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    • School of Engineering

      • Kirkbride Hall
      • tel: 610-499-4037
      • fax: 610-499-4059
    • Dr. Ronald L. Mersky

    • Jill Gilbert

Curriculum: Master of Science in Engineering, Civil


The master’s degree in civil engineering can be earned with or without the thesis option. Students who elect to pursue a thesis take 24 credits of classroom study (8 graduate courses) and complete a 6-credit thesis. The classroom study includes 9 credits of core courses appropriate to any engineering discipline (such as project management, engineering mathematics, technical communications, or finite element analysis), 9 credits in either the water resources/environmental or structures areas, and 6 credits of technical electives. Students who elect the non-thesis option replace the 6-credit thesis with 6 credits of technical electives. A four-course land development certificate is available and can be combined with the master’s degree.


Here is a selection of courses students typically take as part of the civil engineering graduate program.

ENGR 636 Finite Element Analysis

This course introduces the theory and application of the finite element method. Topics include the development of the matrix equations, interpolation using basic shape functions for a variety of element types, implementation of boundary conditions, and solution methods. Emphasis is placed on problems of engineering interest and a commonly used commercial finite element package is introduced.

CE 601 Land Development

This integrated theory and applications course focuses on urban area site planning, including the methodology used to subdivide, develop, or redevelop a property. Topics include site planning analysis, zoning, and municipal ordinances, subdivisions, site density, physical constraints, sustainability, environmental concerns, techniques for acquisition of data (mapping, traffic studies, ordinance requirements, and approval process), stormwater management and erosion control, site grading, sanitary sewers and water systems, streets and parking lots, specifications and plans, and construction layout and inspection.

CE 603 Topics in Surface Water Hydrology and Water Quality Modeling

Selected topics in hydrologic engineering and water quality modeling, including frequency analysis of hydrologic events and rainfall-runoff analysis; design and analysis of storm sewers and storm water detention basins; water quality impacts of stormwater runoff; development and application of water quality models to assess pollutant impact and transport in lakes, streams, and estuaries; analysis of pollutant reaction kinetics. 

CE 605 Innovative Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems

This course provides a background in the design and analysis of innovative water and wastewater treatment systems with an emphasis on the design of small systems for new developments or retrofitting existing treatment systems. A review of conventional water and wastewater treatment practices is provided as an introduction.

CE 608 Municipal Solid Waste Engineering Systems

This course covers generation, storage, collection, transport, processing, recovery, and disposal of municipal solid wastes, including economic and environmental aspects. Integrated municipal solid waste engineering is stressed.

CE 610 Groundwater Pollution Remediation

This course presents the nature of subsurface pollution and the sources of the pollution, along with techniques of analyzing pollution movement and monitoring. Methods of design for control of subsurface migration and treatment of contaminated groundwater are also covered.

CE 613 Geosynthetics

This course covers applications of geosynthetics including geotextiles, geogrids, geomembranes, geonets, geocomposites, and geosynthetic clay liners. Geosynthetics functions and mechanisms including separation, filtration, drainage, reinforcement, and containment are also covered. Students study design with geosynthetics for roadways, embankments/slopes, earth retaining structures, landfills, and site remediation.

CE 628 Repair and Rehabilitation of Constructed Facilities

There are a growing number of bridges, buildings, and special purpose (e.g., towers, chimneys, pipelines) structures that have deteriorated over many years of service and/or as the result of unforeseen environmental conditions or too-long-deferred maintenance. In addition, better understanding of structural behavior under seismic loads has led to the identification of serious shortcomings in a significant number of structures constructed prior to the mid 1970s. This course investigates repair and strengthening techniques for masonry, concrete, wood, and steel structures; mechanics of behavior and methods of analysis/evaluation for beams, columns, walls, slabs, and connections; and construction methodologies. 

CE 629 Bridge Inspection and Rehabilitation

A significant number of bridge structures, which performed well for many years, show deterioration under severe service and environmental conditions. These structures can remain serviceable with proper rehabilitation and maintenance. This course investigates inspection, repair, and strengthening techniques for various types of bridge structures. Topics include maintenance policy principles, types of distress, bridge inspection and diagnostic testing, bridge structure repair and strengthening methods, bridge foundation rehabilitation, and load capacity evaluation.

CE 634 Structural Dynamics

This course covers the dynamic response of structures modeled as single degree of freedom systems, shear buildings, discrete multidegree of freedom systems, and distributed properties. Topics include earthquake analysis by response history and response spectrum, and structural dynamics in building codes.

CE 635 Design of Timber Structures

Topics include basic wood properties and design considerations for a variety of timber structures; behavior and design of beams, columns, and beam-column members; plywood and glue-laminated members; design of structural diaphragms and shear walls; and connection design.

CE 642 Best Practices for Storm Water Control

This course provides a review of recommended best management practices for storm water control for new and existing developments, including the design of storm water conveyance systems, storm detention ponds for water quality and quantity control, infiltration and recharge zones, and riparian buffers for erosion control.

For more information about courses and requirements for the civil engineering graduate program, see the course catalog