Best Master’s in Civil Engineering Degrees

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Civil Engineers work hard, using complex mathematical principles to determine the feasibility of structural plans. Much more than builders, civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in both the public and private sectors.

These folks work on creating everything from tunnels and bridges, to airports and water supply systems. Civil engineers must also know how to think ahead and investigate potential underlying problems when working on structural projects.

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Top 10 Best Master’s in Civil Engineering Degrees

What kind of Civil Engineering degree should you get?

As the demand for civil engineers continues to rise, more and more programs are popping up. It can be difficult to decide what kind of degree you should get–should you earn a degree online? Or on-campus? If you’re considering an online program, we’ve got you covered. In fact, College Choice has ranked the Best Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Degrees we know what quality online programs are made up of.

However, if you’re looking for a hands-on civil engineering program where you’ll work directly with your peers and professors, we’ve nailed down the 25 Best Master’s in Civil Engineering degrees for you below.

How much money do people make with a Civil Engineering degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a civil engineer is upwards of $83,000 per year. In fact, it’s one of the highest paying careers for college graduates. Of course, the more advanced training you have in the field, the higher earning potential you’ll have going forward.

Luckily, the employment outlook is also very strong for civil engineers; in fact, employment is expected to grow 11% from now to 2026. This is because our roads, buildings, bridges, etc., are continuing to age over time. Civil engineers are needed for their expertise in repairing, upgrading, and strengthening all types of aging structures.

What can you do with a Master’s in Civil Engineering?

With a master’s in civil engineering, you’ll have many potential career paths open up for you. With this degree, you’ll know how to take design ideas and adapt them, taking into consideration various factors, like natural disasters, load factors, and more. Whether you’d like to be a construction engineer, a structural engineer, a water resource engineer, an engineering geologist, or something else, this degree will help you to get there.

While you can certainly start a career in civil engineering with a bachelor’s degree, in order to be recognized for promotions, etc., it’s best to have a graduate degree.

What are the requirements for a obtaining a Master’s in Civil Engineering?

Some programs will require students to have had some background in mathematics, science, or a related field. In fact, many graduate programs note that students should already have a bachelor’s degree in the field.

Civil engineering students can expect to take courses like Climate Change, Water Quality, and Ecosystem Functioning, Solid and Structural Mechanics, and Sustainable Cities–of course, classes will vary depending on your concentration. Many civil engineering programs include concentrations like Geotechnical Engineering and Structural Engineering and Materials for students to choose from. Often, these programs require graduate students to complete a thesis as well.

What are the best Civil Engineering degrees?

There are so many civil engineering degrees out there– so, how do you choose the best?! Luckily, College Choice has ranked the 25 Best Master’s in Civil Engineering degrees below. Many of these graduate programs offer unique degree specializations, as well as state-of-the-art research facilities for students to take advantage of.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to Columbia University in the City of New York, the opportunities are endless!

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1868, UC Berkeley is a public research university that has been ranked the #1 Public University in the United States. Overlooking the San Francisco Bay, this university has 14 schools and colleges – many of which earn top rankings year after year. One of the most noteworthy is UC Berkeley’s Department of Engineering; in fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Best Graduate Civil Engineering Programs and placed Berkeley at #1.

    Program Features

    What makes the Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Berkeley so great is the variety of programs offered within the degree. The department offers seven programs within the major, including:

    • Energy, Civil Infrastructure and Climate
    • Engineering & Project Management
    • Environmental Engineering
    • GeoSystems Engineering
    • Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials
    • Systems Engineering
    • Transportation Engineering

    The Master of Science program is usually completed in two semesters. Students must complete a minimum of 24 units of coursework with a comprehensive examination or report. A thesis plan for the Master of Science degree is also possible.

    Notables

    The Colleges of Civil Engineering and Mining were established in 1872 and were later merged in 1931 to become the College of Engineering (COE). Today, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has 50 full-time faculty members dedicated to the education of more than 400 undergraduate students and over 350 graduate students.

  2. Georgia Institute of Technology
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1885, the Georgia Institute of Technology is a leading research university located in Atlanta, GA. With six colleges, the most popular degrees among students include Engineering, Business/Marketing, Computer and Information Sciences. Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering is very highly respected. In fact, the school is No. 2 in U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking of the nation’s Best Graduate Civil Engineering Programs.

