Civil Engineering, Master of Science

Department of Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and Environmental Engineering

College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences

This program assists students who wish to further their engineering education and acquire the knowledge and skills to tackle important engineering challenges, including resilience and sustainability. The plan of study features real-world relevancy and considers how sustainable and resilient systems impact economics, design, and usability.

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 30
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Thesis Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Individualized research is required.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan Optional

Purpose Statement

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering aims to educate civil engineers to conduct analytical and experimental studies in the areas of water resources, transportation, structural, and geotechnical engineering. Examples of content areas include quantitative techniques for restoring natural stream channels, modeling and designing intelligent transportation systems, studies of the theoretical underpinnings of advanced structural analysis and design software, and sustainable engineering materials. The learning experiences provided by the program prepare students to enter the workforce with advanced skills or to pursue further studies in a doctoral program. The program also aims at increasing competitiveness in the local, regional, and global markets, advancing existing careers, or serving as a gateway to the PhD degree.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply graduate level critical thinking skills to formulate and solve advanced civil engineering (CE) problems.
    • Examine, analyze, and explicate contemporary CE topics and assess and apply specific CE computational tools.
    • Identify, formulate, and solve advanced CE problems.
    • Synthesize, explain, verify, and justify solutions to complex CE problems.
  • Demonstrate the ability to independently and creatively design and conduct research studies.
    • Assess the state of the art in their field of study, including a thorough literature review.
    • Design a research study of personal or professional interest and importance including: planning, organizing, scheduling, and executing the project with the guidance and input of their thesis advisor.
    • Apply independently and creatively appropriate CE and cross-disciplinary engineering theories and tools towards finding a viable solution to the thesis topic.
    • Perform and interpret complex quantitative analyses specific to the thesis.
    • Communicate effectively the results of a comprehensive research study through oral presentations and publications:
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of the research study and the implications of the resulting data
    • Synthesize and present the relevance of the research study in both technical and non-technical terms.
    • Conduct an oral thesis defense to a community of engineering faculty and peers.
    • Create a publishable paper reflecting the integration of knowledge acquired through the research study.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts.
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy.
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • GRE® revised General Test
    • BS degree in Engineering or completion of prerequisite courses (see department website for details)
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
Master's Requirements
  • This Master’s degree requires 30 units distributed as follows:

    • Graduate-level mathematics or statistics: 3 units
    • Civil Engineering Coursework: 12 units
    • Additional Electives selected in consultation with your advisor: 9 units
    • Select a Thesis or Non-Thesis Option: 6 units

    Take the following 30 units:

    • Graduate-level mathematics or statistics (3 units)
    • Select from the following: (12 units)
    • Additional electives in consultation with your advisor (9 units):
      • A maximum of two courses, up to 6 units, may be at the 400-level.
      • You must complete at least 18 hours of formal coursework, other than such individualized studies as independent study, directed readings, thesis and research.
    • Select one: (6 units)
      • Thesis: CENE 699 for the completion and final defense of approved thesis.
      • Non-Thesis option: additional CENE electives of CENE 690 (Project)

    Since the Civil Engineering MS program emphasizes interdisciplinary topics, students may wish to take courses outside of their primary emphasis area. Some courses may require prior completion of prerequisite courses. Other requirements for Civil Engineering Master of Science students include the following:
    • You are responsible for choosing the chair and members of your advisory committee before completing 9 units of coursework.
    • You must submit a plan of study that lists all coursework intended to satisfy the MS degree requirements by the first month of the semester in which you take your 10th credit. The elective and math/statistics courses are selected in consultation with and acceptable to the student's graduate committee and its chair.
    • Note that if you pursue the Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree at NAU, you will not be able to pursue the Master of Science in Environmental Engineering degree. Only one of the two degrees will be awarded.
Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan wherein a student may start a Master's degree while simultaneously completing their Bachelor's degree.

  • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $450 per semester has been approved for this program.