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 Engineering - analysis, design, and management of natural and engineered water systems including drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater; solid and hazardous waste management and regulations; air quality management and pollution control technologies;
  • Geotechnical Engineering - properties and behavior of soil; seepage analysis with application to design of foundation, retaining structures, earth dams and slopes; soil improvement and ground stabilization; geosynthetics inclusions, soil dynamics, and earthquake engineering;
  • Structural Engineering - advanced structural analysis methods; structural systems; advanced concrete and steel analysis and design applied to buildings and bridges; seismic analysis and design;
  • 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 may also be arranged; and
  • Water Resources Engineering - advanced hydraulics and hydrologic design and analysis of water systems, modeling of hydraulic and hydrologic water systems, hydrometeorology analysis, steady and non-steady analysis of groundwater movement of confined and unconfined aquifers, modeling of groundwater movement, and planning, management, and operation of water resource systems.

The MS in Civil Engineering consists of a choice of courses within a specialization, a choice of elective courses, a writing intensive course, a mathematics or statistics course, and culminating requirements; all selected by the student and approved by an advisor.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in Civil Engineering requires:

  • an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering; and
  • a minimum 2.8 GPA.

In addition, the merit of past academic endeavor and/or professional experience, potential for future study, and professional goals may also be considered for granting admission through submission of the civil engineering department supplemental application form.

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 submit:

  • an online application for admission; and
  • one set of official transcript from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.
  • Civil Engineering department supplemental application form included in the online application.
  • GRE test score if a student does not have an ABET-accredited engineering degree.
  • GRE test score if a student does not meet the minimum 2.8 GPA requirement.

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

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 specializations (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 Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in the degree program within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento; and
  • selected and obtained approval for a culminating requirement (Plan A, B, or C).

Advancement to Candidacy form is submitted online. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with their faculty advisor. The completed form is then approved by the Graduate Coordinator of the Department and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. Any subsequent deviations from an approved Advancement to Candidacy form would require the submission of a petition for exception form.

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

Program Requirements

Total number of required units for degree is 30. Variable units are listed due to variable culminating requirement units.

Specialization Courses (15 Units)
15 units are required as outlined in the Specialization Courses section below15
Mathematics/Statistics (3 Units)
Select one of the following: 13
Engineering Analysis I
Engineering Analysis II
Engineering Statistics
Writing (3 Units)
CE 200Civil Engineering Professional Writing 3
Elective Courses (3-6 Units)
Select 3 or 6 units of electives 2,33 - 6
Culminating Requirement (3-6 Units)
Select one of the following CE 500 requirements: 33 - 6
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 with Comprehensive Exam (3 units). Approval of one faculty member is required for Directed Study. The comprehensive examination is administered by a committee of three faculty members. A written report and a public presentation are required on the directed study. The format of the comprehensive examination can be written, oral, or both.

Specialization 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 Engineering
Groundwater Hydrology
Environmental Quality Processes I
Environmental Quality Processes II
Environmental Quality Processes III
Water Quality Management
Transport of Chemicals in Soil Systems
Systems Analysis of Resources Development
Geotechnical Engineering
Advanced Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering I
Advanced Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering II
Geotechnical Modeling
Ground Modification Engineering
Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Structural Engineering
Matrix Structural Analysis
Finite Element Analysis
Nonlinear Structural Analysis
Advanced Steel Design
Advanced Design in Reinforced Concrete
Dynamics and Earthquake Response of Structures
Structural Systems for Buildings
Pre-stressed Concrete Bridge Design
Transportation Engineering
Analysis and Control of Traffic Systems
Transportation Planning
Traffic Flow Theory
Advanced Transportation Facility Design
Pavement Design
CE 275 Geosynthetics
Water Resources Engineering
Water Resources Planning
CE 232 Groundwater Hydrology
Advanced Engineering Hydraulics
Hydrologic Modeling
CE 281 Systems Analysis of Resources Development