M.S. in Structural Engineering with Specialization in Structural Health Monitoring & Non-Destructive Evaluation SE81

The Master of Science in Structural Engineering with specialization in Structural Health Monitoring and Non-Destructive Evaluation (SHM&NDE) provides highly interdisciplinary knowledge incorporating three broad technology areas: (1) sensing technology, (2) data interrogation, and (3) modeling and analysis. The intersections and integration of these technology areas are fundamental to supporting structural health monitoring and nondestructive evaluation, which may be defined as the process of making an uncertainty-quantified assessment, based on appropriate analyses of in-situ measured data, about the current ability of a structural component or system to perform its intended design function(s) successfully. This discipline within structural, civil, mechanical, and aerospace engineering is a fundamental capability that supports “design-to-retirement” life cycle management of systems.

Two degree options in SHM&NDE will be offered: M.S. Thesis option and M.S. Comprehensive Examination option. Students in both plans must complete thirty-six units of credit for graduation. For both options, students must complete two core courses, SE 263, Non-destructive Evaluation, and SE 265, Structural Health Monitoring Principles (eight total units). Additionally, the M.S. SHM&NDE Thesis plan involves regular course work (twenty units) and graduate research (eight units) leading to the completion and defense of a master’s thesis. Correspondingly, the M.S. Comprehensive Examination plan involves regular course work (twenty-four units) and a mentored independent study (SE 296) capstone course. The deliverables will be delivered to the SE 296 Faculty Mentor, assessed by the Faculty Mentor, and both the deliverables and assessment will be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Committee for final approval.

All students in this degree program, for both degree options, must register in SE 290, Seminar, for any two quarters while enrolled in the program.

Because of the inherent interdisciplinary nature of the MS SHM&NDE program, research within SE 296 or SE 299 may be conducted at outside locations (industry or government facilities). In this case a scientist or engineer on location, with an adjunct faculty appointment at UC San Diego, will be identified as the SE 296 Faculty Mentor or the SE 299 Faculty Advisor and who will also be a member of the thesis committee. 

The comparative distribution of units for each of the two degree options is shown in below.

The M.S. SHM&NDE Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive option (units)

Core courses

SE 263. Non-destructive Evaluation (4

SE 265. Structural Health Monitoring Principles (4)

Capstone experience

SE 296. Independent Study or approved equivalent (4)

Focus sequence 1

One from Focus Area 1 (4)

Focus sequence 2

Two from Focus Area 2 (8)

Focus sequence 3

Two from Focus Area 3 (8)

Technical elective

One from Technical Elective (4)

Total units


For the M.S. Comprehensive option, the four-unit independent study (SE 296) must be conducted as a capstone experience project. This project is intended to provide a mentored project whereby students integrate knowledge learned from their technology areas into solving a problem from structural health monitoring/prognosis or nondestructive evaluation. The specific deliverables associated with the capstone project experience will be proposed by the student together with the SE 296 Faculty Mentor and will be approved by the Graduate Affairs Committee by the end of the quarter preceding the one in which the students intends to register in SE 296. Email to Academic Advisor to process request.  

The M.S. SHM & NDE Thesis Plan

Thesis option (units)

Core course

SE 263. Non-destructive Evaluation (4

SE 265. Structural Health Monitoring Principles (4)

Thesis research

SE 299. Graduate Research (8)

Focus sequence 1

One from Focus Area 1 (4)

Focus sequence 2

Two from Focus Area 2 (8)

Focus sequence 3

Two from Focus Area 3 (8)

Total units


For the M.S. Thesis option, the eight-unit graduate research (SE 299) culminates with the preparation of a written research thesis. The thesis must be successfully defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by a committee composed of three faculty members. The committee will consist of three faculty members, one with expertise in each of the three focus areas. A complete copy of the student’s thesis must be submitted to each member of the MS thesis committee at least two weeks prior to the defense. 

Many courses currently offered within the Jacobs School of Engineering may be grouped into the three focus areas comprising each technology area described above, as shown in the following list:

A. Sensing Technology (Focus Area 1)

SE 252. Experimental Mechanics and NDE

SE 264. Sensors and Data Acquisition for Structural Engineering

SE 266. Smart and Multifunctional Materials

SE 268. Structural System Testing and Model Correlation

CSE 237A. Introduction to Embedded Computing

ECE 257B.  Principles of Wireless Networks

B. Data Interrogation (Focus Area 2)

SE 282. Diagnostic Imaging

SE 267 Signal Processing & Spectral Analysis

SE 268 Structural System Testing and Model Correlation 

ECE 251A. Digital Signal Processing I

ECE 251B. Digital Signal Processing II

ECE 251C. Filter Banks and Wavelets

ECE 253. Fundamentals of Digital Image Processing

ECE 254. Detection Theory

SE 268. Structural System Testing and Model Correlation

MAE 283A. Parametric Identification: Theory and Methods

CSE 254. Statistical Learning

CSE 255. Data Mining and Predictive Analytics

CSE 250A. Principles of Artificial Intelligence: Probabilistic Reasoning and Learning

CSE 250B. Principles of Artificial Intelligence: Learning Algorithms

ECE 271A. Statistical Learning I

ECE 271B. Statistical Learning II

C. Modeling and Analysis (Focus Area 3)

SE 201A Advanced Structural Analysis 

SE 202. Structural Stability

SE 203. Structural Dynamics

SE 205. Nonlinear Mechanical Vibrations

SE 206. Random Vibrations

SE 224. Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis

SE 233. Computational Techniques in Finite Elements or SE 276A. Finite Elements in Solid Mechanics I

SE 235. Wave Propagation in Elastic Media or MAE 238. Stress Waves in Solids

SE 236. Wave Propagation in Continuous Structural Elements

SE 253A. Mechanics of Laminated Composite Structures I

SE 254. FRPs in Civil Structures

SE 260 Aerospace Structural Mechanics I 

SE 262. Aerospace Structures Repair

SE 268. Structural System Testing and Model Correlation

SE 269. Validation and Verification of Computational Models

SE 270. Fracture Mechanics and Failure Mechanisms [1–2]

Additionally, the technical elective course required for the Comprehensive option may be chosen from any of the focus area lists above (provided it is not being counted as a focus area requirement), or from this additional preapproved list of courses:

CSE 250C. Machine Learning Theory

ECE 241D. Array Processing

ECE 250. Random Processes

ECE 255A. Information Theory

ECE 272A. Stochastic Processes in Dynamic System

ECE 275A. Parameter Estimation I

MAE 208. Mathematics for Engineers

MAE 272. Imperfections in Solids

MAE 273A. Dynamic Behavior of Materials

SE 200. Applied Mathematics in Structural Engineering

SE 204. Advanced Structural Dynamics

SE 234. Plates and Shells

SE 253B. Mechanics of Laminated Composite Structures II

SE 276B. Finite Elements in Solid Mechanics II