The Best Online Master’s in Civil Engineering
| TBS Staff
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Civil engineers keep cities running and build the infrastructure that connects society.
They design highways, mass transit systems, and public works projects. Civil engineers can advance their careers and increase their earning potential with a master's degree.
They design highways, mass transit systems, and public works projects. Civil engineers can advance their careers and increase their earning potential with a master's degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for civil engineers exceeds $86,000. A master's degree qualifies civil engineers for supervisory roles, including jobs like engineering manager, which provides a median annual salary of over $140,000. The BLS also projects growing demand for civil engineering jobs from 2018-2028.
An online civil engineering degree offers more flexibility than an on-campus program, appealing to working engineers who are seeking career advancement. A master's degree also helps professionals transition into the engineering field. Our ranking covers the best civil engineering schools to help prospective students find the right program.
|#1||Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY|
|#2||Stanford University Stanford, CA|
|#3||Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD|
|#4||University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI|
|#5||University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA|
|#6||University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville, VA|
|#7||University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA|
|#8||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL|
|#9||University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA|
|#10||University of Florida Gainesville, FL|
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Master's in Civil Engineering Programs
Columbia University offers a variety of part-time online graduate degrees in engineering through the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and the Columbia Video Network. Designed for working professionals, the flexible online MS in civil engineering program features world-renowned engineering faculty. The program prepares graduates to become technology leaders.
The 30-credit online civil engineering degree includes concentrations in areas such as construction engineering, soil mechanics, continuum mechanics, and earthquake engineering. Students may also combine concentrations or create new ones by adding technical electives. Required core courses include finite element analysis, managing engineering and construction processes, elastic and plastic analysis of structures, and advanced mechanics of solids. Students must earn a minimum 2.5 GPA to graduate.
Civil engineering graduate students can also take advantage of Columbia's boot camps and massive open online courses in subjects like artificial intelligence, coding, data analytics, and business analytics.
Admission requirements for the online civil engineering master's program include an undergraduate degree in civil engineering or a related field from an accredited program with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must submit GRE scores, college transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement.
One of the best civil engineering schools in the country, Stanford University provides numerous online learning opportunities for engineering students, including nine accredited master's degrees and 25 professional and graduate certificates. Stanford's renowned engineering faculty created some of the world's first massive open online courses.
Designed for working professionals, the university's master of science in civil and environmental engineering degree takes 3-5 years of part-time study to finish. The partly online program requires some in-person classes. The amount of required on-campus coursework varies depending on each student's focus area and program plan.
The civil and engineering MS offers concentrations in atmosphere/energy, structural engineering and geomechanics, environmental engineering, and sustainable design and construction. Students must complete 45 credits and earn a minimum 2.75 GPA to graduate. The degree does not require a thesis or research project.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university. Applicants must submit college transcripts, a statement of purpose, answers to supplemental questions, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and TOEFL results (if required).
One of the largest continuing education engineering schools in the U.S., the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University boasts 21 online, on-site, and hybrid engineering programs for working professionals. Students make lasting professional connections and enjoy global collaborations while learning from instructors with extensive industry experience.
Johns Hopkins' 10-course online civil engineering degree features courses that use state-of-the-art tools and technology, an interactive environment, and real-world, project-based learning. The fully online program does not include any in-person requirements. Students gain access to academic advising, digital resources, and support services.
The curriculum focuses on engineering challenges due to increasing public demand on systems and structures. Required core courses include geotechnical engineering principles, structural mechanics, and mathematical methods for engineers. Students can choose a general civil engineering or structural engineering concentration. The program also offers an option for independent study with instructor supervision.
Admission requirements for the online master of civil engineering program include an accredited bachelor's or master's degree in civil engineering or a closely related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Students can submit GRE scores but the program does not require them. Graduates qualify for professional civil engineering jobs in local and state government, architectural and engineering firms, and construction companies.
One of the best civil engineering schools in the country, the University of Wisconsin - Madison offers an online M.Eng. in civil and environmental engineering. Suitable for early- and midcareer engineers, the program teaches students how to use engineering strategies to address environmental challenges. UW-Madison developed the program with guidance from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists.
The primarily asynchronous, 30-credit program includes weekly live sessions and fosters a highly interactive, collaborative learning space. World-class faculty teach the program's classes, and learners develop a professional network through the program's student cohort of professional engineers.
