Top 20 Online Master’s in Civil Engineering 2024

Successful graduate of online master's in civil engineering program

Jobs for civil engineers are growing at a faster-than-average rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While a master’s degree in civil engineering isn’t generally required for these positions, advanced degrees are becoming more popular for engineers with a desire to advance their careers and increase their wages. Online civil engineering master’s degrees make obtaining such a credential more convenient than ever before. With these programs, engineers can maintain their full-time jobs or raise families while continuing their education.

Ranking the Top 20 Online Master’s Programs in Civil Engineering

To develop this ranking of the top 20 master’s degree programs online in civil engineering, our editors began with an initial pool of 34 programs. After applying the tuition filter as well as the graduate ranking methodology, we narrowed this pool to 20 and ranked the schools accordingly. What follows is our selections for the top 20 online master’s in civil engineering programs.

Types of Online Civil Engineering Degree Programs Mentioned In This Ranking

  • Civil Engineering Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)
  • Master’s in Engineering (MEng) in Civil Engineering
  • Master of Engineering (ME) in Civil Engineering
  • MS in Civil Engineering: Construction Engineering
  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering: Coastal Engineering
  • Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)

#20—North Carolina A&T University

MS in Civil Engineering

Website

Featured Programs

Points: 8

Tuition: $4,745

North Carolina A & T State University - logo

North Carolina A&T University is home to one of the nation’s most affordable online master’s degrees in civil engineering. The online civil engineering program is also an accelerated one that can be completed within just two to three semesters of full-time study. Additionally, the 30-credit hour curriculum is customizable, requiring just three core courses for an aspiring civil engineer:

  • CIEN Systems Analysis
  • Engineering Statistics
  • Emerging Technologies in CIEN

An interdisciplinary Systems Engineering concentration is also available to interested students. In addition, scholarships and other forms of financial aid may be available to eligible students.

#19—Colorado State University

Civil Engineering M.E.

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $10,834

Colorado State University - logo

The unique online master’s in civil engineering program from Colorado State University is an M.E. offering that emphasizes the management and engineering of water resources. This coursework-only course program can be completed entirely via distance learning within three years. Sample online course titles include:

  • Irrigation Systems Design
  • Statistics for Environmental Monitoring
  • Analysis of Urban Water Systems
  • River Restoration Design

The asynchronous nature of the online civil engineering degree program creates the maximum level of flexibility for distance learners, and prospective students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

#18—University of Florida

Civil Engineering Master’s Program

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $10,770

University of Florida- logo

The University of Florida offers an online graduate program in civil engineering through its Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment and the college’s Electronic Delivery of Gator Engineering (EDGE) program. Sample course titles for this master’s program include:

  • Agile Project Management for Engineers and Scientists
  • Construction Planning and Scheduling
  • Geometric Design of Transportation Facilities
  • Construction Engineering
  • Freeways Operation and Simulation

The school also offers an online master’s in environmental engineering for those with an undergraduate degree in the field. UF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer this program for the aspiring civil engineer.

#17—Iowa State University

Master of Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $10,572

Iowa State University - logo

The civil engineering master’s degree program from Iowa State University is a highly flexible distance education option. Students can complete coursework at their own pace, and all course content is available asynchronously. Sample course titles for the aspiring civil engineer include:

  • Applied Foundation Engineering
  • Urban Transportation Planning & Modeling
  • Dynamic Analysis of Structures
  • Preconstruction Project Engineering & Management

Both coursework-only and creative component options are available to prospective students. Iowa State is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer this and other online graduate (and undergraduate) degrees.

#16—University of Missouri

Civil Engineering MS

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $10,447

University of Missouri logo

The fully online master of science in civil engineering from the University of Missouri features two tracks:

  • Transportation Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering

This three-year program for the civil engineer offers asynchronous courses such as:

  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Processes
  • Chemistry of Natural Waters
  • Urban Transportation Data Science
  • Construction Engineering
  • Pavement Materials and Design
  • Fluid Mechanics

No campus visits are required, and online students will take one to two courses at a time as they complete the program to become a civil engineer or to seek advanced job opportunities.