    Program Features

    Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a variety of graduate degrees, including: Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Master of Science in Engineering Science and Mechanics, and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. Those pursuing an MS in Civil Engineering can specialize in any one of the following areas:

    • Geosystems Engineering
    • Environmental Engineering
    • Transportation Systems Engineering
    • Structural Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials
    • Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Water Resources
    • Construction and Infrastructure Systems Engineering

    All students must complete 30 credit hours of coursework to earn their degree. Students can also choose between a non-thesis or a thesis option.

    Notables

    Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering also participates in the interdisciplinary graduate programs in Bioengineering and Computational Science and Engineering. Students can take advantage of dual programs leading to the following degrees: Master of Science in Civil Engineering, with a concentration in transportation systems engineering, and Master of City Planning.

  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    This public research university was founded in 1867 and has come a long way since its inception. In fact, the university is now home to 15 Colleges and Instructional Units. One of the university’s most successful college’s is the College of Engineering. In fact, the school is ranked No. 3 in the country for Best Graduate Civil Engineering Programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

    Program Features

    With involved faculty members who conduct their own research, the University of Illinois is a hub of innovation and engagement. Students can pursue the following degrees within the engineering department:

    • Master of Science in Civil Engineering
    • Master of Science in Civil Engineering – Online
    • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering
    • M.S. in Civil Engineering Joint Program (with M.Arch. in Architecture or M.B.A. in Business Administration)

    Students can also pursue a concentration in Railway Engineering. Students may also choose between a non-thesis and a thesis option.

    Notables

    The M.S. degree in Civil Engineering offered online through the University of Illinois currently offers specializations in Construction Management, Infrastructure, Structural Engineering, and Transportation Engineering. The online degree requirements are the same as for the on-campus non-thesis M.S. program.

  4. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1885, Stanford is a private research university based in sunny Stanford, CA. The university boasts one of the largest campuses in the United States. In fact, total enrollment nearly reached 17,000 in 2017. With more than 6,000 externally sponsored projects and a total budget for such projects set at $1.6 billion, Stanford remains a leading research institution. Stanford’s Graduate Civil Engineering program is ranked fourth in the country by U.S News & World Report.

    Program Features

    The department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford offers a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Students can choose from any one of the following programs:

    • Atmosphere and Energy
    • Environmental Engineering
    • Sustainable Design & Construction
    • Structural Engineering and Geomechanics

    Students pursuing an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford are not required to complete a thesis.

    Notables

    Stanford puts engineering students on a diverse campus near Silicon Valley. With over 60 centers and labs across campus for students to get involved in research projects, there are plenty of opportunities here. Plus, many companies in Silicon Valley offer internships for graduate students. Over 3,200 graduate students are enrolled at Stanford’s School of Engineering, more than 20 percent of whom are women.

  5. The University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    This public research university was founded in 1881 and now boasts a total enrollment of over 50,000 students. More and more students are drawn to this university as it continues to climb up the rankings. In fact, the school tied for fourth place in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking for Best Graduate Civil Engineering Programs in the country.

    Program Features

    Through the Cockrell School of Engineering, graduate students have a variety of options. They can choose a Master of Science in Engineering degree in Civil or Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. Students can choose from the following degree options:

    • M.S. Thesis Option
    • M.S. Graduate School Report Option
    • M.S. Departmental Report Option
    • M.S. Coursework Only Option

    Regardless of which option students choose, all are required to complete the minimum requirement of 30 credit hours to graduate. Students can also pursue a dual degree program in Engineering & Public Affairs.

    Notables

    The Cockrell School of Engineering receives a significant amount of federal research funding, and graduate students can get involved in projects through about 30 centers and institutes across campus. Additional opportunities for students to get involved include initiatives at Texas Venture Labs, where business and engineering principles come together to promote on-campus startups.

  6. Purdue University
    Location

    Hammond, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University is a public research university that is consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States. Founded in 1869, Purdue is now made up of 12 schools and colleges, many of which are very well-ranked. This includes Purdue’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering. In fact, the school is ranked No. 6 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Graduate Civil Engineering Programs.

    Program Features

    The Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Graduate Program in Civil Engineering at Purdue University is highly-ranked for a reason. Students can pursue a Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a specialization in one of nine concentration areas:

    • Architectural
    • Construction
    • Environmental
    • Geomatics
    • Geotechnical
    • Hydraulics and Hydrology
    • Materials
    • Structural
    • Transportation
    • Infrastructure Systems

    All students must complete at least 30 total credit hours to receive their degree. Graduate students can also participate in the university’s cooperative education (co-op) Program.