Students learn how to use risk assessments, advanced engineering tools, and creative design to provide solutions to environmental problems. The program also covers environmental engineering design principles, project management, and leadership strategies. Courses include biological principles of environmental engineering, hydraulics and applied fluid mechanics for environmental engineers, and energy principles of environmental engineering. Students also complete a capstone design project in their final semester.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited engineering program, a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester credits, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants with a non-accredited engineering bachelor's degree or a GPA below 3.0 may receive admission on a case-by-case basis.
The University of Southern California emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and research. USC's extensive remote learning opportunities for engineering professionals include master's degrees in industrial and systems engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and systems architecting and engineering. Distance learners can also pursue an online master's in civil engineering with specializations in structural engineering and construction engineering and management.
Graduation requirements for the 28-credit MS in civil engineering include a minimum 3.0 GPA. Courses vary by specialization but may include construction practices, dynamics of structures, finite element analysis, and project controls. The program does not require a thesis. The department may accept up to four graduate transfer credits. Graduates qualify for careers in construction management, real estate development, and consulting.
The structural engineering concentration explores the effect of traffic and environmental events on structures. The construction engineering and management concentration focuses on building science, construction technology, and urban and regional planning. All online engineering graduate students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, applied mechanics, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, mathematics, or physics. Applicants with a degree in physics or mathematics may need to take additional engineering courses. Applicants must also submit transcripts and GRE/GMAT scores. International students must demonstrate proof of English language proficiency.
The University of Virginia's six fully online master's in engineering programs include degrees in chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and systems engineering. Designed for working professionals, the programs feature mostly asynchronous coursework.
The online master's in civil engineering degree offers four concentrations: structural engineering, environmental and water resources engineering, transportation engineering, and infrastructures systems engineering. The program requires 10 courses. Courses include green engineering and sustainability, advanced design of metal structures, and transportation safety. The program does not require a research thesis.
UVA participates in the online Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program, a partnership with five other universities, including George Mason University and Virginia Tech. The program allows students to take classes from UVA and other institutions to create an individualized plan of study. Students can complete up to half of the program's required credits at partner institutions or transfer four graduate courses from non-consortium programs.
UVA practices rolling admission and accepts new students each fall, spring, and summer. The program encourages students to take one or two classes prior to applying. These courses count toward degree requirements upon acceptance into the program. Admission requirements include the GRE, but some students may qualify for a waiver.
Suitable for recent undergraduates, professional engineers, and individuals looking for a career change, the University of Washington's online MS in civil engineering program prepares students for jobs like environmental engineer, public health engineer, and construction manager. The program offers two options: a research-intensive track and a professional practice track.
Students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. or want to engage in research prior to professional practice should choose the research-intensive degree. Most students in the research-intensive program receive full funding through fellowships or research assistantships. Those who want to enter the engineering profession immediately after graduation or engineers seeking career advancement should select the professional practice option.
UW's online civil engineering degree also offers six specializations, including environmental engineering, transportation engineering, and construction engineering. The program takes part-time students about three years to complete.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester credits. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and official GRE scores. International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency. UW considers all students for research and teaching assistantships and fellowships at the time of application.
One of the best civil engineering schools in the U.S., the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign offers an online master's in civil engineering. Students can complete the degree entirely online or through a combination of on-campus and online courses. Learners can spend up to five years completing the program.
Distance learners can choose from nine concentrations, including construction management, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering and science. Students can also develop their own cross-disciplinary program with the help of their advisor. The 36-credit degree does not require a thesis or research project.
MS students can optionally earn a four-course graduate certificate in a specialized area of civil and environmental engineering, like construction management, transportation engineering, railroad engineering, or pavement engineering. All students take classes like decision and risk analysis, high-speed rail engineering, construction equipment and methods, and public health engineering.
Admission requirements for the MS in civil engineering program include a bachelor of science from an accredited college with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must submit GRE scores, official transcripts from all previously attended institutions, three letters of reference, a statement of purpose, and a resume or CV.
The online civil engineering degree from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus includes a construction management focus. The 30-credit professional degree prepares students to address challenges in the construction industry. The program features faculty with knowledge of contemporary best practices and many years of experience in construction management.
