Graduate Program

The Department of Structural Engineering at UCSD offers instruction leading to the degrees of master of science (M.S.) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in structural engineering (SE). In addition, an M.S. degree in structural health monitoring, prognosis, and validated simulations has been activated. The graduate program is aimed at training a select number of highly skilled professionals in structural engineering with the academic and engineering credentials to assume leadership roles in industry and academia.

The M.S. degree 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 (Ph.D.) degree program is intended to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, and/or in their chosen professional specialties. The Ph.D. program requires a departmental comprehensive examination, a Ph.D. candidacy examination, a Ph.D. 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 Structural Engineering Department:

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

Financial Support

For the most outstanding first-year Ph.D. students, the Department of Structural Engineering may offer financial support in the form of university fellowships, research assistantships and Teaching Assistantships. The fellowships include the Department fellowships and those provided by the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Office of Graduate Studies. The fellowship award normally starts in October through the end of September. The Jacobs School of Engineering fellowships are reserved for first-year Ph.D. students only.

Incoming M.S. students in the Plan II – Comprehensive Exam program Structural Engineering are not offered financial support when admitted into the program. M.S. students enrolled in the Plan I – Thesis program may be supported by their research advisors and paid as a Graduate Student Researcher, but will not be offered financial support when admitted. Additionally, the funding may not start until after the M.S. student completes coursework and is ready to start the research. 

Teaching Assistantships and Readerships are available on a quarterly basis to all graduate students including M.S. and Ph.D. students. All graduate student TA’s & Reader’s employed at 25% time or more are eligible for Partial Tuition fee remission that will reduce their Registration fees quarterly. Non-resident tuition is usually paid by the student if he/she is only supported by a 25% time Teaching Assistantship.

Continuing and incoming Ph.D. students that are employed as Graduate Student Researchers will have the opportunity to receive pay increases after passing the Candidacy examination. The maximum stipend allowed by the department for students employed as Graduate Student Researcher is 49% rate at Step 7. The faculty research advisor in charge of the funded research project assigns the duties of a GSR. These appointments are subject to the availability of research funds each year.

FINANCIAL AID: http://students.ucsd.edu/finances/financial-ai

Cost of Study

In 2020-2021 full-time students who are California Residents pay an estimated $5,794.66 per quarter in registration fees. Nonresidents pay an estimated total of $10,828.66 per quarter for registration, supplement tuition, and incidental fees. There is a reduced-fee structure for students enrolled on a half-time basis. Costs are subject to change.  For more information, please review the Graduate Division Office's tuition and fees.

Residency Requirements

Non-residents of the state of California must establish residency immediately upon entering the State. If students do not establish residency by the end of their first year of study, out of state tuition WILL NOT BE COVERED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. This means that even if a student holds a TA or Graduate Student Researcher position, the out of state tuition will not be covered under these jobs.

Living and Housing

UCSD provides apartments for graduate students. There is also a variety of off-campus housing in the surrounding communities. Information in this regard may be obtained from the UCSD Housing Office.

On Campus Graduate Housing: https://hdh.ucsd.edu/arch/pages/index.html

Off Campus Housing: https://offcampushousing.ucsd.edu/

Department Facilities

The unique education and research opportunities are provided by faculty expertise across a range of specialties in materials and structural systems of different types and scales, and through the specially designed laboratories including the world-renowned Charles Lee Powell Structural Research Laboratories. This unique facility consists of a set of large-scale testing laboratories where full-scale structural systems ranging from bridges and buildings, ship hulls and deck structures, to aircraft wings and structural systems can be tested using state-of-the-art computer-controlled equipment.

The Structural Systems Laboratory houses a 15-m tall reaction wall and a 37-m long strong floor, while the Structural Components Laboratory has a 9-m tall by 19-m wide strong wall with a 14.3 -by 21.3-m strong floor, and the Composites Structures Laboratory has a 9-m tall by 5.5-m wide strong wall with a 14.3 -by 7.2-m strong floor. The facility also includes a high-capacity shake table and a geotechnical laboratory including a centrifuge and soil boxes. The research facilities also include state-of-the-art nano-materials characterization facilities, polymer and composite characterization and processing laboratories, composites and aerospace structures laboratories, non-destructive evaluation laboratories, structural dynamics laboratory, a unique 6-DOF seismic response modification device test facility, and other unique facilities.

The Englekirk Structural Engineering Center is equipped with the world's first outdoor shake table adjacent to the country's largest soil-structure interaction test facility, allowing researchers to perform dynamic earthquake safety tests on full-scale structural systems. It also houses a blast simulator, which is the world’s first facility designed to study structural response to, and damage caused by, bomb blasts without creating actual explosions. Besides enabling one-of-a-kind experiments, the laboratory facilities enable the validation of sophisticated design and analysis models, which are subsequently used for design, numerical prediction, and detailed parametric studies. Thus, a complete systems approach from materials development and large-scale experiments to implementation of sensor networks and development of design recommendations and nonlinear analytical models is typical for research projects in the Department.