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    Top 20 Masters in Civil Engineering Online in 2021

    March 24, 2021 | Staff Writers

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    Let’s start by getting really excited about the possibilities of civil engineering. The infrastructure in America is falling apart. Most of the big engineering projects that built infrastructure in the USA, like the interstate freeways, were done nearly a century ago. A lot of work needs doing to make renovations and repairs, creating millions of new jobs.

    The US Department of Transportation reports there is an $836 billion backlog of projects to fix the highways and bridges across America. Around 32% of roads in urban areas and 14% in rural areas need repairs. All of this work requires the expertise of civil engineers.

    While it is not necessary to have a master’s degree in civil engineering to work in this field, having a master’s makes you stand out from the crowd. If you think this is a boring field that is a dead-end job working for the government, think again. The demand for highly-qualified civil engineers in the private sector is sky-rocketing right now due to the worldwide move to sustainable energy resources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Additionally, there is the global deployment of 5G mobile technology.

    The richest civil engineer in the world is Senior Carlos Slim Helú of Mexico. His net worth is the equivalent of more than $54 billion. How did he make his money? He built out the mobile telephone system called Telmex in Mexico, which was a gigantic civil engineering project!

    The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the median salary for a civil engineer in 2019 was $87,060. The lowest pay was $55,380 and the highest pay was $144,560. The highest-earners were those with many years of experience and those who have a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree.

    If you are already working as a civil engineer, it is a terrific career boost to get a master’s degree. It will help open up opportunities for advancement. Taking this strategy may double the amount of salary offered when seeking an engineering position to make progress in your career. If you are just starting your study program to become a civil engineer, make plans to get a master’s degree also. In this way, you will have the most job opportunities when you graduate.

    The most expensive civil engineering degrees come from the top ten engineering schools, which are:

    1. The University of California (Berkeley)
    2. The Georgia Institute of Technology
    3. The University of Illinois
    4. Stanford
    5. The University of Texas (Austin)
    6. Purdue
    7. MIT
    8. Virginia Polytechnic
    9. The University of Michigan
    10. Carnegie Mellon

    However, there is an alternative that is worth considering. The best way to get a master’s in civil engineering, if you are working at the same time, is to take online courses from an accredited school and not have to pay the enormous cost of attending a top-ten school in person.

    We did a review of the online course offerings, which are more affordable than these top ten schools that lead to a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree. If you have an interest in a specialization such as environmental engineering or infrastructure be sure to investigate if it is offered at any school you are considering.

    Here are the rankings of the best programs we found that offered the most value.

    Rank School Location
    1University of WashingtonSeattle, Washington
    2Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, Texas
    3North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, North Carolina
    4Kennesaw UniversityKennesaw, Georgia
    5University of FloridaGainesville, Florida

    Top Online Master of Civil Engineering Programs

    1

    University of Washington

    • Seattle, Washington
    • Graduation Rate: 84%

    University of Washington offers a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) that help an engineer enter the workforce with more skills, be more competitive for job advancement, or to pursue the academic requirements to earn a Ph.D. degree. There are two degree options. Under the Professional Master’s Program (PMP) the focus is on coursework and there is no thesis requirement. The PMP program can be taken as online courses. The other option is pursuing a research track. Courses can be taken online; however, this also requires in-person work as a research assistant at the school.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Full-time attendance for 18 to 24 months.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $19,684 plus fees (WA residents and all online students) and $34,279 plus fees (non-residents for in-person attendance).
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 5 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    2

    Texas Tech University

    • Lubbock, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 60%

    Texas Tech University has an online program that requires completion of 30 hours of course credits to get a Master of Civil Engineering degree. This program has a thesis and a non-thesis option. The program allows a student to select elective courses for engineering specializations as desired.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: It is possible to complete this program in one year.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $14,328 (resident) and $26,599 (non-resident)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 5 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    3

    North Carolina State University

    • Raleigh, North Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 77%

    North Carolina State University offers a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) that requires 30 course credits of online coursework, no thesis, and no on-campus activities. Usually, the GRE entrance exam is waived for those with an undergraduate engineering degree from a recognized and accredited U.S. institution.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Accelerated program 12 months, regular program 18 months up to 24 months, must be completed within 6 years.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $15,390 (resident) and $40,830 (non-resident)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 5 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    4

