Application Process

To Apply

We welcome applications from students interested in pursuing a Civil Engineering M.S. Potential applicants should browse faculty research pages to find potential advisers who are a good fit for your specific research interests. We also recommend you contact the UMD faculty member(s) you are interested in working with to discuss possible research directions and projects with them.

The deadline is January 5th for full consideration of financial support for the following academic year. Applications received after this date will be considered on a rolling basis and if positions are available. 

Please note: Applicants from the United States applying for a part-time study or those who are not applying for financial support are able to apply as late as April 15 for fall semester and October 15 for spring semester. 

Two Paths to Completion

The Master of Science (MS) in Civil Engineering is typically a 2-year program that provides students with in-depth knowledge in a sub-discipline within Civil Engineering. Sub-disciplines are Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. Two options for completing this degree are offered - MS Plan A (Thesis Based) and MS Plan B (Project Based).

The MS Plan A is intended for students pursuing a research emphasis and seeking in-depth knowledge in a sub-discipline of Civil Engineering. The MS Plan A requires an original body of work resulting from research conducted by the student under the supervision of an advisory committee of graduate faculty members. The MS Plan A requires 20 credits of course work and 10 credit thesis (approximately 600 hours of work including writing the report) and is usually completed within two years. 

Course within Civil Engineering6 - 205XXX or 8XXX, selected 4XXX
Course Outside of Civil Engineering0-14Selected 4XXX; 5XXX, 8XXX, must be approved by the student’s advisor and DGS 
Civil Engineering Course Thesis10CE 8777 - Master's Thesis


The MS Plan B is intended to provide additional training to prepare students for a higher level of engineering design work. The degree is more coursework-focused with a capstone project arrange by the student and department adviser. The MS Plan B requires 26 credits of coursework and 4 credits for a project (approximately 240 hours of work including writing of the report), usually completed within one to two years. 

Courses within Civil Engineering6 - 265XXX or 8XXX, selected 4XXX courses
Course Outside of Civil Engineering0 - 18Selected 4XXX; 5XXX, 8XXX
Course Project within Civil Engineering4CE 8094 - Master's Project

Qualifications for Program Admission

The minimum undergraduate GPA for admission to the program is 3.00.

The MS program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering or another engineering discipline. These students should be able to enroll immediately in Civil Engineering 5xxx courses. Students with undergraduate degrees in science disciplines (e.g., physics, chemistry, math) may require additional prerequisite coursework, some of which can be taken concurrently with graduate courses.

Students should consult with the CE director of graduate studies or a faculty member in their sub-discipline for a review and assessment of their specific academic background and prerequisite coursework needs. Students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than engineering should expect to complete several UMD courses (or their equivalents) prior to enrollment. An example list of these prerequisite courses follows:

For studies in structural or materials engineering:

  • CE 2015 Engineering Statics
  • CE 2016 Engineering Mechanics of Materials
  • CE 3115 Structural Analysis or CE 3027 Infrastructure Materials
  • CE 4126 Design of Concrete Structures

For studies in geotechnical engineering:

  • CE 2015 Engineering Statics
  • CE 2016 Engineering Mechanics of Materials
  • CE 3426 Soil Mechanics

For studies in environmental and water resources engineering:

  • CE 3221 Fluid Mechanics
  • CE 3225 Hydrology and Hydraulics or CE 3025 Intro to Environmental Engineering

For studies in transportation engineering:

  • CE 2015 Engineering Statics
  • CE 2016 Engineering Mechanics of Materials
  • CE 3316 Transportation Engineering or CE 3027 Infrastructure Materials

Application Procedures

All materials are submitted electronically through the online application system. An application fee will be required. Before applying, please review the following information: 

In addition to the required information in the online application, please include the following to make sure you are given proper consideration:

  • Personal Statement (limit to one page)
  • Diversity Statement (limit to one page)
  • CV or Resume - Please list your technical publications and conference presentations. CV or resume should be uploaded in the Materials section.
  • Unofficial transcripts - If admitted, the University will then require official transcripts.
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency - Required only for international applicants where native language is not English (see tab below for more information)
  • Two letters of recommendation - Not required from current UMD Civil Engineering undergraduate students unless applying for the Integrated BS/MS Degree (IDP) program.
  • (optional) GRE Score - Applicants are not required to submit GRE scores as part of the application requirements but may submit GRE scores if they feel the scores will enhance their application. The CE MS Admissions Committee will use a holistic approach to evaluating applications.
Recommendation Letters
  • Recommendation letters should be requested from two persons familiar with your performance in an academic or non-academic (i.e. work) setting and who can comment on your potential for success in graduate school. Preference is for recommenders from academia.
  • We request that recommenders address the following points: the capacity in which they know you-- as a teacher, research advisor, work supervisor, etc. and for how long; your academic (or work) record and accomplishments; and their assessment of your ability to succeed in graduate-level coursework and research.
  • Recommendation letters are not required for current UMD Civil Engineering undergraduate students unless applying for the Integrated BS/MS Degree (IDP) program.
English Language Test Scores
  • Proof of English language proficiency is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English, except those who have completed 24 quarter credits or 16 semester credits (within the last 24 months) in residence as a full-time student at a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States before entering the University of Minnesota. Civil Engineering follows the operational standard for admission to the Graduate School. 

Integrated BS/MS Degree Program - MS IDP

The Swenson College of Science and Engineering offers an integrated Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BS-Civil Engineering and Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS-Civil Engineering) degree. The integrated B.S.-Civil Engineering/M.S.-Civil Engineering program offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in five years. The integrated program offers several benefits: streamlined admissions from the undergraduate to the graduate program and flexibility in fulfilling required courses for both degrees during the senior year (up to 9 credits of 5xxx level coursework can be applied to the MS-Civil Engineering).

Eligibility requirements for IDP: UMD Undergraduate students must be admitted to the Integrated BS/MS Degree (IDP) program prior to taking courses that count toward graduate credits. Students must apply to the IDP program at least two semesters before completing their BSCE degree. It is expected that students in the IDP program will complete a thesis-based (Plan A) MS degree. Both the BS-Civil Engineering and MS-Civil Engineering degrees must be completed in their entirety. The graduate degree cannot be earned before the undergraduate requirements are satisfied.

IDP application deadline
  • October 15th for Spring admission
  • April 15th for Fall admission
IDP application requirements
  • Letters of recommendation from two Civil Engineering faculty members
  • Minimum GPA of 3.35
  • Students must apply to IDP program at least two semesters before completing BSCE degree
  • Admission preference will be given to students committed to completing a thesis-based (Plan A) MS degree

Students that are interested are encouraged to begin talking with their advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Department Head about this opportunity early in their undergraduate program. 

Timeline for application review and decision

A decision for admission will be emailed to you after your application has been carefully reviewed by the department’s admission committee and your transcripts and any credentials (test reports, diploma copies, etc.) have been authenticated by Graduate School officials. Typically application review occurs in February for the following fall semester. At other times of the year application review occurs on a rolling basis (typically within 4 weeks of application).

The decision for funding (GTA or GRA) will be made separately from program admission. We encourage potential applicants to contact faculty in their interest area to discuss the availability of funding. Funding decisions are typically made in March and April for the following fall semester.

Follow these instructions to check the status of your application.