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:
- The University of California (Berkeley)
- The Georgia Institute of Technology
- The University of Illinois
- The University of Texas (Austin)
- Virginia Polytechnic
- The University of Michigan
- 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.
|1||University of Washington||Seattle, Washington|
|2||Texas Tech University||Lubbock, Texas|
|3||North Carolina State University||Raleigh, North Carolina|
|4||Kennesaw University||Kennesaw, Georgia|
|5||University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida|
Top Online Master of Civil Engineering Programs
University of Washington
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.
Texas Tech University
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.
North Carolina State University
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.
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.
University of Florida
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.
Mississippi State University
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.
University of Tennessee
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.
Old Dominion University
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.
Kansas State University
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.
University of Louisville
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.
University of Colorado Boulder
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.
University of Virginia
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.
University of North Dakota
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.
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.
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.
Colorado State University
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.
University of Illinois
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).
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.
Johns Hopkins University
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.
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.
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.
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