#15—Auburn University

Master’s in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $10,386

Auburn University -logo

In this synchronous online master’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University, students access lectures through streaming video. Offered through the distinguished Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the program features several online specialization options:

  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Pavements and Materials

The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program can be completed fully online and features courses such as:

  • Geosynthetics and Soil Improvements
  • Stormwater Management and Modeling
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Numerical Solutions for Hydro-Environmental Applications
  • Construction Engineering
  • Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering

In addition, no thesis is required for online students pursuing the civil engineer master’s degree.

#14—Florida State University

Master of Engineering (MEng) in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $9,684

Florida State University - logo

Students enrolled in Florida State’s online master’s degree in civil engineering can choose from one of two available specializations:

  • Structural Engineering
  • Construction and Infrastructure Engineering

Coursework can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, and all coursework is available online. Classes may include:

  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Sustainable and Green Construction
  • Composites in Civil Engineering
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Introduction to Project Management

As an added perk, no GRE is required for admission to the program.

#13—Mississippi State University

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $9,398

Mississippi State University - logo

Offered through the distinguished Bagley College of Engineering, the MS in Civil Engineering program from Mississippi State University offers an impressive number of specialization options, including:

  • Structural Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Construction Materials Engineering
  • Construction Engineering and Management

Both thesis and non-thesis options are available; those who choose not to complete a thesis can opt for an examination only track or project and examination track.

#12—University of Colorado- Denver

MS in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $7,722

University of Colorado Denver- logo

The 30 credit-hour online MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado- Denver features two specializations:

  • Construction and Engineering Management
  • Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Once enrolled in the online civil engineering degree program, students may take online classes such as:

  • Construction Planning and Control
  • Integrated Construction Leadership
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Advanced Fluid Mechanics
  • Geospatial Data Development
  • Advanced Remote Sensing

Students pursuing this online graduate degree on a full-time basis can complete the program within just 24 months of remote learning.

#11—Kennesaw State University

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $5,328

Kennesaw State University - logo

Among the most affordable online master’s in civil engineering programs, the MS option from Kennesaw State University is offered entirely online. The curriculum for the program can be customized around one of three available concentrations:

  • Transportation and Pavement Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering and Water Resources
  • Structural and Geotechnical Engineering

All students must complete 30 credit hours of coursework, including required and elective courses such as:

  • Probabilistic Analysis and Reliability in Civil Engineering
  • Advanced Soil Mechanics
  • Design of Wood Structures
  • Solid Waste Management and Engineering
  • Open Channel Flow

Students can elect a thesis or coursework-only track, the latter of which is convenient for working professionals. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Kennesaw State to award this master’s degree in engineering.

#10—University of Virginia

Master of Engineering (ME) in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 10

Tuition: $18,382

University of Virginia - logo

The University of Virginia offers a non-thesis Master of Engineering (ME) for aspiring civil engineers through its School of Engineering & Applied Science. The 30 credit-hour curriculum for the program features course titles such as:

  • Theory of Structural Stability
  • Construction Estimating & Bidding
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Land Development Engineering
  • Water Resource Engineering

The University of Virginia is fully accredited to award this master’s in civil engineering online by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#9—University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Online MS in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 10

Tuition: $14,891

University of Illinois - Urbana- Champaign - logo

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers one of the nation’s leading online master’s in civil engineering programs. Offered through the renowned Grainger College of Engineering, the program is a non-thesis option that requires 36 credit hours of distance education. Course titles include:

  • Case Histories in Infrastructure Engineering
  • Pavement Design
  • Construction Cost Analysis
  • Water Quality Engineering

Students have five years to earn their degree, and various specialty areas are available for online learners who desire to customize their credentials.

#8—University of North Dakota

Online MS or MEng in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 10

Tuition: $11,963

University of North Dakota- logo

The flexible online master of civil engineering from the University of North Dakota can be completed on campus or online. Additionally, students can choose from a Master of Science (MS) track or a Master of Engineering (MEng) track. Once enrolled, online learners will choose one of four available specializations:

  • General Civil Engineering
  • Soils-Structures Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering

Depending on whether they keep a part-time or full-time schedule, students in this online engineering program can earn their degree in one to two years of study. Sample course titles include:

  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Structural Stability
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Surface Hydrology
  • Applied Hydraulics

A written design project is required at the culmination of this online civil engineering degree program.

#7—Ohio University

Master’s in Civil Engineering (MS)

Website

Points: 10

Tuition: $9,444

Ohio University - logo

The graduate degree in civil engineering from Ohio University is an online Master of Science option featuring four distinct concentrations:

  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Construction Management Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering

The online civil engineering degree program is offered on a part-time basis, and students must complete 32 credit hours of coursework spanning five semesters to earn their degree. Sample online courses include:

  • Engineering Writing
  • Environmental Analysis of Transportation Systems
  • Project Management
  • Computer-Aided Structural Design
  • Water Resource Engineering

Prospective students are encouraged to apply for financial aid, including scholarships.  

#6—University of Houston

Civil Engineering Master’s Program

Website

Points: 10

Tuition: $8,713

The University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering is home to a fully online master’s degree program in civil engineering. Course requirements for this 30-credit hour offering for working professionals may include:

  • Introduction to Dynamics of Structures
  • Matrix Analysis of Structures
  • Advanced Mechanics of Materials
  • Advanced Steel Design

Classes for the online civil engineering degree are taught by the same renowned faculty members who teach on campus. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited the University of Houston to award this online graduate degree.

#5—University of Oklahoma

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 10

Tuition: $8,034

University of Oklahoma- logo

The online master of science in civil engineering from the University of Oklahoma is an accelerated program that can be completed in as few as 21 months. Offered through the Gallogly College of Engineering, the program features four available tracks:

  • Transportation Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering

Course titles comprising the program’s robust curriculum include:

  • Leadership and Management for Engineers
  • Groundwater and Seepage
  • Multimodal Transportation
  • Advanced Soil Mechanics

Students pursuing the online civil engineering degree will learn course material through a blend of synchronous and asynchronous elements, providing a best-of-both worlds experience.

#4—The Citadel

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 11

Tuition: $10,740

The Citadel- logo

The online Master of Science option in Civil Engineering from The Citadel is an asynchronous program that rivals some of the best on-campus programs in terms of rigor. Students enrolled in the program will have three specialization options to choose from:

  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering

Depending on their chosen focus area, students may take courses such as:

  • Elastic Stability of Structures
  • Transportation Safety Engineering
  • Designing for Natural and Manmade Hazards
  • Geo-environmental Engineering

In addition, a wide array of elective courses is also available. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for professional licensure.

#3—Purdue University

Master’s in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Website

Points: 11

Tuition: $9,472

Purdue University- logo

The fully online civil engineering master’s from Purdue University features four interdisciplinary tracks for prospective students to choose from:

  • Infrastructure
  • Smart Mobility
  • Resiliency and Sustainability
  • Sustainable Water

Coursework is taught by the same faculty members who teach classes on campus. Titles may include:

  • Computer Applications in Construction
  • Water Chemistry for Environmental and Ecological Engineering
  • Plastics in Infrastructure and the Environment
  • Smart Logistics and Supply Chains

The 30-credit hour degree can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis; completion time varies between two to four years depending on course load and pacing.

#2—Louisiana State University

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Website

Points: 11

Tuition: $9,132

Louisiana State University - logo

Louisiana State University’s unique master’s in civil engineering option is an online program that emphasizes the deterioration of coastal infrastructure. To earn their degree, online students will earn 36 credit hours through coursework such as:

  • Advanced Bridge Engineering
  • Concrete in Transportation Applications
  • Infrastructure Condition Assessment
  • Traffic Engineering Operations and Control  

Courses for this Master of Science in Civil Engineering can be completed entirely online. This online engineering degree program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Financial aid may be available for qualified students.