    Kennesaw University

    • Kennesaw, Georgia
    • Graduation Rate: 41%

    Kennesaw University offers a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree program that requires 30 credits to complete. This program is designed for graduates of ABET-accredited undergraduate engineering programs and offers provisional admission to graduates in related fields who meet the necessary qualifications. The specializations offered include environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, pavement engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources management.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: 18 months (full-time), 36 months (part-time).
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $12,555 (all full-time students).
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    5

    University of Florida

    • Gainesville, Florida
    • Graduation Rate: 87%

    The Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment (ESSIE) began in 2011 at the University of Florida to offer programs in civil, environmental, and coastal engineering. It offers an online program for 30 credit hours to obtain a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree with specializations in oceanographic engineering, coastal engineering, infrastructure, sustainable construction, transportation systems, water resource management, and materials/pavements engineering.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Two years.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $13,477 (FL resident) and $20,700 (non-resident).
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website

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    6

    Mississippi State University

    • Starkville, Mississippi
    • Graduation Rate: 60%

    Mississippi State University offers an online program to earn a Master of Science in Civil Engineering. Due to the pandemic, there is no GRE to take as an exam for admission to this program. This program offers elective studies in construction materials, transportation, water resources, and environmental, geotechnical, and structural engineering.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Students usually complete the program in one year (full-time) and three or four years (part-time).
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $15,420 (all students). Some qualified residents of Mississippi, who are over the age of 60, may be able to take online courses for free with a tuition waiver.
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    7

    University of Tennessee

    • Knoxville, Tennessee
    • Graduation Rate: 68%

    University of Tennessee in Knoxville offers a thesis option and a non-thesis option program to obtain a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree. Both options require students to complete 30 credits. Students choose from the specializations in construction, geotechnology, materials engineering, public works, structural engineering, and transportation.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: 18 to 24 months.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $12,556 (TN residents) and $13,906 (non-residents).
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    8

    Old Dominion University

    • Norfolk, Virginia
    • Graduation Rate: 51%

    Old Dominion University has a 30-credit requirement to get its online Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree, in the field of Coastal Engineering. The program has three options; Thesis Option (6 credits of thesis), Project Option (3 credits of project), and Course Option (final oral comprehension examination). This program is designed for the understanding of the physical sciences, engineering, economics, the environment, soil erosion mitigation, infrastructure maintenance and construction, and the institutional-political-social and aesthetic constraints that influence all coastal engineering design.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: 18 to 36 months on average.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $16,530 (VA residents) and $17,850 (non-residents)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    9

    Kansas State University

    • Manhattan, Kansas
    • Graduation Rate: 63%

    Kansas State University offers a civil engineering master’s degree through its K-State Online program. Successful completion of 30 hours of coursework is required to get the degree. Students can focus on engineering for environmental, structural, and transportation improvements. The program is 100% online but also requires a trip to Kansas, at the end of the program for an oral examination, to be awarded a degree.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: This program is designed for the working professional engineer, so most students take up to four years to finish the coursework while employed.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $17,835 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    10

    University of Louisville

    • Louisville, Kentucky
    • Graduation Rate: 52%

    University of Louisville offers an MS degree in civil engineering, which requires a student to complete 30 course credits. There is no GRE or GMAT entrance exam required. It also offers a civil engineering certificate for taking 12 units of the course curriculum with a specialization in structural or transportation engineering.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Two years (full-time) to four years (part-time).
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $22,110 (all students except active-duty U.S. military) and $7,500 (active-duty military discounted tuition).
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    11

    University of Colorado Boulder

    • Boulder, Colorado
    • Graduation Rate: 70%

    University of Colorado Boulder has a special Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a specialization in water engineering management. This is a 30-credit program with all the courses offered online. Up to 9 credits of required graduate coursework may be transferred from another qualifying institution. This program is designed for engineers employed by a government or regulatory agency and utility companies.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Two to three years.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $22,948 (CO residents) and $28,706 (non-resident).
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    12

