Foundations in Finite Element Principles

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

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.

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 

  • Instructional material equivalent to a one-semester credit hour class
  • 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.
  • Pre-recorded course lectures are available 24/7 through the university's learning management system, Carmen. 
  • ​Course duration: 10 weeks. 

Finite Element Software

To complete the requirements of this course students will be required to complete a project using finite element software. Before enrolling in these courses students should be able to:

  • Build a mesh from CAD geometry
  • Apply material definitions to model
  • Apply loads and boundary conditions
  • Visualize results

Students are encouraged to use the software of their choice. If FE software and/or hardware is not available to the student virtual classroom space will be provided through an agreement with the Ohio Supercomputing Center (OSC).


  • A bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field is strongly recommended.
  • Software training and support is not provided.
  • Enrollees should also have a background in the following areas:

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

Linear Algebra

  • Matrix Multiplication
  • Matrix Transpose
  • Identity Matrix


  • Differentiation
  • Integration

Cancellations & 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Course Fee

The course fee is $1,000 Per Person*

*For additional fees organizations can customize the courses for their needs (ex: offline synchronous sessions). Contact Emily Nutwell for details (


Tech Cred 3

TechCred, a program that assists Ohio employers in training their workforce, provides companies with reimbursement of up to $2000 for enrolling their employees in approved science, technology, engineering, and math training courses. SIMCenter’s Foundations in Finite Element Principles course was added to the list of preapproved courses. Learn more here