#1—North Carolina State University

Master Of Civil Engineering (MCE)

Website

Points: 11

Tuition: $9,095

The master’s in civil engineering from North Carolina State University is an asynchronous program offered fully online. Once enrolled, students must complete 30 credit hours of graduate coursework in engineering, including online classes such as:

  • Transportation Policy and Funding
  • Introduction to Numerical Methods for Civil Engineers
  • Materials Management in Construction
  • Advanced Topics in Geotechnical Engineering

Additionally, no thesis is required for this online degree. NC State is accredited to offer this and other distance learning credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Master’s in Civil Engineering: Admission Requirements

Like any other graduate-level program, master’s programs in civil engineering may have different admission requirements, depending on the school. Some colleges and universities are more selective than others, for instance. Still, there tends to be some overlap. Here’s what you can expect in terms of common admission requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from an accredited university (undergraduate degree)
  • Minimum GPA (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Letters of Recommendation

Students may also need a strong background in mathematics, including knowledge of calculus and differential equations. If you’re an international student, you may need to meet additional requirements, including an English proficiency exam.

Types of Civil Engineering Master’s Programs

While there are no doubt similarities, no two online master’s in civil engineering programs are exactly alike. In order for students to select the best one for their unique needs, it’s important to be aware of the different types of master’s programs for civil engineers available via distance learning.

Civil engineering career

100% Online Versus Hybrid Programs

Online programs are popular, and many schools label their offerings as “online programs” even when some on-campus components are required. For example, a program might feature fully online coursework, yet still require students to attend campus for orientations, workshops, or research presentations, for example. These programs are better described as hybrid programs as opposed to online programs. If your schedule demands a fully online program, be sure to read all the fine print and speak to an admissions counselor before enrolling.

Part-Time Versus Full-Time Programs

Many online students require the maximum level of flexibility that distance learning can provide. Many times, this means they are only able to devote a certain number of hours per week to their studies. Consequentially, these students may be best served by part-time master’s in civil engineering programs. Still, not all schools offer part-time scheduling options. Some schools require their students to attend programs on a full-time basis, even online learners.

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Programs

Schools that offer online programs may use different methods of content delivery, and this could affect how and when distance learners complete their coursework. For example, students may need to log in to their learning platforms on specific days at specific times to view live lectures or participate in real-time discussions via video conferencing. Since these program elements are occurring in real time, they are referred to as synchronous components. Asynchronous components, on the other hand, can be completed at the student’s convenience. Examples include discussion boards, pre-recorded lectures, and online tests that can be started or stopped at any time. There are pros and cons to each of these types of programs, and some programs combine asynchronous and synchronous content delivery.  

Civil Engineering Courses and Curriculum

Like admissions requirements, curriculum details for each master’s program may be unique. Moreover, required coursework can vary based on a student’s prior academic background, future career goals, and any specializations or concentrations they elect. Still, there may be some similarities among course schedules for civil engineering graduate students, despite their academic choices. After all, most civil engineering programs, at their core, address engineering problems facing our built environment. Here are some of the core courses you may encounter regardless of which school or program you attend.

Civil Engineering Subjects

Core Courses for Master’s in Civil Engineering Degrees

The core courses below are presented for the sake of reference only. That is, you can expect your schedule of classes to be unique to the school and program you choose to attend.

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Advanced Structural Dynamics
  • Civil Engineering Project Management
  • Numerical Methods in Science and Engineering
  • Urban Transportation Planning and Modeling
  • Managing Civil Infrastructure Systems

Since there are several sub-fields of civil engineering that students can pursue, many schools offer specialized tracks or concentrations as a way of customizing the degree plan. Thus, students who elect these specialized plans will typically take core courses alongside courses relevant to the concentration. For the sake of reference, we’ve listed some examples of concentration-specific classes students in each concentration may encounter.

