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Unit information: Structural Earthquake Engineering in 2021/22

Unit name Structural Earthquake Engineering
Unit code CENGM0075
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Sextos
Open unit status Not open

Design of Geotechnical Structures (CENG30005) or equivalent



School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will provide a grounding in the basic principles and practices of Earthquake Engineering in structural engineering. The emphasis will be on understanding how seismic loads affect typical building and other kinds of structures, how the various materials respond up to the ultimate limit state (i.e. collapse), and how the structures shall be designed to meet pre-defined performance objectives.

Within the context of structural earthquake engineering, background theory for experimental design, vibration monitoring methods, instrumentation and basic data processing will be provided.

The unit will enable students to understand the basic principles behind structural vibration and structural element testing and be able to conceptually develop the setup of experiments, collect, analyse and interpret the data.

The content will be set within the context of the European Code of Practice for Earthquake Engineering, Eurocode 8 and the associated Eurocodes for Steel and Concrete. Reference will also be made to the newly evolving Performance Based Engineering paradigm, which is the basis for the next generation of design codes.


  • To develop students' awareness of the nature of earthquakes and their effects on typical civil engineering systems;
  • To develop students' knowledge and understanding of the underpinning principles of earthquake design and construction;
  • To enable students to apply the above principles to the basic earthquake design and detailing of some typical structural systems, with emphasis on buildings;
  • To develop students' awareness of important evolutions in earthquake engineering practice expected over the next 10 years.
  • To develop student awareness of the basic principles of set up of experiments related to performance assessment of structures.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, the students will be able to:

  1. Explain how ground shaking drives the dynamic response of single and multi-degree of freedom systems and how the characteristics of those systems (i.e. mass, stiffness, damping, yielding ,etc.) can be selected during design to optimize their performance for different levels of earthquake loading,
  2. Apply fundamental seismic analysis concepts to simple structural cases
  3. Discuss the philosophy and evolution of current codes of practice (particularly Eurocode 8, in terms of force-based, capacity- and performance-based design),
  4. Be able to apply the above concepts in a professional framework for typical steel and concrete buildings and bridges.
  5. Design buildings to Eurocode 8 (Part 1).
  6. Be able to design simple experimental tests using appropriate scaling laws
  7. Select the types of instrumentation, signal conditioning and acquisition systems available to researchers, the principles behind shaking table testing and the seismic qualification test process

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

Single coursework submission – 100%


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. CENGM0075).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.