Daniel D'Souza
Written By - Daniel D'Souza

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Civil engineering students can improve their specialized training to enter or advance their careers without interrupting their employment or family obligations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast a 5% increase[1] in new jobs in civil engineering, 2022-2032. Graduates of Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs may experience greater employment opportunities and potential income. This comprehensive guide aims at students considering a graduate program. It comprises a compilation of the 15 top programs, specializations in civil engineering, funding sources for the degree, and strategic resources readily accessible.

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs

The programs selected in this ranking of the Top 15 Online Master’s in Civil Engineering represent the highest echelon of flexible degrees that fit the needs of working professionals. They are ranked by a custom formula based on affordability, tuition cost, the number and quality of degree concentrations, accreditation, graduation requirements, and other factors.

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of Virginia
1827 University Avenue, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Columbia University
West 116 St and Broadway, New York, New York 10027
North Carolina State University
2101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
University of Wisconsin Madison
500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085
University of Florida
341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St, Gainesville, Florida 32611
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21218
University of Washington
1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98195
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
601 E John Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
527 Andy Holt Tower, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
South Methodist University
6425 Boaz St, Dallas, Texas 75275
Iowa State University
1750 Beardshear Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama 36849
Kansas State University
919 Mid-Campus Drive, Anderson Hall, Manhattan, Kansas 66506
Ohio University
020 Chubb Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
Texas Tech University
Broadway and University Avenue, Lubbock, Texas 79409
University of Houston
212 E. Cullen Building, Houston, Texas 77204

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Program

An online master’s degree in civil engineering allows professionals to advance their expertise in the field. The program typically encompasses coursework focused on advanced civil engineering principles, project management, structural analysis, and environmental considerations. Students engage in interactive online learning environments, participate in virtual discussions, and access resources remotely. The fully online format accommodates working professionals, with varying credit requirements typically ranging from 30 to 36 credits. Some programs may include a capstone project, providing practical application opportunities. Overall, students deepen their knowledge in civil engineering, preparing for leadership roles through a comprehensive online learning experience.

Curriculum for an Online Master of Civil Engineering Program

The curriculum required for completing an online Master of Civil Engineering Program varies broadly by institution and degree requirements. For example, civil engineering specializations can include electives and required projects. Note that the curriculum can impact the completion time based on the course availability. Here are five common courses offered by programs around the county that focus on skills and theoretical concepts in professional practice:

  • Structural Stability: In this course, students explore the principles governing the stability of structures. Topics include analysis of the behavior of various structural elements under different loading conditions, emphasizing ensuring structural integrity and safety in design and construction.
  • Mechanics of Materials: This course explores the behavior of materials under different stresses and strains. Students gain insights into the mechanical properties of materials, enabling them to analyze and design structures effectively by understanding how materials respond to various forces and environmental conditions.
  • Morphodynamic Modeling: This course explores the study of sediment transport and morphological changes in rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas. Students learn to model and analyze the complex interactions between water flow, sediment transport, and the evolving morphology of these natural systems.
  • Transportation Engineering: This course explores diverse transportation systems planning, design, operation, and maintenance. The program equips students to shape sustainable and efficient transportation solutions for thriving communities by covering areas such as highways, railways, pipelines, public transport, and emerging technologies.
  • Hydraulic Structures
    This course explores the design, analysis, and construction of structures related to fluid flow management. Students study the principles governing dams, weirs, spillways, and other hydraulic structures, gaining expertise in ensuring effective water control and management in various engineering projects.

Upon completing a master’s in civil engineering, students can expect to gain the following skills and learning outcomes:

  • Mastery of advanced engineering principles, design methodologies, and specialized areas within civil engineering.
  • Proficiency in planning, executing, and managing complex engineering projects from inception to completion.
  • Enhanced skills in analyzing and solving intricate engineering challenges.
  • Specialized knowledge in areas such as structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation, or environmental engineering.
  • Ability to conduct independent research, contribute to advancements in the field, and implement innovative solutions.
  • Effective communication of complex technical information, both in writing and verbally, for diverse audiences.
  • Leadership capabilities and the ability to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to achieve project goals.
  • Understanding of relevant laws, regulations, and ethical considerations governing civil engineering projects.
  • Awareness and application of principles promoting environmentally sustainable engineering practices.
  • Proficiency in assessing and mitigating risks associated with engineering projects.
  • Willingness to stay abreast of emerging technologies and industry trends and commit to lifelong learning and professional development.

