Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Influence the Next Generation of Building Design

Civil engineering continues to evolve. That progression overlaps with and pulls from environmental engineering. Here, professionals aim to develop longer-lasting structures that require less energy and fewer resources. Thinking about the next stage of your career? Influence how projects unfold with a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University.

Why Earn a Master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering?

U.S. News & World Report named Clarkson’s graduate programs in civil and environmental engineering among the country’s best. We take an interdisciplinary yet specialized approach that emphasizes research as the force propelling building design forward. Take on a specialty in a subfield of civil engineering. Establish yourself as an expert through access to a spectrum of research opportunities. Courses are delivered on campus in Potsdam, NY, or through a hybrid format.

Students chart their path through one of two flexible formats:

  • Thesis: Make discoveries related to structure, new design techniques or advanced materials. The thesis track requires you to conduct and present your own findings as a stepping stone toward doctoral study and, eventually, a career in academia or engineering research.
  • Non-thesis: You entered the workforce after finishing your bachelor’s. Now, you’re interested in a leadership role where you direct projects from conception through completion. While you don’t complete a thesis, a professionally oriented special project serves as the culmination of your knowledge.


Graduate education in civil and environmental engineering focuses on the following specialties:

  1. Environmental engineering
  2. Geotechnical engineering
  3. Structural and materials engineering
  4. Water resources engineering
  5. Construction engineering management*

Review all requirements below.

*In online and hybrid formats, Clarkson's MS in Construction Engineering Management explores this subject in more industry-specific detail. A construction engineering management certificate is also available.

Program Requirements

  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, with at least 20 credit hours of course and seminar work. The balance of coursework must be consistent with the research or professional experience component. Students complete the program in 18 to 24 months.
  • Satisfactory completion of one of the research or professional experience components listed below.
    • A written thesis based on independent research
    • A comprehensive examination
    • An appropriate, professionally oriented special project
  • Twenty of the 30 minimum credit hours must be earned in residence
  • One academic year of full-time study beyond the baccalaureate
  • A maximum of 10 credit hours of transfer credit (grade of B or better)
  • All work must be completed in four calendar years.
  • All students must complete a thesis and defend it orally to a committee consisting of a minimum of three faculty members.

Specialty Areas

All students must pass a group of core courses in one of the following specialty areas: environmental, geotechnical, structural or water resources engineering.

  • Environmental Engineering: Understand what’s needed to build a more sustainable world.
  • Geotechnical Engineering: Focus on the composition of soil and rocks in relation to construction. This entails defining the strength that these elements can provide to bear loads.
  • Structural and Materials Engineering: Learn how to optimize a building’s strength, stability and overall resilience.
  • Water Resources Engineering: The Earth only has a small amount of water fit for human consumption. Gain the skills to better use this finite resource.
  • Transportation Engineering: Explore related planning, design, operation, analysis and maintenance skills.

Environmental Engineering

Water and Wastewater Engineering:  Satisfied by an appropriate course
as an undergraduate or CE579.

  • CE580 Environmental Chemistry
  • CE584 Chemodynamics
  • CE582 Environmental Systems or CE586 Industrial Ecology

And one of the following:

  • CE681 Environmental Physico-Chemical Processes
  • CE682 Environmental Biological Processes
  • ES534 Air Pollution Control

A course in applied statistics is strongly recommended.

Geotechnical Engineering

Four from the following list:

  • CE512/ME555 Introduction to Structural and Soil Dynamics
  • CE513 Elastic Waves and Non-Destructive Tests
  • CE516 Advanced Soil Mechanics
  • CE519 Advanced Foundation Design
  • CE527/ME527 Advanced Fluid Mechanics
  • CE538 Introduction to the Finite Element Method
  • CE551 Theory of Elasticity
  • CE554 Continuum Mechanics
  • ME531 Computational Fluid Dynamics

Structural and Materials Engineering

  • CE549 Experimental Methods in Structures
  • CE554 Continuum Mechanics

And two of the following:

  • CE501 Fracture Mechanics of Concrete Structures
  • CE512 Introduction to Structural and Soil Dynamics
  • CE520 Computational Methods of Structural Analysis
  • CE521 Analysis of Advanced Composite Structures
  • CE538 Introduction to Finite Element Method
  • CE551 Theory of Elasticity
  • CE553 Properties and Performance of Concrete Materials
  • CE631 Cement Chemistry
  • CE633 Plasticity

Transportation Engineering

  • CE561 Transportation Systems Design
  • CE568 Traffic Engineering

Two from the following list:

  • CE538 Introduction to the Finite Element Method
  • CE510 Sustainable Infrastructure and Building
  • EE501 Digital Signal Processing
  • EE529/ME529 Stochastic Processes
  • EE550 Control Systems
  • EE552 Optimization Techniques in Engineering (or similar optimization courses)
  • MA584 Advanced Applied Statistics (or similar advanced data analytics courses)
  • CS547 Computer Algorithms
  • CS549 Computational/Machine Learning
  • CS551 Artificial Intelligence
  • CS559 Human Computer Interaction

Courses on systems theories and data analytics are strongly recommended.

