MS and PhD Degree Requirements


MS Degree Requirements

The environmental program of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers Master of Science degrees in Environmental Engineering, and in Civil Engineering.  A student without a BS degree from an accredited engineering program or a student who has not passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam preparatory to professional registration may need to take fundamental engineering courses which are prerequisite for graduate level courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Graduation requirements depend on whether a student pursues the non-thesis or thesis program.

Non-thesis program:         A total of 36 hours of course work is required for all candidates who elect to pursue the non-thesis program; it is possible to complete this in three semesters (spring, fall, and summer) if adequate knowledge of the areas was obtained during undergraduate studies, and if an English course (for international students only) is not required based on an English placement exam.

Adequate knowledge of the area*:



General Chemistry I (CHEM 102

3 hrs.

General Chemistry II (CHEM 104)

3 hrs.


General Physics: Mechanics, Heat, and Sound (PHYS 101)

5 hrs.

General Physics: Heat, Electricity, Magnetism, and Modern Physics (PHYS 102)

5 hrs.


Calculus I (MATH 220)

5 hrs.

Calculus II (MATH 230)

3 hrs.

Calculus of Several Variables (MATH 242)

3 hrs.

Introductory Matrix Theory* (MATH 225)

2 hrs.

Intro Differential Equations* (MATH 385)

3 hrs.

Computer Science

Introduction to Computing, Eng & Sci (CS 101)

3 hrs.


Introductory Fluid Mechanics (TAM 335)

4 hrs.

Environmental Engineering (CEE 330)

3 hrs.

Systems Engineering and Economics* (CEE 201)

3 hrs.

Water Quality Engineering (CEE 437)

3 hrs.


Air Quality Engineering (CEE 446)

3 hrs.

* Background in these courses may not be required for some areas of specialization.  It will be determined in consultation with the academic advisor.  

Course requirement:

  • Core courses
    • CEE 442: Env Eng Principles, Physical
    • CEE 443: Env Eng Principles, Chemical or  CEE 447: Atmospheric Chemistry
    • One or more of the following courses:
      • CEE 434: Environmental Systems I
      • CEE 440: Solid and Hazardous Waste
      • CEE 444: Env Eng Principles, Biological
      • CEE 445: Air Quality Modeling
      • CEE 498SIS: Sustainable Infrastructure Systems
      • CEE 498EWS: Sustainable Design of Energy & Water Systems


  • Twelve hours of graded 500-level courses in CEE.
  • CEE595G, Environmental Engineering Seminar, during the first fall and spring semesters
  • Other courses within CEE and at departments on campus in consultation with the academic advisor


Thesis program:     A total of 32 hours of course work and thesis research credit are required for those who choose to prepare a thesis. Each specialty area has a specific set of core courses that are required for students specializing in that area. Students who have had material comparable to that covered in the 400-level core courses may not be required to take all of these courses. Exact requirements will be determined in consultation with the advisor. Other graduate courses offered by the University may be selected to fulfill degree requirements in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Course requirement:

  • Required and elective courses in the specialty area (see MS curriculum)
  • Twelve of the 32 hours must be in courses numbered in the 500 series, and eight of these must be graded courses taken in the specialty area. 
  • A total of at least 16 hours must be in a major field. 
  • Thesis may be used to satisfy the 500-level course requirements. Thesis topics must be selected in consultation with a faculty advisor.
  • MSE492, Lab Safety Fundamentals
  • CEE595G, Environmental Engineering Seminar, during the first fall and spring semesters 
  • CEE 595AG, Advanced Environmental Engineering Seminar, after the first two semesters while the student is in residence.
  • CEE 599M Thesis Research. 

Research assistants normally write a thesis on a phase of the work conducted as part of the research project to which they are assigned. Those master's candidates who expect to continue their graduate work for a PhD should complete a thesis or special problem that will demonstrate their ability to perform independent research. Master's candidates can satisfy the special problem requirement by completing an analytical or experimental problem under the supervision of their advisor.

MS degree in Civil Engineering: Students may also elect to obtain a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering. A candidate for this degree must hold a baccalaureate degree in engineering and complete at least 32 or 36 hours of graduate work with satisfactory grades. Twelve of the 32 or 36 hours must be in courses numbered in the 500 series, and eight of these must be taken for a grade in a major field. A total of at least 16 hours must be in the major field. When a thesis is not presented, the candidate must complete at least 36 hours of course work. This degree option may be of special interest to students who want to combine environmental engineering course work with advanced course work in other departments or other civil engineering specialty areas.


PhD Degree Requirements

The academic program for each doctoral candidate is planned on an individual basis. The formal requirements for the doctoral degree consist of a minimum of 64 hours beyond the master's degree. This requirement is met with 32 hours of course work or independent study beyond that normally taken for the master's degree plus 32 hours of thesis credit. The doctoral program includes three stages. At least two of these stages must be completed in residence; the residence period must include two successive semesters in the second or third stage. The first stage ends when the candidate receives a master's degree or earns the equivalent (32 or 36 semester hours); the second stage comprises a successful qualifying exam, 32 hours of course work, fulfillment of departmental requirements, and a successful preliminary examination; the third stage comprises research and seminars (32 hours), preparation of a dissertation, and the final examination, including a public presentation of research results. All doctoral students are expected to enroll in CEE 595AG, Advanced Environmental Engineering Seminar, each semester in residence.

The major areas of specialization often involve a selection of courses that are closely related to, but not necessarily offered within, the Environmental Engineering and Science Program of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. With the aid of an advisor, students are encouraged to arrange their programs of study to encompass a reasonable number of courses that augment the major program of study.

No foreign language is required for the PhD in Environmental Engineering and Science, unless the candidate's selected research area requires knowledge of a foreign language.


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