Types of Master’s Degrees Civil Engineering Students Can Obtain

There are two main types of online civil engineering master’s programs: the Master of Science (MS) in Civil Engineering and the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Civil Engineering. While these programs may have slight differences in their curriculum, they both provide a solid foundation in engineering. The specific focus and orientation of the programs may vary depending on the institution offering them.

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering focuses on advanced study and research, allowing specialization in structural, transportation, or environmental engineering. It often involves coursework and research projects.

Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering

The Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering is a full-time, practice-oriented program tailored to enhance existing engineering skills. Concentrations may include areas like environmental systems or geotechnical engineering, preparing students for technical roles in the field.

Common Specializations for an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering

Online Master’s in Civil Engineering programs offer concentrations in sub-fields of the profession. The concentrations prepare graduates for specialized roles in governmental or for-profit engineering firms. Not all schools offer the same concentrations, so prospective students should search for the university curriculum that best fits their career aspirations. Here are the common centration options:

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers This Concentration Prepares For
ArchitectureThe civil engineering concentration in architecture focuses on cost estimating, structural building plan evaluation, and electrical and plumbing system design, advanced CAD.Sustainability consultants, construction building inspectors, and regional and urban planners.
ConstructionConstruction specializations orient coursework toward planning, maintaining, and overseeing construction specifications for buildings and infrastructure (highways, dams, traffic-routing, and waste-management projects.Field Supervisors, Project Engineers, and Retail/Commercial Building Professionals.
EnvironmentalCoursework concentrates on building and environmental regulations, sustainable infrastructure, atmospheric and aquatic systems, advanced physics and biology, air, water, and soil quality, environmental impact, and remediation.Sustainability Professionals, Alternative Energy Contractors, Designers of Environmental Remediation projects,  and Waste Management professionals.
GeotechnicalThis specialization focuses on soil and rock mechanics, foundation engineering, and slope stability. Students explore designing foundations for structures, analyzing soil-structure interaction, and alleviating geological hazards. This specialization equips graduates with expertise in assessing and managing the geological aspects of civil engineering projects.Structural Engineers, Building Enclosure Engineers, Geologists, and Field Engineers.
HydraulicGraduate students in this discipline delve into fluid mechanics, viscous flow, water collection and distribution networks, flood alleviation, water collection networks, flood mapping, shoreline management, and boundary layer flows.Quality supervisors, FEMA engineers, and project managers.
StructuralIn the structural engineering concentration, students undertake coursework in solid mechanics, non-linear structural analysis, design of composite structures, sensors and data acquisition, and advanced structural steel design.Bridge Engineers, Structural Engineers, and Structural Project Managers.
TransportationThis specialization focuses on the strategic planning, design, and management of transportation systems and infrastructure. This encompasses various aspects such as long-term transportation planning, roadway design, traffic management, public transit systems, safety measures, infrastructure maintenance, and technology integration to optimize traffic flow.Mechanical engineering Managers, Environmental Design Engineers, and Core Transport Consultants.
WaterThis engineering niche focuses its curriculum on water treatment and governance, wetlands wastewater management, desalination, and membrane technology, water resources for food security, and industrial effluent treatment.Water Resources Managers, Water Utility Engineers, and Environmental Wastewater Specialists.

Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Program Length

The timeline for an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Program varies, typically spanning 1.5 to 2 years. Students progress through a series of courses covering core and specialized topics. The duration can be influenced by factors like part-time or full-time enrollment and the flexibility of the program’s structure.

Accelerated Civil Engineering Programs

Accelerated Civil Engineering Programs provide a fast-track option for students to obtain their master’s degrees. These programs aim to shorten coursework duration and offer a streamlined path to degree completion. Doing so allows students to quickly gain advanced knowledge and skills in civil engineering, enabling them to enter the workforce or advance their careers more rapidly. Examples of universities offering accelerated master’s programs in civil engineering include:

Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for an online Master’s in Civil Engineering program are determined by the engineering department in collaboration with the university’s graduate school. While some requirements are fixed, each standard criterion may have waivers or prerequisites facilitating admission.  Here are the most common admission requirements for accredited civil engineering programs online:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering: Admission requirements at Online Master of Civil Engineering programs typically require completing a baccalaureate in any major with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some require a baccalaureate, specifically in a civil engineering ABET-accredited institution.
  • GRE scores: Depending on the program and institution, students must take the GRE.  Some programs waive the requirement, using other variables to evaluate applicants, such as professional experience.
  • Prerequisites: Students who have not completed an undergraduate engineering degree may have to complete the prerequisites of specialty leveling courses after being admitted to the program. They may include Analytic Geometry and Calculus, Fluid Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials, Multidimensional Calculus, and Statistics.
  • Recommendation letters: Online MS civil engineering programs may require one to two letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or mentors. They should include research aptitude, job performance, professional ethics, and collegiality.

