Considering a Career Change?

Change Your Career. Change the World. Become a Civil Engineer.

For 4,000 years engineers have shaped and influenced our physical environment, and civil engineers continue to design and develop the complex infrastructures necessary for harmonious urban living. Infrastructure that includes the construction and maintenance of: intelligent transportation systems; water supply systems; water treatment plants; structural engineering of public works—dams, bridges, roads, canals, tunnels, harbors and buildings; environmental protection systems; and security systems. Infrastructures based on sound, sophisticated civil engineering principles and technology-based best practices.

If the idea of building our infrastructure and helping reshape our world appeals to you, then you may have found your calling in civil engineering.

The Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering offers an ABET-accredited 120-credit hour Bachelor of Science in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering; a Master of Science in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering; a Master of Engineering in Geotechnical, Construction, and Structural Engineering; and the Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering. Each degree requires high competency in mathematics and the basic sciences; a creative mind to translate a need into a design, then into a physical reality; and a commitment to creating, adapting, and upgrading our community’s infrastructure, in small  communities and large megacities, in the United States and abroad.   Many students considering a career change to civil engineering may have either partially or fully completed degrees from other majors. Their applications and articulation to our programs of study are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

But which degree is right for me?

B.S.-CIE: The Bachelor of Science in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering (B.S.-CIE) from George Mason University educates its graduates in the fundamentals of engineering science and exposes them to the beginnings of civil engineering design. This degree prepares graduates for civil engineering careers in: federal, state, or local government; engineering design firms; construction firms;public utilities; non-governmental organizations; and local and regional planning firms.  A degree in civil engineering also serves as a solid foundation for subsequent study in architecture, law, business, economics, finance, and public policy and administration.

The B.S.-CIE is a general civil engineering degree that meets the requirements to write the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, one of the steps toward registration as a Professional Engineer (P.E.).  The full 120 credit-hour curriculum is described at Undergraduate Studies. Applicants with existing degrees in other majors may find that some of their previous credits can be counted toward the B.S.-CIE degree. Each applicant’s transcript is evaluated by the CEIE Department after application to tailor an individual program of study.

Residents of Maryland and South Carolina admitted to George Mason University to pursue the B.S. in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering are eligible under the Southern Resident Education Board Academic Common Market for tuition at Virginia in-state tuition rates. Further information is available here.

M.S.-CIE and M.Eng.: The Master of Science (M.S.) and the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degrees are graduate degrees designed for students who have completed the B.S. in civil engineering at either George Mason University or another university. For GMU B.S.-CIE students, an accelerated, articulated B.S.-M.S. program is also available. These Master’s degrees educate students in a specialization within civil engineering science and design. With the growing complexity in civil engineering science and design, the Master’s degree is increasingly expected for high level practice in civil engineering that requires more preparation than the B.S. degree.  The American Society of Civil Engineering now advocates for the M.S. or the M.Eng., rather than the B.S., as the requirement for P.E. registration, although it is not required at present.

These degrees prepare graduates to practice in civil engineering for: federal, state, or local government; engineering design firms; construction firms; public utilities; non-governmental organizations; and local and regional planning firms.  These degrees serve as a solid foundation for subsequent study in architecture, law, business, economics, finance, and public policy and administration. The M.S.-CIE and M.Eng. curricula are described at Graduate Studies.

The M.S.-CIE requires focused coursework, in addition to either an independent study project or a research thesis in any of the six specializations offered in the department including: construction engineering; environmental engineering; geotechnical engineering; structural engineering; transportation engineering; or water resources engineering. Full-time students typically complete the degree in one and a half to two years.

The M.Eng. offered at GMU integrates the study of geotechnical engineering, construction engineering, and structural engineering in a coursework degree with no research component. Full time students typically complete the degree in one and a half years.

Students who have completed undergraduate degrees in other majors may apply for graduate study if their previous undergraduate degree is in a closely aligned discipline, such as another branch of engineering or a related science (eg. geology or environmental sciences). Each applicant’s transcript is evaluated by the CEIE Department after application. Before beginning graduate study, students are typically required to complete undergraduate articulation courses. These articulation courses do not apply for credit toward the M.S. or M.Eng.

Ph.D.: The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest degree offered in civil engineering. Ph.D. graduates have demonstrated their comprehensive knowledge in an area of civil engineering science, and have completed research that makes a significant addition to the body of published civil engineering science. The highest level of civil engineering practice in most specializations increasingly requires a Ph.D., and a Ph.D. is required for university faculty positions.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program have typically completed a Master’s degree in engineering. However, an applicant with extensive, sophisticated post-B.S. practice experience may be considered for admission.  A description of the Ph.D. degree requirements is provided at Graduate Studies. Full time students typically complete the program in three to five years.

Contact us: Choosing the right program of study is an important step in a career change.

  • For information on the undergraduate program, contact Ms. Lisa Nolder, the Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering, at snolder@gmu.edu or 703-993-1675.
  • For information on graduate programs, contact Dr. Laura Kosoglu, the Graduate Program Coordinator of the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering, at ceiegrad@gmu.edu or 703-993-1675.