MSc Programme

Structures in the ocean environment are founded in the seabed, whereas dredging systems aim at the excavation and transportation of bottom sediments. Both require a thorough understanding of the mechanical properties of the subsoil. In addition, offshore and dredging systems interact dynamically with waves, and, in certain cases, earthquakes, floating ice or currents, resulting in vortex-induced vibrations.

For the design of these systems, which very often include mechanical components and mechatronics, the behaviour of the different construction materials needs to be understood – to assess structural stability and fatigue. Hence, offshore & dredging engineers require an excellent knowledge of three fundamental pillars:

  • hydromechanics,
  • soil-mechanics, and
  • structural mechanics.


Machinery for the treatment of soil and/or bulk goods are constituting an interface between Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering. Within this framework one must think of dredging machinery, tunnel drilling machines and equipment for the treatment of bulk goods. This field comprises excavation, transport and sedimentation processes of soil, rock and bulk goods that are brought about by human intervention and controlled by means of the appropriate machinery. The purpose in this is to realize or maintain "constructions" and to mine, transfer or treat building materials or ores. Examples of the constructions mentioned above are: ports, channels, land reclamation, cores of dykes and (drilling) tunnels. Examples of the treatment of materials are: soil treatment, mixed heap systems and the separation of materials when mining minerals. Examples of transference are: the transshipment of bulk materials, conveyor belts in the mining industry and hydraulic transport of solids. An important development in this is the drilling of tunnels in "feeble" ground.

The designing of and working with the equipment mentioned above is primarily determined by physical processes, such as loosening up rock, soil or bulk materials, vertical and horizontal transport, positioning in the means of transport, treatment and positioning of the material in a desired geometry.

The fundamental research focusses on the cutting processes in sand, clay and rock, stationary and non-stationary flow of mixtures through pipelines, the sedimentation in hoppers, mixture forming in cutterheads, the behavior of cutter dredgers under offshore conditions, while more applied research has been carried out on many different subjects usually in cooperation with the dredging industry.

When designing machinery, a large number of restrictions play an important part. They all relate to local circumstances, such as the availability of facilities, the condition of the soil or bulk goods, the availability of resource-rich areas for the purpose of elevation, dumping sites for the removal of materials from digged-in constructions, wind and weather conditions, environmental requirements, available energy and a large number of other technical, administrative and economic restrictions. Furthermore, it is required to possess a profound insight into the availability of highly sophisticated mechanical constructions that often have to operate under heavy and dynamic load conditions due to the aggressive environment.

The courses of this specialisation are:

For research on Dredging goto: Dredging Engineering

Structural Design and Analysis is the youngest specialization focusing on mastering and advancing your knowledge when applied for design and analysis of steel and composite floating structures used by the maritime, offshore, dredging and renewable energy industries.

Think here about floating wind structures, tidal energy structures, “Pioneering Spirit” of Allseas, “Prelude” an FLNG of Shell, or the “Sleipnir” a new generation semi-submersible largest crane vessel in the world which is designed for worldwide offshore heavy lifting by HMC. But before these structures can be designed and analysed a lot of new knowledge is needed.

Our team is formed by experts in structural design and analysis of floating structures. We operate and use the Mega-Hexapod – a unique test device capable to reproduce any loading being experienced by structural elements in ship and offshore structures. We enjoy research and education. Most probably you will be directly involved in our research projects and you will graduate with co-supervision of one of our industrial partners. Examples of our recent research are: multiaxial fatigue, structural health monitoring, structural response to sloshing, climate change effects on structural lifetimes, and hydroelastic response of composite propellers. Our new research program is on an ultra-large flexible floating platform supporting solar panels and producing a green fuel.

The past few years we have developed for you several new 5 ECTS courses dedicated to offshore structures:

1.           MT44030 (Q1) - Structural Design and Analysis (Torsional and shear response)

2.           MT44010 (Q2) - Non-metallic materials

3.           MT44085 (Q2) - Buckling & Ultimate Strength

4.           OE44085 (Q4) - Fatigue & Fracture

5.           MT44090 (Q5) - Fluid-Structure Interaction

All this courses include assignments which allow students to apply the knowledge directly. The grades are based on assignment reports to be explained in an oral exam which can be taken outside the exam periods. Hence, no written exams and no stress - just your study time. This allows you for better planning of your study.

The core curriculum for structural design and analysis consists of 5 subjects totaling 25 ECTS. Including this into the offshore core curriculum gives 100 ECTS including the thesis. This leaves 20 ECTS for elective courses. The core structural design and analysis are as follows:

Offshore renewable energy plays a significant role in contributing to the energy transition. The ocean offers a vast and untapped potential for energy generation from the marine environment - including offshore wind, tidal, wave, floating solar and ocean thermal energy. Technological advances and innovation are required to reduce lifetime costs of the energy generated and raise the competitiveness of ocean energy technologies  with respect to traditional fossil fuel solutions. The offshore renewable energy specialization includes courses in Offshore Wind Farm Design, Offshore Wind Support Structures and Drive & Energy Systems.