Online Masters Degree in Civil Engineering: Program Info

Dec 03, 2019

Find out about online master's degree programs in civil engineering. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Many schools offer online master's degree programs in civil engineering, designed to allow working civil engineers to study as their schedules permit. These programs equip students with the engineering, math and technology skills needed to address real-world engineering problems. Students may need to purchase specific software for some courses. These programs usually require about two years for completion. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering and passing GRE scores.

Online civil engineering programs may offer several areas of concentration such as geotechnical, transportation, water resources and construction management. All students learn about general topics such as project management and engineering mathematics. Other coursework depends on the specialty area chosen and may include studies in cost estimation, traffic control and construction law.

Master's Degree Program in Civil Engineering

Civil engineers design structures such as water supply systems, bridges, dams, tunnels, airports and roads. An online master's degree program in civil engineering prepares graduates to design and implement environmental and structural systems. It also provides practicing civil engineers with a deeper understanding of the field and improves their problem solving and critical thinking skills. Emphasis is often placed on applying civil engineering theory to real-world issues, as well as the impact civil engineering has on society. Topics covered as part of a civil engineering master's degree program might include strength of materials, traffic flow theory, engineering mathematics, public works planning and project finance.

Program Information and Requirements

Master's degree programs in civil engineering, which are typically 30-36 credits in length, are often offered entirely online. Prospective students may be required to have an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related field and submit GRE scores.

For distance education master's programs in civil engineering, on-campus lectures are often recorded and viewed by online students through streaming video. Some programs also provide students with DVDs to view lectures. Students can access assignments, handouts, lecture notes, online databases and research journals online. Distance learning students should have regular access to a computer with a broadband Internet connection, an updated Web browser, a sound card and plug-ins such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Master's-Level Civil Engineering Coursework

A civil engineering master's degree curriculum combines technical engineering courses with classes in areas such as business and project management.

Structural Analysis

This course looks at dynamic and static structure analysis. Topics covered include beams and frames, plain strain structures, design codes, scaffolding and bending moment diagrams.

Concrete Structures

Focusing on reinforced concrete design, a concrete structures course often emphasizes the use of prestressed concrete. The course commonly covers areas such as ultimate strength analysis, seismic load design, linear transformation, deflections and flexure.

Earthquake Structural Engineering

This course focuses on the impact earthquakes have on structures and ways to design structures accordingly. Topics covered include plate tectonics, soil-structure interaction, slope stability and design ground motions.

Water Resources Engineering

A water resources engineering course covers a variety of topics, including fluid mechanics, water transmission and storm drainage. It also looks at basic environmental, biological and geological concepts.

Career Information

An online master's degree program in civil engineering prepares practicing civil engineers, as well as graduates new to the field, for employment in areas such as government, education, industry and consulting. For individuals interested in further education, there are also doctorate programs offered in civil engineering.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil engineers had median annual earnings of $86,640 in 2018. The BLS also reported that employment for civil engineers was expected to increase by 6% from 2018-2028 (

Working civil engineers may wish to advance their careers by enrolling in an online master's degree program in the field for advanced study in structural analysis, structural engineering and more. Students are often able to specialize in a particular area of interest, and graduates may go on to pursue doctorate degree programs for further specialization.

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