The Best Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs
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Earning an advanced degree in civil engineering can broaden your career opportunities and help you earn a higher salary. On this page, you'll find a collection of the best online civil engineering master's degrees, as well as information about how to choose the right one.
Graduates with advanced degrees in civil engineering can expect increased job demand and compensation, as the U.S. faces the task of replacing and modernizing the country's aging infrastructure, which includes bridges, roads, airports, and water systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, civil engineers earn a median salary of $83,540 per year, and the field is projected to grow.
What are the best civil engineering programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||Stanford University||Stanford, CA|
|2||Columbia University||New York, NY|
|3||University of Washington||Seattle, WA|
|4||Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD|
|5||North Carolina State University||Raleigh, NC|
|6||University of Virginia||Charlottesville, VA|
|7||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL|
|8||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|9||University of Wisconsin Madison||Madison, WI|
|10||Villanova University||Villanova, PA|
Related Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Civil Engineering Programs
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Civil Engineering Program?
Most online civil engineering master's degree programs serve working professionals who hold an undergraduate degree in engineering. Graduate students learn advanced civil engineering concepts, take a core of required courses, and usually choose a technical concentration, like transportation, structural, or environmental engineering. Details may vary depending on the school and program chosen.
Curriculum For An Online Master's Degree In Civil Engineering
Students pursuing an online master's degree in civil engineering take core, elective, and concentration courses, which may differ by school and program, but most programs have a common core requirement. Below is a list of courses you can expect to encounter in an online master's in engineering program.
- Traffic Engineering: This course examines how engineers can improve the design of transportation systems to better serve the people who use them. Students learn how to minimize congestion and reduce accidents through better engineering. Issues explored include the design and control of intersections, intelligent transportation systems, urban freeways, and intercity networks. This class prepares learners to work as traffic or transportation system engineers.
- Water Treatment Process: This class covers the systems that are used for treating municipal drinking water. Topics covered include filtration, biological treatment, disinfection, and sludge processing. Also discussed are wastewater treatment options, both engineered and natural. Students who take this course will learn skills useful for an engineer working in water resource management.
- Green Building Materials: Students in this course receive an overview of the design and construction of sustainable buildings. Topics covered include leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) standards, sustainability evaluation methods, and how to reduce the ecological footprint of construction projects. Students who take this course will have the skills needed for a variety of civil engineering positions related to construction and sustainability issues.
How Long Does it Take to get an Online Master's in Civil Engineering?
A variety of factors can affect the length of a master's degree in civil engineering online program, which can take between 18 months and six years to earn. Issues that affect course length include number of credits needed to graduate, whether you attend part-time or full-time, whether you enroll every term, number of transfer credits, and if there are any residency requirements.
Another factor that can impact how long it takes to earn your civil engineering master's online is if the program uses individually-paced or cohort learning. Individually-paced programs allow students to complete courses at their own pace. Cohort learning requires students to start and end the program with a group of peers, whom take the same set curriculum. Cohort programs tend to be less flexible and require more time to complete. On average, it takes about 30 credits and two years of full-time study to graduate from an online master's in civil engineering program.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Civil Engineering Degrees
Attending an accredited school for your online master's in civil engineering is very important. Accreditation is a voluntary process that colleges and universities undergo to demonstrate that they are qualified to educate students and grant degrees. A school can be regionally or nationally accredited. Regional accreditation is more popular and generally more trusted than national accreditation. Non-profit schools tend to have regional accreditation while for-profit schools usually obtain national accreditation. Most schools will accept transfer credit from regionally-accredited schools, but regionally-accredited schools generally do not accept credit from nationally-accredited institutions.
When looking for a master's in civil engineering online program, it is best to find a regionally accredited college or university. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) provides an updated list of regional accrediting agencies. The ED establishes policies related to federal financial aid for education and coordinates and monitors how that aid is distributed. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) coordinates the accreditation process for colleges and universities in the U.S. The CHEA ensures that accrediting agencies maintain a level of quality. You can find a list of accredited schools on the ED's website.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Civil Engineering Graduates
Master's degree in civil engineering online programs generally prepare graduates to work in a related field. Depending on your concentration or specialization, you may qualify for other types of engineering positions. Civil engineering tends to attract people who are interested in solving a variety of social problems through better design. Below, is a list of common careers that graduates pursue.
Civil engineers design, build, supervise, and maintain construction projects like airports, roads, buildings, bridges, water systems, tunnels, dams, and more. They usually specialize in one of the following areas: construction, geotechnical, structural, or transportation. Civil engineers typically need a graduate degree and licensure to qualify for senior positions.
Environmental engineers create solutions to environmental problems using engineering principles. They help improve public health by addressing issues like air and water pollution and waste disposal. Environmental engineers usually need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. Graduates with advanced degrees and practical experience garner higher salaries and are more competitive job candidates.
Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers with planning and designing public and private infrastructure projects like bridges, highways, dams, airports, and water treatment systems. Civil engineering technicians usually need to have at least an associate degree. Those holding a master's degree in civil engineering are much more competitive job candidates.
Construction managers plan, supervise, coordinate, and budget construction projects. They commonly spend time at the construction site; they usually have an office as well. Large companies expect construction managers to have a bachelor's degree at minimum. Candidates with a master's degree and experience in construction management would likely be given preference.
Architectural and engineering managers coordinate, plan, and supervise projects and activities at architectural and engineering firms. Most of this work takes place in offices. They may supervise staff, make plans, and develop budgets. A bachelor's degree or higher is usually required to be hired as an architectural or engineering manager.
Master's in Civil Engineering Salary
Earning a master's degree in civil engineering provides graduates with an advantage in terms of salary compared to those with a bachelor's degree or less. The table below includes salary information for civil engineering-related careers at the entry-, mid-, and late-career levels for those holding a master's degree. Median salaries for graduates with a bachelor's degree in each career tend to be substantially lower.
Median Salary by Experience Level
|Occupation||Entry Level||Mid-Level||Late Career|
|Design Engineering Manager||$72,000||$94,000||$120,000|
Financing Your Online Master's in Civil Engineering Program
Paying for your online master's in civil engineering can seem overwhelming. Numerous federal funding opportunities exist to help you pay for your degree, including scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study programs. Make sure to fill out a Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) form so that you'll know which types of aid you qualify for. The private sector offers a wide variety of scholarships for civil engineering students, even at the graduate level. Make sure to check for funding opportunities through the American Society for Civil Engineers.
AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
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