Pitt's coursework-only MS in civil engineering does not require a thesis and emphasizes applied learning. The curriculum covers advanced concepts related to the construction industry, including ethical, business, financial, and legal concerns. The program focuses on developing managerial decision-making skills for future engineering leaders. Students simultaneously earn a safety engineering certificate while working on their MS.
The degree combines synchronous and asynchronous learning. MS students can view recorded lectures or watch and participate in class in real time with on-campus learners in a collaborative learning environment. Students take courses like construction cost estimating, construction law and risk management, construction finance and cost control, and construction methods and equipment.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or other technical field. The admission committee considers applicants' undergraduate performance, professional experience, future academic potential, and engineering background. Applicants must submit official transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. International applicants may need to submit TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo scores.
The University of Florida's Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering boasts 12 departments that specialize in areas of engineering like agricultural and biological engineering, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, and civil and coastal engineering. Distance learners can earn an online master's in civil engineering degree through UF's Electronic Delivery of Graduate Engineering program.
The 30-credit MS in civil engineering degree takes two years to complete. The curriculum includes classes like construction planning and scheduling, advanced geotechnical aspects of landfill design, finite elements in civil engineering, and design of reinforced masonry structures.
Online students gain access to a career connections center, counseling and wellness center, library resources, and a university writing studio. Distance learners may qualify for the same types of financial aid as their on-campus counterparts, including loans, grants, and fellowships.
Admission requirements for the civil engineering master's program include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate upper-division credits. Applicants must submit GRE scores, official transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume. International students may need to demonstrate proof of English proficiency. The program accepts applications in the spring, summer, and fall.
Distance learners can earn a master's in civil engineering online from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. The program offers five concentrations in areas like public works engineering, structural engineering, and transportation engineering.
The curriculum includes courses like construction estimating, pavement materials characterization, analysis techniques for transportation systems, and structural dynamics. Civil engineering students can choose from a thesis or non-thesis degree option. The non-thesis option requires 30 credits of approved courses, a culminating written exam, an optional minor, and a three-credit special problems course. The thesis option includes 24 credits of coursework, an optional minor, and a six-credit thesis.
The department offers two sets of seminar series, one on transportation and the other on geotechnology. Full-time students must attend both series; the program strongly encourages part-time students to participate.
The MS in civil engineering program requires a bachelor's degree. Applicants with an engineering degree in a specialization other than civil engineering must demonstrate proficiency in basic engineering, math, and basic design and analysis. Applicants with a non-engineering bachelor's must complete prerequisite coursework with a grade of B or better. International applicants must submit GRE scores and demonstrate proof of English language proficiency.
The Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma - Norman Campus offers an online master's in civil engineering that emphasizes analytical and technical civil engineering knowledge. Full-time students who start in the fall semester can complete the 32-credit accelerated degree in 21 months. Faculty include award-winning researchers and teachers with extensive industry experience.
The program offers tracks in transportation, geotechnical, and structural civil engineering. The transportation track focuses on economic analysis and engineering of transportation systems. The geotechnical track explores topics like soil dynamics, pavements, foundation engineering principles, and saturated and unsaturated soil mechanics. The structural civil engineering concentration provides advanced design skills and a foundation for experimental research.
Typical courses include fundamentals of project management, advanced mechanics of materials, leadership and management for engineers, and fundamentals of geographic information systems.
Designed for working adults, the online MS in civil engineering features a primarily asynchronous curriculum. However, the program incorporates some synchronous activities to give students the opportunity to interact with instructors and peers. Graduates benefit from access to a network of well-connected engineering alumni who can help with internship and job placements.
Iowa State University offers a fully online master's in civil engineering that combines managerial and technical education. The program prepares students for engineering leadership roles. Students can choose from concentrations in general civil engineering and construction engineering and management.
Students earning the master's in civil engineering online take classes like construction management function and processes, water pollution control process, applied foundation engineering, and pavement preservation and rehabilitation. The 30-credit program requires students to complete at least 22 credits at ISU.
Online graduate engineering students gain access to library resources, career services, a veterans center, and disability services. Engineering students may qualify for financial aid opportunities like grants, scholarships, and loans. The engineering department offers scholarships for active-duty military, veterans, National Guard, reserves, and gold star spouses.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants with a non-engineering degree or an engineering degree from a school that lacks ABET accreditation must take the GRE.
A public research university founded in 1927, the University of Houston serves over 46,000 students and boasts more than 29 research centers. UH offers 135 online undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates, including an online civil engineering degree.
