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Civil and Environmental Engineering: Research, MS

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Masters degree in civil and environmental engineering

The M.S. CEE-Research degree program takes approximately two years to complete. M.S. research degree candidates will choose one of two pathways for their program of study: thesis or advanced independent study. Students who do not have a bachelor’s degree from an ABET accredited engineering program, or from a recognized international institution, may be required to complete deficiency coursework in addition to completing either the thesis or advanced independent study curriculum requirements.

At a glance

Civil and environmental engineering department

30Plus
Professors of practice who mentor our students
10
civil engineering graduate ranking among public universities
9
environmental engineering graduate ranking among public universities

Learn more about what information you need to apply.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline October 1
Summer Deadline December 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3
*

GRE scores will not be required for Spring 2022-Fall 2023 admission due to challenges taking the exam during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All applicants must meet the Graduate School’s admission requirements to be considered for admission. The application deadline is December 15 for the fall term and October 1 for the spring term. Late applications may not be reviewed for funding opportunities.

In addition, applicants must also meet the department’s more stringent admission requirements listed below to be considered for admission:

  • Grades: A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) is required for domestic applicants. A strong academic performance comparable to an average of B or above grades for all undergraduate course work is required for international applicants.
  • Degree: A bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or from a recognized international institution is required. Applicants who do not have a bachelor’s degree as specified above may study for the master of science in civil and environmental engineering (Program Option C); however, to become eligible for this program, applicants must meet the department’s deficiency requirements, some of which may be completed as deficiencies after admission. As a general rule, students with more than 12 credits in deficiencies are not admitted to the graduate program. Rather, they are encouraged to enroll as special students until most of their deficiencies are satisfied. All plans of study within this option must be approved by the department faculty. The deficiency requirements for applicants without a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or from a recognized international institution must be obtained from the department.

A complete graduate application is required before an application will be reviewed by the faculty. A complete graduate application contains the following:

  • Graduate School Application Form and application fee: Applicants must submit an online application to the UW–Madison Graduate School. See Graduate School Admissions to apply.
  • Statement of purpose: A statement of purpose for graduate study must be submitted through an applicant’s online UW–Madison Graduate School application. Please limit this important document to 1,000 words.
  • Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation must be submitted through an applicant’s online UW–Madison Graduate School application.
  • Transcripts: Upload the most recent copies of your transcripts to the electronic application, from each institution attended.  Study abroad transcripts are not required if coursework is reflected on the degree granting university’s transcript. If the application is recommended for admission then we will follow-up with instructions for official transcript submission.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores are required for most applicants.
  • English proficiency scores: Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Scores are accepted if they are within two years of the start of the admission term. See Graduate School Admission Requirements for more information on the English proficiency requirement.
    • GRE and TOEFL scores may be sent to institution code 1846 from ETS

Tuition

Tuition and segregated fee rates are always listed per semester (not for Fall and Spring combined).

View tuition rates

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

PROGRAM RESOURCES

Financial support is available through fellowships, project/program assistantships (PA), research assistantships (RA), and teaching assistantships (TA). Faculty will contact successful M.S./Ph.D. applicants directly regarding funding opportunities. Admission is not a guarantee of funding.

Civil and environmental engineers are changing the world. Aging infrastructure. Climate change. Clean water and air. Natural hazards. Energy. These are just a few of the grand challenges facing civil and environmental engineers, and our research is leading the way toward sustainable solutions.

We focus on eight cross-disciplinary research areas that involve collaborations with faculty and students from across the department, as well as other departments within and outside of the College of Engineering.

View our research

Minimum graduate school requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School’s GPA Requirement policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203).
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Pathway A, Thesis: A faculty committee will conduct a final examination on the thesis research. Pathway B, Independent Study: A faculty committee will review and approve the final report. A final examination is not required but may be requested by the faculty committee.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Pathway A—Thesis1

Students who wish to do advanced work and research in a well-defined area of specialization are encouraged to pursue this program.

This option requires a minimum of 30 credits of graduate work including:

  • A minimum of 18 credits graduate-level coursework (300-level and higher); at least of 9 of the 18 credits must be in Civil and Environmental Engineering (may include the seminar course with approval from the faculty advisor; may not include CIV ENGR 790) Some 300-level courses may require special faculty approval.
  • A minimum of one-credit seminar course (Discuss seminar options with faculty advisor.)
  • A minimum of 6 credits of CIV ENGR 790 Master’s Research or Thesis A faculty committee will conduct a final examination on the thesis research. 
1

These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Pathway B—Advanced Independent Study1

This pathway requires a minimum of 30 credits of graduate work including:

  • A minimum of 21 credits graduate-level coursework (300 level and higher); at least of 9 of the 21 credits must be in Civil and Environmental Engineering (may include the seminar course with approval from the advisor; may not include independent study or research courses) Some 300-level courses may require special faculty approval.
  • A minimum of one-credit seminar course. (Discuss seminar options with faculty advisor.)
  • A minimum of 3 credits of CIV ENGR 790 Master’s Research or Thesis or CIV ENGR 999 Advanced Independent Study A required written report based on the student’s advanced independent study project does not have to meet UW-Madison Graduate School requirements for a thesis, but has to show independent thinking by the student. A faculty committee will review and approve the final report. A final examination is not required but may be requested by the faculty committee. 
1

These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Pathway C—Master’s1 (for Students without Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees)

This program is designed for students without engineering bachelor’s degrees. Students will meet with their faculty advisor to determine the courses and total credits required to fulfill the deficiency requirements. As a general rule, students with more than 12 credits in deficiencies are not admitted to the program. Rather, they are encouraged to enroll as special students until more of their deficiencies are satisfied. Some of the deficiency course requirements may be completed after admission. The exact number of deficiency courses and credits completed before and after admission will be determined by the faculty advisor. All prerequisite courses must be taken for a letter grade. In addition to the total deficiency credit requirement, Pathway C requires a minimum of 30 credits of graduate work. Students can select either a Thesis Pathway or Advanced Independent Study Pathway, consistent with the requirements of Pathway A or Pathway B described above, to complete the non-deficiency requirements of Pathway C. Students should meet with their faculty advisor to determine which pathway is most appropriate for their degree plan. Deficiency credits cannot be applied to fulfill the 30 credit degree requirement.

1

These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Seminar Course Options

Seminar Course Options
CIV ENGR 579 Seminar-Transportation Engineering1
CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  717 Water Resources Management Practicum Planning Seminar I1
CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  718 Water Resources Management Practicum Planning Seminar II2
CIV ENGR 909 Graduate Seminar – Environmental Chemistry & Technology1
CIV ENGR/​ATM OCN/​BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  911 Limnology and Marine Science Seminar1
CIV ENGR 919 Seminar-Hydraulic Engineering and Fluid Mechanics1
CIV ENGR 929 Seminar-Environmental Engineering1
CIV ENGR 939 Geotechnical Engineering Seminar1
CIV ENGR 949 Seminar-Structural Engineering1
1

These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Admission Inquiries
ceegradadmission@engr.wisc.edu
3182 Mechanical Engineering Building, 1513 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706
https://engineering.wisc.edu/admissions/graduate/

Christina Remucal, Director of Graduate Studies
remucal@wisc.edu
141 Water Science & Engineering Lab; 660 N Park St

View the Graduate Guide for program-specific information on policies, rules and regulations.

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