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Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Program

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a variety of areas of study for those interested in pursuing an advanced degree. These degrees can lead to more advanced employment options in government, consulting, construction or industry, and introduce new options including research and teaching. General information about our graduate programs and courses may be found in the graduate record. Visit our graduate admissions page for further information on our process and visit the prospective graduate student page for links and information of interest.

CEE Graduate Degree Programs:
  • Master of Engineering (ME) in Civil Engineering
  • Master of Science (MS) in Civil Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Civil Engineering
CEE Department Focus Areas:
  • Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
  • Infrastructure Systems Engineering

Distance Learning – M.E. Degree
The department participates in the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP), a distance learning program designed to make master's degrees in engineering available to qualified engineers. Details on the overall program may be found on the CGEP at U.Va. page. In addition, full details on the department's program can be found on the can be found on the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering CGEP page.

Graduate Admissions
Applicants must submit letters of recommendation and college transcripts and take the Graduate Record Examination. Further information on applying and an online application form is available on the SEAS graduate admissions page or send inquiries to the CEE Graduate Program Coordinator,, 434.924.7464.

Graduate Program Requirements
M.E. and M.S. Degrees

See SEAS requirements

Ph.D. Degree
When a student enters the PhD program, an advisory committee is formed, chaired by the students advisor, to formulate a coursework and research plan suited to the student’s needs, interests, and goals. The advisory committee determines final requirements for the student. The requirements described below are minimum requirements for the department.

Minimum CEE Ph.D. Requirements
Plan of Study

A doctoral Plan of Study, listing the courses taken as part of the Ph.D. program and tailored to the interests and needs of the individual student, is developed in consultation with the student's doctoral advisory committee. The plan must satisfy all SEAS requirements. The plan of study should ensure both depth in the specific research area and breadth in civil and environmental engineering and related sciences. After approval by the committee and department, it is forwarded to the SEAS assistant dean for graduate studies.

The plan of study should be submitted promptly after appointment of the doctoral advisory committee.

Qualifying Exam
The student’s doctoral advisory committee will develop and administer a qualifying examination designed to test: (a) the student’s integrative knowledge in their focus area within civil and environmental engineering, and (b) the student’s research abilities. The examination will consist of a written and oral component.

This examination should be completed within a maximum time period of 6 months following the student’s completion of coursework as defined by the plan of study.

Dissertation Proposal
Doctoral students are required to prepare a written dissertation proposal. The proposal should indicate the purpose and objectives of the work to be undertaken, the current state of the art with bibliography, and the strategy to be followed and techniques to be employed in the research. Preliminary data, calculations, and/or theoretical developments should be included in support of the proposed work. The proposal will be presented orally and discussed publicly. The doctoral advisory committee will serve as the dissertation proposal exam committee.

This phase of the doctoral program should be completed within a maximum time period of 12 months following completion of Qualifying Exam.

Purpose of the Dissertation Proposal
  1. To determine if the student's knowledge of the area chosen for research and the pertinent literature is adequate
  2. To determine whether the proposed work, if completed, would provide the basis for an acceptable dissertation
  3. To advise the student on general approaches and specific techniques that may be helpful in the proposed research

Teaching Experience
To contribute to the educational and professional development, each doctoral student should serve as a graduate teaching assistant for a minimum of two semesters. These semesters should occur after the student has passed the qualifying exam.

Publication Expectation
A doctoral student is expected to serve as the lead author on one or more peer-reviewed journal papers prior to scheduling his or her final defense

Travel Grant Awards
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering travel grant award is intended to support doctoral students in presenting their work at, and actively participating at major research conferences. The grant will cover registration fees, travel, meals, and lodging up to a limit of $1,500. Grant applications will be considered on a quarterly basis by the faculty.

To apply for a grant, the following information should be provided to the department chair. Students are encouraged to apply for the grant as soon as possible following acceptance of his/her paper or abstract (as required by the conference):

  • Conference Name, Location, and Dates
  • Copy of Paper or Abstract Accepted for Presentation
  • Planned Conference Activities
  • Estimated Budget

Students awarded the grants will be expected to present their paper in the CEE seminar series prior to the conference, and to present on their findings at the conference in the CEE seminar series upon their return.