Course Information Suite

Programs of Study: Undergrad

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Head of the Department: Amr S. Elnashai
Director of Graduate Studies: Charles J. Werth
1110 Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory
205 North Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-8038
Fax (217) 333-9464

Major: Civil Engineering
Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.

Major: Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering
Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.

Major: Environmental Science in Civil Engineering
Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.

Online Program: Civil Engineering
Degrees offered: M.S.

Joint Degree Program: the M.S. in Civil Engineering can be earned jointly with the following
Degrees Offered:
M.Arch. in Architecture (Construction Management or Structures),
M.B.A. in Business Administration

Medical Scholars Program: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering or Environmental Science in Civil Engineering and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) through the Medical Scholars Program

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, consistently ranked as having one of the best graduate programs in the country, offers graduate work leading to master's and doctoral degrees. These are in a variety of specialized areas through departmental and joint programs which are described on this page. Opportunity also exists for earning certificates in (i) computational science and engineering and (ii) energy and sustainability engineering within the department's graduate programs via the Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Option and the Energy and Sustainability Engineering (EaSE) Option. The Medical Scholars Program permits highly qualified students to integrate the study of medicine with study for a graduate degree in a second discipline, including Civil and Environmental Engineering. In working toward the department's graduate degrees, an emphasis is placed on advanced study and participation in creative research.


Admission to the Graduate College with full status in civil engineering or in environmental engineering or science in civil engineering is granted to graduates of accredited institutions whose requirements for the bachelor's degree are substantially equivalent to those of the University of Illinois, provided the applicant's preparation is appropriate for advanced study in his or her chosen major field and his or her scholastic average is at least 3.00 (A = 4.00). The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Applications are considered for both spring and fall admissions. In general, a 3.00 grade point average for the last two years of the undergraduate program and for any previous graduate work is a minimum requirement for admission to the M.S. program. Requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program are variable, but are usually substantially higher. For additional information, see the departmental Web site.

All applicants whose native language is not English must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 79 (iBT), 213 (CBT), or 550 (PBT); or minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic exam scores of 6.5 overall and 6.0 in all subsections. Applicants may be exempt from the TOEFL if certain criteria are met. For those taking the TOEFL or IELTS, full admission status is granted for scores greater than 102 (TOEFL iBT), 253 (TOEFL CBT), 610 (TOEFL PBT), or 6.5 (IELTS). Limited status is granted for lesser scores and requires enrollment in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses based on an ESL Placement Test (EPT) taken upon arrival to campus.

Applicants to the joint M.Arch or M.B.A degree programs must meet the admissions standards for both programs and be accepted by both programs.

Students may apply to the Medical Scholars Program prior to beginning graduate school or while in the graduate program. Applicants to the Medical Scholars Program must meet the admissions standards for and be accepted into both Civil and Environmental Engineering and the College of Medicine. An application to the Medical Scholars Program will also serve as the application to the Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate program. Further information on this program is available by contacting the Medical Scholars Program (125 Medical Sciences Building, 217-333-8146,

Degree Requirements

*For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Guide to Graduate Programs and the Graduate College Handbook.

Master of Science, all majors

Thesis Option Non-thesis Option
Credit Hours: Hours Hours
Total Credit for the Degree 32 36
Thesis Research – CEE 599 (min-max applied toward degree): 4-8 n/a
Course Work 24-28 36
Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below) 24-28 36
Other Requirements and Conditions (may overlap):*
Individual programs are developed by the students in consultation with their academic advisors.
A minimum of 16 hours of credit within the major field with 8 graded and at the 500 level.
A minimum of 12 hours at the 500 level overall.
A maximum of 8 hours of CEE 597 (or other independent study) may be applied toward the elective course work requirement.
At least half of the minimum hours required for the degree must be in Illinois courses meeting on the Urbana-Champaign campus or in courses meeting in other locations approved by the Graduate College for resident credit for the degree.
The minimum program GPA is 2.75

Doctor of Philosophy, all majors

Credit Hours: Hours
Total Credit for the Degree 64
Thesis Research – CEE 599 (min-max applied toward degree) 32
Course Work 32
Elective courses (subject to Other Requirements and Conditions below) 32
Other Requirements and Conditions:*  
A maximum of 8 hours of CEE 597 (or other independent study) may be applied toward the elective course work requirement; approval required.
There is no department-wide foreign language requirement. However, the faculties of some areas of specialization may require foreign language proficiency if essential to the conduct of research in that area.
64 graduate hours must be completed in residence.
The minimum program GPA is 2.75.
A Masters degree is required for admission to the Ph.D. program.
Ph.D. exam and dissertation requirements:
    Qualifying exam
    Preliminary exam
    Final exam or dissertation defense
    Dissertation deposit

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy, primarily a research degree, requires from three to four years of graduate study beyond the master's degree.  The major area of specialization encompasses courses and research that are closely related, but the courses need not be offered by a single major department.  Candidates must demonstrate a capacity for independent research by preparing an original thesis on a topic within the major field of study, must meet the qualifying requirements or examination in the area of specialization, and must pass both preliminary and final examinations.

Online Program

The degree requirements are the same as for the on-campus non-thesis M.S. program—36 hours of course work—and the degree awarded to online students is the same degree awarded to resident students. Online students have five years to complete the program.

