Program Objectives for Structural Engineering and Infrastructure Materials

Structural engineering can be taught in various ways. One approach is a traditional curriculum consisting mostly of practical courses in numerous special aspects of concrete and steel structures, especially code provisions and detailed design practices. Another approach emphasizes thorough understanding of the basic principles and exposes the student to the latest discoveries and trends, aided by the strong research orientation of the faculty.

At Northwestern we offer both approaches to practice structural engineering. For the former approach, Northwestern offers a M.S. program with a focus on Advanced Structural Design. Students will be qualified to sit for the structural engineering exam after a few years of practical experience. Students taking the latter approach will be prepared to gain not only a deeper expertise, but also a greater versatility in choosing careers. Our graduates go on to private consulting or construction firms, industrial or governmental research laboratories, and academia. Some enter the aerospace, electronic, or software design industry.  Later in their careers, many become highly successful managers or independent consultants.

Fields of Study

Cement-Based Materials

  • Chemistry of cementitious systems
  • Development of new structural materials
  • Dynamic loading of materials
  • Electromagnetic interactions
  • Evolution of microstructure
  • Fiber-reinforced composites
  • Fracture processes
  • Rheology of cement pastes
  • Transport properties

Structural Analysis and Design

  • Box girder bridges, tall buildings, reactor vessels, dams
  • Computer-aided structural analysis and design
  • Creep, durability, thermal and moisture effects
  • Damage mechanics and nonlinear constitutive laws
  • Effect of material randomness on structure serviceability and strength
  • Nondestructive evaluation
  • Size effects in structures
  • Structural stability
  • Structural reliability and safety

Structural Dynamics

  • Earthquake and wind engineering
  • Soil-structure interaction
  • Structural acoustics
  • Structural reliability and random vibration


Professor Gianluca Cusatis
SEIM Program Coordinator
Technological Institute
2145 Sheridan Rd. A125
Evanston IL 60208
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