Introduction to the programme

The Structural Engineering track provides students with in-depth knowledge of the fundamental behaviour of civil engineering materials and structures. Used daily, the safe, sound and durable design, construction and maintenance of these structures is imperative for human well-being and society. Students learn to formulate and test physical models of loads, materials and structures. They test complex structure models for endurance under stresses that might occur. Additionally, students learn to test and apply hand calculations for quick decision-making and to use computer simulations to determine whether a structure will comply with design specifications. Research is fundamental to the educational programme. Well-equipped laboratories enable testing from nanoscale materials to full-scale structures and their components.

Programme overview:

The 1st year comprises of the Civil Engineering compulsory course (4 ECTS), all the Structural Engineering track related compulsory courses (32 ECTS) and most of the specialisation related compulsory courses (in total 24 ECTS). In addition some elective courses can be done.

The 1st semester of the 2nd year comprises of the remaining specialisation related compulsory courses and the remaining elective subjects. The elective subjects may include an internship (done on an individual basis, usually in the Netherlands) or a multidisciplinary project (done in a group of 4 to 6 students, usually located abroad) or an additional thesis project; each of these subjects is 10 ECTS. So, the 20 ECTS of electives may consist of only courses or 1 of the subjects mentioned above plus 10 ECTS of courses.

The 2nd semester of the 2nd year is dedicated to the MSc thesis which by definition is 40 ECTS.

Structural Mechanics
Description specialisation: The basis of every structural analysis is applied mechanics. This is used to calculate structures ever since Isaac Newton discovered his laws, 300 years ago. In the Structural Mechanics specialisation there is much attention for applied mechanics.
In the graduation project you will develop tools for other engineers to design structures, for example a calculation method for computers, rules of thumb or design charts. In your carrier you can develop yourself further as the one who solves structural problems for which others do not know a solution.

Materials Science
Description specialisation: If you aim to design constructions, you have to be very much aware of the properties of the materials you plan to use. For example, what is the load bearing capacity of a prefab concrete driven pile? When does metal fatigue occur in aluminium? How can you make strong joints with wood? What is the minimum life span of the various building materials? You will learn the answers to these and other questions within the Materials Science specialisation.

Concrete Structures
Description specialisation: Reinforced Concrete is the most use construction material. Architects and contractors appreciate this material because of the freedom in design, the low costs, the strength and the durability. However, designing a reinforced concrete structure is a specialisation in it self. For example every reinforced structure has small cracks that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These cracks are necessary for activating the reinforcement but when they become too large the concrete is no longer water proof and the reinforcement will corrode.
In the Concrete Structures specialisation you learn to make the right decisions for obtaining an optimal design. Despite that the material is being used for over 100 years, in the last years many innovations occurred in material, construction and applications to which this specialisation gives much attention.

Steel, hybrid and composit structures
Description specialisation: You encounter structures made of steel, wood, aluminium and fibre-reinforced plastic everywhere you go. Think for example of applications in high-rise and low-rise buildings, in factory buildings, towers, masts, locks, weirs, bridges and viaducts. You will find out how to design and execute these constructions, as well as carry out the necessary calculations, within the Steel and Timber Structures specialisation.

Road and Railway Engineering
Description specialisation: Infrastructural facilities such as roads, airfields, port areas, railways and tramways are essential for the proper functioning of our modern society.
The structures required for these facilities are complex because they consist of multiple layers or components which together – over a long period – need to withstand increasingly heavy traffic loads. In the case of roads, airfields and port areas this involves asphalt, concrete or clinkers, a solid foundation and a sand foundation. In the case of railways the basic structure is, in principle, rails connected by sleepers (or ties), a ballast foundation and a sand foundation, while tramways are mostly embedded in a road structure. The structures are built on the natural soil; in large parts of the Netherlands this is extremely weak, thus leading to a range of complications.
In the Road and Railway Engineering specialisation you learn not only how to design the aforementioned structures but also how they should be constructed and maintained.

Hydraulic Engineering Structures
Description specialisation: The Hydraulic Engineering Structures specialisation concentrates on hydraulic structures and systems, such as tunnels, quay walls, dykes and storm surge barriers. The specialisation focuses on the integral design, construction and maintenance of these structures and coherently addresses their hydraulic, geotechnical and structural aspects.