The program combines structural engineering with hydrosystems engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, and subsea engineering. Students must earn a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. The same highly qualified faculty who teach on campus provide instruction for the online program.
The 31-credit master of science in civil engineering features condensed-format sessions taught during the semester. Sessions last 2-6 weeks but cover the same amount of material covered in a traditional 16-week semester. The accelerated online format allows students to expedite graduation. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Admission requirements include a BS in civil engineering or equivalent from an ABET-accredited college with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester credits of undergraduate study. Other requirements include satisfactory GRE scores, official transcripts from all past colleges, and demonstration of English language proficiency, if applicable. Students with undergraduate degrees in fields related to civil engineering may receive admission on a case-by-case basis if they meet other prerequisite requirements.
A public land-grant research university established in 1887, North Carolina State University at Raleigh excels in science, math, technology, and engineering. The university serves more than 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 100 online programs.
NC State's Engineering Online program boasts 16 online graduate degree and certificate programs, including an accredited master's in civil engineering program. Designed for students with an undergraduate engineering degree, the civil engineering program offers seven concentrations in areas like environmental, water resources, and coastal engineering; structure and mechanics; transportation systems; and construction engineering.
The flexible 30-credit master's program offers four start dates each year. The coursework-only program does not require a thesis or an on-campus residency. Students work with an assigned academic advisor to create an individual plan of study.
Students must earn at least 24 credits at or above the 500 level and earn at least a 3.0 GPA. Graduates qualify for jobs like civil engineer, project engineer, structural engineer, and geotechnical engineer.
Admission requires an undergraduate civil engineering degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program automatically waives the GRE requirement for applicants with a bachelor's in civil engineering from a U.S. college. International applicants must submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores.
One of the largest universities in the South, Auburn University started as a land-grant institution in 1865. Today, Auburn serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering offers 13 online graduate degrees in fields like chemical, civil, aerospace, and mechanical engineering.
Auburn's online master's in civil engineering does not include a residency requirement. Students receive advanced training in a specialized area of civil engineering, gain research experience, and develop communication skills. Online learners can choose from thesis and non-thesis tracks.
The 30-credit master's in civil engineering degree includes classes like civil engineering analysis, water and wastewater treatment and design, reinforced concrete design, and geographic information systems in civil engineering. Students can optionally complete a three-credit civil engineering project supervised by a graduate faculty member.
The program allows students to take courses outside of the department in supportive fields like computer science, building science, mathematics, and applied statistics. Each student's advisory committee must approve the student's specific plan of study.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a closely related field and demonstrate professional experience or formal training in the discipline. The program requires GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and TOEFL scores, if applicable. Only students residing in the U.S. can apply for the civil engineering master's program.
Ohio University's flexible online master of science in civil engineering includes concentrations in structural engineering, transportation engineering, construction engineering and management, and environmental engineering. Designed for working professionals, the completely online program prepares graduates to design, manage, and build essential infrastructure. The program offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer.
Core courses include applied civil engineering statistics, engineering writing, construction planning and scheduling, and project management. Students can complete the 32-credit MS in civil engineering in five semesters. Distance learners may qualify for financial aid like loans, grants, and scholarships.
The environmental engineering concentration explores topics like water treatment, environmental analysis of transportation systems, and remediation. The construction engineering and management option focuses on construction estimating, pavement design, and transportation design.
The transportation engineering concentration covers topics like traffic impact studies and highway safety and risk assessment, while the structural engineering focus covers advanced steel design, timber design, and computer-aided structural design.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from an ABET-accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. International applicants may need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Applicants who do not meet all entrance criteria may receive admission on a case-by-case basis. The program does not require the GRE.
The University of South Carolina - Columbia offers a fully online master's in civil engineering that incorporates principles and practices from environmental engineering, transportation engineering, geotechnical engineering, and structural engineering.
The 30-credit civil engineering MS requires 24 credits of coursework approved by the student's thesis committee and a six-credit thesis. Students can take up to nine credits outside the department with advisor approval. Core courses include principles of environmental engineering process, advanced soil mechanics, advanced structural mechanics and analysis, and transportation systems planning.
Full-time students must attend the engineering department's civil and environmental engineering seminar each semester. Online students gain access to a career center, free tutoring, and 24/7 IT help.
