Civil and Environmental Engineering

Scientists investigate that which already is; engineers create that which has never been.. —Albert Einstein

Civil Engineering—MS, PhD

Fast Facts

  • 4:1 graduate student-to-faculty ratio
  • More than $4.5 million in annual research expenditures
  • Michigan Tech scientists in Civil Engineering are helping NASA optimize a new space station water system by making pee potable.
  • Michigan Tech ranks #1 in Peace Corps Master's International (PCMI) programs
  • U.S. News & World Report rates Michigan Tech's Civil Engineering graduate program in the top 50 nationwide
  • Research funding $4.5 million per year: Engineering News Record ranked the C&EE department as one of the top ten (out of 250) in the U.S. based on the percentage of departmental income from research.

Learn more about the Civil Engineering programs.

Graduate Programs in Civil Engineering

Michigan Tech offers a full component of graduate programs in civil engineering.

Students may explore their own areas of interest or focus on one of six current areas of research and education:

  • construction engineering and management
  • geotechnical engineering
  • structural engineering
  • transportation engineering
  • civil engineering materials
  • water resource engineering

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering maintains six state-of-the-art facilities for conducting research, including world-class petrography laboratories for characterizing materials. Other laboratories support structural testing, PCC concrete mixing and testing, asphalt testing, binder characterization, complex data visualization, and computational research. Through Benedict Laboratory, the largest lab on campus, Michigan Tech is one of a select few institutions that can test and evaluate ultra-high performance concrete.

Projects include the use of fly ash as a partial replacement for portland cement concrete; use of cement kiln dust as a subbase stabilizer in roads; use of ultrahigh performance concrete for stronger and more efficient structures, including bridges; warm-mix asphalt processes; effects of anti-icing chemicals on pavements; rapid construction of decked prestressed concrete bridge beams; information visualization and modeling of human-resource interactions to aid complex decision-making; load-sharing and system factors for light-frame timber construction; and the impact of logging trucks on traffic safety.

Learn more about the Civil Engineering programs.

Master's Degree: Thesis Option

This option requires a research thesis prepared under the supervision of the advisor.  The thesis describes a research investigation and its results. The scope of the research topic for the thesis should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

The minimum requirements are as follows:

Course work (minimum)20 credits
Thesis research6–10 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Report Option

This option requires a report describing the results of an independent study project. The scope of the research topic should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

Of the minimum total of 30 credits, at least 24 must be earned in course work other than the project:

Course work24 credits
Report2–6 credits
Total (minimum)30 credits
Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

 

Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Course Work Option

This option requires a minimum of 30 credits be earned through course work. Research credits may be used on a case-by-case basis following the approval of the graduate program director. 

A graduate program may require an oral or written examination before conferring the degree and may require more than the minimum credits listed here:

Distribution of course work credit 
5000–6000 series (minimum)18 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum)12 credits

PhD Requirements

To complete a doctoral degree, students must complete the following milestones:

  • Complete all course work and research credits (see credit requirements below)
  • Pass Qualifying Examination
  • Pass Research Proposal Examination
  • Prepare and Submit Approved Dissertation
  • Pass Final Oral Defense

The minimum credit requirements are as follows:

Total Credit Requirements 
MS–PhD (minimum)30 credits
BS–PhD (minimum)60 credits

 

Individual programs may have higher standards and students are expected to know their program's requirements. See the Doctor of Philosophy Requirements website for more information about PhD milestones and related timelines.