Why do a PhD?

Today an increasing number of structural and construction engineering problems call for scientific methods and technical solutions, and industry therefore requires a growing number of qualified researchers and professionals. Emerging issues are related to new materials, durability and serviceability, new structural shapes, new methods of analysis and testing, new building systems and sustainable relationship with the built and natural environment.

The PhD candidates, with the help of their supervisors of STRUCTECH, develops advanced research to provide new knowledge and solutions to complex scientific problems in the field of structural engineering. Their research introduces the doctoral students to networks of international contacts, allowing them to participate to international research projects, workshops and congresses.
The results of their research are published in international scientific journals. Eventually, their dissertations are defended in public and evaluated by an international committee of international experts in the field. Being awarded a PhD represents the recognition of the international scientific community.

About the Programme

The overall objective of the PhD program is the education and training in the field of structural and construction engineering. Our purpose is to provide advanced scientific formation to PhD candidates. The PhD theses usually can present the following outcomes:

  • novel products, softwares or technical solutions for structural and construction engineering;
  • new methods to conceive, design, build and manage efficiently engineering structures;
  • advanced technical solutions for safe, durable and sustainable structures;
  • new methods for structural design, using either traditional or new materials;
  • innovative repair and retrofit techniques to restore and strengthen existing structures (including historical heritage ones).

The last decades have offered major technological achievements that have helped to expand and improve the performance of materials, the design and structural analysis methods, the testing and monitoring procedures, the structural performance, the construction techniques, the repair and strengthening of existing structures, as well as the possibility of using recycled materials in the construction. Increasing concern has emerged about the environment and the sustainable construction. New achievements and new developments raise many questions and involve new challenges. Technical Standards and Guidelines have to be continuously updated to reflect the new technological advances . Therefore, this challenging scenario requires the updating of technical knowledge for both the existing professionals and the university students.

The PhD program in Construction Engineering provides the appropriate environment to support research and training to fulfill the aforementioned objectives.


Quality Mention MCD2005-00345: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

Excellence Mention MEE2011-0393: 2011, 2012, 2013

Programme coordination


Tel: 93 401 65 13

Email: joan.ramon.casas@upc.edu

Administrative person in charge



Tel: 93 401 64 97

Email: doctorat.ECO.camins@upc.edu

Industrial PhD Students

Among the possibilities of pursuing a PhD, there is the option of participate to an industrial PhD program.

An industrial PhD student is a doctoral student who is employed by a company (or corresponding organisation) and pursuing PhD thesis at UPC working with STRUCTECH group.

This category of industrial PhD student does the research acivity in the framework of a formalised co-operation agreement between the UPC and the company (or corresponding organisation). The research assignment is part of a co-financed research project between UPC and the company.

The industrial PhD student has his/her main supervisor at UPC within STRUCTECH group and an assistant supervisor is often appointed at the company.

 What Happens after the PhD?

Your future carreer may be either in the academic sector or in business.

In the first case, the next step could be an appointment as a researcher or lecturer. Obtaining a lecturer position usually requires doing a post-doc (postdoctoral research). This means that you will spend a number of years (minimum two) conducting further research in either your area of expertise or in new ones.

In the second case, be aware that companies are currently facing with a transition to a more scientific way of working and the need for more advanced knowledge of technical subjects. This means raising the level of expertise and this opens the door for more PhD to enter the labour market. This applies particularly to those companies that have a division working on research and development. Certain companies are looking for cutting-edge skills within a specific field of research, while others are seeking your general ability to work according to scientific methods. As a PhD you are used to a systematic way of analysing, preparing and structuring information, and are used to working independently in an internationally demanding environment. These are qualities that will certainly be of use to you in your career after the PhD.