The engineering field is broad and complex, with many different fields and specializations. In such a technical field, advanced education and training are essential. A master’s degree in civil engineering program can provide the qualifications necessary to advance in civil engineering.

What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering involves the design and construction of physical structures and systems. Indeed, it is one of the oldest types of engineering. Examples of civil engineering projects include roads, bridges, buildings, transportation systems, pipelines, and dams.

Individuals who obtain qualifications to become civil engineers can use these qualifications in many different ways. Those who earn a master’s degree in civil engineering can pursue careers in public and private sector industries, including construction and transportation.

Why Get a Master’s in Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering is highly technical and involves critical structures. Miscalculations can lead to major disasters that can be expensive and result in a loss of life — qualifications matter in this field. It, therefore, requires an advanced understanding of numerous academic disciplines. 

There are many reasons to obtain a master’s degree in civil engineering:

  • You can improve your job and salary prospects.
  • You can vastly expand your knowledge in this field. 
  • You can specialize in certain fields, like transportation or construction. 
  • You can learn a variety of ancillary skills, like project management.

How Much Does a Master’s in Civil Engineering Degree Cost?

Costs vary widely from one school to another. A range of $10,000 to $30,000 is typical. Comparing a number of programs is the best way to find a school that suits your career goals, your interests, and your expense range. 

Scholarships and financial aid should also be considered. Virtually every school has some financial aid option. They should be able to help you identify need-based or merit-based scholarship opportunities. Finally, if you are already working in the engineering field and looking to upskill, find out if your employer will cover part of your tuition costs. This is a relatively common practice, particularly when there is a shortage of civil engineering professionals.

You may also want to consider an online program. Online schools often have flexible scheduling that allows individuals to obtain their master’s degrees while still working. This will enable you to continue earning an income while attending school. Online schools are also sometimes less expensive than in-person schools, as you can save on travel, supplies, and the cost of living on campus. 

10 Master’s in Civil Engineering Online Degree Programs

The explosion of online schools has helped make it much easier for people to afford a Master’s in Civil Engineering and do so with the flexibility to fit their busy careers. The following 10 programs offer various strengths and may fit your lifestyle well. However, make sure that your online civil engineering degree is ABET-accredited. This means that it meets the appropriate standards to give you the high-quality education you deserve and that prospective employers will expect from you. 

Colorado State University Online – Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Colorado State University notes that it has invested $447 million into research accessible for all students, including online ones. This adds a research component to the online education that you can receive at this school, and this component is often lacking in online education. The school also puts a heavy emphasis on helping its students become employed after graduation, with 95% of all students getting a job in the engineering field after graduation.

Drexel University – Masters of Science in Civil Engineering

Drexel University allows interested individuals to pursue a Master’s in a fully online or hybrid model. Individuals can obtain their master’s degree in as little as two years, although the program notes that it takes most students 3-4 years. It also offers three specialties: Structural Engineering, Water Resource Engineering, and Geotechnical/Geoenvironmental/Geosynthetics Engineering. 

Johns Hopkins – Master of Civil Engineering

Johns Hopkins does not require a GRE for admission and allows individuals to graduate in as little as two years. It is 100% online, and students will never have to walk onto campus. It also only requires 10 courses to earn your master’s. This is a relatively low number and speaks well of the ability of the program to get students into the real world. It also places a heavy emphasis on sustainability, with students being able to take courses in this area. 

LSU Online – Online Master in Civil Engineering

LSU is one of the top-ranked online Master’s courses in civil engineering. It offers a high degree of flexibility and gives each student a Student Success Coach, helping them with everything from admissions to job interviews. This individualized approach is not always available in online schools, and it unquestionably adds to the appeal of LSU. 

Michigan Tech – Online Masters in Civil Engineering

Michigan Tech’s online master’s is known for two concentrations: Water Resources and Structural Engineering. GREs are not required, and Michigan Tech has a broad array of courses that can help you earn your degree. Its website also notes that Michigan ranks as the number two public university in which graduates make six figures, and this statistic unquestionably applies to civil engineering graduates. 

North Carolina A&T Online – Master of Science in Civil Engineering

The online nature of this program does not stop the school from offering a variety of research opportunities to students. Additionally, you can concentrate on one of five areas: Environmental/Water Resources, Structures/Geotechnical Engineering, Transportation & Regional Development, Construction Engineering, and Building Energy Resources/Systems. The program can be completed in 2-3 semesters, making it one of the fastest online Master’s programs available. 

Ohio University – Online Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Ohio University offers four concentrations: Construction Engineering and Management, Environmental, Structural, and Transportation. GREs are only required for admission if you have a GPA below 3.0. The program is fully ABET-accredited, and students who attend Ohio University will be able to select a schedule that matches their needs. In other words, they can learn on a schedule of their choosing. 

Oklahoma University – Online M.S. in Civil Engineering

Students attending Oklahoma University can earn their master’s degree in as little as 21 months, making this one of the fastest programs on this list. There are four tracks for interested students: Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering. Furthermore, Oklahoma also has synchronous and asynchronous offerings. This means that students will have a high degree of flexibility in getting their M.S. degree. 

Purdue University – Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering

Purdue has the number two ranking online civil engineering degree program, and it is clear that this is for a good reason. Even though the course is online, students can engage in hands-on learning with real-world projects. There are also three tracks: Sustainable Water, Infrastructure Resilience & Sustainability, and Smart Mobility. The program also offers almost a dozen different specializations, including geotechnical engineering and architectural engineering. 

University of Illinois – Master of Science in Civil Engineering

This online school might offer the most diversity of all programs. You can attend the University of Illinois and specialize in nine different areas. You can also earn Construction Management, Railroad Engineering, Transportation Engineering, and Pavement Engineering certificates. This can dramatically enhance your ability to find a job once you graduate. 

Common Courses in Master’s in Civil Engineering Degree Programs

Individuals interested in earning a Master’s in Civil Engineering should be prepared to take a diverse array of courses across a wide variety of disciplines:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Environmental systems and the impact that the environment has on artificial construction
  • Geotechnical and geomatics
  • Hydraulics
  • Materials and construction
  • Infrastructure, including roads, water, and electrical systems
  • Energy infrastructure and systems

Keep in mind that these are not the only options when you are earning a Master’s in Civil Engineering, nor will the courses above be requirements in every school. Furthermore, many schools allow individuals to specialize in certain areas, including transportation engineering, structural engineering, and environmental engineering. Therefore, if you specialize in a certain civil engineering area, you will absolutely have to take more courses in that realm.

Other FAQs About Master’s in Civil Engineering Degrees and Programs

What Is the Average Master’s in Civil Engineering Salary?

Salaries for civil engineers vary widely depending on education level, employer, and location. There are also many specializations within civil engineering, and civil engineers work in a broad range of industries. The median salary for civil engineers in the US was more than $88,000 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Is a Master’s in Civil Engineering Worth It?

Civil engineering is a broad field. It incorporates a variety of skills and has numerous applications across a vast amount of sectors. Earning a Master’s in Civil Engineering can help you earn a higher-than-average salary. It can also ensure that you get a job in a growing field. If you have the skill set to work in the engineering field, it seems clear that this area needs more people and you can make a healthy salary in this area.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

This answer varies depending on the school and its course offerings, as well as the prospective student’s ability and schedule. A typical range is 2-3 years. More flexible programs — like those offered online — will allow someone to earn a degree in a longer period of time. For someone looking for more flexibility, this can be a significant benefit. 

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