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MS Degree and Curriculum

The M.S. degree may be completed with or without a thesis. The M.S. degree requires 32 credit hours of graduate course credit if a thesis is part of the program (with 8 of the 32 hours comprising the thesis), and 36 hours without a thesis. It is possible to complete the M.S. non-thesis degree in one year or less. Learn more:

All candidates for the degree of Master of Science in Civil Engineering or Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MSCE or MSEE) are required to consult their advisor. In all programs, at least 16 hours of credit must be in the student’s major field. Also, 12 hours of credit must be obtained for courses numbered in the 500 series, and eight of these twelve 500 level hours must be taken for grades in the major field. No more than four of these eight hours can be CEE 597 Independent Study.

Thesis Option (18 to 24 months):

A candidate for the MSCE or MSEE degree who is required or elects to write a thesis must complete at least 32 hours of graduate work (including CEE 599 thesis credit). A typical master’s program with a thesis includes 24 hours of course work and 8 hours of CEE 599 thesis credit. No more than 12 hours of CEE 599 thesis credit may be devoted to the MS thesis. 

Credit Requirements:

CEE 599 Thesis Research (min-max applied toward degree) 4-12
Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below) 20-28
Total Hours 32

Other Requirements:

Other Requirements and Conditions may overlap
Individual programs are developed by the students in consultation with their academic advisors.  A faculty research advisor is required.
A minimum of 16 hours of credit within the major field with 8 graded and at the 500 level.
A minimum of 12 hours at the 500 level overall.
A maximum of 8 hours of CEE 597 (or other independent study) may be applied toward the elective course work requirement.
At least half of the minimum hours required for the degree must be in Illinois courses meeting on the Urbana-Champaign campus or in courses meeting in other locations approved by the Graduate College for resident credit for the degree.
The minimum program GPA is 2.75
Must deposit thesis with Illinois Graduate College
Must do curriculum change petition in order to continue for PhD

No Thesis Option (11 to 24 months):

A candidate for the MSCE or MSEE degree who is not required or elects not to write a thesis must complete at least 36 hours of course work. Special requirements of the several areas of CEE are summarized in Appendix 2. All seven areas and the three additional areas of study (EWES, SRIS, SRHM) are available for study.  Students wishing MSCE programs that cannot be accomplished in any of the ten areas of specialization may submit their proposed plan of study directly to the Graduate Affairs Committee for approval. See Joan Christian in 1108 NCEL.

Credit Requirements:

Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below) 36
Total Hours 36

Other Requirements:

Other Requirements and Conditions may overlap
Individual programs are developed by the students in consultation with their academic advisors.
A minimum of 16 hours of credit within the major field with 8 graded and at the 500 level.
A minimum of 12 hours at the 500 level overall.
A maximum of 8 hours of CEE 597 (or other independent study) may be applied toward the elective course work requirement.
At least half of the minimum hours required for the degree must be in Illinois courses meeting on the Urbana-Champaign campus or in courses meeting in other locations approved by the Graduate College for resident credit for the degree.
The minimum program GPA is 2.75
Faculty academic advisor required for classes.
Required classes depend on area of study.
Simple entry MS but not required.

Online Option:

A candidate for the MSCE option must complete 36 hours of course work. Areas and classes are limited to those offered online, including Construction Engineering and Management, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, and Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems.  Additional classes in the areas of Construction Materials, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering and Water Resources Engineering and Science may be offered. Information about fees and billing can be found on the main Engineering College site.

The Data Science + Civil and Environmental Engineering non-thesis Master’s track emphasizes data science and includes courses that balance data science methodology and disciplinary contents from different CEE areas of study. The goal of the track is to provide students with a combined graduate-level expertise in both data science and a technical domain in CEE. The track consists of nine courses, three of which are required core CEE courses in the area of data science. 

Residency and Time Requirements

At least one -half of the minimum hours required for the MSCE or MSEE degrees must be for courses meeting on the Urbana-Champaign Campus, or in courses meeting in other locations approved by the Graduate College for residence credit. A candidate for the master’s degree must complete all requirements for the degree within five calendar years after initial registration in the Graduate College.

All M.S. candidates must complete a Plan of Study, which must be submitted for approval during the first semester of graduate work. A sample Plan of Study can be found in Appendix 3 of the Graduate Handbook.

