Several colleges and universities offer fully online master's degree programs in civil engineering. In these programs, students can access course materials online at their own convenience, within set timeframes, and turn in assignments electronically. A bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field is usually a requirement for admission.
In an online master's degree program in civil engineering, students may complete core courses in project management and mathematics for engineers. Many schools allow students to choose a concentration, and most programs require a capstone project prior to graduation; in some programs, the capstone involves a residency. It usually takes about two years of full-time study to complete an online master's degree program.
Master's Degree in Civil Engineering
These programs teach skills in management as well as instructing engineering principles. Studies include topics in laws and regulations, estimating, pavement and utility construction, cost analysis, construction project management and resource engineering. Graduates are awarded a Master of Science in Civil Engineering. Some programs also offer specialty concentrations in environmental structural, or geotechnical engineering. Typical prerequisites include a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related discipline from an accredited school and a cumulative grade point average minimum requirement. An acceptable graduate record examination (GRE) score may also be required for consideration.
Program Information and Requirements
Designed for civil engineers employed in the field, these degree programs can be completed entirely online in approximately 2-4 years. Some programs include a graduate research report or capstone residency in the curriculum. Students normally set their own schedule; however, there may be specific program or course starting and ending dates, along with due dates for exams and assignments.
Participants need access to a personal computer, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), e-mail and possibly voice mail. Some schools use an online educational system, such as Blackboard, that allows students to interact with faculty and peers, access assignments and attend seminars.
Civil Engineering Courses
Courses in these programs focus on civil engineering and construction project management skills. Effective principles, methods and techniques used in the industry are also common areas of concentration. Although classes vary by school, some are common to all master's degree-level civil engineering degree programs.
Construction Operations and Project Management
This course focuses on operations in heavy construction with an emphasis on enhancing productivity and effective project management. Students learn integrated approaches to planning, designing, analyzing and modeling through simulation. Additionally, the course focuses on project management frameworks, processes, scope, integration, procurement, communication and resource allocation.
Engineering Cost Analysis and Management
This course studies project analysis, cost control, estimating and value engineering throughout the life-cycle of the building process. The class also teaches how to apply calculus techniques to engineering analysis and design.
Utility System and Water Resource
Water and sewer systems and the materials, methods and techniques used in their construction are studied in this class. The course also focuses on water resource management topics of stormwater management and treatment, channel and basin routing, rain-fall runoff, flood control, water quality, watershed hydrology and issues related to land development and urbanization.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that civil engineers earned a median annual wage of $86,640 as of May 2018. In 2018, civil engineers held about 326,800 jobs (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Every state requires that engineers be licensed. Licensing calls for graduation from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and passing a comprehensive examination. Engineers can be licensed with a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree may be considered necessary for advancement to senior positions.
Graduates of online civil engineering master's degree programs can pursue doctoral degrees at many schools. Colleges with engineering programs accredited by ABET ensure a program prepares students for any licensing requirements and for applicable examinations. Additional certification and continuing education including seminars, webinars, on-site training and distance education is also available through the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
An online master's degree program in civil engineering educates students in topics like project management, operations, cost analysis, utility systems and water resources. Students can work at their own pace and on their own schedule in these fully online programs, which may culminate in a capstone project.