MS Program Requirements - Civil Engineering

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The M.S. degree program requires that students earn at least 30 credits, including a specified set of required courses plus elective courses chosen in consultation with the advisor.  All students are admitted to the program under Plan B, in which credits are earned through regular courses.  If a student secures the approval of a faculty advisor willing to supervise them in independent research work, they may elect either a Plan B1, which involves a research project, or Plan A, where a thesis is produced.  Four credits are required under the thesis option, and up to four credits may be taken under the project option. Thesis and project credits are counted toward the 30 credit requirement.  The thesis is generally a more in-depth and more formal product than a project, and is recognized as an important accomplishment for students who wish to pursue research careers.

In consultation with their academic advisor, students prepare a Program Plan during their first semester. This must include a set of Core Courses, but these can be waived if an equivalent course was completed previously.  A typical program requires four academic semesters to complete and would contain the following components:

COLLATERAL COURSES – students may need to complete undergraduate courses that are considered requisite to the core courses in their specialty area and may or may not receive graduate credit, depending on the course and its level.

CORE COURSES – each specialty area has identified core courses that must be completed as a part of the MS program. These requirements vary among areas, ranging from 9 to 18 credits.

ELECTIVE COURSES – students may elect courses in consultation with their advisor to complement their professional interests, career objectives or research topic. The minimum number of elective credits is that necessary to meet the 30-hour total credit requirement. There is no maximum.


Plan A – Thesis Option  
     30 credits total
     4 – 8 research thesis credits (CE 899)
     >20 credits at 800 level or higher
     prepare and defend MS thesis
Plan B1 – Project Option
     30 credits total
     1 – 3 research project credits (CE 892), or
     3 – 5 design project credits (CE 893)
     >18 credits at 800 level or higher
     prepare and defend project report
Plan B – Coursework Option
     30 credits total
     >18 credits at 800 level or higher

Additional details on program requirements can be found in the CE Graduate Handbook on the graduate resources webpage.