Structural engineering and building technology, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Apply now The built environment is fundamental for everyday life and comfort. It is also essential for the global economy. In this master’s programme, you will handle issues related to structures and buildings and work towards developing a more sustainable and resource-efficient society.

Structural engine​ering and building technology master's programme at Chalmers

Today, and in the future, the engineering skills to model, analyse, and design structural systems and complex buildings need to be based on a deep and intuitive understanding of the physical and mechanical behaviour of structural elements and systems.
To work in the industry, you will need to have an understanding of the field, the ability to co-operate with others, lead various projects and to communicate in an international environment. This civil engineering master’ programme is designed to give you the tools to meet these demands.

You will strive towards a more sustainable, resource-efficient society by working with new construction, and operation and maintenance of a considerable stock of buildings, bridges and other civil engineering structures.
The master's programme Structural engineering and building technology is strongly influenced by current research activities at Chalmers and has the ambition to renew engineering methodology in the practice by well-educated students. The research groups behind the programme have close contact with relevant fields in the building industry, preliminary in design and maintenance. The programme has been developed in co-operation with industry representatives from leading Swedish companies, the practising engineers from these companies contribute to the programme as guest lecturers and supervisors for project work. Furthermore, every year a significant number of master’s projects are related to development work within the industry and are carried out within the companies we collaborate with.

Photo: Skanska

Topics covered

The subjects of civil engineering structures, such as bridges, buildings and underground structures, the performance of buildings, materials, physics and building services engineering design are fundamental areas in the Structural engineering and building technology master’s programme.
The courses included in the programme handle topics such as conceptual design, structural systems, sizing of structural members in concrete, steel and timber, instability phenomena, dynamics, design of footings, piles, retaining structures and tunnels. Furthermore, climate protection, indoor climate, human comfort, efficient use of materials and energy,  heat and mass transfer, thermal performance, durability, moisture control, HVAC (heat, ventilation, air, condition), sustainable life cycle analysis, development of systems and technical solutions, engineering ethics, engineering tools and numerical modelling, finite element analysis, finite element method and computational methodology.​

Master's programme structure

​The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses.​

Compulsory courses year 1

The first semester of the programme is compulsory. It will provide you with an overview and a common basis for further studies in specialised fields. From the second semester, you can choose to specialise in Structural engineering, Building technology or GeoStructures. If you prefer a more general competence in building engineering and geotechnics, you can combine courses from different branches. In the final master’s project, you will independently carry out a qualified task with advanced problem solving and knowledge development. The following are the four compulsory courses during year 1.

  • Structural systems
  • Materials performance
  • FEM Basics
  • Building performance

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year, the student completes a master’s thesis. Here, the student independently carries out a qualified task with advanced problem solving and knowledge development. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice.
  • Master’s thesis

Compulsory elective courses

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in one of the profile tracks, or a combination thereof.

Track: Structural eng​inee​ring

Inside a wooden building
Photo: Martinsons/Jonas Westling

The track 'Structural engineering' provides specialist training for students aiming at design and analysis of advanced structures for various applications, such as buildings, bridges, and offshore structures. It covers structural design from conceptual design to detailing and structural modelling and analysis of new as well as existing structures.

For students aiming to specialise as a structural engineer in buildings, i.e., design of buildings with general competence in building physics and/or in building services, you can create your own track in building engineering, by combining courses from the tracks 'Structural Engineering' and 'Building Technology'.


Specialisation: Concrete structures​

  • Structural concrete
  • Concrete structures
Specialisation: Steel structures
  • Steel structures​
  • and at least one elective course in track Structural engineering
Specialisation: Timber structures
  • Timber engineering
  • and at least one elective course in track Structural engineering
Specialisation: Structural engineering - General
  • At least two elective courses from the track Structural engineering
  • Structural design

Track: Building technology

Student on a site visit
The track 'Building technology' provides specialist training for students aiming at design and analysis of complex building systems, especially concerning thermal performance, indoor climate and efficient use of energy. It covers design of resource efficient buildings from the conceptual stage to detailing, and modelling and analysis of systems and components of both new and existing buildings.

Specialisation: Building physics

  • Building physics advanced
  • Building technology engineering 
Specialisation: Building services
  • Indoor climate and HVAC systems
  • Building service engineering design
Specialisation: Building technology – General
  • At least two elective courses from the track Building technology
  • One design course from the track: Building technology engineering, Building service engineering design or Sustainable building competition

Track: GeoStructures

The track 'GeoStructures' provides specialist training for students aiming at the design and analysis of complex geostructures, such as footings, piles, retaining structures, and bored tunnels. It covers the design of details to complex underground structures and systems using analytical and numerical methods.
Specialisation: Underground structures
  • Deep foundations
  • Rock mechanics
  • Soil modelling and numerical analysis
For students aiming to have a competence both in structural engineering and geotechnics, i.e., design of structures above and below ground, such as bridges, foundations and retaining structures, you can create your own track by combining courses in from the tracks 'Structural Engineering' and 'GeoStructures'. ​

