Cal Poly Graduate Education

About the Program

The mission of the Master of Science in Civil Engineering program is to prepare its students for successful careers in civil engineering by providing a high quality, practice-oriented education that emphasizes design project experiences, "hands-on" laboratory activities, and teamwork.

The Civil Engineering Program's faculty, in consultation with engineering practitioners and alumni, have developed five educational objectives to support the program mission. The educational objectives represent the goals that we have for our graduates after they leave Cal Poly. The educational objectives of the Civil Engineering Program are as follows:

  • Successfully perform essential engineering functions in Civil Engineering practice;
  • Communicate effectively with industry professionals and community members;
  • Work in an ethical and professional manner to positively impact the environment and society;
  • Pursue life-long learning through continuing education opportunities, graduate degrees and/or other certification; and
  • Progress toward professional licensure.


The Environmental Engineering Program

The mission of the Master of Science in Environmental Engineering program is to provide its students with the highest quality technical and professional education in environmental engineering, with particular emphasis in the areas of air pollution control, water and wastewater quality, solid and hazardous waste management, and noise control.

The Environmental Engineering Program's faculty, in consultation with engineering practitioners and alumni, have developed three educational objectives to support the program mission. The educational objectives represent the goals that we have for our graduates after they leave Cal Poly. The educational objectives of the Environmental Engineering Program are as follows:

  • Practice as professional engineers by gaining a thorough foundation in the following areas: water and wastewater; air pollution; and solid and hazardous wastes;
  • Pursue higher studies, research, and life-long learning, and develop an appreciation of liberal arts and social sciences; and
  • Have a global awareness of environmental issues and use appropriate technologies to solve them.

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Master of Science program in Civil and Environmental Engineering has the following objectives:

  • Job-entry education for the more complex areas of engineering, such as research and development, innovative design, systems analysis and design, and managerial engineering;
  • Updating opportunities for practicing engineers;
  • Graduate preparation for further study in engineering, leading to the Doctor of Engineering or Ph.D. degree.


For admission as a classified graduate student, an applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a closely related physical science with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 90 quarter units (60-semester units) attempted. Applicants are required to submit satisfactory scores for the General (Aptitude) Test of the Graduate Record Examination. An applicant who meets these standards but lacks prerequisite coursework may be admitted as a conditionally classified student and must make-up any deficiencies before advancement to classified graduate standing.

Information pertaining to specific requirements for admission to graduate standing (classified or conditionally classified) may be obtained from the Graduate Program Coordinator of the MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering program.

Program of Study

Graduate students must file a formal study plan with their advisor, department, college, and university graduate studies office by no later than the end of the quarter in which the 12th unit of approved courses is completed. The formal program of study must include a minimum of 45 units (at least 23 of which must be at the 500 level). With the graduate advisor’s approval, students select their elective units in one of the following areas of study: geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation and planning, or water resources and environmental engineering.

The broad curriculum requirements for the MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering are:

  • a minimum of 45 total units;
  • 2 units of Graduate Seminar (CE 591 and CE 592)
  • a minimum of 20 units of advisor-approved electives within the major;
  • a minimum of 8 units of advisor-approved electives outside the primary area of focus;
  • at least 23 units of the 45 unit program at the 500 level;
  • a comprehensive examination (non-thesis option) or a written thesis with an oral defense (thesis option).

Two program options are available:

Thesis option

36 units of advisor-approved coursework and 9 units of research/design resulting in a written thesis and oral defense examination administered by a panel of at least three faculties.

Non-thesis option

45 units of advisor-approved coursework which includes 1-unit comprehensive examination consisting of written and oral components administered by a panel of three faculties (maximum of two opportunities to pass this examination). Not an option for the blended BS+MS program.

Program Learning Objectives

  • Apply and synthesize technical knowledge to solve solutions to advanced Civil and Environmental Engineering problems in a chosen subject area of mastery (Environmental, Geotechnical, Structural, Water Resources, or Transportation Engineering).
  • Demonstrate the ability for lifelong learning necessary for the constantly evolving nature of engineering design and practice.
  • Effectively communicate technical information orally and in writing.
  • Demonstrate independent thinking and decision making skills.
  • Integrate ethical and professional components into the solutions of complex engineering problems.
  • Evaluate engineering systems for sustainable performance and create solutions to encompass a project's full lifecycle.


