Mervyn Kowalsky


Mervyn Kowalsky is a Professor of Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina and an active member of several national and international committees on Performance-Based Seismic Design.

Dr. Kowalsky is currently serving on the editorial board of Earthquake Spectra (the journal of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute), and has received the American Concrete Institute Structural Research Award for his work on the seismic behavior of lightweight concrete bridges and the ASCE Journal of Cold Regions Engineering Award for his work on seismic behavior of bridges in extreme environments.

Dr. Kowalsky is co-author of the textbook, Displacement-Based Seismic Design of Structures, and also teaches and maintains research collaborations with the School for Reduction of Seismic Risk (ROSE School) at the IUSS-Pavia, Italy. Dr. Kowalsky’s students are usually involved in a combination of large-scale structural experimentation and non-linear dynamic analysis aimed at developing solutions to problems facing the earthquake engineering community. His students conduct their research at the Constructed Facilities Lab on Centennial Campus, using several of the unique facilities at the lab, including a shake table, environmental chamber, and soil-structure interaction pit.


Ph.D. 1997

Structural Engineering

University of California San Diego

M.S. 1994

Structural Engineering

University of California San Diego

B.S. 1993

Structural Engineering

University of California San Diego

Research Description

Dr. Kowalsky is interested in earthquake engineering design and analysis, behavior of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structures, development of alternative performance-based seismic design procedures, and soil-structure interaction. His research, which has largely focused on the seismic behavior of structures, has been supported by the Alaska, California, and North Carolina Departments of Transportation, the Alaska University Transportation Center, the National Science Foundation, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and several industrial organizations.


Seismic Performance of Circular Concrete Columns Reinforced with High-Strength Steel
Barcley, L., & Kowalsky, M. (2020), JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING, 146(2).
Critical Bending Strain of Reinforcing Steel and Buckled Bar Tension Test
Barcley, L., & Kowalsky, M. (2019), ACI Materials Journal, 116(3), 53–61.
Out-of-plane buckling instability limit state for boundary regions of special RC structural walls
Haro, A. G., Kowalsky, M., & Chai, Y. H. (2019), Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, 17(9), 5159–5182.
Seismic Repair of Circular Reinforced Concrete Bridge Columns by Plastic Hinge Relocation with Grouted Annular Ring
Krish, Z. F., Kowalsky, M. J., & Nau, J. M. (2019), Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 1–35.
Boundary Elements of Special Reinforced Concrete Walls Tested under Different Loading Paths
Haro, A. G., Kowalsky, M., Chai, Y. H., & Lucier, G. W. (2018), EARTHQUAKE SPECTRA, 34(3), 1267–1288.
Seismic performance of reinforced concrete filled steel tube drilled shafts with inground plastic hinges
Aguirre, D. A., Kowalsky, M. J., Nau, J. M., Gabr, M., & Lucier, G. (2018), Engineering Structures, 165, 106–119.
Closure to "Modified Plastic-Hinge Method for Circular RC Bridge Columns" by Jason C. Goodnight, Mervyn J. Kowalsky, and James M. Nau
Goodnight, J. C., Kowalsky, M. J., & Nau, J. M. (2017), Journal of Structural Engineering (New York, N.Y.), 143(9).
Out-of-Plane Buckling of Ductile Reinforced Structural Walls due to In-Plane Loads
Kelly Herrick, C., & Kowalsky, M. J. (2017), Journal of Structural Engineering, 143(3), 04016182.
Stress-strain response of A706 grade 80 reinforcing steel
Overby, D., Kowalsky, M., & Seracino, R. (2017), Construction and Building Materials, 145, 292–302.
Development of a ductile steel bridge substructure system
Fulmer, S. J., Nau, J. M., Kowalsky, M. J., & Marx, E. E. (2016), Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 118, 194–206.

View all publications via NC State Libraries


Development of Updated Seismic Hazard Definition
American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials(7/31/20 - 7/31/21)
Seismic Retrofit of Anchorage Port Access Bypass
US Dept. of Transportation (DOT)(7/23/20 - 12/31/23)
Development of Optimized Decked Bulb-Tee Girders for Alaska
State of Alaska, Department of Transportation(4/22/20 - 12/31/21)
External Pocket and Socket Connections for the Seismic Design of Alaska Bridges
State of Alaska, Department of Transportation(12/09/19 - 2/28/23)
Rapid Seismic Repair of Column to Footing Connections – Phase 2
US Dept. of Transportation (DOT)(1/17/19 - 5/31/22)
Seismic Assessment of Anchorage Port Access Bypass
State of Alaska, Department of Transportation(12/01/17 - 12/31/20)
Seismic Behavior of Grade 80 RC Bridge Columns – Phase 2
California Department of Transportation(6/21/18 - 6/14/23)
Seismic Behavior of Grade 80 RC Bridge Columns – Phase 1
California Department of Transportation(9/01/16 - 6/29/18)
Durability of the Grouted Shear Stud Connection at Low Temperatures
US Dept. of Transportation (DOT)(3/01/16 - 5/15/19)
Proposed Guidelines for Peformance-Based Seismic Bridge Design
National Academy of Sciences(9/23/16 - 3/31/20)