CEE Graduate Programs

Welcome! The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UVa offers several options for advanced study. An advanced degree can enhance employment options in industry, government, or academia.


We offer four types of degrees:

  • Master of Engineering (ME)
    • On-Grounds Professional Master’s Program
    • Distance-Learning Master’s Program for Working Professionals
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

About the Degrees

The ME degree is a coursework-based degree without thesis. It is intended for individuals who seek to deepen their training in Civil and Environmental Engineering in preparation for a career in Civil Engineering or other closely related fields. Students may elect to pursue the ME degree on-Grounds in Charlottesville or remotely via the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP).

The MS and PhD degrees comprise both coursework and research, as means to deepen a student’s understanding of a sub-specialty within our field. Each of these degrees culminates in a unique contribution to the body of knowledge within Civil or Environmental Engineering.

Graduate Admissions

We seek motivated students from diverse backgrounds who are eager to partner with us in education and discovery. Information about academic eligibility and the admissions process are available from the SEAS Graduate Admission page. All applications are submitted online. Our application deadlines are: January 15 to start in a fall semester, or December 1 to start in a spring semester. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required for ME applicants, but it is required for MS and PhD applicants.

Application fee waivers are available to eligible applicants.

Inquiries and Additional Information

Applicants can contact the CEE Graduate Program Coordinator with questions about admissions or the curricula: civil@virginia.edu.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/grad.html.

  • Professional Masters Degree (ME) On Grounds

    Purpose and Overview

    The Master’s of Engineering (ME) degree offers excellent preparation for a career as a practicing Civil Engineer. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which is the governing body for civil engineering practice in the US, recommends a Master’s degree for persons seeking employment and licensure as a civil engineer.[1] It is widely accepted that the Master’s degree offers students the opportunity to specialize within the broad field civil engineering

    The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at UVA offers four “tracks” to the ME degree, each corresponding to a sub-specialty within CEE. Click on the program name below to view the corresponding curriculum. Note that each curriculum contains a footnote summarizing required pre-requisite undergraduate courses for the track. In some instances, certain pre-requisites can be taken concurrently with graduate courses. Also, each of the tracks can be modified with approval from the graduate adviser and the CEE Graduate Director.

    For each track, students complete 30 credits of graded graduate coursework. A thesis is not required; however, all students are encouraged to pursue a research-based project or a paid/unpaid professional internship for course credit as CE 6995. Each of the four tracks can be completed in as little as one year by students who have a BS in CEE or a closely related field.

    Scholarship Opportunities

    Our department is pleased to award the Thornton Scholarship to selected, especially well-qualified ME candidates. These awards are based on outstanding academic qualifications and commitment to a career in the practice of civil or environmental engineering, as demonstrated in the candidate’s application materials and Statement of Purpose. Recipients receive $5000 per academic year, and up to five awards are given annually.

    Special Circumstances

    Students pursuing a BS in CEE at UVA are encouraged to start the CEE ME during their fourth-year, with appropriate guidance from their academic advisor and approval from course instructors (as necessary). 4000-level classes may not be used towards the ME; therefore, students are encouraged to take 6000-level classes with instructor approval.

    Students without a BS in CEE may apply for admission to the CEE ME program; however, they must complete certain pre-requisite or co-requisite courses. Each track has its own pre-requisites, which are noted in the links above. If accepted, the student will work with his/her academic advisor to map out an appropriate sequence of courses towards the degree.

    All students may transfer up to 12 graduate credits towards the ME at UVA. Transfer credits must not have been required for completion of a previously awarded undergraduate or graduate degree, and only grades of B or better will be accepted. All transfer credits are subject to the approval of the CEE department and the SEAS Dean’s Office

    [1] ASCE POLICY STATEMENT 465 – ACADEMIC PREREQUISITES FOR LICENSURE AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

    The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/grad.html.

  • Distance-Learning Master's Program for Working Professionals

    For more information, please see http://cgep.virginia.edu/

  • Research-Based Graduate Degrees (Masters of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))

    MS and PhD students play a critical role in our department’s research and teaching enterprise, partnering with the faculty to deliver excellence in education and discovery. As such, they typically receive financial support from their adviser and/or the department to cover the costs of their tuition, health insurance, and stipend. This support can take the form of a graduate research assistantship (GRA) or graduate teaching assistantship (GTA). The paragraphs below summarize our department’s expectations and opportunities for research-active graduate students.

    MS Program Requirements

    Coursework. The MS in CEE requires 30 credits of coursework and research beyond the BS, of which at least 12 credits must be taken within CEE.

