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Graduate Certificate in Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering now offers a Graduate Certificate Program (GCP) in Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering. The program is intended for both working professionals and graduate students enrolled at NC State. Individuals who enroll in the program must have backgrounds in structural engineering and/or geotechnical engineering and would select the program to provide distinction in their academic records that may improve career prospects. We expect both on-campus (primarily existing NC State graduate students), as well as distance education students through DELTA and EOL (primarily practicing professionals, but also some existing EOL NC State graduate students). The GCP will be attractive to individuals who work (or wish to work) in more active seismic areas around the country. The course offerings have been structured such that students may tailor it to their individual goals. Each student will: (1) learn about the fundamentals of earthquake engineering through the core courses, and (2) specialize in either analysis, structural design, or geotechnical (or some combination of the three).

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering Graduate Certificate Program, students will be able to:

  • Solve problems regarding the dynamic response of structures to earthquakes.
  • Construct computational models for the dynamic analysis of structures
  • Apply the principles of capacity design to the performance-based design of structural systems
  • Perform direct-displacement-based design for structural systems
  • Implement the effects of soil-structure interaction on structural response
  • Characterize parameters that impact ground motions.
  • Correctly apply computational platforms for the dynamic analysis of systems while accounting for the limitations that such programs intrinsically contain.

Program of Study:

The Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering GCP will require a total of 12 credit hours as laid out in Table 1.

All courses for the program are currently offered. The two core courses are offered yearly, while others are offered every other year. All courses will be offered on campus and by distance.

Course Structure for the Graduate Certificate Program in Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering
CORE COURSES: students must take these two courses
CE 527: Structural Dynamics (offered each spring)
CE 725: Earthquake structural engineering (offered each fall)
ELECTIVE COURSES: students must select at least two course(s)
CE 723: Advanced Structural Dynamics (offered in fall, even years)
CE 727: Seismic Design of Concrete Buildings (offered in spring, even years)
CE 728: Performance-Based Design of Bridges (offered in spring, odd years)
CE 593: Dynamics of Soils and Foundations (offered in spring, even years)
CE 746: Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (offered each fall)

Requirements for admission:

Students must meet these requirements for admission into the Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering Graduate Certificate Program:

  • Have a BS degree in Civil Engineering (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited four-year college or university, and have an overall and major GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Have taken at least one undergraduate course in structural analysis, reinforced concrete, and soil mechanics.

An application for acceptance into the Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering GCP is required for all students currently not enrolled at NC State University. Students must complete the Graduate School application.

Students who are currently enrolled in an NC State graduate degree program are required to complete the Graduate Student Certificate Plan and submit it to

New applications will be reviewed at the department/program level.

Registration procedures, registration dates, and course availability for each semester can be found on the NCSU Registration and Records webpage at Additional information regarding the Earthquake Engineering GCP can be found on the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering website(s) ( Questions regarding the Earthquake Engineering GCP can be directed to

For students not currently enrolled in a graduate program at NC State, academic success in the Earthquake Engineering GCP might have a strong bearing on admission to a graduate degree program. However, completion of a graduate certificate program in no way guarantees entry into a graduate degree program, which must be done through a separate application process.

Academic Performance Requirements

  • The Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering GCP requires a total of 12 credit hours.
  • Students must take both core courses and at least two elective courses.
  • To receive a Graduate Certificate, a student must maintain a minimum 3.000 grade point average (GPA) on all coursework taken at NCSU. All grades on courses taken towards the GCP in courses numbered 500 and above are included in the GPA. Any courses taken at the 400 level and below are not eligible for certificate credit.
  • All courses taken for certificate credit must be completed with a grade of “B-” or better.
  • All courses at the 500- or 700-level taken for certificate credit must be letter-graded. Credit-only courses cannot be used for certificate credit.
  • Transfer credit from other institutions is not allowed for the GCP. All coursework must be registered through NC State University.
  • All GCP requirements must be completed within four (4) calendar years, beginning with the date the student commences courses applicable to the GCP. In addition, students must maintain continuous enrollment every semester until all coursework is completed. A one-semester leave of absence may be granted if the student is unable to enroll in a course due to extenuating circumstances. The leave of absence must be approved in writing by the DGP before the start of the semester.
  • Graduate certificate courses taken by students who are also enrolled in a graduate degree program may be double-counted with the degree courses to the extent that the courses unique to the degree remain at 18 hours for an MS degree or 36 hours for a Ph.D. degree.
  • The transfer of graduate certificate courses taken prior to enrollment in a graduate degree program is limited to 12 hours (note: transfer totals from all sources shall not exceed 12 hours).

Contact Information