Structural and civil engineering are the oldest disciplines in engineering. The environment surrounding the civilization is rich in structures and objects designed and constructed by structural and civil engineers. The structures used for dwelling housing, offices, and industrial plants, shopping and entertainment centers, bus stations, railways and train stations, airports, seaports, etc. The structures of cars, ships and planes are also the outcome of the structural engineer. Even the wonders of the ancient world such as, the hanging gardens in Babylon, the lighthouse in Alexandria and more are made by the structural engineer. Even in modern times, the works of the structural engineer are known to all: the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Chrysler Tower in New York, the Opera house in Sydney, and so on. The collapse of such a structure is a national disaster; the impact of terrorism and the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York are an example of this. The tourist who travels the world devotes a considerable part of his tour to visiting various buildings such as the Pyramids in Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India, the Golden Gate Bridge in the US, etc. Buildings are also a source of national pride, for instance, the Burj Dubai Tower and the Patronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Many are also national symbols: the Parliament house and the Big Ben in London, the Capitol in Washington, Ankor Wat Temple in Cambodia are prominent examples.
The field of structural engineering has undergone a comprehensive revolution in recent decades, stemming from two main reasons:
- The first reason is the accelerated development of computing power. Traditional methods of structural analysis for static loads, in which dynamic loads such as wind and earthquakes have been transformed into equivalent static loads, gave way to more accurate dynamic analyses, taking into account the dynamic nature of the loads and the structural response to a more accurate expression of the structural behavior. Object Oriented Structure and Performance Based concepts have been integrated as well.
- The second reason stems from the growing awareness of extreme events such as natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.) and man-made disasters (sabotage and war), leading to a new design approach, which takes into account these extreme events. According to this design concept, design is carried out so as to reduce the loss of life and economic loss, caused by extreme events, and to expedite the recovery of the buildings and infrastructures to normal performance and minimize the damage and disruption to the routine of life. The need for this design concept was realized in the catastrophes of Hurricane Katrina in the United States, which affected the city of New Orleans and the nuclear reactor disaster in Fukushima-Daiichi Japan, which caused large-scale events that required substantial efforts and time to recover. If the critical infrastructures preparedness for these disasters were adequately designed, their recoveries would be quick and the damage and consequences due to the events would be significantly less.
These transitions lead to an increase in the demand and importance of the design of buildings and critical infrastructures (such as energy, transportation, communications, medicine and security), and increase the need for high-standard engineering design, building engineers as well as high-level construction management.
The Department of Structural Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was founded in 2002. The Department has a body of 12 senior academic staff members in the fields of: Structural Engineering, Construction Management, Geotechnical and Foundation Engineering, Building Materials, Environment, Occupational Safety and Building Performance. The Department has about 440 undergraduate students and about 40 master's and doctoral students. Research topics in the department include: design of buildings for earthquakes and extreme events, structural dynamics and building control, computational mechanics and soil mechanics, protected structures against firing and explosion effects, structure-soil-liquid interaction, multi-scale analysis methods, construction project management, control of construction and infrastructure projects, analysis of assessment and management of earthquake risks and extreme events, construction safety, facilities management and maintenance. Prediction of service life of building components, construction methods, construction management, advanced building materials, building performance and sustainable construction (green building).
Graduates of the Department of Structural Engineering hold key positions in the leading institutions, authorities and planning administrations, construction companies as well as construction management companies, and lead significant technological, managerial and organizational transformations in these companies.
The department offers two study programs as well as a five-year study program combined between structural engineering and geology with a focus on tunneling:
1. Structural Engineering: This study program deals with the static and dynamic design of the structures, and the education and training of structural engineers. This study program is designated for students with analytical and design capabilities, who are interested in buildings and structures design who want to take part in analysis of the structure and determining its various dimensions. As part of the structural engineering study program, it is possible to study a cluster of courses in protective structures, which qualifies for approval for the study of this study program.
2. Construction management: This study program deals with education and training of construction engineers (in construction companies) and construction management engineers (supervisors and construction managers). The curriculum deals with all the core topics of construction Engineering and management, including: quantity take-off, tender and contract documents, planning and schedules of construction projects, systemic site-layout planning and selection of construction equipment, construction methods, risk management and construction safety, quality management and control. This study program is designated for students with leadership skills and the ability to work in multidisciplinary engineering teams, who are interested in joining the construction industry in management positions that include: construction engineers, construction managers, supervision, development of construction projects, financial management of projects and companies and assurance and quality control.
3. The Structural Engineering-Geology study program is a joint degree study program, between the departments of Structural Engineering and Geological Sciences, the 210-credit study program, spans over nine semesters, and combines courses from the two departments. The curriculum is intended for candidates with particularly high admission data. Graduates of this study program are entitled to two bachelor's degrees - a B.Sc. in Structural Engineering with a focus on structural design and a B.Sc. in Geological and Environmental Sciences. Graduates of this study program acquire background and elective courses in tunnel and infrastructure planning and can complete a final project in tunneling and become registered in the Engineers' Register (structural design chamber).
The curricula in the Department of Structural Engineering have been designated with the aim of training engineers at the highest level in the above areas of specialization excel in a vibrant and fruitful integration and collaboration between industry and academia.
The Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) curriculum in Structural Engineering includes three phases:
I The core studies of Structural Engineering including the core scientific disciplines and major engineering disciplines including mechanics, strength of materials and classical analysis methods;
II The core studies of the study program - in structural engineering and construction management are acquired in the third and fourth year and include advanced design methods as well as construction planning and management methods;
III Capstone project in structural engineering and construction management - which is the highlight of the study programs and in which a synthesis of all the core knowledge and design areas of the discipline is carried out into a complete integrated structural design and construction engineering, management and planning of the project. In carrying out the project, the students become graduates with engineering skills, which make it possible to complete the planning of an engineering project in full and prepare the graduates for the beginning of their internship in the construction industry. The final project in structural engineering and construction management at Ben-Gurion University is unique and is carried out under the guidance of academic and professional supervisors (practitioners) who provide the graduates with engineering tools that combine academia and engineering.
The department offers master's degree study-programs, with outstanding students being offered fast-track/direct study programs that allow them to be awarded a bachelor's and master's degree in five years (MEITR track).
Master of Science (M.Sc.) curriculum:
The department offers a variety of options and pathways for Master's degrees with research work (thesis-track) and without research work.
Areas of study, focus and research for the master's degrees include:
Structural Engineering - This focus area deals with building design, advanced analysis methods in buildings, earthquakes, strengthening buildings for earthquakes and more. In this focus there is a sub-focus, building protection: a field that deals with the analysis of the dynamic effects of gunfire and explosions on buildings and infrastructure and methods of protection against these effects.
Construction Engineering and Management - This focus area is on scheduling, planning methods, innovative construction methods, procurement methods, project management in the environment and through BIM (Building Information Modeling), mechanization and automation in construction, energy in buildings, green building, performance of buildings, facilities management and maintenance, extreme event management and more.
Geotechnical Engineering and Foundation Engineering - This focus area deals with the study and research of innovative methods in soil mechanics, geotechnical and seismic aspects of earthquakes, advanced methods of retaining and stabilizing slopes and more.
Outstanding students are offered integrated/fast-track/direct study programs towards a Ph.D. degree.
Ph.D. studies are conducted under the personal guidance of a senior academic staff member. The curriculum is determined by the Doctoral Studies Committee, more details can be found on the Kreitman School of Advanced Studies website.
It is recommended to contact the relevant academic staff member in advance for the purpose of scheduling a consultation meeting and examining suitability for doctoral studies in civil engineering.
Possible research topics in civil engineering for master's and doctoral degrees are:
• Structural Engineering;
• Earthquake Engineering - Innovative seismic design methods, seismic risk assessment and analysis, extreme events risk management;
• Construction Safety - safety of buildings, fire resistance of buildings;
• Protective structures, effects of ammunitions and protection against them. Explosion hazards. Safety and protection of explosive facilities, buildings and infrastructure. Nuclear power plants - impact and protection, dynamic properties of advanced materials, impact behavior of bullets and penetration. Fracture mechanics, materials and layers for damping falls and vibrations, real-time protective systems;
- Management of change-orders in construction projects, design review and management, control of construction and infrastructure projects;
- Complex analyses in the engineering of extreme events such as simulations in the field of nuclear power plants structures, tsunamis and protection using the finite element method, "innovative developments" in the field of "multi-scale analyses" (the next generation of simulation methods);
• Computational Mechanics and Soil Mechanics, Structure - Ground - Liquid Interaction, Final Element Methods, Simulations in the Fields: Submarine Ground Surfing, Marine Structures, Oil and Gas Industry Structures, Biomechanics.
• Upgrade of structures for shock waves, blast effects and earthquakes using energy-dissipation devices. Structural dynamics and passive control. Sheet and cable structures, Resilience Based Design;
- Green and sustainable construction; Climate and environment-adapted design with an emphasis on arid areas; Saving energy and other resources in construction; Assessment of project performance after POE), environmental IEQ), development of technologies and types of construction, including local-vernacular construction.
• Geotechnical engineering, underwater geotechnical engineering, soils containing methane hydrate, soil penetration tests;
• Advanced construction technologies including reinforcements with fabrics and advanced materials for construction;
- Seismic risks and strong ground vibrations; biological methods for improvement of soil properties; Mechanics of geological materials; Stability of subterranean cavities in rock;
• Hybrid structures with increased energy dissipation capacities, advanced structural systems of integrated blocks, photogrammetric methods for non-contact measurements, laboratory tests for small-scale structural systems.
The Department of Building Engineering is interested in absorbing excellent researchers, who will enrich the academic staff and advance the research and teaching goals of the department. Inquiries from potential candidates with high research and teaching abilities who are interested in joining the academic staff of the department are welcome.
The department welcomes enquiries from bodies and researchers from universities, faculties, departments and other research bodies for research and academic collaborations with faculty members in the department.
The department maintains a network of contacts with the graduates, during the period of professional internship. During the period of the first integration in the construction industry, the department and the university provide the graduates with an extensive and unique industrial-academic relationship to the university through the employment guidance unit, which enables optimal assimilation and integration for the department's graduates in all degrees. The department maintains a high profile at the national academic and professional conferences, by leading professional conferences at the national level as well as at seminars. The Ben-Gurion University Alumni Association is available to all graduates in maintaining continuous contact throughout the professional careers of the graduates - https://in.bgu.ac.il/alumni/Pages/join.aspx.