Special Graduate Degree Programs and Options

Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Concentration. The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering offers a transcriptable option in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) within the M.S. and Ph.D. program. The program requirements listed are in addition to the normal requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. degree. See https://cse.illinois.edu/cse-educational-programs/graduate-concentration/  

Graduate Concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Grainger College of Engineering Technology Entrepreneur Center offers a transcriptable concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. With the approval of their advisor, CEE MS and PhD students who complete this concentration can use the credit toward their CEE degrees. The concentration requirements can be found at  https://tec.illinois.edu/academics/graduate-concentration 

Master of Architecture and Master of Civil Engineering (Construction Management or Structural Engineering). This program is administered through the school of architecture and requires a baccalaureate in architectural studies. Thus the program is intended for graduate students in architecture. Ideally, students should apply for both programs at the same time. The CEE requirements for the MS degree in this joint program are 32 hours of course work including three 500 level courses in CEE. The student must be enrolled in architecture the first year (fall and spring) and the second year in the CEE Department (fall and spring) in order to obtain the joint degree. A curriculum change petition will be necessary before the second year to change to CEE. Architecture also has information at https://arch.illinois.edu/programs-applying/graduate-degrees/.  The thesis option is not available for this joint degree program.

Joint Degree Option in the Master of Urban Planning. This program is administered in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Students must apply for admission to both the Urban Planning program and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The requirements for the MSCE degree in this joint program are 32 hours of course work including three 500 level courses in CEE. The student must be enrolled in the CEE Department for at least two semesters in order to obtain the joint degree. See link for additional information  http://catalog.illinois.edu/graduate/faa/joint-degree/urban-planning-mup/

Direct PhD Program. As of spring 2021 admissions, the CEE Department has a Direct Ph.D. program, which allows highly qualified applicants to be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program without an M.S. degree. The admission application for this program must be supported by a faculty advisor and CEE area. The direct Ph.D. program has the same coursework requirements as the MS plus Ph.D. route. However, students in the direct Ph.D. are not required to write a M.S. thesis and do not necessarily have to earn a M.S. degree. 

The following table below lists the general requirements for completing a degree through the direct admit PhD program.

 Students admitted into the MS degree program must wait at least one semester to petition to be in the Direct PhD program and have a written endorsement from their research advisor to switch from MS to PhD. The Director of Graduate Studies will make the final decision of this switch based on advisor endorsement, the guarantee of 5-years of funding and the academic performance of the student based on their current GPA.


New 96 Credit Hour Direct PhD Option, CEE & EE




CEE 599

Thesis Research (min-max applied toward degree)


Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below)


Total Hours




Other Requirements and Conditions may overlap

A maximum of 8 hours of CEE 597 (or other independent study) may be applied toward the elective course work requirement; approval required.

There is no department-wide foreign language requirement. However, the faculty of some areas of specialization may require foreign language proficiency if essential to the conduct of research in that area.

24 credit hours must be in major field.  24 credit hours of elective coursework must be at the 500-level, with at least 12 hours in major field.

64 graduate hours must be completed in residence.

Ph.D. exam and dissertation requirements:

Qualifying exam-to be completed at 2 years or after the student finishes 36 hours 

Preliminary exam-to be completed by the 3rd year 

Final exam or dissertation defense

Dissertation deposit

The minimum program GPA is 2.75.