The M.S. degree in Civil Engineering offered online is current available for specialization in Construction Management and Transportation Engineering. Students can also develop cross-disciplinary programs in consultation with their advisers. Courses are available online in the following areas of concentration to complement the student’s area of specialty: Construction Materials, Environmental Engineering and Science, Environmental Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering and Structural Engineering.

Joint Degree Programs

The M.Arch.-M.S.C.E. joint degree program with the School of Architecture requires a total of 78 graduate hours (Architecture Track II), 70 graduate hours (Architecture Track III), or 64 graduate hours (Architecture Track I). Full details of requirements are presented at the School of Architecture's Web site; the thesis option is not available.

The M.S.C.E-M.B.A. joint degree program with the College of Business requires a total of 92 graduate hours of course work. The M.S.C.E. degree requirements consist of 32 hours of course work including three 500-level CEE courses; the thesis option is not available. 60 graduate hours are required for the M.B.A. degree, including 40 hours of M.B.A. core course work; and 20 hours of M.B.A. elective course work to fulfill the requirements of a concentration.

Medical Scholars Program

Students in the Medical Scholars program must meet the specific requirements for both the medical and graduate degrees. On average, students take eight years to complete both degrees. The first year of the combined program is typically spent meeting requirements of the graduate degree.

Faculty Research Interests

Areas of study and research pursued by our world-renowned faculty are focused in the following specializations: construction management, environmental engineering and science, environmental hydrology and hydraulic engineering, geotechnical engineering, information technology, materials, structural engineering, and transportation engineering.  Within these specializations, current research programs include: air quality; aquatic biology and ecology; computer-aided engineering systems (artificial intelligence, expert systems, and neural networks); construction engineering and management; construction materials (concrete composition, microstructure, and engineering properties); earthquake engineering; environmental chemistry; environmental fluid mechanics; geotechnical engineering (rock mechanics, soil mechanics, and foundation engineering); hazardous-waste management; hydrology and hydraulic engineering; information technology including distributed sensors and monitoring; nondestructive diagnostics; railway engineering; river mechanics and morphology, stochastic structural dynamics and random vibrations; structures (analysis, design, and behavior); structural and computational mechanics; traffic engineering; transportation (facilities, planning, systems design, and operations); water quality process engineering; and water resources and environmental systems analysis.

Centers, Programs, and Institutes

Mid-America Earthquake (MAE) Center – originally established by the National Science Foundation, works to develop an integrated framework and application tools for loss assessment due to earthquake and other disruptive events, disaster planning, response and mitigation strategies, and decision-making engines that enable policy makers to effectively manage risk.

Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) – funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation and the State of Illinois, promotes innovation and progress in transportation through interdisciplinary research.

Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT)
– founded in 1995 as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Center of Excellence, aims to develop new scientific knowledge and technology for the development, maintenance, and operation of airports.

Fabricated Geomembrane Institute
– conducts research and disseminates technical information about geomembranes that can be factory fabricated, transported to a project, and deployed, e.g., polypropylene, PVC, LDPE, and EPDM geomembranes, and answers technical questions regarding testing, design, fabrication, installation, and performance of these geomembranes.

Facilities and Resources

The Newmark Structural Engineering Laboratory (NSEL) features a nearly 6,000 square foot structural testing floor (strong floor), a three-story clear height, and a multiplicity of testing equipment (including a shake table, stand-alone universal testing machines, reaction frames, actuators, controllers, transducers, and a data acquisition) that can be used for conducting large-scale experimental structural, materials, and earthquake engineering research. The Environmental Engineering and Science Laboratories contain over 11,000 square feet with state-of-the-art analytical equipment. The Hydrosystems Laboratory covers an area of more than 11,000 square feet and includes several flumes, a rainfall generator, a stratified flow tank, and a water tunnel. The Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL) is a unique and comprehensive transportation research, educational, and testing laboratory. It is located on 47 acres, 15 miles north of the main campus, and it contains 60,000 square feet of laboratories, continuing education classrooms, office space, and a technical library. It is home to the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT). The Multi-Axial Full-Scale Sub-Structured Testing and Simulation (MUST-SIM) Facility is one of 15 networked national facilities conducting research that will lead to significant advances in seismic design and analysis. It provides a new experimental environment for conducting integrated distributed hybrid tests on components of large bridge and building structures. The Smart Structures Technology Laboratory seeks to implement advanced sensing and control technologies to more effectively monitor and protect our nation's civil infrastructure. The Laboratory houses a new medium-scale 6 Degree-of-Freedom seismic simulator, as well as extensive instrumentation and telepresence capabilities.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available in the form of fellowships and research and teaching assistantships. All applicants, regardless of U.S. citizenship, whose native language is not English and who wish to be considered for teaching assistantships must demonstrate spoken English language proficiency by achieving a minimum score of 50 of 24 on the speaking subsection of the TOEFL iBT or 8 on the speaking subsection of the IELTS. For students who are unable to take the iBT or IELTS, a minimum score of 4CP is required on the EPI test, offered on campus. All new teaching assistants are required to participate in the Graduate Academy for College Teaching conducted prior to the start of the semester.