Admission requirements for the MS in civil engineering include a BS in civil engineering. Applicants with engineering degrees that lack ABET accreditation and candidates with degrees in other fields may need to complete prerequisite undergraduate courses with at least a B average.
Applicants with an engineering bachelor's must hold a minimum 2.8 GPA; those with a non-engineering undergraduate degree need a minimum 3.0 GPA. All applicants must take the GRE. International applicants may need to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency.
The Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University offers an online master of science in civil engineering that examines geotechnical engineering, facilities management, and water and wastewater treatment. Students can choose from two areas of emphasis: transportation systems management or structural engineering.
The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to solid mechanics, advanced soil mechanics, foundation engineering, and introduction to structural dynamics. Core and elective requirements vary by the student's undergraduate background and specialization. Students must earn a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. The engineering department boasts faculty involved in innovative research projects and laboratories dedicated to soil and water chemistry, structural analysis, and transportation modeling.
The 30-credit online civil engineering degree offers thesis and non-thesis options. Thesis students complete 24 credits of coursework and six credits of thesis research. The non-thesis program requires 15 core credits and 15 elective credits. Working engineers typically enroll part time and choose the non-thesis option.
Admission requirements for the online master of science in civil engineering include a bachelor of science in civil engineering or a closely related engineering discipline. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, a professional resume, unofficial transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions, and GRE scores with a quantitative score in the 80th percentile. Applicants can optionally submit three letters of recommendation.
Designed for working professionals with a bachelor's in civil engineering, Kansas State University's online civil engineering degree offers focus areas in transportation, environmental, structural, geotechnical, and water resources engineering. Students complete all graduate coursework online, only visiting campus once at the end of the program for an oral examination.
The 30-credit MS in civil engineering includes courses like design of groundwater flow systems, advanced structural analysis, sustainability and green engineering, and advanced reinforced concrete theory. Specific graduation plans vary by focus area. The coursework-only program does not require a thesis, but students must produce creative work that requires scholarly effort.
The Carl R. Ice College of Engineering accepts applications year round and offers start dates in the spring, summer, and fall. Admission requirements for the MS in civil engineering program include a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from an ABET-accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester credit hours. Applicants with a civil engineering degree from a school without ABET accreditation must take the GRE.
Students with an engineering degree in a discipline outside civil engineering must complete prerequisite undergraduate courses in civil engineering. All applicants must submit a statement of objectives, unofficial transcripts from all prior postsecondary schools, and the names and email addresses of three professional or academic references. International applicants may need to submit proof of English language proficiency.
Online Master's in Civil Engineering Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following schools based on the quality of their programs and the selection of courses provided. We also considered school awards, rankings, and reputations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Civil engineers plan and design infrastructure and public works projects, including roads, buildings, bridges, and mass transit systems.
A master's in civil engineering provides advanced training in structural engineering, transportation engineering, and engineering leadership, preparing graduates for leadership roles in the field.
Possible job titles include engineering manager, public works director, city manager, and city engineer. A master's in civil engineering meets the educational requirements for supervisory roles.
Students interested in a civil engineering degree can enroll as distance learners at the best civil engineering schools in the country. Online learning makes graduate degrees in civil engineering more accessible.
After earning an online civil engineering degree, graduates can pursue management-level roles with additional responsibilities or enter a Ph.D. program in engineering.
The average salary for civil engineers with a master's degree exceeds the salary for those with only a bachelor's degree. The median salary for engineering managers eclipses $140,000 per year.
What Is Civil Engineering?
Civil engineering dates back to ancient cultures. Civil engineers design and build the infrastructure projects that societies need to function. They construct roads, design buildings, and maintain dams and water supply systems.
Within civil engineering, professionals can build careers planning public works projects, researching and designing projects, and overseeing the construction and maintenance of projects. After learning the needs of a community through research, civil engineers create the infrastructure to meet those needs.
Civil engineers need several key attributes to succeed in their profession, including strong problem-solving and decision-making skills. Civil engineers must think creatively about how to design and construct projects. Many roles also require leadership skills, which civil engineers can strengthen through a master's program.
The field of civil engineering encompasses several subfields, including structural engineering, which is the creation of buildings and bridges. Specialists in transportation engineering design roads, transit systems, and airports. Civil engineers who specialize in public works design the water supply systems and sewage systems that keep cities running.
A master's in civil engineering helps professionals specialize their skills and advance their careers.