    Thesis and Committee. MS students will work with their adviser to identify a suitable Master’s research topic. Up to six of the 30 credits towards the MS will typically comprise thesis research via the CE 8999 listing. The MS candidate and his/her adviser will also select a MS thesis committee comprising at least three UVA faculty members. One of these three members may be from outside of CEE. The thesis committee must review and approve the student’s academic requirement report, written thesis, and oral thesis defense. MS students should check the accuracy and completeness of their Academic Requirements Report in SIS frequently, at least at the start and end of each semester, in consultation with their faculty adviser.

    Seminar Series. As members of our community of scholars, MS students are expected to attend and participate in the coordination of the CEE Seminar Series. Students will have the opportunity to invite and host speakers of interest, together with their adviser and research group.

    Training and Engagement. MS students are expected to be good citizens of the department by engaging in required training activities and participating in departmental activities (e.g., symposia, workshops, social events, etc.)

    Additional Considerations. Candidates must satisfy all SEAS requirements for the MS.

    PhD Program Requirements

    Coursework. The PhD in CEE requires 72 credits of coursework and research beyond the BS .This must include a minimum of 24 hours of formal course work. The remainder of these credits will typically comprise thesis or dissertation research via the CE 8999 (MS) or CE 9999 (PhD) listings.

    Milestones. The three main milestones towards completion of the PhD include: the Qualifying Exam, the Dissertation Proposal, and the Dissertation Defense. Completion of these requirements is tracked via the Academic Requirements Report in SIS. PhD students should check the accuracy and completeness of their Academic Requirements Report frequently, at least at the start and end of each semester, in consultation with their faculty adviser. Timing and other specifications of the three PhD milestones are outlined below.

    • Qualifying Exam. PhD students will confer with their adviser to determine when they should take the CEE Qualifying Exam, generally within 1-2 years of starting the doctoral program. The purpose of the exam is to assess the student’s core knowledge within their CEE focus area and evaluate their research abilities. The exam will comprise both a written and oral component. The timing and format of this exam will vary based on the student’s committee, which must comprise at least four faculty members at the time of the exam. The committee will convene to evaluate the student’s performance on the exam and also review a printed out version of his/her Academic Requirements Report (from SIS). At this time, the committee may make recommendations about additional coursework or other topics. The Academic Requirements Report should be revised accordingly, and a fifth member may be named for the doctoral committee. The documentation certifying completion of the CEE Qualifying Exam will not be filed until an approved, annotated version of Academic Requirements Report has been appropriately updated with departmental staff.
    • Dissertation Proposal. Within one year after successfully completing the Qualifying Exam, a doctoral student should write and defend a dissertation proposal. The purpose of the proposal is three-fold:
      1. To advise the student on general approaches and specific techniques that may be helpful in the proposed research.
      2. To determine whether the proposed work, if completed, would provide the basis for an acceptable dissertation.
      3. To determine if the student’s knowledge of the area chosen for research and the pertinent literature is adequate.

    The timing of the proposal defense is also at the discretion of the doctoral committee. The committee will convene to evaluate the student’s performance on the exam and also review a printed out version of his/her Academic Requirements Report (from SIS). If the committee is satisfied with the proposal and the Academic Requirements Report, the student will be officially classified as a doctoral candidate. The documentation certifying successful completion of the Dissertation Proposal will not be filed until an approved, annotated version of Academic Requirements Report has been appropriately updated with departmental staff.

    • Dissertation Defense. Upon completion of appropriate coursework, the proposed dissertation research, and other departmental requirements, the PhD candidate will write and defend his/her dissertation. This may occur no earlier than one semester after completion of the dissertation proposal. The format of the dissertation is at the discretion of the student’s committee, taking the form of either a single monograph or an integrated compendium of at least three papers or manuscripts. Regardless of its form, the document must represent a substantial and cohesive body of work and make a clear contribution to the student’s field. The student should adhere to copyright requirements and documentation requirements associated with submitting any previously published work in their dissertation.The dissertation defense will be open to the public. An open forum is intended to foster a broader awareness of ongoing graduate research and promote scholarly dialogue.  For these reasons, graduate students, faculty, and staff are expected to participate regularly in dissertation defenses.  If the committee is satisfied with the dissertation, the degree will be conferred.

    Seminar Series. As members of our community of scholars, PhD students are expected to attend and participate in the coordination of the CEE Seminar Series. Students will have the opportunity to invite and host speakers of interest, together with their adviser and research group. Doctoral students may also be invited to present their work as part of the seminar series.

