Degree structure

Study structure

The SED master's track falls under the responsibility of the unit carrying the same name. You will find information about all the chairs and their links on the slider on

The masters' track Structural Engineering & Design takes 120 EC, as spread over two years:

Core courses

25 EC

Specialization electives

30 EC

Free electives

20 EC

Thesis project

45 EC

Core courses
Within the curriculum, 25 EC are dedicated to five core courses. Each core course has a load of 5 EC. The core courses are:

  • Resource efficient structural engineering and design;
  • Energy and finite element methods;
  • Stability of structures;
  • Advanced steel and aluminium structures;
  • Advanced concrete structures.

Specializing electives
With specializing electives, you will choose from three 10-credit project courses, each taking one semester, and five smaller courses. The smaller courses could be lecture courses and projects, depending on the course. Most students choose two 10-credit project courses combined with several smaller courses.

The 10-point project courses are:

  • Design project: Large Span Structures (10 EC);
  • Design project: High Rise (10 EC);
  • Research project: varying topics, following/supporting research of PhD students and staff (10 EC).

The other specializing electives are:

  • Digital design & manufacturing (2.5 EC);
  • Finite element method, non-linear (5 EC);
  • Geotechnics, soil mechanics and seismic structural design (5 EC);
  • Structural design with glass (2.5 EC);
  • Advanced timber structures (2.5 EC).

Free electives
Are you interested in choosing some free electives? Practically, you can choose any course where you earn ECs at a master's level. This can be either within the department (for example, in the disciplines of Architecture or Building Physics), or outside (for example, in Mechanical Engineering or Industrial Design). You can also choose to do an internship or study abroad.

For students coming from universities of applied sciences (hbo)
Have you graduated from a university of applied sciences (hbo)? In that case, before starting the Structural Engineering & Design master's track, you will need to follow a mandatory pre-master's track. This track will take you to the level of an academic Bachelor of Science (BSc). The study load of the premaster is 30 EC. This is equivalent to half an academic year. You will find more information about the premaster for students from universities of applied sciences (hbo) in the education guide. The courses of the premaster can be found in the education guide under curriculum.

45 EC are available for your thesis project. This means an average duration of 1260 hours, or 31.5 work weeks. Your thesis project will be graded based on eight criteria, which are divided into three groups:


  • Academic attitude;
  • Independence;
  • Time management.


  • Report structure and clarity;
  • Oral presentation and defense.


  • Depth and inventiveness;
  • Method and implementation;
  • Analysis and conclusions.

The Structural Engineering & Design masters' track has two types of thesis projects. One is focused on design, the other on research.

In a design-oriented thesis project, you will develop a challenging structural design with specific complexities. You can think of special loads or dimensions, new typologies or materials, and so on. Research work is often necessary, but always serves the chosen design.

In thesis projects with a research nature, the emphasis is on the research question. You answer this question using scientific methods. These methods are often experimental, theoretical and/or numerical in nature. Your project is basically part of ongoing research of the chair to which you are affiliated. In many cases, you will work closely with PhD students and staff.

Examples of design-oriented thesis projects include:

Some examples of research-oriented thesis projects are:

The education guide provides you with all the information about the curriculum, courses and the thesis project. During your time as a student at TU/e, you will also use the eduaction guide as a resource with general study-related information.

Graduation project

The graduation project is performed in the last three quarters of the second year. Graduation projects can be carried out within the chairs on innovative structural design, applied mechanics or the several structural materials, or in combination. 

Research Structural Engineering and Design - Built Environment