Master of Science

Note: Any degree requirement stated below is applicable for 2018-2019 catalog year. Refer to for previous catalog year requirements.

The Master of Science in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering (M.S.-CIE) degree is designed for students who have completed the B.S. in civil engineering, although students with related undergraduate degrees may be considered for provisional admission.  The M.S. educates students in the theory and practice of civil engineering science and design at an advanced level with a technical concentration. The Master’s degree is increasingly expected for advanced practice in civil engineering, and prepares 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, among others.  The M.S. serves as a foundation for subsequent study in a Ph.D. program in civil engineering, as well as for additional graduate studies in architecture, law, business, economics, finance, and public policy and administration.

The M.S.-CIE has three options. These are the thesis option (24 credit hours of coursework and 6 credit hours of research), the project option (27 credit hours of coursework and 3 credit hours of independent project), and the all-coursework option (30 credit hours of coursework). The degree involves focused coursework in any of the five emphasis areas offered in the department.  These include: construction project management; environmental and water resources engineering; geotechnical engineering; structural engineering; or transportation engineering. Full-time students typically complete the degree in one and a half, to two years.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the M.S. program, a candidate must:

  • Satisfy general university requirements for admission to a graduate program.
  • Have earned a baccalaureate degree in engineering, or a related science.
  • Provide two letters of reference, submitted by former professors or supervisors.

Acceptance to the degree program is based on an assessment of the applicant’s capacity to pursue graduate study successfully. Consideration is given to the undergraduate record, any previous graduate work, professional work experience, and reference letters. Students with minor admission deficiencies, or with undergraduate degrees in related fields, may be provisionally admitted subject to a GPA requirement in the first 12 credit hours MS level CEIE courses or completion of an articulation program of CEIE undergraduate courses. Courses required for articulation are not creditable towards the M.S. degree.

Application for graduate studies begins by reviewing the graduate admissions requirements. Information on tuition and funding is provided here.

International students are required to submit additional application material, including evidence of finances to support their studies, as well as proficiency in English; these are also outlined here.  International students should budget time in their application process to apply subsequently for a visa to study in the United States.

Degree Requirements

All M.S. students complete a faculty-approved plan of study with a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate work, including two core courses; concentration electives selected by the student with the approval of a faculty advisor; and a seminar requirement.  Students are responsible for developing and receiving faculty approval on a plan of study no later than the end of their second semester of study. Courses taken without prior approval by the faculty advisor may not be accepted for credit towards the degree.

A list of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering courses offered on a regular basis is provided at Graduate Courses.  The catalog for all GMU courses is available here.

General Core Courses

All M.S. students must complete the following two core courses — CEIE601 – Infrastructure Modeling, and CEIE605 – Risk and Uncertainty in Civil Engineering — within the first 12 credit-hours of their M.S. studies. These courses provide a common background for understanding the breadth and complexity of civil and infrastructure engineering, and for analyzing and solving engineering problems.

  • CEIE 601 – Infrastructure Modeling
  • CEIE 605 – Risk and Uncertainty in Civil Engineering

Concentration Core Courses and Electives

Students select additional six courses (with the thesis option),  seven courses (with the project option) or eight courses (with the all-coursework option) that together constitute a concentration area. Students may select from the five concentrations listed below.

No more than three electives used for credit towards the M.S. may be cross-listed as undergraduate courses; and none may repeat material completed previously as part of the student’s previous studies. Most graduate courses are offered on a three semester rotation, and are scheduled to meet in the late afternoon or evening.

If the project option is selected, students complete 3 credit hours of CEIE 798, during which they prepare and present a scholarly study. The project is an independent study and may involve laboratory or computer experimentation, or an extensive literature search on a current civil and infrastructure engineering topic selected with and overseen by a faculty advisor. Students must demonstrate knowledge of the topic.  Students may not enroll in CEIE798 until they have completed at least 21 credit hours of courses creditable towards the M.S.

If the thesis option is selected, students complete 6 credit hours of CEIE 799. The master’s thesis is a significant independent research effort that contributes to the advancement of engineering science, suitable for publication in an archival engineering journal publication. A thesis is recommended for students who wish to develop and document their research skills, or contemplate subsequent enrollment in a PhD program.  The work is conducted under the guidance of a CEIE faculty thesis advisor, and the final written thesis and oral defense are approved by a three-member faculty committee. In addition, students must make a satisfactory presentation of the thesis in the CEIE graduate seminar (CEIE 795). Full-time students undertaking the thesis option typically require two semesters of research to meet the expected standards of research for an M.S. thesis.  Part-time students take correspondingly longer. Thesis students should begin their research and registration for CEIE 799 no later than the second semester of the M.S. study. Students supported as Graduate Research Assistants are typically required to elect the CEIE799 thesis option. Students undertaking CEIE799 thesis research must commit to continuous registration in CEIE799 each fall and spring semester until the thesis is successfully completed.

Seminar Requirement

The CEIE 795 Civil and Infrastructure Engineering Seminar requirement exposes students to civil engineering research and advanced practice through seminars. Prior to graduation, students must accumulate at least five graduate seminar attendance credits by attending CEIE795 seminars. All M.S. students should enroll in CEIE 795 in every semester of their M.S. studies until they received a satisfactory (S) grade. There is no tuition cost for CEIE795 registration.

Graduate Academic Policies

George Mason University’s policies regarding graduate academic standing can be found here.