MS in Civil Engineering

Total units required for the MS: 30 - Includes research or independent study and units required in area of specialization (see Program Requirements below)

Program Description

Civil Engineering encompasses a broad range of professional activities. The four years of undergraduate preparation for the Bachelor of Science degree are devoted to fundamental analytical principles and basic design applications. For technical competence in specialized areas and continued effectiveness on the job, graduate study is becoming increasingly necessary.

The Civil Engineering Department offers a graduate program of study leading to a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering in the following areas of specialization:

  • Environmental/Water Quality Engineering - water quality analysis and management, water, and waste treatment;
  • Geotechnical Engineering - properties and behavior of soil and their application to design of foundation, retaining structures, earth dams and slopes, soil improvement and ground stabilization, geosynthetics inclusions, and soil dynamics, and earthquake engineering;
  • Structural Engineering - earthquake resistant steel and concrete design applied to buildings and bridges, structural dynamics, structural mechanics, and finite element methods;
  • Transportation Engineering - Transportation engineering and planning, traffic flow theory, and system management applicable to all modes with emphasis on highway and multi modal transportation; interdisciplinary study with other areas of Civil Engineering as well as with non-engineering areas (e.g., Environmental Studies, Geography, Public Policy & Administration, and Business Administration) may also be arranged; and
  • Water Resources Engineering - advanced hydraulics and modern hydrologic techniques, flood forecasting, groundwater flow modeling, water resources management, and policy formulation.

Each area of concentration consists of a set of core courses, a choice of electives, and culminating requirements; all selected by the student and approved by an advisor. Practicing engineers who do not have a degree objective may choose to enroll in selected courses as part of a continuing education program.

Graduate students can also elect an emphasis in Engineering Management by taking elective courses in the College of Business Administration. Graduate students who are interested in this option can select up to 9 units of foundation courses and/or graduate business classes (refer to College of Business Administration catalog for listing of courses). Individual programs can be tailored with a faculty advisor.

Graduate brochures specifically describing the program in each area are available in the Department Office. Some graduate assistantships are available to qualified students. Application forms for these can be obtained from the Department or from the Office of Graduate Studies, River Front Center 215, (916) 278-6470.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in Civil Engineering requires:

  • an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering; and
  • a minimum 2.8 GPA both overall and in upper division engineering courses.

In addition, the merit of past academic endeavor, potential for future study, and professional goals may also be considered for granting admission.

Applicants who have deficiencies in admission requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be admitted with conditionally classified graduate status.

Students with a baccalaureate degree in engineering majors other than Civil Engineering (e.g., Electrical and Electronic, Industrial, Mechanical, or Surveying) or in other non-engineering scientific disciplines (e.g., Mathematics, Physics, or Geology) who wish to pursue the graduate program in Civil Engineering may be considered on an individual basis. Such students may be admitted as conditionally classified students and will be required to complete a specifically designed list of undergraduate prerequisite courses in engineering and/or mathematics, physics, and chemistry to correct undergraduate deficiencies. Such a student must have an approved study program on file with the Department while undertaking this qualifying work. Upon completion of these courses with a GPA of 2.8 or better, the student may apply for classified graduate status in Civil Engineering.

Admission Procedures

All prospective graduate students, including Sacramento State graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies:

  • an online application for admission; and
  • two sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.
  • GRE scores if a student does not have an ABET-accredited engineering degree or meet the minimum 2.8 GPA requirement.

For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Approximately six weeks after receipt of all items listed above, a decision regarding admission will be mailed to the applicant. After being admitted, students must meet with an advisor and complete a Graduate Student Advising Form (obtainable in the Civil Engineering Department). This advising form must be kept current and on file in the Department Office.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirements for the Degree

Total units Required for the MS:  30; includes research or independent study and units required in area of concentration (see Program Requirements below)

Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0.  No course in the program of study may have a grade below "C+".

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • obtained classified graduate status;
  • completed at least 12 units in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, including at least three courses at the 200-level;
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver; and
  • selected and obtained approval for a culminating requirement (Plan A, B, or C).

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available in the Department and in the Office of Graduate Studies. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with his or her faculty advisor. The completed form is then approved by the Graduate Coordinator of the Department and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies.

All graduate degree programs are subject to general University requirements for graduate degrees, explained in the Graduate Studies section of this catalog.

Program Requirements

Required coursework (18 Units)
Core Courses
15 units are required as outlined in the Core Courses section below15
Select one of the following: 13
Engineering Analysis I
Engineering Analysis II
Engineering Statistics
Elective Courses6 - 9
Select 6 or 9 units of electives 2,3
Culminating Requirement3 - 6
Select one of the following CE 500 requirements: 3
Plan A
Master's Thesis (3 or 6 units) Approval by the faculty thesis advisor and by a second faculty or an expert in the area of study is required. The thesis must comply with University standards for format and is filed in the University Library. The Master's Thesis should be the written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyze the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. The work should be associated with engineering research or innovation. No more than 3 units may be awarded for a topic directly related to a topic studied of CE 299. A public presentation is required.
Plan B
Master's Project (3 or 6 units) Approval by the faculty thesis advisor and by a second faculty or an expert in the area of study is required. A Master's Project should be a significant undertaking appropriate to the engineering profession. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and rationale. It is described and summarized in a written report that includes a discussion of the project's significance, objectives, methodology and a conclusion or recommendation. The work should be associated with practical engineering applications. The report must comply with University standards for format and will be filed in the University Library. No more than 3 units may be awarded for a topic directly related to a topic studied for CE 299. A public presentation is required.
Plan C
Directed Study (3 units) and Comprehensive Examination (0 units). Approval of one faculty member is required for Directed Study. The comprehensive examination is administered by a committee of three faculty members. A public presentation is required on the directed study. The format of the comprehensive examination can be written, oral, or both.
Total Units30

Core Courses

Units required: 15 -- a minimum of 12 units must be taken from one of the following five areas of specialization. Up to 3 units can be satisfied by 200 level coursework (not including CE 299) outside the chosen area of specialization.

Environmental/Water Quality Engineering (21 Units)
CE 250Systems Analysis of Resources Development3
CE 252AEnvironmental Quality Processes I3
CE 252BEnvironmental Quality Processes II3
CE 252CEnvironmental Quality Processes III3
CE 254Water Quality Management3
CE 255Transport of Chemicals in Soil Systems3
CE 276Groundwater Hydrology3
Geotechnical Engineering (21 Units)
CE 280AAdvanced Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering I3
CE 280BAdvanced Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering II3
CE 280CGeotechnical Modeling3
CE 283Ground Modification Engineering3
CE 284Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering3
CE 285Geosynthetics I3
CE 286Geosynthetics II3
Structural Engineering (21 Units)
CE 231AComputer Methods of Structural Analysis I3
CE 231BComputer Methods of Structural Analysis II3
CE 232Nonlinear Structural Analysis3
CE 234Dynamics and Earthquake Response of Structures3
CE 235Advanced Steel Design3
CE 266Advanced Design in Reinforced Concrete3
CE 267Structural Systems for Buildings3
Transportation Engineering (18 Units)
CE 261Transportation Planning3
CE 262Advanced Transportation Facility Design3
CE 263Traffic Flow Theory3
CE 265Analysis and Control of Traffic Systems3
CE 269Pavement Design3
CE 285Geosynthetics I3
Water Resources Engineering (18 Units)
CE 250Systems Analysis of Resources Development3
CE 251Water Resources Planning3
CE 271Modern Hydrologic Techniques3
CE 272Advanced Engineering Hydraulics3
CE 274Hydrologic Modeling3
CE 276Groundwater Hydrology3