Jul 23, 2024  
2020-2021 University Catalog 
2020-2021 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Civil Engineering, M.S. - Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Subplan/Option: 30 units

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Offered by: College of Engineering, Civil Engineering Department

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

The practice-oriented Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) program builds upon an undergraduate education and facilitates more advanced study in one of the branches of civil engineering. Students must select one of five degree options: Construction Engineering & Management, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Transportation Engineering.


Xudong Jia, Chair
Lisa Wang, Graduate Coordinator

Mission Statement

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) program is intended to serve both full-time and part-time graduate students,  focusing on the application of principles and practices to real-world problems encountered by professional civil engineers. The program also facilitates applied research and prepares students for further graduate studies in a Ph.D. program. The program consists of 30 semester units of coursework. All graduate courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening.

The MSCE program consists of five degree options: Construction Engineering and Management, Geotechnical Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Water Resources (EWR), Structural Engineering and Transportation Engineering. Students in each option are allowed to choose one culminating experience from the three: Master’s project, Master’s thesis, or Comprehensive Exam. These options provide students flexibility and also meet a wide variety of emerging needs.

Units to Degree Completion - 30 semester units

Culminating Event/Activity - MS Thesis, MS Project, or Comprehensive Exam

Educational Objectives

Graduates of the Master of Science in Civil Engineering program shall have:

  • Knowledge of engineering principles sufficient to understand the bases and applicability of standard analysis, design, and implementation practices within their emphasis area.
  • The ability to conduct engineering analyses and to develop and implement designs and problem solutions that conform to applicable codes and standards of practice.
  • An understanding of the various technical and non-technical factors that impact the feasibility and implementation of civil engineering projects, including technical feasibility, multi-party involvement, environmental assessment, financial-economic planning, owner-public works administration, owners’ strategic plans, and socioeconomic-equity issues.
  • The foundation needed to develop engineering judgment via professional practice, and to effectively identify, consider and account for multiple and competing objectives.
  • The technical knowledge and skills needed to pursue life-long learning, with the ability to independently extend personal knowledge and understanding of engineering topics and practices by conducting literature searches, consulting with others, and using other similar techniques.
  • The ability to apply knowledge in a specialized area related to civil engineering as defined in the American Society of Civil Engineers body of knowledge requirements.
  • Knowledge and skills necessary to pass specialty license examinations in their respective areas, including the examinations required for registration as a Structural Engineer, Geotechnical Engineer and Traffic Engineer.

Admission to the Program

The MSCE program is primarily intended for students who already have a BS degree in civil engineering. Successful applicants will be admitted to the programs either unconditionally or with conditions imposed on them. To receive unconditional admission, an applicant must satisfy at least these criteria:

  1. The applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree from a civil engineering program accredited by ABET.
  2. The applicant must have achieved a grade point average of at least 3.00 in all undergraduate upper division coursework in mathematics, science and engineering and, additionally, in all coursework attempted with graduate standing.
  3. Additional requirements may be imposed by individual options of the MSCE program.

Conditional admission may be granted in cases in which the applicant’s academic preparation for graduate study is such that criteria 1) and/or 2) above are not satisfied. In such cases, the applicant is required to submit recent test scores of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), letters of recommendation, and other documents attesting to the applicant’s aptitude for graduate studies. When an applicant is admitted conditionally, the conditions to be met and the time allowed for meeting them are stated in the letter of admission. If these conditions are not satisfied, the student may be disenrolled.

All applicants with a bachelor’s degree from outside of the U.S. (regardless of citizenship) must also provide proof of English language proficiency:

TOEFL: a minimum of 80 (Internet-based exam)
IELTS: a minimum of 6.5

In addition, all international applicants are required to submit recent GRE test scores.

Graduate Conditionally Classified

A person may be admitted to a graduate degree or credential program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, he/she can remedy deficiencies by additional coursework but otherwise satisfies all other university requirements for admission. All prerequisites must be specified by the admitting department at the time of student admission. Academic departments are responsible for tracking conditionally admitted students and must report their academic progress to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and the Graduate Studies Office via a memo on a term basis. Students admitted conditionally will not be allowed to concurrently register for graduate courses that are required for the completion of their projected graduate or professional program. A conditionally admitted student’s ability to obtain financial aid is severely limited until all deficiencies have been resolved, and unconditional status is granted by the university. Conditional admission does not guarantee unconditional admission to a program.


A minimum of 30 semester units is required for the Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree. All students must select one of the five degree options. The specific requirements for each degree option are described below.

Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Subplan/Option

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