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M.S. Program

The Department offers a graduate program leading to the M.S. degree in civil engineering with several areas of concentration, including construction management, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and transportation. Here are the Admission Instructions. Administration of the M.S. program is by the Department Graduate Program Chair.

Close cooperation is maintained with other departments and the Water Resources Research Center. Students may choose either Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis).  Students that do not possess a B.S. degree in civil engineering must fulfill the requirements listed below.

The student learning outcomes (SLOs) for the MS program describe a skill-set that students are expected to have at the time of graduation. Specifically, our MSCE graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate in-depth technical knowledge in a subdiscipline of specialization.
  2. Evaluate critically and synthesize literature to inform engineering solutions.
  3. Present effectively technical work orally in a formal setting.
  4. Produce technical reports and/or publishable manuscripts; and,
  5. Perform engineering research or conduct projects that address open-ended problems.

Each subdiscipline establishes a sequence of courses to achieve SLOs 1 and 2. To achieve SLO 3, every student is required to take a seminar course, where they are required to make an oral presentation. Also, every student presents orally during the final examination of their thesis (Plan A) or project work (typical for Plan B). To achieve SLO 4, each student must complete successfully either a research-oriented thesis (Plan A) or a research or practice-oriented project paper. The graduate student writing guidance is provided to help students to achieve SLO 4.

Minimum Prerequisites for Students Without a B.S. in Civil Engineering

The following list of courses (or equivalent) must be completed with a grade of “C” or better prior to advancement to candidacy in the selected area of concentration.

General Courses

One from the following:

  • CEE 330 Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 355 Geotechnical Engineering I (Soil Mechanics)
  • CEE 361 Fundamentals of Transportation
  • CEE 375 Construction Materials
  • CEE 381 Structural Analysis

Additional course(s) based on area of concentration

• CEE 472 Construction Management or

• CEE 473 Construction Equipment and Methods or
• CEE 474 Construction Estimating and Bidding

• CEE 431 Water and Wastewater Engineering

• CEE 455 Geotechnical Engineering II

• CEE 421 Engineering Hydraulics

• CEE 482 Indeterminate Structures or
CEE 485 Reinforced Concrete Design or
CEE 486 Structural Steel Design

• CEE 461 Pavement Engineering
• CEE 462 Traffic Engineering or
CEE 464 Urban & Regional Transportation Planning

Minimum M.S. Program Requirements*
Plan A (Thesis)
Plan B (Non-thesis)
CEE Graduate courses – > 600 (excluding CEE 699, CEE 700 and seminars)
12 credits
18 credits
Graduate and/or 400-level courses  9  9
Thesis – CEE 700 (thesis topic and title to be approved by student’s Graduate Committee)  9  0
Major research report – CEE 695  0  3
Seminars – CEE 691  1  1
Minimum Total Credits
Maximum number of CEE 699 (in addition to thesis research credits or CEE 695 report)  3  3
Final examination
Oral thesis defense
Written and/or oral exam (at discretion of student’s Graduate Committee)
Required course during semester degree is to be
CEE 700
CEE 600, if all other coursework is completed

*Additional courses may be required by the Student’s Graduate Committee

Only courses which receive a C or better (not C-) will count towards M.S. starting from Fall 2019. Thus, a C- course would have to be repeated (or take another class if needed to meet minimum credit requirements).

Other M.S. Program Requirements and Information

Incoming graduate students must be advised by an interim advisor that is either assigned or requested by the student.  A graduate student should select Plan A or Plan B at the start of his or her incoming semester, but no later than at the completion of 12 credits or by the end of the second semester, whichever is sooner.

Pre-Candidacy Progress Form I (Plan A) or Form 1 (Plan B)

A preliminary degree plan that lists the student’s intended courses should be developed in consultation with advisor and be submitted as soon as practical.  The list of courses may be modified at a later date.

Previous graduate credits (from unclassified status or from another institution) must be transferred during the first semester after being accepted as a conditional or regular student.  A maximum of three graduate courses from another institution can be transferred into the M.S. program.

Admission to candidacy is at the discretion of the Department and authorized by the Graduate Program Chair.  Generally, advancement occurs after one semester and 12 credits of acceptable graduate degree coursework with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  All listed undergraduate deficiencies must be satisfied prior to admission to candidacy.  Note that conditional students can be transferred to regular status after completing 12 credits of approved graduate degree coursework with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

Advance to Candidacy Form II or Form 2

The graduate student’s committee consists of a minimum of three Graduate Faculty members.  At least two of these must be from the Department, one of which must be the chair.  The chair becomes the student’s academic advisor.  Note that the interim advisor does not have to be a member of the committee.  The student’s academic program must be approved by the Graduate Faculty Committee.

For Plan B a student must have the Graduate Faculty Committee formed and program of courses approved by the committee at least by the time that 18 credits of graduate degree courses have been completed.

Plan A: A student must have the thesis research topic and title approved by the Graduate Faculty Committee prior to registering for thesis credits (CEE 700).  Any CEE 699 that is intended to be transferred later to thesis credit must be taken as credit/no credit.

Plan B: A student must have the major research report topic and title (3 credits of CEE 699) approved by the students Graduate Faculty Committee

Thesis Evaluation Form III or Form 3

Plan A: Student’s thesis defense and oral examination are administered by the Graduate Faculty Committee.

Plan B: Comprehensive written and/or oral examination is prepared and administered by the Graduate Faculty Committee.

Residency Requirement and Time Limit

M.S. students are required to be in residency for two semesters of full-time work.  For part-time students, each 8 units completed as a classified graduate student will be equivalent to a full-time semester.

The maximum time allowed for a student to complete the M.S. degree and utilize all graduate degree credits is seven years preceding the date upon which the degree is conferred.

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