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Structural Engineering

Structures such as bridges, high-rises, tunnels and storm surge barriers clearly may not collapse or fall over. In the MSc Structural Engineering track you will learn to calculate which deflections we can expect, whether a structure will buckle or whether its strength will be sufficient.

Structural Engineering

Description (by TU Delft):


Structures such as bridges, high-rises, tunnels and storm surge barriers clearly may not collapse or fall over. They may not deflect too much or vibrate annoyingly. Moreover, often they need to last for more than 100 years without much maintenance. In the MSc Structural Engineering track you will learn to calculate which deflections we can expect, whether a structure will buckle, whether its strength will be sufficient, etcetera.

Essential to this are physical models of structures, of materials and of loading. You will learn to formulate these models, to test them and to apply them. Simple models are used for hand calculations to quickly make decisions in meetings with owners, architects, contractors and local governments. Complicated models are used for computer simulations to accurately determine whether a structure will comply with the design specifications. Examples are the stresses that will occur in a concrete dam of an artificial lake or the damage that will occur in a high-rise due to a strong earthquake.



Study Guide:


U-BASE made a booklet with a complete collection of information regarding the Structural Engineering master. It can be found in SE_Booklet_2017-2018.pdf. The printed version can be picked up at our BASE, in Stevin II lab.

An overview of the compulsory courses and electives required to finalize the Structural Engineering mastertrack can be found in the TU Delft Study Guide.


Graduation thesis:


As the last part of the study, each student has to do a graduation thesis with a weight of 40 ECTS. The Master’s thesis finalizes the Master’s study at the university. The organization of the Master’s thesis is considered an important part of the graduation and is the sole responsibility of the student.

Students can find a thesis subject to do research on, either at the university or at a company. In the latter case, companies often already have subjects to choose from. Students will then probably work at the company during their thesis, and their research will be judged by a teacher from the Structural Engineering department.

In the former case, students have to find a subject at TU Delft itself. Possible research subjects can often be divided in two broad categories: doing a design/modelling thesis, and doing research in the Stevin lab. A lot of times, these two are combined. Research topics depend on the department the student wants to graduate in, but often the thesis subject has to be related to the then ongoing tests in the Stevin lab. 

Finding a subject
The first step in starting on the final project is to visit the graduation-coordinator. For Structural Engineering this is L.J.M. Houben, room S2 2.27. Together you set up the official part of the graduation. At the same time a grauduation subject needs to be found. If you want to do your thesis at TU Delft, it is best to approach teachers and professors. Your own input is very much appreciated!

If you want to graduate in concrete structures, it is best to contact dr. ir. van der Veen. His office is located in room S2 2.05, you can make an appointment and discuss research topics. Graduation topics in concrete structures may be monitoring of existing structures or research into new materials. However, a lot depends on your own preferences and input. 

If you want to graduate in steel structures, it is best to contact prof. dr. Veljkovic (his office is located in room S2 2.52) or dr. ir. Roland Abspoel (his office is located in room S2 2.54). Possible research topics are fatigue problems and new types of connections. Topics also depend on what research is being conducted in the lab at that moment and, again, on your own preferences and input.

If you want to graduate in timber structures and wood technology, it is best to contact dr. ir. Ravenshorst (G.J.P.Ravenshorst@tudelft.nl), his office is located in room S2 2.57, or prof. dr. ir. van de Kuilen. The general objective is to enlarge the application of biobased materials in structures for buildings and road-and waterworks. Possible research topics are:
- Tthe strength of timber products and connections with to regard to application in practice.
- The service life prediction of timber structures, monitoring of timber structures and impact of timber structures on the environment.
- The behaviour of timber structures under seismic loading.

For graduating in road or railway engineering, its best to contact prof. A. Scarpas (road engineering) room S2 2.30, dr. Markine (railway engineering) room S2 2.33, or just mr Houben, room S2 2.27. In pavement engineering, a lot of research is conducted on the bonding between bitumen and granulate in pervious concrete under heavy conditions. In railway engineering, a lot of research is conducted in theoretic damage models in rails and contact surface mechanics.

On the sixt floor of the faculty, the mechanics department is located. If your graduation topic includes dynamics or finite element modelling, it is wise to approach someone of the staff to be in your graduation committee.

Graduation topics also depend on what research is being conducted in the lab at that moment and on your own preferences and input.  The master thesis can certainly also be performed in cooperation with industrial partners when you are able to arrange this.

Furthermore, some additional information on for example official procedures for graduation is included in the information booklet for Structural Engineering made by U-BASE. You can find this booklet here.