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The Graduate Program

The department is pleased to take this opportunity to introduce its graduate program to you. The decision to continue your education is an important one and we would encourage you to review not only the materials presented in this section but also the descriptions of our faculty and their interestsóit is with these individuals that you will be spending much of your time whether in the classroom or in one-on-one research collaboration. The purpose of the materials here is to provide you with general information about our program. If more detailed information is desired, please contact us at one of the addresses given below.

The department currently offers six advanced-degree programs including the MS and Ph.D. in both civil and environmental engineering as well as interdisciplinary MS degrees with urban studies. At any one time, there are about 135 full-time graduate students in the degree programs. Program flexibility is one of the key characteristics of our programs with students developing personalized programs of specialization to suit their long-term career goals, consistent with their professional experience and prior training. The flexibility allows us to accommodate not only the student who has just received the BS but also the experienced engineer or scientist who is returning for additional formal training on either a part- or full-time basis.

The MS allows students to undertake advanced study in a selected area while developing breadth in related areas. This degree is increasingly being considered an entry-level requirement in some specialized areas; it also serves as a steppingstone to the Ph.D. The Ph.D. is for those who wish to pursue even more depth in a given area and serious research. Holders of advanced degrees are in demand by public agencies, consulting firms, industry, and universities.

Our graduate program is strongly linked to our ongoing research programs and many graduate students are involved in externally-funded projects being directed by the faculty. Our primary areas of research are in structures, pavement engineering, environmental microbiology, geotechnical engineering, environmental chemistry, transportation and water resources. The department is quite strong in terms of research activity, being home to several research centers and with annual research funding on the order of $5.3 million annually.

Areas of Study/Research in Civil Engineering

Within civil engineering, the major thrust areas are in structural, materials and pavement engineering. A university-sponsored center on structural fire engineering and diagnostics, and two Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)-funded centers of excellence in pavement research and bridges and sructures provide ongoing support for our research and graduate study programs and cooperative efforts with other research-intensive universities within the state. In addition to the centers, individual faculty also successfully compete for funding from other state and national agencies including MDOT, the US Department of Transportation, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the National Science Foundation, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. For specific research topics, look at the faculty pages.

As noted, programs of study are designed to accommodate the student. For example, a student with an already well-established area of expertise (either through prior training or experience) may well take a few even more advanced courses while concentrating on courses that broaden their training while another student (e.g., coming into the program with a BS in some other discipline/area) may already have sufficient breadth and concentrate on a specific specialty area.

Areas of Study/Research in Environmental Engineering

At the graduate level, separate degrees are offered in environmental engineering and related interdisciplinary areas. Graduate study in the environmental area prepares students with undergraduate background in science and engineering to deal with current and emerging environmental problems. Heavy emphasis is placed on understanding the behavior of environmental contaminants of industrial origin. This includes focusing on the treatment technologies and processes that affect the fate, effects, and movement of contaminants in the environment and on understanding the theory and design of water and wastewater treatment processes. In addition to the MS and Ph.D. in environmental engineering, students can also enter the joint environmental engineering/environmental toxicology program.

Students in environmental engineering who wish to further specialize may select from such areas as environmental chemistry, environmental microbiology, environmental fluid mechanics, environmental/geotechnical engineering, or hazardous waste management. MS students must also complete either a thesis or a research project. MS graduates find employment with public agencies, consulting firms, and regulatory agencies. Graduates of the doctoral program are more likely to work for universities and research-intensive agencies and firms.

Multidisciplinary efforts are an integral part of the program and faculty are involved in several efforts including: the Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center (EPA funding), the NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Center, the Center for Microbial Ecology, the Institute for Environmental Toxicology, the Michigan Sea Grant Program, the Environmental Science and Policy Program, and the Institute for Water Research. Please check the faculty listings for their individual interests.

Linked BS-MS Program

The Linked Bachelor's-Masters degree program allows the application of up to 9 credits toward a master's program in Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering for qualifying 400-level and above course work taken at the undergraduate level at Michigan State University or an external accredited institution. The department welcomes applications from Michigan State University Civil Engineering undergraduate students in their junior and senior year. Admission applications must be made during the prior spring semester for an anticipated spring graduation or the prior fall semester for an anticipated fall graduation to allow admission before the final semester as a Civil Engineering undergraduate. Admission to the program requires a minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.5 and an approved program of study for the Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering at the time of admission. The number of approved credits, not to exceed 9, are applied toward the credit requirement of the master's degree. Credits applied to the Linked Bachelor's-Master's program are not eligible to be applied to any other graduate degree program.

