Your complete guide to a PhD in Structural Engineering

Everything you need to know about studying a PhD in Structural Engineering

part of Engineering & Technology

What is Structural Engineering?

Structural Engineering is the part of civil engineering that focuses on the designing and building things that stay strong and safe despite the environment they must face, such as strong winds, rain, storms, or earthquakes. In short, by studying a Structural Engineering degree you will learn how to make buildings, bridges, and other structures safe and durable.

Structural Engineering Specialisations

There are several specialisations within Structural Engineering. A list of the most common specialisations in Structural Engineering often includes:

  • Building Engineering;
  • Bridge Engineering;
  • Earthquake Engineering.

These specialisations are typically pursued in both Master’s and Bachelor’s, allowing you to focus on specific aspects of Structural Engineering that best fit your background.

What will you learn during a Structural Engineering programme?

Structural Engineering is a good degree choice if you have a technical background and are interested in designing and building safe and efficient structures. You'll learn about the core principles of structural design, what materials to use in which circumstances, and how are buildings affected by loading conditions and environmental factors. The skills you can get from Structural Engineering courses are diverse, including:

  • understanding of structural design principles;
  • knowledge of construction materials, and when and where to use them;
  • analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • project management abilities;
  • technical and design skills.

Some common Structural Engineering courses are:

  • Structural Mechanics: you learn about stress, strain, bending, and shear and how they affect structures.
  • Materials Science teaches you how construction materials, thanks to their properties, influence the design and durability of structures.
  • Structural Analysis allows you to understand how structures behave under various circumstances and make calculated predictions.
  • Structural Design: This is a practical course where you learn to design structures considering the principles of structural analysis and materials science.

These skills and knowledge you earn are applicable not only to engineering but also to a wide range of careers, such as architect, mechanical engineer, urban planner, industrial designer etc, making Structural Engineering a versatile and valuable degree.

Skills required for a degree in Structural Engineering

To excel in Structural Engineering, you'll need a strong interest in design and construction, and a knack for problem-solving. Good technical and mathematical skills are also crucial. Structural Engineering degree requirements often include a background in basic sciences and mathematics, along with a willingness to understand and navigate complex design challenges.

What can you do with a Structural Engineering degree?

The jobs you can get with a Structural Engineering degree are varied and rewarding. With a Bachelor's degree, you could work as a:

  • structural engineer;
  • construction manager;
  • project engineer.

A Master's degree opens up opportunities for roles like:

  • senior structural engineer;
  • structural design engineer,
  • engineering consultant.

A career after the most common specialisation in Structural Engineering, such as Building Engineering or Bridge Engineering, can be incredibly rewarding. You'll have the chance to design and construct structures that are not only functional and efficient, but also safe and durable, making a Structural Engineering degree worth it for many.

Read more

View all PhDs in Structural Engineering. Keep in mind you can also study an online PhDs in Structural Engineering.

Interesting programmes for you


Go to your profile page to get personalised recommendations!