M.S. and Ph.D. in civil & environmental engineering

Our nationally ranked graduate program lets you work with top faculty in world-class experimental facilities.

Program at a glance

Degrees offered

  • M.S. in civil & environmental engineering
  • Ph.D. in civil & environmental engineering

Application deadlines

  • Fall Semester: January 15
  • Spring Semester: September 1

Admissions requirements

  • Minimum GPA: 3.25
  • Minimum TOEFL: 550 (PBT) or 79 (IBT)
 

Admissions requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. in civil & environmental engineering

Admission to the M.S. or Ph.D. program requires a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field such as biology, chemistry, math or physics. Other disciplines will be considered provided prerequisite courses in math, science and basic engineering are completed.

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  • GPA

    M.S. applicants: A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0

    Ph.D. applicants without an MS degree: A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.25 

    Ph.D. applicants with an MS degree: A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 &  a minimum MS GPA of 3.5 

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume

    M.S. and Ph.D. applicants: Please submit a curriculum vitae or resume with application.

  • TOEFL

    For international applicants to both the M.S. and Ph.D. program: A minimum TOEFL of 79 or IELTS of 6.5 

  • Personal statement

    M.S. applicants and Ph.D. applicants: A personal statement describing research interests and career goals.

  • Letter of recommendation

    M.S. and Ph.D. applicants: Three letters of recommendation (either from academic or industry advisors)

    Please note you do not need to upload letters. Your recommenders will be notified by email after you complete your online application.

How to apply

You can start your application through The Graduate School website, which provides detailed instructions on the application process.

Deadline for applications and fellowship consideration is:

  • January 15 for fall semester enrollment
  • September 1 for spring semester enrollment 

 

Courses and curriculum

Requirements for the M.S. in civil and environmental engineering

Students in the master's degree program in civil and environmental  engineering can choose from two degree options:

Plan A (thesis option) requirements

This option combines coursework with a research-based thesis written on a topic within your specialty.

  1. Meet advisor about courses. Select permanent advisor.  Deadline: By end of 1st semester.
  2. Establish advisory committee.  Deadline: After completing 12 credits.
  3. Submit program of study form.  Deadline: One semester prior to graduation.
  4. Complete courses and research requirements.
  5. Apply for graduation.  Deadline: During final semester.
  6. Defend thesis.  Deadline: During final semester.

Plan B  (Non-thesis option) requirements

This option combines coursework with a comprehensive examination, which has both an oral and written component. The comprehensive exam covers core topics in civil and environmental engineering as well as topics within your areas of expertise. Specific questions will be determined by your primary advisor and examining committee.

  1. Meet advisor about courses. Select permanent advisor.  Deadline: By end of 1st semester.
  2. Establish examining committee.  Deadline: After completing 12 credits.
  3. Submit program of study form.  Deadline: One semester prior to graduation.
  4. Complete course requirements.
  5. Apply for graduation.  Deadline: During final semester.
  6. Complete comprehensive exam.  Deadline: During final semester.

You don't need to decide whether you want to pursue Plan A or Plan B when you apply, but you are encouraged to meet with the graduate director to discuss your coursework and plan for graduate school.

Students in the master's degree program can choose from five areas of specializationSpecific coursework requirements vary for each specialty. Our students work closely with faculty advisors to design a course of study that meets degree requirements and prepares them to write a thesis or pass comprehensive exams in their area of expertise. 

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Introducing our one-year M.S. program

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Nevada, Reno is pleased to announce that graduate program requirements have been consolidated and streamlined allowing prospective M.S. students to complete their course work in 1 year. Both MS Plan A (thesis option) and MS Plan B (coursework option) require a minimum of 26 credits. These program modifcations support technical specialization for early and mid-career individuals with minimal life and career disruption.

Time to degree

  • All required courses as well as a number of elective courses will be ofered on a yearly rotation.
  • Full- time students can expect to complete an MS Plan B in 9 months (mid-August to mid-May), by taking 13 credits (4 classes plus 1 hour seminar) in each of 2 semesters.
  • Working students can expect to complete an MS Plan B in 2-3 years by taking 1 to 2 classes per semester.
  • Most courses will be offered in a hybrid or mixed-mode (part in-person and part online) format to support remote learners. Contact cee@unr

Why Choose CEE @ The University of Nevada, Reno

Forty-five minutes from world-famous Lake Tahoe, the University of Nevada, Reno is an R1 Carnegie Research Institution, a designation reserved for doctoral universities with the highest levels of research activity. The Department’s graduate programs are nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report: #55 in Civil Engineering and #59 in Environmental Engineering.

Requirements for the Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering

Students in the Ph.D. program  are involved in substantial original research, and in advancing scientific knowledge in specific areas. You will work closely with your graduate advisor to select your courses and develop your program of study.

There are three main requirements for the PhD. in civil and environmental engineering: required and elective coursework, comprehensive exams, and a research-based dissertation. 

  1. Complete qualifying exams. Deadline:Within first year.
  2. Establish advisory/examining committee.  Deadline: After qualifying exams and 12 credits.
  3. Prepare research proposal for examining committee. Deadline: Within two-three years.
  4. Submit program of study form.
  5. Complete comprehensive exams  Deadline: After completing 75 percent of coursework
  6. Complete coursework and research.
  7. Apply for graduation.  Deadline: During final semester.
  8. Defend dissertation.  Deadline: During final semester.

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Program cost and scholarships

Program cost

Information about graduate student tuition and fees is available on The Graduate School website.

Graduate assistantships

Our department offers both teaching and research assistantships to master's and Ph.D. students. Awards are made on the basis of scholarship and promise for outstanding achievement. Your GPA, GRE scores, statement of purpose and letters of recommendation are all factors when awarding assistantships. You do not need to submit a separate application to be considered for available teaching assistantships, but you should contact faculty directly to learn about available research assistantships.

Ph.D. fellowships in structural engineering

Ph.D. students in structural engineering may be eligible for a GAANN fellowship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Learn more about GAANN fellowships at the University of  Nevada, Reno

College of Engineering graduate assistantships

Details on graduate research assistantships funded by the College of Engineering are available on the College website.

Funding resources from the Graduate School

The Graduate School maintains lists of additional funding opportunities from both University and external sources

Funding resources for international students

Information about scholarships and financial aid for international students is also available on the Office of International Students and Scholars website.

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