Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials

Mapping cracks in concrete

About Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials

Our program’s academic and research activities have earned an international reputation for excellence — a reputation strengthened by an environment that fosters learning, discovery, creativity and professional development.

We're recognized for our work in: creative use of advanced structural materials and composite systems to improve infrastructure; hazard mitigation for structures; steel and concrete structural design and behavior; smart structural technologies; and structural reliability and risk assessment.

Our students learn about — and conduct advanced research on — structural analysis and design, the behavior of structural systems, man-made and natural hazard mitigation, engineering science and mechanics, high-performance materials, computer-aided engineering, risk and reliability, and intelligent engineering learning environments.

They are encouraged to form partnerships with each other and our faculty members to develop their skills and advance our profession. We foster a multidisciplinary environment where we’re developing solutions to engineering challenges of national and international importance.

Focus Your Studies

Students who choose to focus on structural engineering, materials and mechanics will take courses that center around the design, behavior and analysis of structures and structural systems. 

Undergraduate students may choose an optional track to focus their electives and gain a deeper understanding of this discipline. There are also opportunities for students to conduct research in this area with faculty and graduate students.

Graduate programs in civil engineering are organized within the affinity groups. Students pursuing a master's degree or PhD may affiliate with the Structural Engineering, Materials and Mechanics group for their educational and research activities. Graduate students work closely with faculty advisors throughout their studies and as they prepare a thesis. Browse the directory at the bottom of the page to become familiar with the faculty in this group and learn more about their research interests.

There are many opportunities for students to get involved beyond the classroom. Student organizations offer unique ways to learn about the many aspects of civil engineering. Students interested in Structural Engineering, Materials and Mechanics should consider joining:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter
  • Concrete Canoe Team
  • Steel Bridge Team
  • Timber Strong Team
  • Construction Engineering Association
  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Engineers in Action
  • Origami Club
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Our School is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories and instruments for all aspects of modern structural engineering and structural mechanics and materials research, including:

  • An 18,000-square-foot Structures and Materials Laboratory with an 8,000-square-foot strong floor, an L-shaped reaction wall with capacities of 100-300 kips, and two 30-ton-capacity cranes
  • A broad range of universal testing machines, with capacity to 400 kips
  • Specialized facilities for mechanical testing with infrared thermography and photoelastic stress/strain analysis
  • A nondestructive evaluation/optics laboratory
  • Numerous high-performance workstations equipped with state-of-the-art software in structural engineering and mechanics
  • Laboratory for Smart Structural Systems
  • Origami Engineering Lab
  • Maker Space

Key Research Areas

  • 3D Printing of Civil Engineering Materials
  • Computational Mechanics and Finite Element Modeling
  • Concrete, Steel and Timber Structures
  • Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Hazard Mitigation
  • Geometric Mechanics of Solids
  • Machine Learning and Data Applications in SEMM
  • Nano/Microstructure of Cement-based Materials
  • Nonlinear Elasticity and Anelasticity
  • Polymeric Composite Materials
  • Rehabilitation of Structural Systems
  • Shock and Impact Loadings
  • Concrete, Steel and Timber Structures
  • Structural Dynamics and Health Monitoring
  • Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis
  • Sustainable Infrastructure Materials
  • Ultra-high-performance Concrete
  • Uncertainty Quantification in Solid and Structural Mechanics


T. Russell Gentry
Courtesy Appointment
Laurence J. Jacobs
Senior Vice Provost for Education and Learning and Professor
Aditya Kumar
Assistant Professor
Kimberly E. Kurtis
Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Scholarship, Raymond Allen Jones Chair & Professor
Karl F. "Fred" Meyer
Professor of the Practice
Rafi L. Muhanna
Associate Professor
Ryan J. Sherman
Assistant Professor
Danny Smyl
Assistant Professor
Lauren Stewart
Associate Professor
Associate Chair for Graduate Programs and Research Innovation
Director, Structural Engineering and Materials Laboratory
Williams Family Early-Career Professor
Iris Tien
Associate Professor
Williams Family Early-Career Professor
Yang Wang
Professor & Group Coordinator