University Programs

Student Steel Bridge Competition

Just last month, a significant change to the Student Steel Bridge Competition came about, and going forward, ASCE (our longtime co-organizing sponsor of the competition) will no longer be involved in the competition.  However, please rest assured that the competition is alive and well!  At this time, AISC is working in earnest to contact all parties involved to distribute information on what we know so far and also to ensure arrangements for 2019 regional and national competitions move forward.  We will release additional information as soon as it becomes available.

You can read the information we have shared thus far in this post on the Modern Steel Construction website, this letter to faculty and students, and most recently, this letter from AISC President, Charlie Carter.

Coming soon:

  • 2019 NSSBC Rules!
  • 2019 competition participation survey
  • Sample Steel Bridge Club charter
  • Locations of 2019 regional competition hosts, including dates and locations

What's new for 2019?

Beginning with the 2019 competition year, AISC became the sole organizing sponsor of the Regional Competitions. We know this change may bring about changes for some and questions for many. In anticipation of this, a list of FAQs and answers are listed below (click to view). We will add to this list as we receive questions.

Is the Student Steel Bridge Competition still happening in 2019?

Yes. The AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition is alive and well, and we intend to continue to grow and improve it. Rules will be issued in August as expected, and all colleges and universities in the U.S. and U.S. territories with an engineering or engineering technology program are invited to participate. AISC will support and help to coordinate regional Competitions as desired by the host schools. All you need to participate is a student team and a faculty advisor. The team can be an ASCE student chapter, a club, or just a group of students with a faculty advisor.


Are AISC and ASCE both still partners in the Student Steel Bridge Competition?

No. With respect and appreciation for our many years together as partners, AISC decided to separate from ASCE because differences in our organizational goals grew to become fundamentally incompatible.


What differences caused AISC to separate from ASCE?

There are two main differences that we’ve discussed between us for several years:


  1. AISC has a domestic focus while ASCE has international growth goals.
  2. AISC prefers fewer eligibility restrictions while ASCE desires to increase ASCE Chapter requirements in order to qualify to participate.

These differences are not new and were small at first but have both grown with time. They have been discussed progressively for many years and previously we found common ground. We didn’t find common ground this time.


Did AISC and ASCE attempt to resolve these differences?

Yes. When ASCE informed AISC in May 2018 that they had made changes to their eligibility criteria and would like to expand international participation, AISC responded that such changes were not agreeable. We actively discussed possible solutions for the two months between then and August 2018. Multiple compromise proposals were put on the table, but none were found acceptable to both AISC and ASCE.


Why must this separation take place now?

The annual calendar of events requires the start of activities for the 2019 Competition in August of 2018. With no other option left on the table, AISC informed ASCE of our decision.


Did AISC separate because of a vote taken by its Board of Directors?

No. This has been claimed but is not correct; there was no such vote. The AISC Board was updated on the state of the disagreement between AISC and ASCE. They confirmed that the decisions were for AISC staff to make. Thereafter, AISC staff made the decision to inform ASCE we would separate.


Has AISC decided to include only U.S. schools in the AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition?

Yes. AISC is funded by the domestic steel industry in the U.S. and focuses on the domestic industry, design community, and academia. While we were comfortable in the past subsidizing limited non-domestic participation to accommodate the needs and wishes of ASCE as our partner, we now must return to the domestic focus of our mission as we move forward on our own. Schools located in the U.S. and U.S. territories with an engineering or engineering technology program are all welcome to compete in the AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition.


What are AISC’s goals for the bridge teams?

We want a simple Competition that’s fun, meaningful, and rewarding. We want to give you the rare opportunity to design, build, and test a structure and to experience teamwork, project planning, leadership, and project management from conception through construction. We'll keep the process simple, provide practical value, and focus on you and the Competition.


What are AISC’s goals for the regional Competitions?

We believe the regional Competitions should be just that: groups of nearby schools where the gathering can help foster current and future professional relationships.


What are AISC’s goals for the national Competition?

We want the national Competition to parallel the regionals with the top-performing bridge teams in each regional Competition meeting.


What is AISC doing for the international schools who are affected by this decision?

In Canada, the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) already operates a parallel national competition in Canada. We have offered to share our rules and help them if they desire our assistance. In Mexico, we also have offered to assist the Instituto Mexicano de la Construcción en Acero (IMCA) to establish a national competition in Mexico. In any other country, AISC is happy to work with its equivalent organization in that country to help them create a competition in their country.