Water Resource Engineering

Four from the following list:

  • CE527/ME527 Advanced Fluid Mechanics
  • CE554 Continuum Mechanics
  • CE569 Watershed Analysis
  • CE570 Stream Riparian System and Fluvial Morphology
  • CE571 Computational River Dynamics
  • CE572 Shallow Water Hydrodynamics
  • CE573 Sediment Transport
  • CE574 Hydrodynamic Dispersion
  • CE575 Coastal Engineering
  • CE576 Hydraulic Engineering in Cold Regions
  • ME531 Computational Fluid Dynamics

Other Information

Exceptional students may be invited to proceed directly to the PhD; such students will be awarded the MS concurrently with the PhD.

Students in the MS program in the Department of CEE can be eligible for partial tuition assistance.*

*Self-paying students may receive a tuition scholarship for up to 40 percent of the tuition for which the student has registered. The graduate school, upon recommendation by the department, provides this scholarship. Full-time MS students may receive four credits of support for three semesters. These merit awards require up to six hours of departmental work per week.

Test your ideas and form your thesis through interdisciplinary research facilitated through the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, Center for Air and Aquatic Resources Engineering and Sciences, Center for Advanced Materials Processing, the NYS Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions and the U.S. Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Learn more about research at Clarkson.

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Online Application Form.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Official Transcripts.
  • GRE is optional.
  • For international applicants, an English proficiency test is required.
    • Minimum test score requirements: TOEFL (80) and TOEFL Essentials (8.5), IELTS (6.5), PTE (56) or Duolingo English Test (115).
    • The English language-testing requirement is not waived based on language of instruction, nor do we accept university certificates. English testing is waived if an applicant has a degree from a country where English is the Native Language. Click here to see the list of these countries.

MS Prerequisites: A BS, BE or equivalent degree from an accredited program in civil and environmental engineering or other engineering discipline is required for admission. Applicants with degrees in disciplines other than engineering may be required to demonstrate proficiency through additional undergraduate coursework as determined by the departmental graduate committee. This may comprise an additional semester of study for which graduate credit cannot be granted. No minimum grade point average is required for admission. Applicants should demonstrate a history of high academic achievement.

Learn more about admission requirements for graduate students.

A limited number of one-year and/or partial-year tuition scholarships are available for qualified full-time students. A limited number of stipends are also available. Most scholarships and/or stipends are associated with department assistantships or completion of a master’s thesis as part of the qualified applicant’s plan of study to complete their degree program.

Learn more about all of our scholarships and how to apply by contacting the Coulter School of Engineering's graduate division via email at 

Career Possibilities

Students enrolled in the master’s degree in environmental and civil engineering may embark on a career in research, apply to a PhD program or return to the workforce to lead teams and have more input in sustainable builds, operation and maintenance.

Possible job titles include:

  • Civil engineer
  • Construction project manager
  • Design engineer
  • Drainage engineer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Geotechnical engineer
  • Planning engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • Traffic engineer
  • Transportation engineer
  • Water resources engineer


Our master’s students interested in advancing their careers in industry have been recruited for positions with:

  • Burns & McDonnell
  • CHA Consulting
  • DEW Construction
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • HUNT Engineers
  • John Deere
  • Kiewit Corporation
  • National Grid
  • NYS Department of Transportation
  • Turner Construction Company
  • Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

| STEM OPT Eligible

Contact Us 

Graduate Admissions Team
Phone: 518-631-9831

Interested in learning more about the Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering? Contact Graduate Admissions today with your questions.

Find out more about the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Coulter School of Engineering.

100% Graduate Placement Rate - Program Specific

Meet our Faculty

Whether in the classroom or through research, our faculty reflect our department’s mission — to grow and evolve the disciplines of civil and environmental engineering. Get to know our team, including backgrounds and specialties.

Faculty and Staff

Achieve Your Purpose Here

See how far you can push what’s possible in civil and environmental engineering with a master’s degree from Clarkson. To take the next step: