Master of Science Programs in Civil & Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering offers a Masters of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering that is based on coursework only with the option to choose between six distinct curriculum paths depending on your interests: Construction Engineering and Management, Environmental Science and Engineering, Geological Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering—all of which can be completed in one year.

Is this program right for you?

This program is intended for people looking to enhance their knowledge and jump-start their careers. These programs build on your civil and environmental engineering foundation and teach you how to apply technical knowledge and engineering principles to solve complex problems. These one-year, course-focused masters programs will help you gain a deeper understanding of engineering and provide the tools you need to better approach your work.

What you learn

Your coursework will provide you with expertise in theoretical and practical methods, teach you how to apply science to real world challenges, expand your research methods, and help you learn to disseminate your knowledge. You will also learn how to:

  • Apply the latest technologies, evaluate options, and recommend solutions
  • Demonstrate creative, independent problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Exhibit best practices of safety, sustainability, environmental protection, ethical, and professional conduct

Each curriculum path has it’s own unique set of features and outcomes, which you can learn more about below.

Program Options

Students learn methods of planning, design, and construction. Specifically, you will gain an enriched understanding of construction scheduling, cost estimating, construction law, business management, ethics, risk management, safety and quality management, project control, teamwork, leadership, written and oral communications, and continuous improvement. Graduates emerge fully prepared to provide outstanding service and expertise to the construction industry.

Typical Curriculum

  • Building Information Management
  • Project Estimating and Scheduling
  • Electrical Systems for Construction
  • Mechanical Systems for Construction
  • Project Management
  • Construction Labor Productivity Management

Elective courses are determined based on career interests with the help of the student’s faculty advisor.

Students learn how to apply science to solve complex environmental problems by gaining a deeper understanding of chemistry, biology, and systems thinking. In just one year, you will learn how learn to comprehensively address practical problems associated with drinking water and wastewater treatment, air quality, environmental chemistry, sustainable design, energy efficiency, and solid and hazardous waste remediation.

Additionally, this curriculum path explores the combination of law and practice, so you discover how to develop and enforce environmental policies and regulations that forge the way for a greener future. We sustain a broad range of research topics, so you can explore environmental chemistry, wastewater treatment, drinking water treatment, freshwater quality, environmental microbiology, bioenergy production, sustainable engineering design, and many more.

Typical Curriculum

  • Environmental Sustainability Engineering
  • Air Pollution Effects, Measurement, and Control
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Design
  • Water Treatment Plant Design
  • Environmental Systems Optimization
  • Water Chemistry
  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Biological Treatment Processes

This multidisciplinary curriculum path integrates expertise from geology and engineering, so you acquire deep understanding of the interrelation between nature and the built environment.

You will learn to solve a variety of practical problems associated with rock and soils using principles of sustainable engineering. Combine your knowledge of geology with your engineering expertise to build structures, manage groundwater and surface water resources, construct subsurface repositories for waste disposal, and design systems to help extract mineral resources. Choose your electives based on your specific career or research needs. Research topics include geoenvironmental engineering, water resources, hydrology, hydrogeology, soil dynamics, and many more.

You will develop strong skills in geoenvironmental engineering, groundwater technology, hydrogeology, rock and soil mechanics, geophysics, and geology. Graduate ready to excel in your field, whether it be consulting, petroleum and gas industries, mining, federal and state laboratories, or research.

Typical Curriculum

  • Rock Mechanics
  • Seepage and Slopes
  • Foundations
  • Introduction to Applied Geophysics
  • Remediation Geotechnics
  • Groundwater Flow Modeling
  • Engineering Properties of Soils
  • Unsaturated Soil Geoengineering
  • Physicochemical Basis of Soil Behavior
  • Soil Dynamics

Elective courses are determined based on career interests with the help of the student’s faculty advisor.

In just one year, you will build a thorough understanding of the basic principles of structural engineering and gain exposure to the latest techniques and trends in civil engineering and architecture.

You have the flexibility to choose courses that focus on structural analysis and design, as well as on geotechnical engineering and construction engineering management. You may also add related coursework from other departments, such as Engineering Mechanics, to craft precisely the expertise you seek.

Typical Curriculum

  • Structural Analysis II
  • Steel Structures II
  • Concrete Structures II
  • Construction Project Management
  • Foundations
  • Composite Materials
  • Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

This curriculum path focuses on technology-based learning and utilizes UW–Madison’s prominence in cutting-edge scholarly research. Learn how to drive the discovery, planning, design, development, operation, maintenance, and safety of intelligent transportation systems and play an important role in connected and autonomous transportation. You will also gain the tools to develop efficient and reliable multi-modal freight systems that support economic growth and success in many industries.

Rapid growth in digital communication and automotive design requires new thinking. Our program takes advantage of emerging opportunities in remote controls and the use of interactive signals in vehicles, satellites, mobile phones, and stationary traffic operations devices. Plus, you learn within UW–Madison’s full-scale driving simulator and our national CV/AV proving grounds.

A unique combination of classroom study and real-world application allows you to fully master developments in the transportation industry and gain the practical knowledge needed to excel in your career.

Typical Curriculum

  • Transportation Engineering
  • Urban Transportation Planning
  • Transportation Operations
  • Geometric Design of Transport Facilities
  • Traffic Control
  • Traffic Flow Theory
  • Management of Civil Infrastructure Systems

Elective courses are determined based on career interests with the help of the student’s faculty advisor.

Students in the Water Resource Engineering and Science group solve a variety of practical problems associated with hydrology, fluid mechanics, environmental flows in rivers, lake, and coastal environments and water resource management. They perform analyses and design of systems to control the quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of water to meet the needs of humans and the environment. Water resource research themes are centered on a systems-based approach to managing water resources for societal benefit. Field methods, laboratory experiments, remote-sensing techniques, numerical modeling, statistical modeling, and analytic approaches are combined to address scientific and engineering questions leading to better water resource management, a better interface between the built and natural environments, and more sustainable use of water resources.

Students on this curriculum path develop strong, quantitative skills in modeling, systems-thinking, and sustainability science. Graduates can expect employment with consulting firms, federal and state laboratories and agencies, municipal and county governments, and elsewhere.

Typical Curriculum

  • Hydraulic Engineering
  • Open Channel Hydraulics
  • Groundwater Engineering
  • Hydrologic Design
  • Hydrology
  • Water Resources Systems Analysis
  • Mixing and Transport in the Environment
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Hydroclimatology for Water Resources Management
  • Ecohydrology

How to Apply

Applicants must meet requirements of the Graduate School and department. Click here to learn more about admission and application requirements.

For questions related to the CEE admissions process and professional masters programs, please contact