What Is a Master's in Civil Engineering Degree?
A master's in civil engineering provides graduate-level training in civil engineering, engineering management, and engineering research methods. Civil engineering programs build on the foundational training of an undergraduate engineering degree to provide advanced knowledge and skills in the field. Graduate students in civil engineering take courses in advanced structural engineering, environmental engineering, and engineering leadership.
Civil engineering graduate students often focus their coursework by selecting a concentration. Most civil engineering master's programs require an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related field for admission. Earning an online civil engineering degree typically takes two years for full-time students. Some programs offer accelerated or part-time enrollment, which can affect program length.
After completing a master's in civil engineering online, engineers can advance their careers by pursuing management-level roles as engineering managers or public works directors.
Graduates can also enter doctoral programs. Some of the top civil engineering schools offer an academic track specifically for master's students planning to earn a Ph.D. in engineering. During the master's degree, students take additional research courses and participate in research projects. A doctorate in engineering prepares learners for academic and research positions.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Civil Engineering Degree?
Many civil engineering professionals earn a master's degree to broaden their career prospects. Employers often prefer candidates with a master's degree for positions that require supervisory responsibilities, such as engineering manager or city engineer. A master's degree also helps civil engineers stand out on the job market and increase their earning potential.
During a civil engineering master's degree, graduate students can gain advanced training in fields like environmental engineering, construction engineering, and structural engineering. Many programs also offer graduate-level coursework in geotechnical engineering, hydrology, transportation engineering, and sustainable infrastructure engineering.
After completing an online civil engineering degree, master's students can pursue civil engineering jobs with additional responsibilities, such as civil engineering manager, public works director, or city manager. Earning a master's degree in civil engineering also prepares graduates for doctoral programs in engineering. A doctorate in engineering leads to opportunities in academia and research.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Civil Engineering Program?
During a master's degree in civil engineering, learners study topics like environmental engineering, hydrology and water resources engineering, and structural engineering.
Many programs let civil engineering students customize the curriculum by choosing graduate electives or a concentration. By taking specialized electives or choosing a concentration, graduate students position themselves for specific civil engineering jobs. With a concentration in engineering management, for example, graduate students can take specialized classes in management and leadership skills for engineering professionals. Similarly, a public works concentration offers focused coursework in infrastructure and public works projects.
Civil Engineering Concentrations
An engineering management concentration provides the leadership and management skills needed to lead engineering and technical projects. During the concentration, graduate students take courses in general management and technical management. Students learn to oversee complex projects, manage budgets, and mentor other engineering professionals.
Civil engineering students who pursue a construction concentration focus on the skills and techniques needed for jobs in the construction industry. Coursework may cover topics like construction management, infrastructure, and heavy construction. Both public and private sector organizations hire civil engineering graduates with a construction concentration for management-level roles.
A public works concentration focuses on public infrastructure, including large-scale projects like transportation systems, bridges, or sewage systems. A concentration in public works incorporates courses in project management, budget management, and government regulations. Graduates pursue leadership roles in public works departments.
During a structural engineering concentration, students learn about structural design, classical theory, and advanced structural analysis methods. Coursework may also cover structural regulations and multi-hazard structural response. The concentration prepares graduates for careers in building and structural design.
Transportation engineering focuses on transit-related infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and highways. Students learn about designing transportation systems, transit systems planning, and transportation data analytics. Coursework may also explore forecasting methods to help students understand travel demand, traffic simulations, and transportation information systems.
A concentration in geosystems engineering provides focused training in the engineering properties of geologic materials. Graduate students learn about geotechnical engineering, environmental geotechnics, and geological engineering. The concentration also incorporates geophysics training. Specialized coursework may cover the mechanics of soil, material properties in the field, and geophysical techniques for subsurface analysis.
Master's in Civil Engineering Curriculum
- Computing Systems: Civil engineers often rely on software and computing systems when designing building projects. This course provides advanced training in computing systems used in civil engineering, including tools like computer-aided design and geographical information systems. Graduate students learn to solve civil engineering problems by using computation and design software.
- Structural Engineering and Mechanics: In structural engineering and mechanics courses, learners study structural analysis, structural stability, and the dynamics of structures. Students also explore composite materials, computational methods, and structural synthesis. The course provides foundational training in structural design, earthquake engineering, and structural mechanics.
