Seismic Design and Retrofit of Buildings and Bridges

Postgraduate course. Online.


UPC School

Nowadays, earthquake-resistant design of buildings and other constructions is gaining worldwide attention:

  • Increasing awareness of enormous damaging potential of earthquakes.
  • Globalized working environment, where any professional can be involved with constructions in seismic regions.
  • Newly developed design and analysis tools, such as PBD (Performance-Based Design), Pushover Analysis and IDA (Incremental Dynamic Analysis), among others. These approaches are becoming more complex, as computer codes do.
  • Recently-proposed innovative construction and protection technologies, such as Base Isolation and Energy Dissipators, among others.

This Program provides attendants with knowledge to perform any intervention (design, planning, analysis, construction, retrofit, strengthening, repair, modification, promotion, etc.) on buildings and bridges located in seismic areas. Formulations included in regulations are described, and application examples are developed using most spread software codes.

This activity is taught by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). UPC is a prestigious technology-oriented teaching and research institution, ranked 35th (QS World University Ranking) in Civil and Structural Engineering. This activity is taught online, in an e-learning environment; activity is tailored to individual necessities and learning path is adjusted to time availability of each student. Attendants are able to interact each other, possibly interchanging their professional experiences. Described technologies and concepts stem from professional, lecturing and research activities of instructors.

Spanish and English versions of this activity are offered.

Each attendant will develop a Final Thesis. 


The main objective of this Program is to familiarize the attendants with up-to-date knowledge on seismic design, analysis and retrofit of buildings and bridges. At the end of the Program, the attendants should be able to:

  • Carry out any intervention (design, analysis, construction, retrofit, etc.) on buildings and bridges situated in seismic regions.
  • Understand and apply correctly current major regulations and guidelines of America, Europe and other regions.
  • Use the most common software packages for efficient seismic analysis and design of buildings and bridges.
  • Promoting, managing and leading national and international projects dealing with seismic issues.
  • Developing new multi-purpose design, analysis and construction approaches and solutions.

Who is it for?

This Program is oriented to professionals (structural engineers, structural consultants and designers, construction managers, urban planners, architects, among others) involved with buildings and bridges located in seismic-prone regions.

This activity will entitle you to lead and coordinate large international groups of engineers and other professionals involved in promotion, design, retrofit or other interventions on singular constructions (tall buildings, long-span bridges and viaducts, subway and railway stations, large tanks, among others) with relevant seismic issues.


This Program is delivered online, in a full e-learning environment. Adobe Connect allows listening, viewing, recording, chatting and interacting with instructors and other attendants. Attendants use a virtual campus that provides access to teaching documentation, allows creating virtual personal spaces, includes forum or communication tools, facilitates team-working and discussions, among other capabilities.

This Program has 20 ECTS. Each ECTS totals 25 hours, comprising lectures, work and study time, and any other activity. Hence, total required time is 20 × 25 = 500 hours.

Major learning instruments are:

  • Recorded lectures. There are theory and computer applications sessions. Since this Program is professionally-oriented, theory sessions are mainly based on seismic regulations and on practical examples. Both types of sessions are divided in intervals lasting approximately twenty minutes. Computer applications sessions are mainly based in most spread commercial codes, such as SAP, ETABS, SAFE, PLAXIS, ROBOT, SHAKE, RISA, STAAD, among others. In sessions on computer applications, actual examples are worked out from very beginning to final design details. These examples are new buildings, retrofitted buildings, high-rise buildings, bridges, base isolation, among others. Attendants are asked to use same software than instructor, thus being able to obtain parallel results. Students can ask questions any time, being answered at earliest availability.
  • Forums. A number of forums are created to boost attendants and to allow for open discussions on case studies, and asking questions, among other learning and evaluation activities.
  • Provided documentation. Witten documentation is delivered to attendants. This includes teaching notes, scientific and technical papers and reports, books, design codes, worked examples, excel or MatLab files, SAP and ETABS files, and other relevant information.
  • Synchronous online sessions. Synchronous online interactive open sessions will be planned, depending on needs of participants. Professors attend these sessions and students pose questions and address their concerns; as well, relevant issues are discussed. Each synchronous session is scheduled according geographic location of students.
  • FAQ. The answers to the "Frequently Asked Questions" are included in a continuously updated database.
  • Continuous evaluation. Progression of attendants is monitored by frequent quizzes, multi-answer tests, short exercises, computer applications, and other activities. Attendants assess continuously their progression.
  • Final Thesis. Final Thesis is major output of Program since allows applying taught concepts and described procedures to actual projects. Each attendant will propose a subject of her/his interest; upon acceptation by director of Program, a supervisor is assigned. Ordinarily, development of Thesis requires extensive use of software codes.

Given professional orientation of Program, teaching is mainly based on major international design codes (FEMA, ACI, AISC, ATC, ASCE, NEHRP, AASHTO, ENs, ISO, Eurocode 8, etc.). Since regulations of virtually all countries are based either on US codes or in Eurocodes, participants will be able to perform any intervention in any country.

Customary language is English.

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Information form
(34) 93 112 08 70

(160 teaching hours)

Start date:
Classes start:01/04/2019 Classes end:05/12/2019Programme ends: 28/02/2020

Registration fee:
3.900 €

Language of instruction:
Spanish / English

Registration open until the beginning of the course or until end of vacancies.

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