    University of Virginia

    • Charlottesville, Virginia
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    University of Virginia offers a 30-credit online program to obtain a Master of Engineering (ME) degree in civil engineering with a choice of sub-specialization in environmental/water resources engineering, infrastructure engineering, structural engineering, or transportation engineering. This school accepts up to 15 transfer credits of qualified graduate courses from other schools.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: An average student completes this program in two to three years because most students are working while taking online courses.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $21,780 (VA resident) and $35,760 (non-resident)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    13

    University of North Dakota

    • Grand Forks, North Dakota
    • Graduation Rate: 55%

    University of North Dakota offers both a master’s in engineering (M.Eng.) and a master’s of science (M.S.) degree in civil engineering. The M. Eng. program requires 30 credits to get the degree. The M.S. program requires 30 credits with a thesis or 32 credits without a thesis to get a degree.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: One to two years.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: (30 credits) $25,643 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    14

    Ohio University

    • Athens, Ohio
    • Graduation Rate: 62%

    Ohio University offers an online Master of Science in Civil Engineering program with specializations in construction engineering, construction management, environmental engineering, transportation/traffic engineering, and structural engineering.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Students taking an accelerated pace complete the program within five semesters (18 months).
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $27,136 (OH resident) and $27,744 (non-resident)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    15

    Auburn University

    • Auburn, Alabama
    • Graduation Rate: 75%

    Auburn University offers a Master of Civil Engineering degree for the completion of 30 course credits that can all be taken online. Eligible students have an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, or the equivalent, and must take the GRE. TOFEL scores are required for international residents. Specializations at this school for this degree program include environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and pavements/materials.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: 12 to 36 months.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $28,470 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 5 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    16

    Colorado State University

    • Fort Collins, Colorado
    • Graduation Rate: 67%

    Colorado State University offers a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and specializes in water resource management along with the engineering needed to design and build sustainable infrastructure.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Most students take 18 months to complete this program if studying full-time or up to three years for part-time studies.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $28,920 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
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    17

    University of Illinois

    • Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    University of Illinois has a graduate certificate program in civil engineering for taking five courses and an MS degree program that requires12 courses (36 course credits) for completion. Online students receive access to on-campus lectures that are recorded and follow the same course curriculum as students who are on the campus. A thesis is not required. Specializations offered include construction management, infrastructure, water resources, societal risk/hazard mitigation, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and energy-water-environment sustainability (EWES).

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: Full-time students complete the program in two years.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $33,300 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    18

    Missouri S&T

    • Rolla, Missouri
    • Graduation Rate: 64%

    Missouri S&T offers a distance learning program with online courses to earn a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree by completing 30 course credits. There is no thesis required.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: A full-time student can complete the program in one year. Part-time students have up to six years to complete the program at their chosen speed.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $36,000 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 4 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    19

    Johns Hopkins University

    • Baltimore, Maryland
    • Graduation Rate: 92%

    Johns Hopkins University offers a hybrid program through its Whiting School of Engineering with some online courses and some in-person attendance required as well. To get a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) requires completing 30 course credits. A graduate certificate is available for completing five online courses.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: The accelerated program is completed within one calendar year. Part-time students must complete the program within five years.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $45,950 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 5 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website
    20

    Columbia University

    • New York City, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 95%

    Columbia University offers a Civil Engineering Master’s Degree that requires completion of 10 online courses. Applicants for admission must have a sufficient score on the GRE and an undergraduate degree in engineering. This program is flexible. It allows a student to select from a variety of technical electives as areas of concentration.

    School Overview

    Time to Complete Program: The 30 units required to get this degree can be completed in 18 to 24 months.
    Estimated Total Cost of the Degree Program: $69,935 (all students)
    School’s Diploma Recognition: 5 out of 5 stars
    Visit School Website

    Ranking Methodology

    We ranked the schools based on the value of the education received by the student for the tuition charged and the recognition of a diploma from the school by job recruiters using a five-star scale. A score of five out of five stars was given to a school for being in the top ten online programs, four stars being in the top 11-25, three stars being in the top 26 to 50, two stars being in the top 51 to 100, and one star not in the top 100. Our top 20 rankings come from the best online civil engineering schools that had at least four stars.

    We are here to help you if you need further assistance in selecting your program to get an online Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree. Contact us with any questions you have to get the help you need.

    Do you see something that needs a correction?

    I f you notice a mistake or there is a school we should have ranked on this list but did not, please let us know.

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