Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

MS - Civil Engineering

The MSCE program is designed for students to specialize in their choice of sub-discipline in Civil Engineering. The CEE Department offers specializations in Construction Management, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering. Courses are practical-oriented, focusing on content and skills to prepare engineers to enter and/or advance in industry or enter advanced graduate studies. The program offers coursework in once-per-week format in the afternoons and evenings to accommodate working individuals who wish to pursue their studies while gaining industry experience. Additional information is available at:

Program Educational Objectives and Graduate Program Outcomes

The graduate program's educational objectives (PEOs) for Civil Engineering are to

  • prepare students for their professional careers and licensure by strengthening their knowledge in their specialization (depth) and extending their skills and knowledge base (breadth);
  • provide students advanced proficiencies for professional practice to enable them to advance in the licensing process and equip them for advancement in their career;
  • improve students' research skills and prepare them for further graduate study;
  • provide students with experience and skills for multi-disciplinary and cross-CE disciplinary practice.

Four graduate program learning outcomes (PLOs) are aligned with the PEOs and are assessed in individual graduate courses. By the end of the program, students should be able to

  • apply advanced concepts, theory, and analysis for problem solving;
  • synthesize and integrate necessary engineering concepts into engineering solution process;
  • apply modern tools for computations, simulations, analysis and design;
  • communicate effectively.

Admissions Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

In addition to meeting university admissions requirements, an applicant must have

  • a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from a college or university accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); and
  • a 2.7 grade point average (4.0-based scale) in engineering, mathematics, and science coursework leading to the baccalaureate.

Requirements for Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing

Applicants who do not qualify for classified standing in civil engineering but who meet university requirements for graduate admission and whose academic records or professional achievements and maturity give promise of satisfactory performance in graduate study in civil engineering may, upon approval of a committee of department faculty, be admitted, with specific conditions, as conditionally classified. The conditions must be fulfilled before the student can be advanced to candidacy for the degree. If the conditions are not fulfilled, the program reserves the right to dismiss the student from the program by notifying the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. This process is known as administrative academic disqualification (see Section 41300.1, Title 5, California Code of Regulations). Applicants whose bachelor's degrees are not in civil engineering will be required to take additional courses that will not be counted in the graduate degree program for the MSCE. Details can be obtained from the department's Graduate Coordinator.

English Proficiency Requirements

If an applicant's bachelor's degree is not from a US or Canadian university, a GRE must be taken; minimum scores acceptable for admission are listed on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE. Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE.

Requirements for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy

Conditionally classified students must satisfy the conditional requirements listed in their letter of acceptance prior to advancing to candidacy. Students who have completed matriculation and achieved classified standing in the MS degree may advance to candidacy after completing a minimum of 9 units of graded work as a graduate student in letter-graded 100 or 200-level courses acceptable to the CE Department. Students must also fulfill other university requirements for advancement to candidacy for the master's degree as outlined in the Graduate Policies and Procedures section of this catalog. Candidacy includes successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirements (GWAR), described in this catalog. For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, refer to the GWAR Course List on the Graduate Studies website.

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
Requirements of the Masters30
100-Level or 200-Level CE Courses Must be within area of individual specialization
Secondary Area of Specialization0-9
Thesis students take 0 Secondary specialization units; Project and Comprehensive Exam students take 6-9 Secondary specialization units
Consent of graduate advisor required
Culminating Experience0-6
Complete one option (Plan A thesis, Plan B Project or Plan B Comp Exam)
Plan A (Thesis)
CE 298. Special Problems1-6
CE 299. Master's Thesis or Project1-6
Plan B (Project)
CE 298. Special Problems1-6
Plan B (Comprehensive Exam)
Comprehensive Exam

Total Units:30

Eligible primary and secondary areas of emphasis civil engineering areas are:

  • Construction Management
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering

Acceptable areas for minor and elective courses are chosen in consultation with an advisor. Approved courses may include graduate courses and upper-division elective courses in Civil Engineering and graduate or upper-division courses in other university departments from a list approved by the Civil Engineering Department Curriculum Committee.

The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master's degree is 15. At least 60% of the courses taken must be letter graded. No more than 30% of the courses listed for candidacy can be transfer units, including any graduate-level courses taken in the senior undergraduate year at SJSU. Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.