No GRE Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs

Many universities are now waiving the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requirement for these programs to attract a more diverse pool of applicants. This allows students to focus on their academic achievements, professional experience, and other qualifications when applying for admission. Examples include George Washington University 5, the University of Louisville 6, and the University of California-Berkeley 7.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs

Accreditation is vital for Civil Engineering Graduate Programs as it ensures that institutions maintain high educational standards. Programs accredited by recognized bodies like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology 8, which itself is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation 9, guarantee that students receive a quality education, enhancing their credibility in the job market. Accreditation also ensures that graduates meet industry expectations and are well-prepared for the challenges in the field, contributing to the program’s overall legitimacy and value.

Here are the six primary regional accreditation bodies in the United States.

Find out more about accreditation in the Accreditation Guide.

Free Courses for Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Students

Free online courses for Civil Engineering Master’s offer valuable content, aiding in skill development and knowledge enhancement. While they may lack accreditation, these courses provide insights, practical tools, and supplementary learning, making them beneficial for students seeking additional resources and a broader understanding of civil engineering concepts. Here are a few examples of free civil engineering courses available:

  • Coursera – Construction Management Specialization 16
    The Construction Management specialization is designed for individuals working in the construction and civil engineering field who want to enhance their career prospects. This specialization gives students a deep understanding of the industry, including the most recent advancements and trends.
  • Alison – Diploma in Building Construction Methodology 17
    In this complimentary online diploma course, participants explore principles, advanced technical processes, procedures, and technologies in building construction. Specific aspects of tasks require tools, and safety concerns are highlighted. Completing the course ensures mastery of advanced technologies and technical skills for a successful career in civil engineering. 
  • edX – The Industry and Profession in Construction Management 18
    In this course, students gain insights into construction management by understanding roles and responsibilities, distinguishing industry characteristics, exploring construction sectors, and identifying current trends. They differentiate the roles of construction participants, appraise project team organization models, describe project life cycle tasks, explore construction career paths, and understand the roles of civil engineers, other engineers, and architects in the construction process.

How to Pay for an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Degree

Graduate engineering students will find an abundance of resources to finance their education. Federal and state grants for engineers, scholarships, research stipends, Federal student loans, employer tuition reimbursement programs, and university-paid income share agreement programs exist. Here are some examples of how students can fund their civil engineering master’s degree:


Scholarships lower or completely cover the cost of education for deserving students. Scholarship providers select recipients after reviewing their academic progress and other skills and talents.


Grants are financial awards from organizations, institutions, or government entities to individuals, businesses, or nonprofits for specific projects, research, or initiatives. Unlike loans, grants do not require repayment, making them a valuable source of funding for various purposes. Find a valuable resource at the grants overview of Federal Education Grants for Engineers 19.

Graduate Assistantships

Teaching Assistantship – provides a fee waiver or stipend in exchange for services to the university. This could include working as professors’ assistants, assisting them with instructional constraints, aiding in a lab or workshop, and teaching and demonstrating for undergraduates. Research Assistantship – allows graduate students to assist a professor with their research while reducing their workload.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Employer Tuition Reimbursement is a benefit some employers offer to help employees further their education. This program reimburses employees for a portion or all of their tuition expenses incurred while pursuing additional qualifications or degrees relevant to their job responsibilities. Grad students can search for companies offering reimbursement programs at The Balance20.

Income Share Agreement Programs

Income-share agreement programs21 allow businesses and universities to finance education. In return for underwriting the degree, the institutions require a percentage of future earnings for a set period. They can demand a greater percentage based on income increases, significantly reducing the risk of collapsing under the weight of student loan debt.

Scholarships for Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Students

One of the best ways to pay for schooling is to secure a scholarship to cover or supplement tuition and research fees in earning a Master’s in Civil Engineering online. Engineering scholarships do not have to be repaid.  Some provide monies for tuition and materials, while others include annual cash stipends. Here are a few civil engineering master’s degree scholarships listed below:

Society of Women Engineers Scholarship 22

This scholarship is available to women who are enrolled in ABET-accredited bachelor’s or master’s programs. The scholarship is specifically for those who are preparing for careers in engineering.
Amount: $6,000
Deadline: Varies

Richard H. Crosser Memorial Scholarship Fund 23

The Richard H. Crosser Memorial Scholarship Fund is a tribute to Richard H. Crosser, offering financial aid to students who are pursuing higher education. This scholarship is open to students in different fields of study, including construction management. It provides funding opportunities to help students achieve their educational goals and make a positive impact in their chosen profession.
Amount: Varies
Deadline: Varies

