There are three options under which a student may complete a master's degree:

1. The M.S. "Thesis Option" requires at least 30 hours of credit including:

  • 12 to 18 hours in geotechnical engineering,
  • 6 to 12 hours in one or two supporting areas, and
  • 6 hours for thesis research and writing.

2. The M.S. "Graduate School Report Option" requires at least 30 hours of credit including:

  • 18 to 21 hours in geotechnical engineering
  • 6 to 9 hours in one or more supporting areas, and
  • 3-credit-hour report to the Graduate School.

3. The M.S. "No-Thesis, No-Report Option" or "Course-only Option" requires at least 30 hours of credit including:

  • 15 to 21 hours in geotechnical engineering,
  • 6 to 9 hours in one or more supporting areas, and
  • 3-credit-hour report to the Civil Engineering Department or 3-credit-hour Special Studies(Independent Study) class.

Students enrolled in Option 1 may count up to 3 upper-division undergraduate courses (9 hrs) towards the degree requirements, with no more than 2 courses (6 hrs) in either the major or the minor. Students in Option 2 may count up to 2 upper-division undergraduate courses (6 hrs) towards the degree requirements. Students in Option 3 may count up to 1 upper-division undergraduate course (3 hrs) towards the degree requirements.

Most M.S. students, especially those holding University fellowships or research assistantships, are encouraged to complete Option 1. Students with research assistantships generally write a thesis that also serves as the report to the research sponsor. Students who are not supported on sponsored research projects or a University fellowship may elect either the thesis option or a report option. Options 2 and 3 are particularly appropriate for students interested in a broader education and thus wanting to take more courses in related fields.

M.S. students are supervised by one member of the geotechnical engineering faculty, with at least one other professor serving as the thesis or report reader.