials (SMM) area tend to break down into those that eventually plan to practice as structural engineers, and those that plan to eventually pursue research careers. For the former, courses more directly relevant to analysis and design of structural systems can be selected, while for the latter, more general courses related to solid mechanics and materials can be selected.  Thus students can develop a plan of study in consultation with an academic advisor to meet their career objectives. 


The Masters degree in SMM typically takes from one to two academic years to complete. The MS degree may be earned on either a thesis or a non-thesis basis. Thesis option requires a minimum of 30 hours of credit; 24 semester hours of course work plus 6 semester hours of thesis research credit. The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work. In both options, twelve (12) credit hours must come from the COURSE POOL A below.  Both options require successful completion of a final examination.



The Ph.D. degree typically takes from three to five academic years to complete, and prepares graduates for a wide range of careers in academic institutions, research organizations, and advanced applications in various industries. At least fifty-four (54) course credit hours are required for the Ph.D. degree, of which up to twenty-four (24) can possibly be transferred in from a preceding M.S. program. Of the fifty-four (54) course credit hours, twenty-one (21) must come from the COURSE POOL A below and the remaining course credit hours must come from COURSE POOL B below. In consultation with the academic advisor, graduate level courses from other departments, such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, and others can be taken.

Ph.D. students are required to pass a written qualifying exam, typically given during the third or fourth semester of Ph.D. study.  The purpose of this qualifier is to insure the student’s mastery of essential graduate level concepts. The requirement is satisfied after the student passes the written exam in three core areas selected in consultation with the academic advisor. The grade on each subject exam must be 70% or above.   Within 24 months after passing the qualifying exam, students must form a Ph.D. dissertation committee consisting of five faculty members.  The dissertation committee conducts the comprehensive examination which consists of an oral presentation by the student of a written dissertation research proposal which contains preliminary results and the plan of study to complete the dissertation.  Upon passing the comprehensive examination a student becomes a Ph.D. candidate.  Lastly, students are required to pass the final dissertation defense examination administered by the candidate’s dissertation committee.  The defense consists of an oral presentation by the candidate of their dissertation work and a critical inquiry by the committee into the purpose, methods, originality, and soundness of the candidate’s research.  The inquiry may include intensive examination in areas related to the dissertation research.



53:111 Numerical Calculations

53:112 Engineering Design Optimization

53:113 Mathematical Methods in Engineering

53:132 Fundamentals of Vibrations

53:133 Finite Element I

53:140 Intermediate Mechanics of Deformable Bodies

53:179 Continuum Mechanics



53:115 Computer-Aided Engineering

53:116 Computer-Aided Design for CEE

53:130 Construction Materials

53:134 Design of Steel Structures

53:135 Structural Modeling and Health Monitoring

53:136 Design of Concrete Structures

53:139 Foundations of Structures

53:148 Fatigue/Durability in Design

53:149 Fracture Mechanics

58:154 Intermediate Kinematics and Dynamics

53:160 Introduction to Bridge Engineering

53:165 Pavement Analysis and Design

53:170 Composite Materials

22M:170 Numerical Analysis: Nonlinear Equations and Approximation Theory

22M:171 Numerical Analysis: Differential Equations and Linear Algebra

22M:174 Optimization Techniques

53:214 Analytical Methods in Mechanical Systems

53:233 Finite Elements II

53:235 Applied Optimal Design

53:236 Optimization of Structural Systems

53:243 Computational Inelasticity

53:244 Energy Principles in Structural Mechanics

53:246 Continuum Mechanics and Plasticity

53:247 Advanced Continuum Mechanics

53:249 Multiscale Modeling

53:250 Advanced Fracture Mechanics

58:253 Computational Methods in Dynamics

58:256 Computational Solid Mechanics

58:257 Probabilistic Mechanics and Reliability

58:259 Mechanical Design in Structures