There is no foreign language requirement of the M.S. degree.

Credit for thesis research (CEE 599) cannot be applied to a degree unless a thesis is submitted. The thesis must be the work of a single author. For instructions regarding the format of the thesis, the student should look at the Graduate College website for Thesis and Dissertation. The format of all theses must be officially checked by the department. Joan Christian (jchristn@illinois.edu) is authorized to perform the departmental format check. Switching from 32 hour to 36 hour MSCE Program. Problems arise when an M.S. student decides at the last minute not to do an M.S. thesis and to switch from a 32 hour program with a thesis to a 36 hour program without a thesis MSCE degree. CEE Policy: Students will not be allowed to switch if the student's advisor does not provide written consent. Changing Areas of Specialization. M.S. candidates wishing to transfer from one departmental area of specialization to a new are a must have their credentials transmitted to the new area for review. If the new area accepts the transferring student, then the student may continue and complete his or her M.S. program in the new area. See Joan Christian in 1108 NCEL.

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign policy prohibits awarding second degrees in the same area of specialization. CEE Policy: Except under unusual circumstances, a second M.S. degree is not permitted if the student is admitted into the Ph.D. program using the first M.S. degree as fulfilling the requirements for Phase I of that program. A second M.S. degree may be permitted if the student is admitted into the CEE MSCE program because the first degree is insufficient for some reason. In any case, the second (University of Illinois) MSCE degree course work should not duplicate the course work of the student’s first MSCE degree.

Students are responsible for notifying the Graduate College of their intention to graduate in a given semester; that is, students are responsible for placing their names on the “degree list.” Students must use the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Enterprise Applications–Student Self-Service system to place their name on the graduation list by the stated deadline.

The degree earned through the online program is the same degree awarded on campus. Courses offered online are the same as the on-campus courses. The degree earned and transcript records do not distinguish between online and on-campus delivery. The online program, courses, and sections are restricted to students in the online programs and are not intended for or available to university employees or students in on-campus programs. Students may request via graduate college petition to change their program code to complete a degree online, or vice versa. This request is subject to advisor, department and Graduate College approval.

This program allows international students to spend their senior year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earn a Bachelor of Science degree from a participating international university, then earn a Master of Science degree in civil or environmental engineering from the University of Illinois in one year. Students typically spend three years at their home university and two years at Illinois to complete B.S. and M.S. degrees in five years. Students in the 3+2 program must maintain a 3.3 GPA. They may transfer a maximum of 8 hours from their BS to their MS degree.

Follow the link to see with which international universities CEE has 3+2 agreements: 3+2 BS/MS Program.

iMBA Program

The Grainger College of Engineering collaborates with the Gies College of Business to provide engineering students access to the iMBA program, the Illinois MBA program that is offered entirely online. Graduate students in CEE can apply for a limited number of available seats in the Value Chain Management iMBA specialization for the academic year. Accepted students will be eligible to complete one of the core specializations in the iMBA program, Value Chain Management, with no additional tuition or fee costs.

Upon completion of the specialization, students will earn a certificate and 12 hours of credit that can be applied to an iMBA degree, which students can apply for after their MS or PhD degree in CEE. The credit cannot be used toward their CEE degree.

The Value Chain Management specialization focuses on managerial accounting, process management, and marketing. Selected students should expect to spend about 10-15 hours per week on three 8-week classes, two in the fall semester and one in the spring semester, and the specialization also includes completion of a two-week capstone project in the spring semester. Courses are offered online, and students view course content via the Coursera platform and participate in live sessions with business school faculty. Courses in this specialization are transcriptable, and the certificate awarded signifies completion of the specialization but is not shown on the transcript.

Program Details

  • Full-time graduate students in CEE are eligible (must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours - if not enrolled in at least 12 hours, students will be charged tuition for these classes) (30 seats are available)*
  • Specialization can be completed with no additional tuition or fees; students are required to purchase course materials
  • iMBA courses are online
  • Applications are due July 10
  • Classes begin up to two weeks before the regular term start date

For more information contact:

Meg Griffin
Assistant Director for Graduate Programs
Phone: (217) 333-3921
mgriffn@illinois.edu

*If there are seats available, students who graduate in December will be considered for the program for the fall semester only. Students will have to complete the specialization at their own expense in the spring semester; see the iMBA website for tuition and fee information.