The programme also contains an elective summer course named Dare to build. The aim of this course is to give you a multi-disciplinary practice-based learning environment, where you can collaborate and learn with architects, and are involved in the CDIO methodology (conceive, design, implement, operate) to realize a project into a full-scale built result. ​

Elective courses

You can choose from a wide range of elective courses, including the following:

  • Finite element method – structures
  • Timber Engineering
  • Indoor climate and HVAC
  • Life cycle engineering
  • Deep foundations
  • Structural Concrete
  • Building physics, advanced course
  • Building acoustics
  • Rock mechanics
  • Structural design
  • Steel structures
  • Building technology engineering
  • Sustainable building competition
  • Soil modelling and numerical analysis
  • Structural dynamics
  • Concrete structures
  • Sustainable building renovation
  • Dare to build (summer course)​

Career

There is an increasing need for technical specialists and engineers with a high level of general knowledge in the Structural engineering and building technology programme's field as well as researchers and academic teachers. Graduates from the programme from the track 'Structural Engineering' can be found at companies that design advanced structures for various applications, such as buildings, bridges, and offshore structures; and from the track 'Building technology' at design and analysis of complex building systems, especially concerning thermal performance, indoor climate and efficient use of energy; and from the track 'GeoStructures' at design and analysis of complex geostructures, such as footings, piles, retaining structures, and bored tunnels.

From each track, graduates from the programme can continue as a PhD-student. As a PhD student, you are employed by Chalmers and will receive a salary. A PhD-position is normally about five years, including own courses, research and teaching.

Research within Structural engineering and building technology

The master's programme is strongly influenced by current research being performed at Chalmers and has the ambition to renew engineering methodology in practice by well-educated students. The courses are mainly taught by the research groups in structural engineering, geotechnics, applied mechanics, building technology and building services engineering. Modelling, simulation and prediction related to experimental studies are essential in the research methodology. Research and teaching in the fields covered by the programme are carried out in close cooperation with the building industry.​
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Sustainable development

In today’s strive towards a sustainable, resource-efficient society with both new construction, and operation and maintenance of a considerable stock of buildings, bridges and other civil engineering structures, the need for high competence in these areas is high. Sustainable future, the needs of ecological, social and economic sustainability are integrated learning outcomes in the programme content. The courses include the development of knowledge and skills needed for the design and operation of structures and buildings concerning the needs of a modern, sustainable and resource-efficient society. Essential aspects are health and safety of people, human comfort, efficient use of materials and energy, service life design and durability. 

The programme is highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development goals (SDGs). The table below provides an overview of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme.​

SDGs for Structural engineering and building technology.





Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
The students in this programme will acquire knowledge and understanding of different engineering solutions in Civil engineering structures and buildings to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
The students in this programme will acquire knowledge to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
The programme promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
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​​Student interview 

“The feedback comes directly from professionals”
Gaurab, Nepal, Structural Engineering and Building Technology​


Why did you choose this programme?
– I had heard about the concepts of passive houses and energy-efficient building technology during my bachelor’s studies in civil engineering. However, such concepts were still new in my home country Nepal. Therefore, I was very interested in learning more about that during my master’s. 

What have you been working on? 
– I have been involved in a lot of interesting projects during my studies. One took place recently in a course called “Building technology engineering”. This project was the culmination of the courses that I had taken so far, and I got to apply that knowledge to a real-life project. The project involved the design of a commercial building from an energy and indoor comfort perspective with the end goal of validating its performance according to “Miljöbyggnad” (Swedish green building certification system). It was a very enlightening course with final feedback from professionals working here in Sweden. 

What do you like the most about your programme?
– I like that the fact that students are free to follow a “hybrid” study programme, where we can take courses from both the “Structural Engineering” and the “Building Technology” track. Thus, we don’t have to restrict ourselves to one track and are getting the “best of both worlds”, so to speak.

There is also a possibility of taking practical and interdisciplinary courses. During the summer, I was involved in the Dare2Build course, where we worked in teams of architects and engineers to design and build communal place-making structures in the suburban area Hammarkullen in Gothenburg. It was a fruitful way to spend the summer vacation with hands-on learning about on-site construction and management. Also, I like that this master’s programme is closely connected to ongoing research and industrial demands. I have had many opportunities to interact with professionals involved in the construction industry through guest lectures, seminars, final presentations, and job fairs. I also like that the Professors and Teaching Assistants in the courses are some of the most helpful and approachable I have ever come across. I met some of my best Professors while studying at Chalmers!

What do you want to do in the future?
– I would like to work as an engineering consultant in the design and construction of energy-efficient and sustainable buildings. If possible, after a few years of working, I would like to pursue a PhD and contribute new knowledge to this ever-expanding field.

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Mon 29 Nov 2021.