Careers and Salaries for Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Graduates

Civil Engineering is a vast field with so many aspects. Careers for Civil Engineers are also vast, with many fields, titles, and salary ranges. Here are some career titles and salaries for graduates of online master’s in civil engineering graduates:

Job TitleMedian Annual SalaryJob growth (2022 -2032)Job Description
Civil Engineer 24$89,9405% (faster than average)Architectural and engineering managers leverage their architectural or engineering expertise to supervise diverse activities. They may manage and align construction or manufacturing processes encompassing production, operations, quality assurance, testing, and maintenance.
Environmental Engineer 25$96,5306% (faster than average)Environmental engineers apply engineering principles to devise solutions for global environmental challenges. Their tasks may encompass areas such as waste treatment, site remediation, and the development of pollution control technologies.
Construction Managers 26$101,4805% (faster than average)Construction managers collaborate extensively with various building professionals, including architects, civil engineers, and tradespeople like stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Depending on the specific project, construction managers may also engage with lawyers or government officials.
Architectural and Engineering Managers 27$159,920 per year4% (as fast as average)Architectural and engineering managers use their expertise in architecture or engineering to supervise various tasks. They manage and coordinate construction or manufacturing activities related to production, operations, quality assurance, testing, and maintenance.

Certifications and Licensing for Online Master’s Students in Civil Engineering

Obtaining certifications and licensing in civil engineering enhances the professional credibility of online master’s students. Certifications, such as the Professional Engineer (PE) license 28 and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying 29, signify a commitment to ethical standards and demonstrate advanced expertise. These credentials can lead to increased job opportunities, higher earning potential, and eligibility for leadership roles. Ultimately, certifications validate the skills and knowledge gained through an online master’s in civil engineering, providing a competitive edge in the field. Some examples of certifications include:

Resources for Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Students

Students in an accredited civil engineering online master’s program have access to research sources used by their on-campus counterparts. However, there are many online journals, databases, job boards, sample exams, and more for free or low-cost student membership.

  • American Concrete Institute 32
    With 30,000 members spanning over 100 countries, ACI is the premier global community committed to optimizing concrete usage. Featuring enhanced benefits, ACI membership offers insights into global engineering and construction practices, providing an opportunity to save time and money, ultimately boosting productivity and competitiveness.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers 33
    ASCE represents more than 150,000 engineers and students worldwide. Its site includes exam preparation materials, journals, information on licensing, a searchable information database, and more than 600 job listings. Student membership is free.
  • National Society of Professional Engineers 34
    Full-time graduate students are available for free membership in the national society. The organization offers members 15 webinars in continuing education for license renewals, PE/FE exam preparation, ethics resources, and PE Magazine.
  • Civil Engineering Information Center 35
    The center provides many valuable resources, including a job board, networking community, calculation examples, a news center, links to continuing education courses, and an online library with 1,964 documents in 12 categories.

FAQs About Online Civil Engineering Master’s Programs

What is an online Civil Engineering Master’s program?

An online Civil Engineering Master’s program is a graduate-level education delivered through digital platforms, offering advanced study in civil engineering disciplines. Geared toward flexibility and accessibility, it allows students to pursue higher education remotely, preparing them for leadership roles in various civil engineering fields such as structural engineering, transportation, and environmental engineering.

How long does it take to complete an online Civil Engineering Master’s?

Are online Civil Engineering Master’s programs accredited?

Can I work while pursuing an online Civil Engineering Master’s?

Are online Civil Engineering Master’s degrees respected by employers?

How does networking work in online Civil Engineering Master’s programs?

Is a master’s in civil engineering worth it?


Civil Engineer 

 Michigan Technological University

University of Missouri 

University of Oklahoma 

George Washington University

University of Louisville

 University of California-Berkeley 

 Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology 

Council for Higher Education Accreditation

New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) 

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) 

Higher Learning Commission (HLC) 

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) 

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) 

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) 

Coursera- Construction Management Specialization 

Alison- Diploma in Building Construction Methodology 

edX- The Industry and Profession in Construction Management 

Federal Education Grants for Engineers 

The Balance 

Income-share agreement programs 

Society of Women Engineers Scholarship 

Richard H. Crosser Memorial Scholarship Fund 

Civil Engineer 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Environmental Engineer 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Construction Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Architectural and Engineering Managers

Professional Engineer (PE) license 

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Certified Construction Manager (CCM) 

American Concrete Institute

The American Society of Civil Engineers

National Society of Professional Engineers 

Civil Engineering Information Center