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Foundations in Finite Element Principles

Linear Static Analysis

Next Offering

Start Date: August 24, 2021
End Date:  November 1, 2021


This is the first course in the sequence. All courses must be taken to earn the Certification in Practice of Finite Element Principles.

Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students should successfully be able to:

  • Explain linear static assumptions.
  • Demonstrate the derivation of element stiffness matrix using the direct method as well as the potential energy approach.
  • Relate the concepts of a global stiffness matrix, nodal degrees of freedom, and boundary condition definitions.
  • Relate element order to shape functions; isoparametric mapping to mesh quality.
  • Express the role of numerical integration in the finite element method.
  • Construct, execute, and interpret linear structural finite element models.


Expected Time Commitment to Complete this Course

  • Instructional material equivalent to a one semester credit hour class
  • A typical week will take the average person approximately 2 hours "in-class" work and 4-6-hours of "homework" for a total weekly time commitment of 6-8 hours. Please note, every learner is different so this is only a guideline. Some learners may need to budget more time to complete the requirements of this course.
  • All course lectures are recorded and available to you 24/7 through the university's Learning Management System, Carmen. 
  • ​Course duration: 10 weeks. 


Click Here to learn more about how this course is delivered 100% online!


  1. A bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field is strongly recommended.
  2. Enrollees should also have a background in the following areas:
    • Calculus
      • Differentiation
      • Integration
    • Linear Algebra
      • Matrix Multiplication
      • Matrix Transpose
      • Identity Matrix
    • Computational Skills
      • Using computational approaches will reinforce skills required for computational engineering in a broader sense.
      • Homework problems should be solved using MATLAB, Python, or other computational tools. Octave is similar to MATLAB and is freeware.
      • Student will be asked to solve problems by generating basic scripts for homework assignments
      • Minimal previous experience will be needed
    • Engineering Concepts
      • Basic concepts of stress, strain, Hooke’s Law
      • Material properties such as Young’s Modulus and Poisson’s Ratio
      • Free body diagrams
      • Beam equations
    • Finite Element Software
      • Basic knowledge on how to build a mesh from CAD geometry
      • Apply material definitions to model
      • Apply loads and boundary conditions
      • Visualize results


Cancellations and Refunds

A full refund minus a $50 administrative fee will be made if cancellation is received one week prior to the start of the course. No refunds within one week of the course start date.

Course Offering Dates

Each course offering is tied to the academic calendar; therefore, they operate with specific start and end dates. Students must complete each course during the specific time frame. Access to the online course and materials is removed when the course ends.