Academic Requirements

General Education Requirements

For graduation each student must satisfy general-education course requirements determined by the student’s college, as well as the major requirements determined by the department. The colleges at UCSD require widely different general-education courses, and the number of such courses differs from one college to another. Each student should choose his or her college carefully, considering the special nature of the college and the breadth of general education.

The Structural Engineering B.S. program allows for general elective (GE) courses so that students can fulfill their college requirements.  It should be noted that some colleges may require more than the thirteen GE courses indicated in the curriculum table.  Students must consult with their college to determine which GE courses to take.

Major Requirements

Structural Engineering Undergraduate Curriculum (short video introduction to curriculum)

Specific course requirements for the major are outlined in the table below. In addition to the required major courses, a suggested scheduling of general education (GE) are distributed in the curricula for students to use to meet college general-education requirements. To graduate, students must maintain an overall GPA of at least 2.0, and the department requires at least a C- grade in each course required for the major.  All courses required for the major must be taken for a letter grade, including all lower division math and science courses.

Students with different academic preparations may vary the scheduling of lower-division courses such as math, physics and chemistry, but should consult with the SE Undergraduate Advisor before doing so. Deviations in scheduling lower-division Structural Engineering courses are discouraged due to scheduling constraints. It is strongly advised that students taking courses outside UCSD seek prior approval from the appropriate departments before doing so. A tentative schedule of course offerings is available from the department each spring quarter for the following academic year.

Structural Engineering

  Fall Quarter Winter Quarter Spring Quarter
Freshman Year Calculus I (Math 20A) Calculus II (Math 20B) Calculus III (Math 20C)
  Intro to Structures (SE 1) Mechanics (Phys 2A) Engin. Graphic Design (SE 3)
  Gen Chem I (Chem 6A) Gen Ed Elec & Magnetism (Phys 2B/2BL)
  Gen Ed Gen Ed Gen Ed
Sophomore Year Diff. Equations (Math 20D) Linear Algebra (Math 18) Vector Calculus (Math 20E)
  Statics (SE 101A) Dynamics (SE 101B) MatLab (SE 9)
  Fluids & Thermo (Phys 2C/2CL) Solid Mechanics I (SE 110A) Solid Mechanics II (SE 110B)
  Gen Ed Gen Ed Structural Materials (SE 105)
Junior Year Vibrations (SE 101C) Fluid Mechanics (SE 115) Finite Element Analysis (SE 131A)
  Stats & Probability (SE 125) Computing for Engin (SE 102) Structural Analysis II (SE 130B)
  Structural Analysis I (SE 130A) Focus Sequence Focus Sequence
  Gen Ed Gen Ed Gen Ed
Senior Year Computing in SE (SE 131B) Capstone Class Capstone Class
  Focus Sequence Focus Sequence Technical Elective
  Technical Elective Technical Elective Gen Ed
  Gen Ed Gen Ed Gen Ed

Gen Ed: General education requirement (varies by college).

The structural engineering major includes four focus sequences: civil structures, aerospace structures, geotechnical engineering, and structural health monitoring.  Students choose one focus sequence to complete and gain additional knowledge through completing technical electives.

  • Civil Engineering Structures and Infrastructure Focus Sequence
    Safety in buildings and built infrastructure, bridges, ports, and tunnels among various, is of paramount importance in a community.  Such structures have to resist extreme loads arising from wind and earthquakes, besides  several occupancy, traffic loads, and self-weight. Students taking the Civil Infrastructure Focus Sequence will become acquainted with the latest tools to design buildings and bridges.  A 2-course capstone sequence will provide students with methods for the design and testing of steel and reinforced concrete structures, leading to exciting professional job opportunities.


  • Aerospace Structures Focus Sequence
    Students in the Aerospace Structures Focus Sequence learn about key topics which are directly applicable to future employment in companies interested in high performance structures; for example aerospace, automotive, transportation, wind turbine/power generation. Course topics of aircraft structure design and analysis, composite materials, and joining of composites, are all applied in an intense senior capstone design 2-course sequence in which students design, analyze, build, and test an unmanned aircraft wing structure.


  • Geotechnical Engineering Focus Sequence
    The geotechnical focus sequence provides students with an in introduction to soil mechanics and its application to the design of underground structures like foundations, retaining walls, tunnels, landfills, bridge abutments and pavements. Students will be able to sample and classify soils then perform experiments and analyses to interpret the compressibility, hydraulic conductivity, and shear strength of soils, all of which are needed to write and interpret a geotechnical report. Design topics include shallow and deep foundations, slopes, and retaining walls. Students will learn to apply techniques to improve and reinforce soils.


  • Structural Health Monitoring/Nondestructive Evaluation Focus Sequence
    The Structural Health Monitoring/Nondestructive Evaluation focus sequence introduces students to a broadly interdisciplinary paradigm that integrates sensing and data acquisition, signal processing and information analytics, and risk-informed decision making for the purpose of performing monitoring of structures for optimal life cycle performance.  Students engaged in this focus sequence will take courses in nondestructive testing techniques, sensor and data acquisition principles, damage detection/localization strategies, advanced modeling model/test correlation, and a capstone experience in the context of a small-team consultancy project.  Students with this introductory background can enter multiple sectors including aerospace companies, civil design/retrofit firms, engineering service/consultancy companies, and US government laboratories, to just name just a few.


For more info on specific course requirements in each focus sequence please see: Focus Sequences

Technical elective course: Students must take three technical elective (TE) courses chosen from a Preapproved Technical Electives list.  These courses are typically upper division courses in the Structural Engineering department or other engineering departments.  Students may also petition to have classes not on this preapproved list count towards their technical electives on a case by case basis.  All technical electives must be upper division courses (courses numbered 100 or higher).

Capstone Classes: Most students take either Design of Civil Structures I & II (SE 140A/B) or Aerospace Structural Design I & II (SE 143A/B) depending on their chosen focus sequence with the exception of students completing the Structural Health Monitoring/Non-Destructive Evaluation (SHM/NDE) focus sequence.