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Best Master's Degrees for Civil Engineers

Choosing the right master's degree as a civil engineer can make a difference in a student's future career choices. Understanding the different degrees offered, as well as admission criteria, can be important aspects of choosing the right degree program.

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Determining the right master's degree program as a civil engineer involves not only knowing the best programs available, but also which program speaks to a student's career goals. As the demand for civil engineers continually rises, find out which degrees will be most rewarding in the field.

Specific Graduate Degrees for Civil Engineers

Civil Engineering

Acquiring a civil engineering master's degree can help students who are seeking careers focusing on designing, building, supervising and constructing infrastructure projects and systems throughout the world. The demand for civil engineers is one the rise, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an 11% increase in jobs from 2016 to 2026. Courses preparing students for a master's degree in civil engineering include Advanced Mathematics and Sustainable Infrastructure. Minimum requirements for a civil engineering master's degree include a 3.0 minimum grade point average plus a completed bachelor's degree. The Graduate Record Examinations General Test (GRE) will be required for the majority of master's degree programs in civil engineering.

Architectural Engineering

Architectural engineers focus primarily on the structural, mechanical, and electrical components of building design and construction. Having a master's degree in architectural engineering allows graduates to help create efficient and stable buildings, while applying backgrounds in science and technology. A few of the common courses within an architectural engineering degree include: HVAC Design, Project Organization, and Project Technology. Prospective graduate students are expected to meet the minimum requirements of a 3.0 grade point average, plus submit an official transcript and GRE or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores.

Structural Engineering

Pursuing a master's degree in structural engineering indicates a focus of study on the structural mechanics involved in the design and construction phases. Graduate courses in structural engineering focus on analysis, dynamics and design involving bridges, wood, reinforced concrete, and the like. Students pursuing a master's in structural engineering must have completed a bachelor's degree in a related field, including all the necessary undergraduate courses. Application requirements for a structural engineering graduate program involve a satisfactory grade point average and GRE score.

Program Admittance Requirements

Admission policies for graduate programs related to civil engineering will tend to have similar requirements, no matter the school a student is considering. For example, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for entry into a standard master's program. Additionally, a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university is required. Some degree programs may require at least 30 credits of undergraduate work in a related field. The majority of graduate programs in civil engineering mandate acceptable scores from either the Graduate Record Examinations General Test or Graduate Management Admission Test. Some degree programs may also seek a letter of recommendation in addition to the graduate studies application.

Graduate Degree Program Information

Coursework in a master's degree in civil engineering can vary depending on the area in which a student wishes to study. For instance, pursuing an architectural engineering graduate degree versus a civil engineering graduate degree will have different courses and program information. However, there are a few core courses related to civil engineering that will typically be required no matter the program or degree pursued.

Structural Analysis

Structural analysis is an important course for civil engineering master's programs. A course in structural analysis means a focus on influence lines, frames, arches, trusses, and the like during the build process. Additionally, students will learn about fort method versus displacement method and how analyzing structures can help prevent issues long term.

Structural Design

There will be many different courses in structural design offered in a civil engineering masters degree program, but most commonly offered is the basic building and design course. With information covering bridges, buildings, and other large-scale structures, this course will be extremely important for all civil engineers no matter their secondary focus.

Construction Management

Management experience will be necessary in most any project on which a civil engineer with a graduate degree embarks. Knowing how to manage a team of engineers or manage a project site is critical to success. This core class will help potential graduates understand the basics of managing a construction or project site.

Civil Engineering Materials

An important aspect of building and construction is understanding the materials being used. Cement, concrete, plastic and more should be understood by civil engineers in terms of composition as well as how to successfully utilize each. This course stresses the importance of how each of these materials can react to one another and react to the environment they are put in.

Foundation Engineering

Building always begins with the foundation. A master's degree in civil engineering will focus heavily on the engineering of a stable foundation, such as bearing capacity and stress distribution. Additionally, students will be able to learn about foundations in terms of construction consideration, and differences between vertical and lateral loading.

A master's degree in civil engineering can range in terms of areas of study from a straightforward civil engineering degree focusing on structure and analysis to an architectural engineering degree with an emphasis on build. Prospective graduate students should known in advance which area they wish to pursue and whether or not they meet the degree requirements.

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