Montana State University

Structures Option

Testing a reinforced earth beam in the Structures Lab
Testing a reinforced earth beam in the Structures Lab.

Structural Graduate Program

  • 10-15 graduate students at any time.
  • Five full-time structural engineering faculty.
  • Three full-time geotechnical engineering faculty.
  • Three full-time engineering mechanics faculty.


Jerry Stephens, P.E., Ph.D.
Professor and Department Head
Structural Engineering
10 years consulting experience
(406) 994-6113

Anders Larsson, P.E., M.S.
Adjunct Professor
Structural Engineering
5 years consulting experience
(406) 994-7187

Joe Fedock, P.E., Ph.D.
Structural Engineering
6 years consulting experience

Mike Berry, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Structural Engineering
(406) 994-1566

Brett Gunnink, P.E., Ph.D.
Professor and Dean

Steve Perkins, P.E., Ph.D.
Geotechnical Engineering
3 years consulting experience

Bob Mokwa, P.E., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Geotechnical Engineering
11 years consulting experience

Engineering Mechanics Faculty Members:

  • Ed Adams, Ph.D.
  • Ted Lang, P.E., Ph.D.

In a hurry?

Students receiving their undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Montana State University may take advantage of a concurrent schedule of undergraduate and graduate classes starting the senior year, allowing a B.S. degree and a M.S. degree to be obtained in a total of ten semesters of study.

Please, tell me more…

Plan “A” students may apply up to ten credits of CE 590 – Master’s Thesis towards the 30 credit minimum requirement. Plan “B” students may apply up to six credits of CE 575 – Professional Paper towards the 30 credits. The majority of the students opt for Plan “B” with two or three credits of CE 575, thus maximizing their exposure to class materials that will be directly applicable in the work place. Plan “A” students prefer a heavier research component.

What About Research?

If research is an area of interest, you will also find opportunities to perform in-depth studies of a particular structural topic as well as financial help in terms of an assistantship. Our research topics tend to be practical in nature, allowing the faculty and student researcher the satisfaction of impacting the every-day civil engineering design practice.

How do Assistantships factor in?

The typical student qualifies for financial assistance in the form of teaching or research assistantships. Our undergraduate curriculum provides graduate students with an interest in teaching the opportunity to lead and manage laboratories, facilitate help sessions, grade homework and exams, and assist in the classroom.


ASCE News – January 2008: “Key Points About ASCE Policy Statement 465: A primary goal is to effect changes in state licensing requirements, standardizing the concept of a bachelor's degree plus either a masters degree, or 30 credits as a prerequisite for licensure in the future.”

The Department of Civil Engineering at Montana State University offers a Master of Science degree in civil engineering with a structural emphasis, targeted at qualified students seeking an advanced degree for professional practice. The goal of the program is to develop well-rounded structural engineering practitioners, for which the civil engineering workplace is currently seeing an increased demand. To quote from ASCE's Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice: “The bottom-line issue addressed by PS 465 is that, "It is evident that the exploding body of science and engineering knowledge cannot be accommodated within the context of the tradidiotnal four-year baccalaureate degree".

The masters program builds on a well-rounded undergraduate civil engineering curriculum, allowing a more in-depth study of structural engineering topics and related fields. Specifically, the program focuses on:

  • Advanced Structural Analysis
  • Finite Element Applications
  • Reinforced Concrete Design
  • Structural Steel Design
  • Wood and Masonry Design
  • Prestressed Concrete Design
  • Bridge Design
  • Geotechnical Analysis and Foundation Engineering Design

Emphasis is placed on current design practices and underlying theories, utilizing the latest design codes and state-of-the-art software. Advanced research topics are integrated in the course work, keeping the students and faculty abreast with recent developments while maintaining the practical tie to consulting engineering.

Development of strong oral and written communication skills along with the technical skills is another cornerstone of the curriculum. Students make frequent presentations and summarize designs/solutions according to professional technical writing standards.

What do we offer?

The curriculum is flexible enough to accommodate varying timelines, with three semesters of study being most common. Assuming a background of two undergraduate level classes related to structural analysis and introductory concrete/steel design, a graduate program will consist of a minimum of 30 semester credits from the following list of offerings:

Course Number & Title
ECIV 484 Reinforced Concrete Design
ECIV 414 Steel Design
ECIV 415 Design of Masonary Structures
ECIV 416 Design of Wood & Timber Structures
ECIV 420 Earth and Foundation Engineering
ECIV 425 Geotechnical Structures
ECIV 511 Building Structural Systems
ECIV 512 Structural Dynamics
ECIV 513 Behavior of Concrete Structures
ECIV 514 Behavior of Steel Structures
ECIV 519 Bridge/ Prestressed Concrete Design
ECIV 521 Applied Geotechnical Engineering 3
ECIV 524 Advanced Soil Mechanics
EGEN 415 Advanced Mechanics of Solids
EM 510 Elastic and Inelastic Analysis I
EM 512 Elastic and Inelastic Analysis II
EM 518 Theory of Plates and Shells
EM 560 Finite Element Analysis in Engineering

A Few More Notes. . .

Most graduate students are assigned office space in the engineering buildings on campus. Access to campus networked computer stations is provided. Our structural graduate students are a cohesive group, often collaborating on group projects and course assignments as well as enjoying the camaraderie in social settings.

Excellent facilities and a caring, knowledgeable faculty make Montana State University a large enough university to offer exceptional quality and diversity while maintaining the personal touch of a small school.

If you think Montana State University and its structural engineering program are for you, please contact us. We would be delighted to visit with you further about the possibility of you joining us.

Tell Me About Living in Bozeman

  • A town of 35,000 people, located in the Rocky Mountains two hours from Yellowstone National Park.
  • Cultural and recreational center of southwestern Montana.
  • Airport serviced by major airlines.
  • Outdoor opportunities abound, including all forms of skiing (downhill, x-country, and back-country), mountain and road biking, rock and ice climbing, water-sports (kayaking, rafting, canoeing), hiking, camping, fly fishing, and much more…