Civil/Structural engineers design and maintain buildings, bridges, and other structures constructed from various materials (concrete, steel, timber, masonry, and reinforced plastics). They use modern analytical techniques (e.g., finite elements) to predict behavior of new structures and to analyze failures in existing structures. Structural analysis and design are grounded in fundamental principles of solid mechanics, which form an essential component of a structural engineer's education. Structural engineering faculty at UW conduct research in a broad range of areas, including bridge rating, computer-aided design, light-framed buildings, manufactured homes, heavy timber frames, bridge deterioration, bridge joint behavior and design, heat straightening of damaged bridge steel girders, and wind effects on low-rise structures and vehicles. The structural laboratories include facilities to test full-sized structures with MTS testing equipment to simulate dynamic as well as static loads.
The structural design option prepares the Architectural Engineer to analyze, design and detail the structural components of building systems. The curriculum builds upon a strong engineering science background of statics, soil and material mechanics and structural analysis to develop competency in steel, timber and concrete design. It also provides many of the concepts that architects use to make a building aesthetically pleasing and functional.