New course nurtures innovation in the growing timber design and construction industry

Timber is an incredibly versatile and sustainable building material that is increasingly being used in large construction projects due to its distinctive environmental properties.

As technology advances, and interest in the use of timber continues to grow, there has been a surge in demand for professionals with expertise in the design and manufacture of wood products.

The University of Tasmania has partnered with industry to develop Australia’s first professional course specialising in timber design and construction to help meet this demand. The Master of Professional Engineering (Timber Design) is offered for study from Semester 2, July 2021.

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Launceston) Dominic Geraghty said the course was developed as part of the University’s commitment to create regionally-distinctive and industry-aligned study options under the Northern Transformation Program.

“As a natural and renewable building material, timber has excellent ecological attributes. It acts as a carbon sink and requires far less energy to produce compared to other building materials such as steel or concrete,” Professor Geraghty said.

“Tasmania has a proud history in the innovative use of timber and wood products, and we believe we are well-placed to lead in timber-rich design and construction nationally. This new course will help develop the skills needed to meet industry demand and continue to drive innovation into the future.”

Course coordinator Dr Assaad (Alex) Taoum said the program was aimed at engineers and other building design professionals who wanted to enhance their knowledge to specialise in timber design, manufacture and construction.

“This is a great opportunity for professionals to gain deep knowledge about the design and manufacture of a material that will form a significant part of sustainable construction approaches into the future,” Dr Taoum said.

“Timber design engineers are responsible for the structural design and manufacture of commercial and residential buildings, as well as optimising energy efficiency throughout the building lifecycle.”

Associate Professor in Timber Engineering Jon Shanks said the course was designed with student needs in mind and could be studied flexibly to balance work and other commitments.

“I am really excited to be part of developing and delivering this professionally-orientated course. Students will benefit from guest presentations by industry and academic leaders from around Australia,” Associate Professor Shanks said.

“There will also be opportunities to come on campus and participate in hands-on experiments, testing and learning by making in our Launceston workshops and studio.”

For further information or to enrol in the course visit: