Want to become the future of roadway systems and renewable energy? Earning an online Master’s in Civil Engineering is the first step.
You’re up in an airplane looking down at the world. Tiny cars are driving on tiny roads. Little houses are lined up in gridded neighborhoods. River systems are flowing into a dam. Believe it or not, all of this is the work of civil engineers.
Civil engineering are constantly refining the way we operate infrastructure and systems in the world. How can our airports be safer and more efficient? How can we create a water system that doesn’t disrupt natural habitats? Those are just a few questions that fuel the work of civil engineers. In the end, it’s lifesaving work!
What is a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering?
Civil engineers are the busy and creative minds behind infrastructure projects all over the globe. The field demands both big picture vision and detail-oriented precision. An advanced degree in civil engineering can be a challenging process. But the rewards are ten-fold.
Most master’s programs in civil engineering will lay the groundwork with a set of core classes. But programs also encourage students to specialize in an area of interest. You might consider structural engineering, environmental engineering, construction engineering, geotechnical engineering, or transportation engineering. For general engineering degrees, see OSR’s Best Online Master’s in Engineering Degrees.
The curriculum for these programs will likely cover everything from traffic control theory to steel material design to the legal aspects of contracting. But once you’re in the real world, here are just a few of the roles you might find yourself occupying:
- Project Engineer
- Land Development Engineer
- Construction Manager
How much can you earn with a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, civil engineers make on average around $85k per year. But that number can be much higher for those earning in the top 10 percent of the field — then it’s closer to $138k.
The highest earners in this field tend to be civil engineers who work for the federal government. New projects are always on the horizon. The government needs some of the best minds at work. It’s a given that the best minds make the best money!
Our country’s infrastructure is constantly evolving. With that, the demand for civil engineering jobs is on the rise. In fact, between now and 2026, we’re expected to see an 11 percent jump in the job market for civil engineering.
What is required for a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering?
An advanced degree in civil engineering is no joke. During the admissions process, you’re going to have to prove that you’re up for the challenge. Here are a few factors you might want to consider going into the admissions process:
- Undergraduate degree
- GPA minimums
- GRE scores
If you’ve made it this far, it’s safe to guess that you already have a bachelor’s degree. Some schools insist that your undergraduate degree is in civil engineering. Others are more lenient. Regardless of your degree, most programs expect that your transcripts reflect a GPA of 3.0 at minimum.
The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) can be a daunting roadblock for some. But breathe easy! Some of these programs don’t even require GRE scores for admission. Focus your study on the Quantitative section — that’s what engineering programs look at the most. All in all, if you read the fine print, know your limitations, and emphasize your strengths, you’ll be just fine.
What are the best Master’s Degrees in Civil Engineering?
OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.
The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.
University of Southern California
- Tuition: $43,200(in state) / $43,200(out of state)
- Lower credit hour requirement (27 credits)
- No thesis requirement
- Same academic experience offered online as in the classroom
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.80%Admission Rate16%Programs offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department12Popularity at School10.80%100%OSR Score
Delivered through the renowned USC Viterbi School of Engineering, online students will attend through DEN@Viterbi. This MS in Civil Engineering can be completed either part-time or full-time, taking between 1.5 and 3.5 years. It only requires a minimum of 27 credit hours. You will be required to pay a computing fee and exam proctoring fee. USC does require a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required for graduation. You can only transfer in up to 3 graduate credits. This program will prepare you for a variety of fields including Facilities Management and Architectural Engineering Firms.
Johns Hopkins University
- Tuition: $52,170(in state) / $52,170(out of state)
- Flexible curriculum; 3 core courses and 7 electives
- GRE encouraged, but not required
- Online classes conducted via Blackboard and Adobe Connect
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.40%Admission Rate13%Programs offered online6
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department7Popularity at School19.80%96%OSR Score
You’ll be a part-time student for the online Master of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. This program is delivered both online and onsite. Throughout the 10-course curriculum, students can choose to focus their studies on Structural Engineering. However, your focus area will not appear on your transcript or diploma. The whole degree program must be completed within 5 years. There is a $425 transfer credit fee per course. In this program you may take classes like Retaining Structures and Slope Stability, Marine Geotechnical Engineering, or Modeling Contaminant Migration through Multimedia Systems depending on which electives you choose.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Tuition: $15,186(in state) / $28,773(out of state)
- Option to further specialize in 5 concentration areas
- Up to 12 transfer credits accepted
- Huge list of course options specific to tracks and concentrations
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.80%Admission Rate62%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian Debt$30,819Programs in Department6Popularity at School20.90%89%OSR Score
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, students will complete an MS in Civil Engineering totally online. This is a non-thesis degree that covers 36 total credits. Students may choose from four specialty tracks: Construction Management, Infrastructure, Transportation Engineering, or Structural Engineering. You can take a maximum of five years to complete the program. The GRE minimum averages are 155 (Verbal) and 165 (Quantitative). The application fee for this program is $70. Some courses you may take in this degree program are Sustainable Urban Systems, Highway Bridges Design, or Geometric Design of Roads. Some courses are only offered every two or three years.
Iowa State University
- Tuition: $8,944(in state) / $22,656(out of state)
- Asynchronous classes through digital video streaming
- Program recognized by The Associated General Contractors
- Less admission requirements for students already in the field
School WideStudent Satisfaction72.40%Admission Rate89%Programs offered online3
Program LevelMedian Debt$11,425Programs in Department6Popularity at School21.70%86%OSR Score
Unique to Iowa State University, this online MS in Civil Engineering focuses specifically on Construction Engineering and Management. The 30-credit curriculum hones in on three areas: Management Techniques, Construction Operations, and Construction Methods. The degree culminates in a final project. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission. There is an additional $190 delivery fee added per credit. You will also be required to pay an additional technology fee of $126-$253. If you already have an engineering degree with five or more years of experience then the admission requirements and prerequisites can be relaxed.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
- Tuition: $19,720(in state) / $29,166(out of state)
- Two additional Graduate Certificates offered
- Students can graduate in just 19 months
- Fulfills early requirements for Professional Engineer license
School WideStudent Satisfaction71.20%Admission Rate61%Programs offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian Debt$30,750Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School37.00%84%OSR Score
The New Jersey Institute of Technology brings students a 30-credit-hour online MS in Civil Engineering. Upon admission, students will choose one of three focus areas: Construction Management, Transportation, or Structural Design & Construction. Each focus area encompasses 9-15 credit hours of the total. This program is one of only 2 online master’s programs offered, which means this school isn’t necessarily experienced in providing classes in online format. The GRE / TOEFL is required for admission into the program. You will also be required to pay a $75 non-refundable application fee. One of every four licensed engineers in New Jersey is a graduate of NJIT.
- Tuition: $32,280(in state) / $32,280(out of state)
- No minimum GPA required for admission
- Significant scholarships offered through the department
- Students may transfer 10 graduate credits
School WideStudent Satisfaction71.00%Admission Rate66%Programs offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School53.90%83%OSR Score
A leader in engineering education, Clarkson University offers a flexible MS in Civil & Environmental Engineering degree. Students can complete their coursework online, onsite, or as a hybrid option. In total, the thesis-track curriculum covers 30 credit hours. In the thesis-track, students must defend their thesis onsite. A GRE is required but it can be waived for some cases. 20 of the 30 credit hours have to be earned onsite. Some areas of study you’ll be exploring are bridge monitoring and infrastructure health, bioenergy production and the associated life cycle environmental impacts, and geotechnical reliability-based design and risk assessment.
- Tuition: $9,342(in state) / $28,026(out of state)
- No residency is required
- Highly customizable curriculum
- Students may take classes outside the department
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.20%Admission Rate84%Programs offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department9Popularity at School18.70%82%OSR Score
Consisting of 30 total credit hours, the Master of Civil Engineering at Auburn University offers up two additional concentrations: Environmental Engineering and Structural Engineering. The degree culminates in a three-credit final engineering project. You will be required to submit a GRE score for admission. This degree program is currently only available to U.S. students. A B.S. in Civil Engineering (or related field) is also required for admission. Some classes you may take in this program include Variational Methods in Structural Mechanics, Earthquake Engineering, or Advanced Analysis of Framed Structures. You must get your specific plan of study by approved by the student’s advisory committee.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
- Tuition: $8,492(in state) / $23,967(out of state)
- Non-thesis degree
- Over 50 unique online course options
- Top 10 Online Engineering program by U.S. News & World Report
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.60%Admission Rate51%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School26.00%81%OSR Score
North Carolina State University at Raleigh delivers the best online Master’s in Civil Engineering in the country. Students take 30 credits and select a specialty area in topics like construction engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, and more. A previous degree from an EAC-ABET accredited school is required. GRE / TOEFL scores are also required. Unfortunately, funding is not available to online Civil Engineering students. There is no on-campus residency requirement for this program. You must also complete your degree within six years of enrolling in your first course. Some courses you may take include Engineering Principles of Air Pollution Control or Probabilistic Methods of Structural Engineering.
Mississippi State University
- Tuition: $8,208(in state) / $22,248(out of state)
- Three application admission dates (fall, spring, summer)
- Seven technical options for further specialization
- Synchronous and asynchronous classes offered
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.00%Admission Rate62%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department7Popularity at School15.10%77%OSR Score
Delivered both via thesis and non-thesis options, students at Mississippi State University can earn an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering degree. The thesis track requires 30 credits and the non-thesis track requires 33 credits. Thesis students must complete at least six hours of research. If you decide to take the thesis track, you must complete at least six hours of research. If you choose the non-thesis track then you must complete a final examination. You will need additional computer software for this program. Some concentrations you’ll get to choose from are Construction engineering and management, Water resources engineering, or Geotechnical engineering.
Kansas State University
- Tuition: $9,960(in state) / $22,483(out of state)
- No required courses; highly customizable curriculum
- Online program ranked in the top 20 by U.S News & World Report
- Scholarships specific to online students available
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.40%Admission Rate94%Programs offered online5
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department7Popularity at School10.60%73%OSR Score
Delivered via distance education through K-State Online, students can complete their MS in Civil Engineering from anywhere in the country. Students will choose one of five areas to focus their degree: transportation, environmental, structural, geotechnical, water resources. The curriculum covers 30 credit hours. There is an on-campus oral examination required to graduate, so the program is not completely online. Tuition for online students is still based on resident status. You will be required to pay a $65 non-refundable application fee. Some courses you’ll get to choose from include Hot Mix Asphalt Mixture Design and Construction, Top/Contaminant Fate and Transport Processes, or Land Development for Civil Engineers & Planners.
- Tuition: $18,373(in state) / $18,373(out of state)
- Full-time students finish the degree in 2 years
- 12 Graduate Certificates available online
- Application fee waived for existing Villanova students
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.80%Admission Rate36%Programs offered online6
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School13.50%71%OSR Score
Villanova University strikes a perfect balance between broad and specific. This 30-hour MS in Civil Engineering starts you with the basics and then allows you to specialize in one of four areas: Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, and Water Resources. This is a thesis-track degree. The GRE is required for admission with a minimum score of 305. This is an individually paced program, meaning there is no cohort. You will be required to pay a $50 general fee per semester. Some courses you’ll take in this program are Hazardous Waste Manage, Modern Structural Analysis, and Sustainable Pavement Systems.
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
- Tuition: $9,917(in state) / $24,312(out of state)
- Unique curriculum focus on water resources engineering
- GRE scores not required (unless your GPA is lower than 3.0)
- Wide variety of student services offered to online students
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission Rate83%Programs offered online8
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department6Popularity at School7.50%70%OSR Score
You’ll choose between a Master of Engineering or a Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Colorado State University-Fort Collins. Both, however, are delivered online and both feature a focus on water resources. The program requires between 30 and 32 credit hours. You will be required to pay a $25 technology fee each term. Unfortunately, there are no scholarships available for this degree. The Master of Engineering degree does not require a thesis, final exam, or project for graduation. The Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree however, does require a final oral examination and engineering report. This degree does require you to come to campus for the final exam.
Texas Tech University
- Tuition: $5,724(in state) / $13,068(out of state)
- Flexible curriculum with multiple electives
- Online students pay in-state tuition rates
- Lots of student services offered through Worldwide eLearning
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.60%Admission Rate69%Programs offered online7
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School12.80%70%OSR Score
A new degree to Texas Tech University, students will be the first to pilot the online Master of Civil Engineering. This is a thesis or non-thesis degree that consists of 36 hours for both tracks. Students will specialize in either Structural Engineering or Construction Engineering and Management. You will be required to pay a $60 non-refundable application fee. There are no scholarships available specific to the program. You will be required to take a final exam for both thesis and non-thesis tracks. This school was ranked number 2 for Best Online Master’s for Civil Engineering by Best Colleges.
University of Virginia-Main Campus
- Tuition: $15,552(in state) / $26,048(out of state)
- GRE not required for admission
- Students allowed to transfer 5 courses
- Online and “traditional” degree follow exact same curriculum
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.80%Admission Rate27%Programs offered online4
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School13.10%70%OSR Score
At the University of Virginia-Main Campus you’ll take just 10 courses total to complete your MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering. UVA is part of the Online Graduate Engineering Consortium, which allows students to take online classes from five other Virginia schools. This allows students to finish their degree faster. Although this degree is online, it isn’t completely flexible like other schools. Online classes require students to attend in real-time. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to stay in the program. The application fee for this school is attached to admission.
Columbia University in the City of New York
- Tuition: $44,864(in state) / $44,864(out of state)
- Over 13 available options of specialization
- Close to 20 engaging elective course options
- All online courses taught by Columbia University faculty
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission Rate7%Programs offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian Debt$61,500Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School15.10%69%OSR Score
Columbia University in the City of New York delivers a highly customizable, fully online MS in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. Students piece together 30 credit hours through core courses (18 credits) and electives (12 credits). Most students also specialize in a field within the major. Some of these specializations are Geotechnical engineering and Environmental engineering and water resources. There is an additional online fee of $395 applied per course. An undergraduate degree in civil engineering is required for this program. This school accepts only six transfer credits. GRE scores are required for admission into the program.
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
- Tuition: $15,207(in state) / $27,255(out of state)
- Expert faculty
- Online students use leading LMS — Canvas
- Four possible start dates
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission Rate46%Programs offered online2
Program LevelMedian Debt$28,763Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School10.10%69%OSR Score
The University of Washington-Seattle Campus fills a specific niche in the engineering education world. It offers a fully online MS in Civil Engineering with a focus in Construction Engineering. Students must attend on a part-time basis, and can finish in 2-3 years. You will be required to follow a set curriculum in place. There is an $85 non-refundable application fee. Unfortunately, it is not possible for students to attend full-time so it may take longer for you to complete the degree program. Some courses you’ll take in this program include Statistical Fundamentals for Construction & Materials Applications, Energy Infrastructure & the Environment, and Construction Operations & Productivity.
- Tuition: $17,928(in state) / $17,928(out of state)
- No GRE or GMAT required for admission
- Degree supported by the American Society of Civil Engineers
- Maximum class size of 15 students
School WideStudent Satisfaction73.00%Admission Rate65%Programs offered online4
Program LevelMedian Debt$41,000Programs in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School10.20%66%OSR Score
Norwich University takes a community-driven approach to its online MS in Civil Engineering. Students move through this program as a cohort, taking one class at a time. Ultimately, they’ll complete six classes for 36 total credits. This program isn’t fully online as one week residency is required onsite. There is a $300 technology fee applied per term. Autodesk, Adobe Acrobat, Skype, and a scanner are required for this program. You can choose from four different concentrations: Environmental/Water Resources Engineering, Construction Management, Structural Engineering, or Geotechnical Engineering. You may transfer up to 12 credits into the program.
Kennesaw State University
- Tuition: $4,851(in state) / $17,541(out of state)
- Supported by the American Society of Civil Engineers
- Widely recognized for being a Best Value program
- GRE not required for regular admission
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.20%Admission Rate61%Programs offered online10
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School6.50%65%OSR Score
At Kennesaw State University, students have the freedom to cater their MS in Civil Engineering degree to their needs. For example, students can choose the thesis or non-thesis track. They also can specialize in one of these three areas: Structural and Geotechnical, Transportation and Pavement, Environmental and Water Resources. You will be required to have an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited program. There is a $355 student fee charged per semester. Unfortunately, there are no scholarships specific to the program available. Some electives you may take at this university are Advanced Highway Design and Traffic Safety, Water Resources Management, or Pavement Engineering.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Tuition: $10,728(in state) / $24,054(out of state)
- Three start dates available
- No GRE requirement
- Capstone design project applicable to real-life problem
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.00%Admission Rate54%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School11.80%63%OSR Score
The University of Wisconsin-Madison combines two disciplines with its online Master of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Students progress through this 30-credit-hour program as a cohort. Most finish the program in three years. This program operates on a fixed curriculum, which means there is not a lot of course flexibility. There is also a different in-state and out-of-state tuition rate. Currently, this school only offers this program as a part-time option. Some classes you will take in this program include Hydraulics and Applied Fluid Mechanics for Environmental Engineers, Chemical Principles of Environmental Engineering, and Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering.