Civil engineering specialties

Structural Engineering

  • Advanced Design of Steel Structures
  • Prestressed Concrete Behavior and Design
  • Structural Dynamics
  • Elastic Stability

Transportation Engineering

  • Traffic Engineering Characteristics
  • Soil Erosion and Sediment Yield
  • Transportation Systems: Analysis and Planning
  • Traffic Engineering and Sustainable Urban Street Design

Geotechnical Engineering

  • Geotechnical Engineering Fundamentals
  • Design of Large-Scale Deep Foundation Systems
  • Pavement Design and Evaluation
  • Earth Retaining Structures

Other Concentration Options for Master’s in Civil Engineering Students

There are numerous options available for students who wish to customize their degree plan according to their interests and career goals. Some of these less-common concentrations include:

  • Public Works
  • Construction Engineering
  • Construction Management
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Data and Systems
  • Smart and Sustainable Cities
  • Engineering Mechanics

Additionally, some schools allow students to tailor their own specialization using elective offerings or even courses from other departments.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master’s in Civil Engineering Degree Programs

It’s normal to have questions prior to undertaking an advanced degree program, especially a distance learning program like an online master’s in civil engineering. For your consideration, here are some common questions received by our editors about pursuing a master’s program for a civil engineer:

Q: How long does it take to complete a master’s in civil engineering degree online?

A: Completion times can vary widely and may depend on many different factors such as the program you choose, whether you pursue courses as a part-time or full-time student, and if accelerated tracks are available. Typical program durations can range from 16 months to 3 years.

Q: How much does it cost to earn an online master’s degree in civil engineering?

A: Like duration, the cost of online programs such as civil engineering master’s degrees can also vary quite a bit. While researching these types of programs, our editors discovered programs for under $5,000 per year and others that exceeded $60,000 annually (i.e., Johns Hopkins University). Only the most affordable master’s in civil engineering programs are highlighted in this ranking.

Q: Are online master of civil engineering programs accredited?

A: Yes, many of them are. In addition to their institutional accreditation, many schools offer programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. For prospective students interested in professional licensure upon graduation, an ABET-accredited program may be required.

Q: Will my civil engineering diploma state that it was earned online?

A: No. You will receive the same civil engineering diploma as on-campus students.

Career Questions for Master’s Programs in Civil Engineering

Q: What can I do with a master’s degree in civil engineering?

A:  Many people with a master’s degree in civil engineering use the credential to advance their roles as civil engineers. Others may seek a master’s degree prior to gaining employment as civil engineers.

Q: How much will I make with a civil engineering master’s degree?

A: PayScale reports that professionals who hold a master’s in civil engineering make approximately $78,000 per year on average. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that civil engineers with an advanced degree can make even more, though. In May of 2022, the median annual wage for these types of engineers was nearly $90,000 with the top ten percent of earners bringing home more than $138,000.

Q: Are positions in civil engineering in demand?

A: Yes. According to the BLS, jobs for civil engineers are growing at a faster-than-average rate. This field of engineering is projected to expand by 5 percent by the year 2032. This will add roughly 16,200 new positions in civil engineering. Government agencies, corporations, and consulting firms all have a need for civil engineers.

Q: What professional organizations can I join?

As a student or graduate of a master’s program in civil engineering, there are a variety of professional associations you may want to consider joining. Some of these formal groups for civil engineers include:

  • American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
  • American Concrete Institute (ACI)
  • National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
  • International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE)

These answers are meant to provide general guidance for prospective students. For more specific information, visit the school’s website or speak to an admissions counselor.

Online Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering Programs

Most master’s programs in civil engineering require students to hold an undergraduate degree in the field. If you’re looking for one of these programs as a prerequisite to your master’s degree, here are a few to consider:

Liberty University: Online Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering—The BS in Civil Engineering from Liberty University is a hybrid distance learning option that requires two on-campus intensives.  This undergraduate degree program is an affordable option featuring a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students for success on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) professional exam.

San Diego State University: Online BS in Civil Engineering—The Bachelor of Science option from San Diego State University is a degree completion program offered almost entirely online. The only exception is a nine-day instructional course required on campus.

Old Dominion University: Online Bachelor’s in Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering)—The online bachelor’s in civil engineering from Old Dominion University is an undergraduate degree in Engineering Technology with a major in Civil Engineering. Additionally, the program is ABET-accredited and transfer-friendly.  

Sources

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator
  • PayScale.com