Getting Your Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering

Master's Degree in Civil Engineering

Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering

In order to become a civil engineer, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree.  But going on to get your master’s degree in Civil Engineering will allow you to pursue more leadership-based positions and higher-paying jobs. 

Civil engineers design and oversee the production of buildings, roads, dams, bridges, and water supply systems. They supervise the production of airports, tunnels, and sewage systems. Civil Engineers work in a variety of locations and conditions. They might spend time in an office or work outdoors at construction sites. 

According to BLS, civil engineering is expected to grow by 2% from 2019 to 2029, which is slower than average for all occupations. 

A Master’s of Civil Engineering Program

A master’s in civil engineering should take between 1-2 years, depending on the program. It could take longer if a student goes part-time vs full-time. 

Concentrations in Civil Engineering

When you are pursuing a master’s degree in civil engineering you will need to have a concentration. Here are a few examples:

Structural Engineering

Students focus on the building of bridges, dams, railroads, roads, etc. This is one of the oldest forms of civil engineering. 

Environmental Engineering

Students focus on solving environmental issues, designing water systems, or reducing waste.

Architectural Engineering

Students focus on the more aesthetic side of the structure such as revamping a downtown area.

Engineering Management

Students focus on problem-solving and the administrative and planning abilities of management overseeing those in the engineering field. 

Transportation Engineering

Students study the application of technology and scientific principles to design, plan, and manage transportation infrastructure. 

Common Classes

While many of your classes would depend on your concentration, here are a few of the more common classes you might need to take for your program:

  • Introduction to Soil Behavior
  • Calculus II
  • Project Planning and Control
  • Geology in Engineering
  • Water Chemistry
  • Foundation Engineering

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements differ based on the school and program, however, most will require students to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, to complete an application essay, and submit letters of recommendation. 

Some schools might also require professional experience, but even if the school doesn’t, it can help to have that work experience to put on the application. Schools usually also want students to have a 3.0 GPA or higher. 

Students should most likely have a bachelor’s in engineering or a similar degree. 

How to Choose a Program

There are many different factors when choosing a civil engineering master’s program. Students should look at the length of each one, the course format, available concentrations, and final project requirements. Students should also consider the curriculum and the cost. 

Accreditation status for each program can also make a difference and can affect future career opportunities. Departments often receive programmatic accreditation from field-specific accrediting bodies. Accreditation will indicate that the program meets set standards of quality for the electrical engineering profession. 

Students should look for a program with accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Degrees from an ABET-accredited program are required for licensure examinations.

Top Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs

Here are 10 of the top masters in civil engineering programs: 

  • Columbia University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • The University of Virginia
  • The University of California at Berkeley 
  • Stanford University
  • The University of Michigan
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign 
  • Purdue University
  • Cornell University
  • Carnegie Mellon University 

Top Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs

Many schools have both online and in-person options to get your master’s degree. Some people want to go to an in-person classroom, while others prefer the flexibility of online school. There are also hybrid programs that might be a good option. 

Here are 10 of the top online master’s in civil engineering programs: 

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign 
  • Purdue University
  • Columbia University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Texas A&M University – College Station
  • The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 
  • University of California – Los Angeles

Jobs With a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering

Structural Engineer

Annual Median Pay is $69,634

Structural engineers design and create infrastructure that plays a role in the development of a community. 

Construction Manager

Annual Median Pay is $78,252

Construction managers are responsible for managing all aspects of the construction site, and making sure workers are trained and on time to working with budgets. 

Urban Planner

Annual Median Pay is $57,918

Urban planners work to figure out how to best use and develop public land in a way that will fit the best needs of the community. They visit possible building sites, work with developers and with city officials. 

Environmental Engineer

Annual Median Pay is $66,138

Environmental engineers solve environmental programs, figure out systems for air pollution, and waste disposals. 

Pay info provided by Payscale.com.

Licensing Requirements

Every state recognizes that civil engineers who work for the general public need to hold a license that certifies that they have the knowledge and skills that are needed in the field.  It is not necessary to wait to become licensed until after you get your master’s degree.

  • Bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited program
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Work experience
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE)

Keep in mind that each state may differ on other requirements or the amount of experience you need. 

Scholarships for Students Getting a Master’s in Civil Engineering

Here are a few scholarships for those getting their master’s in civil engineering. You can also find our longer list of scholarships for civil engineering majors at College Recon. 

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

This scholarship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. It is a 5-year fellowship including three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and an education allowance of $12,000. 

The Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research (GIAR) Program

These grants provide undergraduate and graduate students from most areas of the sciences and engineering, up to $1,000. Designated funds from the National Academy of Sciences allows for grants up to $5,000 for astronomy research and $2,500 for vision-related research. Students can use the money for travel to and from a research site or for the purchase of non-standard laboratory equipment necessary to complete a specific research project. 

The David C. Lizarraga Fellowship

This scholarship is funded by Toyota. Priority is given to those with degrees in business and engineering. Other majors will be considered. Students need to be a first-generation college student, be enrolled full-time in a graduate program, and demonstrate financial need. California applicants will need to be a permanent resident of an underserved community within certain counties. The amount of the award varies. 

Richard L. Brooks Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is an essay contest that was developed to assist students with the rising cost of a college education. The scholarship is for:

  • Full or part-time undergraduate or graduate students
  • Enrolled in an accredited college or university in North America
  • Studying
    • Architecture
    • Civil Engineering
    • Structural Engineering
    • Construction Management
    • Material Science
    • or a related field

There will be 2 scholarships awarded at $2,500 each. 

Study.com Graduate Engineering Degree Scholarship

This scholarship is from Study.com for a graduate student studying engineering. Open to most engineering types of degrees. The award will be given to one recipient, in the amount of $500. 

Civil Engineering Related Majors

 

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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.