    Notables

    Purdue University is a lively hub with research efforts at its core. The university’s Robert L. and Terry L. Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research provides graduate students with the space and technology needed to carry out large research projects. With the technology to represent extreme events, such as earthquakes, blasts, and impact, students here truly learn by doing.

  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT is a private research university that is home to the most brilliant minds in math and science. The Institute is consistently ranked among the top schools– not just in the United States, but in the world. In fact, the school is tied for the seventh spot in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the Best Graduate Civil Engineering Programs.

    Program Features

    The Master of Engineering (MEng) degree program at MIT is a nine-month program, with opportunities for individualized tracks in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Students can choose from the following specialized tracks:

    • Environmental Engineering Science
    • Structural Mechanics and Design

    All graduate students must complete at least 90 units, consisting of 66 units of graduate level subjects, and a 24-unit thesis approved by the department.

    Notables

    MIT specializes in five broad areas that are research priorities for CEE. These areas include: Ecological Systems, Resources and Sustainability, Structures and Design, Urban Systems, and Global Systems. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT also operates two laboratories – the Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering and the Pierce Laboratory for Infrastructure Science and Engineering. Graduate students will have plenty of hands-on experience prior to graduating.

  8. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    Location

    Blacksburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Virginia Tech is a public research university located in Blacksburg, Virginia. With over 250 degree programs and more than 30,000 students, Virginia Tech is a hub for knowledge, growth and leadership. Virginia Tech’s School of Engineering is consistently ranked among the top in the nation. In fact, Virginia Tech is tied with MIT for the seventh spot in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the Best Graduate Civil Engineering Programs.

    Program Features

    The Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering offers a Master of Science (M.S.) Degree in Civil Engineering for interested students to pursue. Graduate students can choose to specialize in any of the following areas:

    • Construction Engineering and Management
    • Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
    • Geotechnical Engineering
    • Structural Engineering and Materials
    • Transportation Infrastructure and Systems Engineering
    • Civil Infrastructure Engineering
    • Geospatial Engineering

    Graduate students may also choose between a thesis or a non-thesis degree path.

    Notables

    Virginia Tech is a great school for those students interested in research. The school is home to a variety of centers and laboratories, including the Air Transportation Systems Laboratory, the Structural Materials and Engineering Materials Laboratory, the Smart Road Pavement Research Site and the Kelso Baker Environmental Hydraulics Lab.

  9. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in August of 1817, the University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor. Home to nearly 45,000 students, Michigan is a hub of research, collaborations, and passionate students and faculty members. Known for its many prestigious degrees, Michigan’s Graduate Civil Engineering Program is ranked among the top 10 in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

    Program Features

    Michigan’s MSE in Civil Engineering is a great option for graduate students looking to focus in a certain area. In fact, students can choose from one of the following areas of specialization:

    • Construction Engineering and Management
    • Geotechnical Engineering
    • Hydraulic and Hydrologic Engineering
    • Intelligent Systems
    • Materials and Highway Engineering
    • Structural Engineering
    • Transportation Systems Engineering

    All graduates are required to take at least fifteen hours of CEE courses to receive their master’s degree.

    Notables

    Michigan hosts an annual Engineering Graduate Symposium every November. For graduate students, it’s an exciting chance to present research projects, find faculty advisers, and hear from featured speakers. Students have the opportunity to get involved in ground-breaking projects, such as building bridges for rural communities, creating a net-zero water home, and even bringing water treatment systems to the Pantanal region in South America.

  10. Carnegie Mellon University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university that was founded in 1900 by American industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The school constantly ranks high overall, but particularly in areas of math, science and engineering. Carnegie Mellon’s Civil Engineering department is especially worthy of praise, providing graduate students with a one-of-a-kind education. In fact, the school’s Graduate Civil Engineering program is ranked among the top 10 in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

    Program Features

    If you’re looking to earn a degree in the field of civil engineering, Carnegie Mellon offers a comprehensive, hands-on program worth applying to. Students can pursue an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a concentration in one of the following areas:

    • Advanced Infrastructure Systems (AIS)
    • Environmental Engineering, Sustainability and Science (EESS)
    • Mechanics Materials and Computing (MMC)

    Carnegie’s MS degree program is a full-time program in which students complete three full-time semesters with a minimum of 36 and a maximum of 48 units per semester.

    Notables

    The Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Carnegie Mellon has established research strengths in the following areas: sustainable, intelligent infrastructure systems, water and air quality science and engineering, resilient engineering materials, and environmentally sustainable, or green, engineering practices.

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