University of Louisville
- Tuition: $12,246(in state) / $25,486(out of state)
- 12 of 30 credits are dedicated to electives
- Up to 6 transfer credits accepted
- Generous tuition discounts for active duty members
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.20%Admission Rate75%Programs offered online4
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School11.30%62%OSR Score
The University of Louisville covers a 30-credit-hour MS in Civil Engineering that can be completed in as little as three semesters. It is offered to admitted students 100 percent online. Students have the choice to complete an independent study at the end of their degree. You will be required to submit your GRE score and there is no waiver option available. There are also no scholarships available to online students. Your BS must be in Civil Engineering. Some courses you will take in this program include Environmental Analysis of Transportation Systems, Transportation Planning & Urban Development, and Fundamentals of Prestressed Concrete.
University of Houston
- Tuition: $8,064(in state) / $17,334(out of state)
- Four specific tracks offered within the degree
- Houston is known as the “energy capital of the world”
- Degree is a non-thesis track
School WideStudent Satisfaction74.00%Admission Rate61%Programs offered online3
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School6.60%62%OSR Score
Whether you want to attend fully online or supplement your classes with online options, the University of Houston has options for you. The MS in Civil Engineering here requires 31 credits in total. Most students finish the degree within two years. You will be required to attend an on-campus orientation before the start date. This is not a fully online program as students must come to campus for exams. The GRE is required for admission with minimum benchmark scores. Some courses you will take in this program are Hazardous Waste Treatment Processes, Introduction to Dynamics of Structures, and Constitutive Modeling of Materials.
Old Dominion University
- Tuition: $9,168(in state) / $26,820(out of state)
- GRE waived if student has a BS from ABET-accredited school
- Two Graduate Certificate options offered
- Degree open to both part-time and full-time students
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.20%Admission Rate86%Programs offered online19
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School7.80%61%OSR Score
The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at ODU delivers an online Environmental Engineering master’s degree. You can either complete the Master of Science thesis track or the Master of Engineering course/project track. Both require 30 credits in total. This school does have different in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. There are 12 specific prerequisite courses required for admission. There is not a lot of course flexibility as the program has a closed curriculum. Some courses you’ll take in this program are Physicochemical Treatment Processes and Water Quality Management. This school also provides teaching and research assistantships.
Ohio University-Main Campus
- Tuition: $9,444(in state) / $17,436(out of state)
- Three possible start dates (fall, spring, summer)
- GRE/GMAT not required for qualifying students
- Possible to complete the program in 5 semesters
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.20%Admission Rate74%Programs offered online9
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School3.20%60%OSR Score
Ohio University-Main Campus gives you options to specialize within the online MS in Civil Engineering. You’ll choose between Construction Engineering and Management, Environmental Engineering, Structural Engineering, or Transportation Engineering. This is a non-thesis degree that spans 32 credits in total. There is a $25 non-refundable application fee. Students must complete the program in less than six years. No more than two transfer credits are accepted at this university. The three core courses you’ll be required to take are Applied Civil Engineering Statistics, Construction Planning and Scheduling, and Engineering Writing. You will be required to have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from an ABET-accredited university.
University of Florida-Online
- Graduate certificate offered in Critical Infrastructure Protection
- Nine concentrations offered within the degree
- Grants and scholarships are available
School WideStudent Satisfaction76.20%Admission Rate68%Programs offered online12
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in DepartmentNot ReportedPopularity at School< 1%55%OSR Score
Offered through the University of Florida’s Civil and Coastal Engineering Department, this is a 30-credit-hour program that can be completed fully online. Students must take 15 core credits in civil engineering and 15 credits in other electives. The program takes a unique focus on water and coastal systems. There is a cumulative final exam required as well as an exit interview. If you choose not to take classes for two semesters, you must reapply to the program. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to stay in the program. The goal of this program is to prepare students for leadership roles in academia, industry, or government.