Overview of Degrees

Note: Any degree requirement stated below is applicable for 2017-2018 catalog year. Refer to catalog.gmu.edu for previous catalog year requirements.

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering at George Mason University 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 integrated Geotechnical, Construction, and Structural Engineering; and the Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering. Each degree requires high competency in mathematics, the basic sciences, and the engineering sciences; a creative mind to translate a need into a design, then into a physical reality; and a commitment to creating, adapting, and upgrading infrastructure, for people in small  communities and large megacities, in the United States and abroad.

M.S.-CIE and M.Eng.-GCS

The Master of Science in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering (M.S.-CIE) and the Master of Engineering in integrated Geotechnical, Construction, and Structural Engineering (M.Eng.-GCS) degrees are graduate degrees designed for students who have completed the B.S. in civil engineering either at George Mason University or at another university. These 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 advanced practice in civil engineering.  The American Society of Civil Engineering now advocates for a master’s degree or equivalent as part of the requirement of registration as a Professional Engineer.

Master’s degrees prepare graduates to practice in civil engineering for: federal, state, or local governments; architectural firms; engineering design firms; construction firms; water, wastewater, and energy 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. They are also the foundation for further study at the Ph.D. level. The M.S.-CIE and M.Eng.-GCS curricula are described further at Master of Science and Master of Engineering.

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

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 physical science (eg. geology; physics; chemistry; biology; or other environmental sciences). Each applicant’s transcript is evaluated by the CEIE Department after application. Before beginning graduate study, these students are required to complete civil engineering undergraduate articulation courses. These articulation courses do not apply toward the M.S. or M.Eng. Students who complete the M.S. or the M.Eng. at Mason may be eligible to write the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in Virginia, one step toward registration as a Professional Engineer (P.E.), even if  their undergraduate degree is not from the United States.

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.  Graduate courses usually meet in the late afternoon or evening for the convenience of part-time students. Degree details are provided at Master of Science.

The M.Eng.-GCS degree offered at GMU, is a practice-oriented degree that integrates the study of geotechnical engineering, construction engineering, and structural engineering into one graduate degree.  It requires 30 credit hours of coursework (= 10 courses) of which at least 9 credits (three courses) are required core courses, and the remaining are electives.  There is no research or project component. Full time students typically complete the degree in one and a half years. Graduate courses usually meet in the late afternoon or evening for the convenience of part-time students. Degree details are provided at Master of Engineering.

Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest degree offered in civil engineering and is equivalent to the D.Phil. offered by other institutions. Ph.D. graduates have demonstrated their comprehensive knowledge in an area of civil engineering science, and have completed independent research that makes a significant addition to the body of published civil engineering science. The highest levels of civil engineering practice in most specializations increasingly require a Ph.D., although the Ph.D. itself is not a practice-oriented degree. A Ph.D. is typically 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, advanced post-B.S. practice experience may be considered for admission.  The Ph.D. requires completion of a minimum of 72 credit hours which includes completion of an independent research dissertation. Applicants with a Master’s degree may receive credit for up to 24 credit hours toward their Ph.D. program, depending on the relationship between those courses and their Ph.D. course of study.  Full time students typically complete the program in three to five years. Graduate courses usually meet in the late afternoon or evening for the convenience of part-time students. A description of the Ph.D. degree requirements is provided at Doctor of Philosophy.

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