Are domestic ASCE student chapters still welcome to participate?

Yes. AISC welcomes all domestic ASCE student chapters to participate in the AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition. This affiliation is not required, however, and bridge teams can be created separately from ASCE student chapter activities. It's up to you.


Can a regional Competition be hosted in conjunction with a domestic ASCE regional conference?

Yes. AISC welcomes any domestic host school that wishes to hold their regional Competition as an independent event in conjunction with their ASCE regional student event weekend. This is not required, however, and it can be held as a standalone event on a different date. It's up to the host.


Does AISC provide insurance for the regional and national competitions?

Yes, AISC has both a General Liability and Umbrella coverage for all of the regional and national events.


How do we participate in the 2019 AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition?

All information related to the 2019 AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition can be found at  Any updates also will be posted there as well.


What’s a basic snapshot of the new process?

There are no significant changes to the format of the Competition and the new process is largely similar to the old process. Following is a snapshot of the basics:

  • Obtain the 2019 Rules (to be released in August) and start designing your bridge!
  • Register your team by December 31.
  • All schools in the U.S. and U.S. territories with an engineering or engineering technology program are eligible to participate.
  • A faculty advisor is required.
  • Requirements and the registration form can be found on AISC website.

What are AISC’s eligibility requirements for participation?

You must represent a school in the U.S. or U.S. territories with an engineering or engineering technology program to be eligible to participate. You also must have a faculty advisor. That’s it.


How will the regional Competitions work?

You will participate in regional Competitions organized by a host school and AISC. Regional divisions will remain the same as the U.S. ASCE conferences. Exceptions may be made for new schools and special cases. Dates and locations of regional Competitions will be posted on the AISC website.  Some regional Competitions may be held concurrently with the ASCE conference as an independent event. Schools participating at a regional Competition will receive at least $250 funding from AISC.


How will the national Competition work?

The 2019 AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition will be hosted by the University of Texas at El Paso, May 24-25, 2019. The highest-scoring teams at regionals will qualify for the national Competition. Schools participating at the national Competition will receive at least $500 funding from AISC.


Can AISC help us make connection to our local steel industry to help us?

Yes. AISC will help you connect to a local steel fabricator, if you need our help.


Can AISC help us in other ways?

Yes. Tell us what you need and we’ll do whatever we can. Please contact Christina Harber, AISC Director of Education (; 312.670.8312) or Maria Mnookin, AISC Education Program Manager (; 312.670.5418).


The 2018 NSSBC was held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign May 25-26.

Congratulations to the 2018 NSSBC Winners!

1. Lafayette College
2. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
3. École de technologie supérieure

Construction Speed Lightness Display
1. École de technologie supérieure 1. Illinois Institute of Technology 1. University of Michigan
2. Lakehead University 2. École de technologie supérieure 2. Lamar University
3. University of Wisconsin-Plattville 3. University of California, Berkeley 3. Michigan Technological University
Stiffness Economy Efficiency
1. Lafayette College 1. École de technologie supérieure 1. University of Florida
2. University of Florida 2. Lakehead University 2. Lafayette College
3. Tongji University 3. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 3. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Two new special awards were introduced at the 2018 NSSBC:

Robert E. Shaw, Jr. Spirit of the Competition Award - Congratulations to the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez!
This award was presented to a team that demonstrated outstanding team comradery, professionalism, positive work ethic, and respect for their competition peers.

Frank J. Hatfield Ingenuity Award - Congratulations to the University of Texas, San Antonio!
This award was presented to a team that shows the most engineering ingenuity in the design and construction of their bridge based on the requirements of the competition rules.

Congratulations to the forty-three teams that qualified to compete in the 2018 NSSBC!

Visit the 2018 Host School's NSSBC website!

We hope you'll plan to join us at the 2019 NSSBC hosted by the University of Texas at El Paso May 24-25.

National Competition Funding

Winners and first runners-up from most conferences are invited to compete at the national level. However, invitations are extended only to the winner from a conference with two, three or four participating universities, and to the top three teams from a conference with eleven or more participating universities. A university may enter more than one bridge in conference competition but only the best one may qualify for national competition.

At the national level, AISC assists with travel funds for teams from North American schools invited to compete. Each qualifying team from each conference from North American schools receives $500 from AISC.

AISC provides additional funding support to the National Competition host school.


Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors