Structural Engineering

Structural engineers work with architects and other built environment professionals to design and maintain structures, so they remain stable and secure throughout the build life cycle.

Practice Area Structural Engineering
Introduction Structural engineering appeals to people who have an interest in using maths, physics, art or design to create an innovative and sustainable built environment.
What skills are required?
  • Strong communication skills
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Analytical skills
  • Maths and IT skills, such as 3D visualisation and conceptual skills
  • Teamwork and the ability to liaise well with professionals from other disciplines
  • Attention to detail
  • An interest in the design and structure of buildings
What qualifications are required? Entry into structural engineering is typically via an engineering degree or similar qualification. Both under and post graduate degrees are available.  Structural engineers can work towards the professional status with the Institute of Structural Engineers
What is it like in practice?

Structural engineers design structures to withstand the stresses and pressures imposed through environmental conditions and human use. As specialists, they may determine the suitability of a site for construction, identify potential challenges for architects, work with existing buildings to assess damage and repairs and have expertise in the range and qualities of building materials and how they can be used.

Structural engineers can work on a huge range of buildings, including domestic, commercial and industrial projects. They also work on historic, conservation and iconic buildings, making and adapting buildings to meet the needs of the people who live and work in them.

Work Environment Your time will be split between working on site and working from an office.  Team working and working with other professionals is usually required as well as presentation and liaison with clients.
Employment opportunities

Opportunities exist in the UK, Europe and globally. Firms usually expect a relevant degree and relevant experience for more senior roles.

Most structural engineers work for specialist consultancies which range from multinational firms to niche practices. Other employers include aircraft manufacturers, oil companies and railway operators.

There are also degree apprenticeships in structural engineering available.

More information

Visit ISTRUCTE (opens new window)

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Relevant UCEM programmes

BSc Construction Management

MSc Construction Management

You might like this role if you enjoy:

  • Using science, technology and design to understand how buildings are constructed and materials used in the process
  • Using visual intelligence and perceptual skills to use plan, charts and diagrams

See more skills used by structural engineers:

  • Researching and explaining data in specialist areas
  • Working in teams
  • Maths skills
  • Using specialist IT programmes and equipment