The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Structural Engineering and Mechanics (SEM) is a research area within the Civil Engineering Program at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering. SEM faculty and students conduct multidisciplinary research to improve the safety and performance of the world's infrastructure, develop sustainable and green building technology, and analyze the mechanical behavior of solids.

Our research consists of experiments conducted in the SEM Research Facilities (Gunness Structural Engineering Laboratory and Robert B. Brack Structural Testing Facility), in the field, and computational and analytical work conducted with the aid of in-house computational facilities. Computational resources include state-of-the-art software, multi-processor shared-access workstations and access to the 608 processor "Cyclops" cluster computer environment. Experimental testing of large-scale structural elements, on-site instrumentation, small-component testing, and materials research is available.

Graduates of the SEM program have excellent opportunities for obtaining rewarding and challenging employment in structural engineering. In general, graduates have been employed by private consulting engineering firms and in state and federal agencies, industry and universities.

B.S. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Structural Engineering and Mechanics

While undergraduate Civil Engineering majors begin their experience by taking foundational courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics, they have the ability to explore Structural Engineering and Mechanics by taking elective courses in this area in their junior and senior years, culminating in a senior design project, where students’ knowledge and skills are applied to a real-world problem.

M.S. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Structural Engineering and Mechanics

The objective of the masters degree program in Structural Engineering and Mechanics is to prepare students for careers as engineers in industry, government or education. This objective is achieved through a program carefully prepared by students and their advisors. The basic understanding of structural behavior and fundamental structural mechanics is obtained from a core of required basic courses in the discipline. In addition to the core courses, elective courses are offered that allow students to tailor to their professional goals and individual interests.

Both thesis and coursework-only options are available. The thesis option focuses on developing research skills by conducting a research project on a topic that is relevant and current to the field. The coursework-only option requires students to take 6 additional credit hours in lieu of a masters research project. 

Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Structural Engineering and Mechanics

The main objective of the Ph.D. degree in Structural Engineering and Mechanics is to provide advanced study in a specific area related to Structural Engineering and Mechanics in preparation for a research career in industry, academia or national laboratories. Emphasis is placed on developing the candidate’s ability to conduct independent research in in a new area of inquiry. It is expected that the Ph.D. candidate will produce work that is considered to become a significant contribution to the profession through the advancement of knowledge in the field.

Program Coordinator: Dr. Sanjay Arwade, arwade [at] umass [dot] edu