Required Courses

CE 591 Graduate Seminar I 1
CE 592 Graduate Seminar II 1
Select one of the following options: - 9
CE/ENVE 599 Design Project (Thesis) -
Or 9 units of advisor approved analysis and design electives within the major (nonthesis option) - -

Advisor approved analysis and design electives within a specific area of focus

Select from the following*: 20-26 units

  • CE 400 - Special Problems**
  • CE 401 - Advanced Mechanics of Materials
  • CE 405 - Concrete Materials
  • CE 407 - Structural Dynamics
  • CE 421 - Traffic Engineering
  • CE 422 - Highway Geometrics and Design
  • CE 423 - Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • CE 424 - Public Transportation
  • CE 431 - Coastal Hydraulics I
  • CE 432 - Coastal Hydraulics II
  • CE 433 - Open Channel Hydraulics
  • CE 434 - Groundwater Hydraulics and Hydrology
  • CE 440 - Hydraulic Systems Engineering
  • CE 454 - Structural Design
  • CE 455 - Design of Timber Structures
  • CE 456 - Seismic Principles for Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CE 457 - Bridge Engineering
  • CE 458 - Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Design
  • CE 459 - FRP Strengthening of Reinforced Concrete Structures
  • CE 474 - Environmental Compliance and Permitting
  • CE 475 - Civil Infrastructure and Building Systems
  • CE 481 - Analysis and Design of Shallow Foundations
  • CE 486 - Introduction to Geological Engineering
  • CE 487 - Design of Foundations and Slopes in Rock
  • CE 488 - Engineering Risk Analysis
  • CE 500 - Individual Study**
  • CE 501 - Advanced Matrix Analysis of Structures I
  • CE 504 - Finite Element Analysis
  • CE 521 - Highway Pavement Designs
  • CE 523 - Transportation Systems Planning
  • CE 525 - Airport Planning and Design
  • CE 527 - Sustainable Mobility
  • CE 528 - Transportation Economics and Analysis
  • CE 529 - Modeling and Simulation in Transportation
  • CE 533 - Advanced Water Resources Engineering
  • CE 535 - Water Resources Systems Planning and Analysis
  • CE 537 - Groundwater Contamination
  • CE 539 - Environmental Hydraulics
  • CE 552 - Analysis and Seismic Design of Reinforced Concrete
  • CE 553 - Ductile Design of Steel Structures
  • CE 555 - Advanced Civil Engineering Materials Laboratory
  • CE 557 - Seismic Analysis and Design for Civil Engineers
  • CE 559 - Prestressed Concrete Design
  • CE 571 - Selected Advanced Laboratory
  • CE 581 - Advanced Geotechnical Engineering
  • CE 583 - Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
  • CE 584 - Lateral Support Systems
  • CE 585 - Slope Stability Analysis
  • CE 586 - Analysis and Design of Deep Foundations
  • CE 588 - Ground Improvement
  • CE 589 - Geosynthetics Engineering
  • ENVE 400 - Special Problems 2**
  • ENVE 411 - Air Pollution Control
  • ENVE 421 - Mass Transfer Operations
  • ENVE 434 - Water Chemistry and Water Quality Measurements
  • ENVE 436 - Introduction to Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
  • ENVE 438 - Water and Wastewater Treatment Design
  • ENVE 439 - Solid Waste Management
  • ENVE 443 - Bioremediation Engineering
  • ENVE 450 - Industrial Pollution Prevention
  • ENVE 455 - Environmental Health and Safety
  • ENVE 466 - Senior Project Design Laboratory I
  • ENVE 467 - Senior Project Design Laboratory II
  • ENVE 500- Individual Study**
  • ENVE 535 - Physico-Chemical Water and Wastewater Treatment
  • ENVE 536 - Biological Wastewater Treatment Processes Engineering
  • ENVE 542 - Sustainable Environmental Engineering

Advisor approved electives outside the primary area of focus
Approved electives outside the primary area of focus*: 8-14 units

Total units: 45

*To be selected after consultation with your academic advisor and the CE/ENVE graduate coordinator
**No more than 4 total units of technical elective credit from CE 400, CE 500 and ENVE 400, ENVE 500 combined.

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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Last updated November 20, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
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Karen Bartleson - College of Engineering