- Transportation Engineering: Graduate courses in transportation engineering examine the design, construction, and repair of transportation infrastructure. Coursework may emphasize transportation planning, traffic engineering, and transportation operations. Graduate students also learn about highway design, multi-modal transportation systems, and transportation standards and regulations.
- Engineering Leadership: In this course, students explore the business and management skills needed for leadership roles in the field. The course may cover public versus private sector engineering roles, legal responsibilities, and client relations.
- Research Methods: In research methods courses, graduate students learn about core research approaches and their applications in the civil engineering field. Coursework may cover mathematical modeling, post-optimization analysis, and decomposition methods. Students build on the research skills learned during an undergraduate engineering program to conduct graduate-level research projects.
Civil Engineering Professional Organizations
Professional organizations help civil engineering students transition from their graduate programs into the workforce. Many professional organizations offer networking opportunities through conferences and events. These organizations also provide scholarship opportunities, publications, and career centers.
American Society for Engineering Management
A professional organization focused on engineering management, ASEM promotes improvements to operational effectiveness in engineering. The society publishes a peer-reviewed journal, hosts an annual conference, and offers professional certifications for engineering managers. ASEM also accredits master's in civil engineering programs to promote academic excellence.
American Society for Engineering Education
ASEE dates back to 1893 and dedicates itself to promoting excellence in engineering education. The society's members include engineering instructors, students, and engineering schools. ASEE offers professional resources for engineering instructors and hosts conferences and events with networking opportunities. The society also provides continuing education resources and academic job postings.
American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, AIA promotes professional and ethical standards for architects and related professions. The institute provides resources on architect licensure, an education dashboard with links to continuing education information, and scholarships. AIA also maintains a job board with career resources and postings.
American Society of Civil Engineers
The nation's oldest engineering society, ASCE dates back to 1852. Today, ASCE represents over 150,000 members around the world and offers civil engineering publications, technical and professional conferences, and continuing education opportunities for civil engineers.
Society of Women Engineers
A nonprofit professional organization founded in 1950, SWE represents women in the engineering profession. Through its Advance Learning Center, SWE offers mobile courses and other educational resources. The society also offers training and development programs, scholarships, and outreach activities.
Civil Engineering Jobs
A master's in civil engineering degree prepares graduates for advanced roles in the engineering field, including as engineering managers. Many civil engineering jobs require a master's degree for supervisory responsibilities. Public works directors and city engineers often hold a graduate degree in civil engineering. Civil engineers with a master's degree also stand out on the job market and earn higher salaries than civil engineers with only a bachelor's degree.
Some careers in the field may require specialized coursework or professional certifications.
Engineering managers plan and direct operations in an engineering company or department. They oversee the design of new projects, evaluate the need for equipment and staff, and manage project budgets. In addition to supervising engineers, engineering managers also monitor the accuracy of the work and make sure engineers use sound methods. They set schedules, hire employees, and assign work to staff members.
Civil engineering managers oversee public works projects, including infrastructure. They may also manage engineering projects for private organizations. While a bachelor's degree meets the entry-level educational requirement, many engineering managers hold a master's degree.
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College professors teach undergraduate and graduate students in their subject area. Civil engineering professors create syllabi, design lectures and course material, and create assignments and tests to assess student learning. Tenure-track professors also conduct research in their field and publish their findings in scholarly journals. Most colleges and universities also expect professors to serve on committees.
Most college professors hold a doctorate in their subject. However, a master's degree may meet the requirements for some community college positions or for adjunct professor jobs. Civil engineering professors often bring professional experience to their roles, too.
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Architectural managers oversee daily operations and long-term planning in architectural companies. They create plans for new designs, determine staff and equipment needs for projects, and manage budgets. Architectural managers also solve problems that arise during construction and coordinate with other managers to complete complex projects.
Architectural managers need a background in architecture or engineering. While most positions require at least a bachelor's degree and some work experience, some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in architecture or civil engineering.
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Civil engineers design, construct, and supervise infrastructure projects and other civil engineering projects. They analyze survey reports, plans, and data to design projects such as roads, buildings, and bridges. While overseeing civil engineering projects, they must consider government regulations, environmental hazards, and construction costs.
While a bachelor's degree is the entry-level educational requirement for civil engineering jobs, usually only professionals with a master's degree and a license qualify for senior positions like construction supervisor, public works director, city engineer, or city manager.
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