MSE Master of Science in Engineering

The Swiss engineering master's degree

Each module contains 3 ECTS. You choose a total of 10 modules/30 ECTS in the following module categories: 

  • 12-15 ECTS in technical scientific modules (TSM)
    TSM modules teach profile-specific specialist skills and supplement the decentralised specialisation modules.
  • 9-12 ECTS in fundamental theoretical principles modules (FTP)
    FTP modules deal with theoretical fundamentals such as higher mathematics, physics, information theory, chemistry, etc. They will teach more detailed, abstract scientific knowledge and help you to bridge the gap between abstraction and application that is so important for innovation.
  • 6-9 ECTS in context modules (CM)
    CM modules will impart additional skills in areas such as technology management, business administration, communication, project management, patent law, contract law, etc.

In the module description (download pdf) you find the entire language information per module divided into the following categories:

  • instruction
  • documentation
  • examination 
Computational Structural Mechanics (CSM) (TSM_CSM)

The module provides students with comprehensive knowledge in the numerical simulation of demanding static and dynamic problems in structural mechanics. Special emphasis is placed on validation methods for the models and verification possibilities for the results.


  • Very good knowledge of mechanics and strength analysis
  • Knowledge of numerical methods
  • Basic knowledge of simulation methods such as FEM

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, students will be able

  • to apply in-depth knowledge of the theory of the finite element method in practice;
  • to approach simulation tasks systematically;
  • to exploit the possibilities of numerical simulations for structural-mechanical problems in product development, but also to know their limits;
  • to verify simulation results and to validate simulation models;
  • to assess the importance of nonlinear effects and to consider them in nonlinear simulations;
  • to set up and carry out dynamic simulations.

Contents of Module

  • Introduction: sophisticated numerical simulation in product development, meaning, possibilities and limits
  • Theory of the finite element method: method of the weighted residual, principle of virtual work, discretization, approach functions and element classes, numerical integration, assembling of the equation system
  • Idealization and modeling: classification of simulation tasks (static, dynamic, linear, nonlinear, stationary, transient, 2D, 3D, symmetry, etc.), selection of correct elements, material properties, boundary conditions, loads, equation solution
  • Verification and validation: correct solving of correct equations, interpretation of simulation results, possible errors and error sources
  • Nonlinearities: geometric nonlinearities, stability problems, nonlinearity of materials (material models), contact problems and their modelling
  • Dynamics: eigenfrequency analysis, direct time integration (explicit and implicit), modal superposition, response analyses


Week Topic
1 Introduction to numerical simulation and methods
2 Theory of FEM
3 Theory of FEM
4 Idealizations in structural mechanics
5 Modelling and solution methods
6 Interpretation, verification and validation
7 Introduction to nonlinear FE simulations
8 Geometric nonlinearities and contacts
9 Stability problems (buckling, etc.)
10 Nonlinear material models
11 Nonlinear material models
12 Natural frequency analysis, modal analysis
13 Direct explicit and implicit time integration, damping
14 Modal superposition, response analysis in the frequency domain


The module is divided into 3 courses:

Course Title Week
1 Theory of the Finite Element Method 1-6
2 Nonlinear structural mechanics 7-11
3 Structural dynamics 12-14

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, exercises and case studies


  • Huebner K.H., The Finite Element Method for Engineers, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2001
  • Zahavi E., Barlam D., Nonlinear Problems in Machine Design, CRC-Press, 2001
  • Bathe K.J., Finite Element Procedures, 2nd ed., 2014
  • Humar J.L., Dynamics of Structures, Prentice Hall, 1990

Download full module description