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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.

Featured Civil Engineering Schools

The Best Online Master's in Civil Engineering Programs

  1. Columbia University in the City of New York

    New York, NY



    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.

  2. Stanford University

    Stanford, CA



    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).

  3. Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore, MD



    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.

  4. University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Madison, WI



    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.

  5. University of Southern California

    Los Angeles, CA



    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.

  6. University of Virginia-Main Campus

    Charlottesville, VA



    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.

  7. University of Washington-Seattle Campus

    Seattle, WA



    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.

  8. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Champaign, IL



    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.

  9. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

    Pittsburgh, PA



    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.

  10. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    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.

Best Online Programs

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.

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.

A master's in civil engineering helps professionals specialize their skills and advance their careers.

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.

Earning an online civil engineering degree typically takes two years for full-time students.

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

Engineering Management

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.

Public Works

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.

Structural Engineering

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

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 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.

Civil Engineers

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.

Median Annual Salary: $86,640

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Engineering Managers

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.

Median Annual Salary: $140,760

Projected Growth Rate: 3%

Architectural Managers

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.

Median Annual Salary: $140,760<

Projected Growth Rate: 3%

Popular Questions About Civil Engineering

What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineers plan and design infrastructure and public works projects, including roads, buildings, bridges, and mass transit systems.

What Is a Master's in Civil Engineering?

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.

What Job Can You Get With a Civil Engineering Degree?

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.

How Do I Get a Civil Engineering Degree?

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.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Civil Engineering?

After earning an online civil engineering degree, graduates can pursue management-level roles with additional responsibilities or enter a Ph.D. program in engineering.

How Much Do Civil Engineers With a Master's Degree Make?

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.

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