    Additional Training Requirements. Education and scholarship are critical components of the PhD formation process. As such, each doctoral student must serve as a graduate teaching assistant for at least two semesters. Each PhD candidate must also be first author on at least one published (or accepted) peer-reviewed journal papers prior to scheduling his or her final defense.

    Training and Engagement. Doctoral students are expected to be good citizens of the department by engaging in required training activities and participating in departmental activities (e.g., symposia, workshops, social events, etc.)

    Additional Considerations. Candidates must satisfy all SEAS requirements for the PhD.

    Opportunities for Professional Development

    The CEE Department is committed to the success of its graduate students during and after completion of their degrees. As such, we are pleased to offer the following opportunities for professional development.

    Awards and Recognition. Our department offers two prestigious awards to recognize excellence in research and teaching by our graduate students. A committee of faculty members solicits nominations for the Outstanding Graduate Research Award and the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award from faculty and students. Winners are announced at the annual end-of-year celebration. The recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award is typically nominated for similar honors at the SEAS and University levels. The recipient of the Outstanding Research Award is typically invited to present his/her dissertation research as part of the CEE Seminar Series.

    Teaching Training. Excellence in undergraduate instruction is at the heart of UVa’s mission. As such, we strive to develop the teaching skills of our doctoral candidates. This is done in partnership with UVa’s renowned Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), most notably their “Tomorrow’s Professor Today” and “Teaching + Technology Support Partners” programs. We are committed to supporting our graduate students’ professional development and preparation for academic careers.

    Travel Grants.The purpose of the CEE Graduate Travel Grant Award is to allow PhD students to showcase their research and network at well-recognized conferences. Each PhD student is eligible to receive one-time Travel Grant Award up to $1500 if the student is recommended by his/her advisor. To receive the Award, faculty advisor should submit the application package including accepted paper, estimated budget, and planned activities at the conference to the Graduate Director.

     

    The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/grad.html.

  • Forms

    Important forms for graduate students

    (for more information on these forms, please contact your particular graduate program coordinator and director):

    If you want to: Complete this form:

    Ph.D.: Request appointment of your advisory committee.

    Doctoral Advisory Committee
    (may be re-submitted if changed)

    Ph.D.: Submit a report of your Ph.D. (qualifying, preliminary, comprehensive) examination.
    You MUST also submit the program-specific qualifying exam assessment form (below).

    Ph.D. Examination Report
    and Program Specific Qualifying Exam Report (see below)

    Ph.D.: Submit documentation of dissertation proposal, to be completed at the Proposal Examination. (replaces form G108)
    You MUST also submit the Engineering Dissertation Proposal Assessment form.

    Dissertation Proposal
    and Engineering Dissertation Proposal Assessment

    MS and Ph.D.: Request appointment of your final examination (defense) committee.

    Final Examination Committee

    MS and Ph.D.: Submit a report of Final Examination, to be completed at exam.
    You MUST also submit a Thesis and Dissertation Assessment form and (Ph.D. only) a certificate of completion of the on-line Survey of Earned Doctorates.

    Report on Final Examination
    and Thesis and Dissertation Assessment

    Survey of Earned Doctorates

    MS and Ph.D.: Official Cover and Approval pages which include the dean’s signature, to be completed at the final exam or after required corrections are complete.
    No faculty/committee signatures are needed for these pages which become the first two pages of the thesis/dissertation.

    Thesis/Dissertation Cover and Approval Pages

    ALL Degrees: Request change, exception or waiver to UVA Engineering academic requirements.

    Request Requirement Change, Exception or Waiver

    MS/ME: Request approval of transfer credits/courses—will appear on UVA transcript (limit 6 in MS/12 in ME/ 15 in CGEP).
    Must be processed at least two weeks prior to graduation (including receipt of official transcript with final grade).

    Request Approval of Transfer Credits

    ALL Degrees: Request change of program/department or degree.

    Request Program Plan Change

    Students should use this form to request a change of enrollment limit/status in order to switch from or to full/part-time
    (12 credits is full-time, less than 12 is part-time)

    Change of Enrollment Limit/Status

    MS and Ph.D.: Request use of UVA Engineering graduate-level (=>5000) courses taken while a UVA undergraduate student.
    Courses must have NOT been used for the undergraduate degree.

    SEAS Graduate Course Approval

    Students should use this form only to make schedule changes that cannot be made by using SIS.

    UREG’s Online Course Action Form

    Outcome Assessment Forms:

     

    Program-specific Qualifying Exam Forms:

    The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/grad.html.