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The Structural Engineering and Materials graduate program at Virginia Tech offers the Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering. There are usually 50 to 80 graduate students in the program, with 10 to 15 students working toward the Ph.D. degree. The objective of the program is to provide a quality education that is well-balanced in structural analysis and design, and in theoretical and practical considerations. Students learn classical structural mechanics, study the behavior of engineering materials, and explore modern computational techniques to prepare them for a consulting or research career path. Students are encouraged to explore supporting courses offered in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department.

Structural Engineering and Structural Materials Degree Requirements

Requirements for the degree programs are as follows:

Master of Science Thesis Option: a minimum of 24 course credits (not including seminar or research and thesis credits) is required. Students may take a maximum of 6 credits of 4000 level courses, must take a minimum of 18 credits of courses at the 5000 level or higher, and must take at least 6 credits of CEE 5994 (Research and Thesis). The thesis option is preferred for students with Via fellowships. Upon completion of the thesis, a public oral defense is required.

Master of Science Non-thesis Option: students may take a maximum of 6 credits of 4000 level courses and must take a minimum of 24 credits at the 5000 level or higher (not including seminar credits), with a minimum of 30 total credits. Students following the M.S. non-thesis option have two choices:

(a)    Students may take 3 credits of CEE 5904 Project and Report, and then take an oral examination in which they are asked questions about their report and coursework. If they do not pass this exam, they must wait at least 15 weeks before retaking it. Only two attempts at passing this exam are allowed.

(b)    Students may take a written exam covering the coursework taken by the student. If they do not pass this exam, they must take an oral exam. The three faculty members that make up the student’s committee grade the written and oral exams. Rules governing the exit exam are in Appendix A of the Information for New Graduate Students.

Ph.D. Program: 90 semester credit hours (not including seminar credits) beyond the B.S. degree, a Qualifying examination, a Preliminary examination, and a Final oral examination are required. The Qualifying Exam is a combined written/oral exam which is offered twice each year in January and May. Students must pass the exam by the end of their second semester. Students may elect to take the exam in their first semester, and if they pass they may continue in the Ph.D. program. If they fail this attempt, they may take the exam again in their second semester. A student may also elect to wait and take the exam only once at the end of their second semester. Students that do not pass the attempt at the end of the second semester will not be allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program.

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