Several options exist for students in the Master of Science degree program: There are two different options for each of two degree titles, namely M.S. in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering.

The title M.S. in Civil Engineering or M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering appears on official transcripts but not on the diploma. The more specific designation of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering is preferred by some. The M.S. in Civil Engineering is available to all students in the program, including those who are eligible for the more specific Environmental and Water Resources Engineering designation. Students eligible for either degree can change this designation easily at any time prior to the semester of graduation. The two programs described below are available for both degree titles.

Thesis Option

Students take thirty semester credit hours of courses of which twelve to eighteen hours are in the major area, at least six hours are in minor areas and six hours are thesis research. Students who are supported with research assistantships are almost always required to pursue this option, as their theses usually serve as part of a contract completion report to the research project sponsor. The thesis must be approved by the supervising professor and one other faculty member.

For more information on the thesis option, please read the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Graduate Policies and Guidelines.

One-Year Report Option

Students at the masters level who are not supported as a Research Assistant may choose to complete a departmental report (rather than a thesis). This option requires thirty credit hours (nine courses and a report). The report option is especially appropriate for students with special time constraints since it is normally possible to complete this option in one year of full-time study (two academic semesters and a summer). The report option is also recommended for part-time students. Students wishing to pursue this option should clearly indicate their intentions at the time of application to graduate school. For more information on the report option, please read the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Graduate Policies and Guidelines.

Major Areas

Typical major areas within our program are those listed in Research. Specific areas of specialization can be tailored to a student's needs and interests; in fact, with no specific course requirements in the program, every student works with a faculty advisor to choose the set of courses that best achieves his or her objectives. Courses that are closely related to the major area form the major and may be from either the Department of Civil Engineering or other departments. Supporting work consists of courses outside the major. Courses considered supporting coursework are not required to have any relation to one another; each simply has to be recognizably different from the major. Courses within EWRE that are significantly different from a student's major area often serve as supporting work but must be approved as such by the Graduate Advisor.

Dual Degrees

A dual M.S. degree program with the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs is available. Students wishing to receive this dual degree must be accepted by both M.S. programs. Upon completion of the program, students receive an M.S. in Engineering and a Master of Public Affairs. This dual degree program is particularly fitting for those students with interests in environmental policy and who foresee working in a governmental or policy arena. Typically, two or three students in the EWRE program are enrolled in this dual degree program at a time, and there is excellent rapport among the faculty in both programs. The thesis for students in this program contains both engineering and policy aspects and fulfills requirements for both degrees.

Minimum GPA

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to avoid academic warning and possible dismissal. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is also required for graduation.

Time Requirements

The time needed to complete a master's degree varies among students. Students with half-time appointments as research or teaching assistants usually take between 16 and 24 months to complete the degree, commonly finishing two semesters beyond the first year. Full-time students without research or teaching assistantships can complete the report option within one year, although most students choose to take one additional semester. Students with non-engineering backgrounds require longer times because of the make-up courses required, as described in Additional Requirements for Non-Engineers.

Additional Requirements for Non-Engineers

Students without a prior BS degree in engineering are usually required to take additional undergraduate courses. Depending on the number of background courses needed, a student may be required to register as an undergraduate until the time when he/she will begin graduate level work. The courses required for a student without an engineering degree can vary widely, depending on the background. Each student's required courses are evaluated on an individual basis, but as a minimum, the following undergraduate courses generally are required before graduate courses can be taken.

  • 12 hours Mathematics (calculus or higher)
  • 8 hours Physics
  • 3 hours Chemistry
  • 3 hours Statics
  • 3 hours Dynamics
  • 3 hours Mechanics of Solids
  • 3 hours Computer Programming
  • 3 hours Engineering Materials
  • 3 hours Fluid Mechanics
  • 3 hours Thermodynamics or electrical circuits
  • 12 hours Civil engineering – including courses in at least two areas

Other courses may be required depending on which specialty area the student intends to pursue.

Credit may be given for any course on the above list for which a student has previously received a passing grade.