For further details please contact the graduate secretary Ms. Margaret Conner (conner@egr.msu.edu), or the graduate program coordinator: Dr. Venkatesh Kodur (kodur@egr.msu.edu).

Information Summary Page

Program Application (.pdf)

Program Requirements

Detailed information about program requirements and guidelines, enrollment, guidance committees, qualifying and/or comprehensive examinations, tuition fees, health insurance, computer accounts, forms, etc., may be found in the following two handbooks: CE Graduate Student Handbook (PDF) - ENE Graduate Student Handbook (PDF) (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view on-line). You may obtain a hardcopy of this by contacting the department.

At the MS level, students may choose from among three options:
  • Plan A: 30 credits including 4-6 credits of thesis research; requires preparation and defense of the research-oriented thesis
  • Plan B-1: 30 credits including 1-5 credits on an independent project; requires preparation and defense of the project report
  • Plan B: 30 credits of coursework; requires no independent thesis or project

At the Ph.D. level, there are no credit requirements per se but it typically requires at least three years of full-time study beyond the MS. A plan for the Ph.D. is developed jointly by the student and the advisor and approved by the studentís guidance committee. Formal steps during the course of the studentís program may include (in addition to successful completion of appropriate coursework): a written and/or oral qualifying examination; a comprehensive examination (which may include an oral component); a defense of dissertation topic; and successful completion and defense of the dissertation itself.


The application deadline for admission to our graduate programs and consideration for financial aid is December 31 for fall enrollment. Applications for spring enrollment may be submitted by October 15. However, candidates for spring admission are typically not considered for financial aid.

Applicants must submit the following:
  • Complete the College of Engineering Supplemental Application . This will allow you to periodically check the status of your application.
  • Completed university application form, available from the Office of Admissions and Scholarships, along with an application fee of $50.00 US. http://grad.msu.edu
  • Three letters of recommendation, completed by instructors or supervisors familiar with the applicant's work. Letters of recommendation must be submitted on official stationary with an original signature. Please use the Civil & Environmental Engineering Reference Report.
  • A written Academic Statement. Attach a separate sheet with a concise academic statement of your plans for graduate study, your career goals, and how MSU's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. The following statement must be included:

    "My intended area of specialization in the graduate program in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University will be in ______________________________."

    Current research areas are: environmental, geoenvironmental, hydrological, materials, pavement, structural and transportation engineering.
  • A written Personal Statement. Attach a separate personal statement about how your background and life experiences, including social, economic, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree.
  • One official copy of transcripts from all previous universities attended. The applicant's record should exhibit outstanding achievement as indicated both by grade point average (GPA) and the quality of courses over his or her entire academic career. Competitive applicants are in the top 10% of their BS class and have at least a 3.0 GPA on a scale of 4.0.
  • Applicants should have or be close to receiving a BS or MS in Civil or Environmental Engineering, or a closely related field.
  • An official copy of your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results.
  • An official copy of your TOEFL scores is required from all international applicants (including those who have completed a Master's in the U.S.). We require a TOEFL score of at least 570 (230 for computer-based TOEFL)
  • Applicants that wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship position must submit scores from the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or the SPEAK test. MSU will offer the SPEAK test at two locations in China for Chinese applicants.
  • A Statement of Financial Proof. This statement must originate from your source of support and must be a certified statement with an original signature. We cannot accept photocopies unless notarized, signed and sealed.
  • Requirements and fees are not waived.

All materials should be sent directly to the following address:

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Michigan State University
Graduate Program
428 S. Shaw Ln., Room 3546
East Lansing, MI 48824

More Information about the Admissions Process

For more information regarding the admission process including application forms, the univeristy community, and related topics, select from the topics below:

More Information about the Department

For more information or questions about graduate studies with our department and/or application forms, please e-mail:

Graduate Program Secretary: Margaret Conner {conner@egr.msu.edu}
Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Program Coordinator: Dr. Venkatesh Kodur {kodur@egr.msu.edu}

Phone: (517) 355-5107 Fax: (517) 432-1827 E-mail: cee@egr.msu.edu
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michigan State University
Engineering Building
428 S. Shaw Lane, Room 3546
East Lansing, MI 48824