2020 Best Online Master's in Civil Engineering Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/9/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Civil Engineering Badge

Ranked based on affordability and earning potential, these 17 schools offer the best online master's programs in civil engineering. Graduates of the #1-ranked school, Columbia University, earn a median salary of $132,700 after earning their Master of Science in Civil Engineering. Students can choose from multiple concentrations including Construction Engineering and Management, Engineering Mechanics, and Structural Analysis and Design. Stanford University, ranked #2, offers an annual tuition of only $20,280.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

Start Your Online College Search:
OnlineU has over 200 partner colleges that advertise on our site. Search results include only our partner colleges, which are marked with the word "Ad." Learn more about how we make money.
RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Columbia University in the City of New York $31,560 $132,700
# 2 #2 Stanford University $20,280 $120,400
# 3 #3 Colorado State University-Fort Collins $9,640 $111,200
# 4 #4 University of Houston $16,664 $113,100
# 5 #5 Iowa State University $10,425 $109,100
# 6 #6 Ohio State University-Main Campus $16,704 $109,700
# 7 #7 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign $19,512 $110,400
# 8 #8 New Jersey Institute of Technology $19,605 $108,000
# 9 #9 Missouri University of Science and Technology $18,000 $105,700
# 10 #10 North Carolina State University $20,185 $104,800
# 11 #11 University of Louisville $11,460 $100,700
# 12 #12 University of Southern California $29,050 $105,000
# 13 #13 University of Florida $30,134 $104,400
# 14 #14 Villanova University Online Graduate Programs $21,600 $99,200
# 15 #15 Norwich University $19,392 $95,600
# 16 #16 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville $10,710 $86,300
# 17 #17 Michigan Technological University $18,180 $88,700
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Civil Engineering Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Columbia University in the City of New York

  • Annual Tuition: $31,560
  • Median Salary: $132,700
  • Locations: New York (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Students in the Master of Science in Civil Engineering program at Columbia University in the City of New York can advance their professional and academic opportunities through one of 13 areas of specialization. Fully online concentrations include Construction Engineering, Hydrogeology, Continuum Mechanics, Finite Element Methods, and Experimental Mechanics. Assignments and class readings are accessible to distance learners through CourseWorks, a Canvas-driven learning management system. Distance learners use the platform to interact and participate in group discussions and have dedicated IT support through the Help Desk. Additional student services include professional development, virtual library access, and financial aid. On average, students take 3.5 years to complete the degree on a part-time schedule. However, students may take up to five years. Students learn the skills required to pursue a career in the public or private sector of the industry or to continue their education with a Ph.D. There are three start dates available for incoming students. Requirements for admission include an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and recent GRE scores. Students can apply by submitting an online application, three recommendation letters, a personal statement, test scores, and all prior transcripts for consideration. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

#2 Stanford University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,280
  • Median Salary: $120,400
  • Locations: Stanford (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University allows students to choose a concentration that best aligns with their interests and career plans. The department offers four concentrations, including Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere and Energy, Sustainable Design and Construction, and Structural Engineering and Geomechanics. The program is intended to be completed part-time and requires 45 credits in total. Specific coursework varies depending on students’ chosen specialization. Some classes required for the degree may only be offered on-campus. Courses offered online deliver coursework and lecture videos through the MyStanfordConnection portal, which students can access 24/7. The program does not require a thesis or final research project. Upon completing the program, graduates are qualified to continue their education with a Ph.D. in the discipline or pursue a career in a number of fields, including engineering, business, and law. The graduate program application requires students to submit their academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation, including one letter from an instructor. Stanford’s online students benefit from career and alumni services, support from academic advisors, and technical assistance.

#3 Colorado State University-Fort Collins

  • Annual Tuition: $9,640
  • Median Salary: $111,200
  • Locations: Fort Collins (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Colorado State University-Fort Collins offers a Master of Engineering (ME) in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science (MS) in Civil Engineering. Both degree programs provide a concentrated education in water resources, with coursework in hydrology, infrastructure management, environmental monitoring, water control and management, and geographic information systems. Both the 30-credit hour ME and the 32-credit hour MS are typically completed within three years. Students in the online civil engineering degree programs complete assignments, view recorded lectures, and review lecture notes at their convenience using the Canvas learning management system. There are no set login times. Online coursework may also incorporate discussion forums, podcasts, and quizzes. A thesis is not required, and there is no final examination. Resources for students include career development services, IT support, and tools for academic success such as a virtual writing center, a Student Disability Center, and full access to the school’s library databases. To apply to the MS program, students must submit their official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume, and GRE scores. The ME program does not require GRE scores. Both degrees require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least a 3.0 GPA. An undergraduate degree in engineering is preferred but not required. Students may apply for a fall or spring start.

#4 University of Houston

  • Annual Tuition: $16,664
  • Median Salary: $113,100
  • Locations: Houston (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Houston offers an online Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree designed to equip students with the knowledge, tools, and practices needed to approach complex industry challenges. The 31-credit hour program instructs students in the advanced fundamentals of civil engineering with coursework in structural engineering, mechanical engineering, hydrosystems engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, geosensing and geoinformatics, and subsea engineering. The Blackboard learning management system organizes students’ coursework and assignments, as well as video-recorded lectures for students who need to stream them at a later time. The platform allows program participants to have the flexibility necessary to balance their education with their professional responsibilities. Students are supported throughout the program, with services ranging from online tutoring to mental health counseling. Career services are also available. Prospective students must have a bachelor’s degree (a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering is preferable), as well as a minimum GPA of 3.0. The application requires students to submit official GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, a statement of purpose, and an updated resume. Graduates may enter careers in civil engineering, hydrology, or environmental engineering.

#5 Iowa State University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,425
  • Median Salary: $109,100
  • Locations: Ames (IA)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Iowa State University offers a number of concentrations in the discipline. Students in the program can choose to specialize their studies in Construction Engineering, Structural Engineering, Intelligent Infrastructure Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Geotechnical and Materials Engineering, or Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. Graduates of the 30-credit hour online civil engineering program may pursue a career in the industry's public or professional sectors. Students use the Canvas course management platform to access video lectures, homework, and discussion forums. While Canvas allows students to work on their own schedules, the program is not self-paced. Instead, students move through curriculum units alongside their classmates, with set deadlines and exams. The program begins in the fall; students can apply online by submitting a program application, academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Applicants don't need to hold an undergraduate degree in engineering; however, non-engineering students may be required to take prerequisite courses before beginning the program. While in the program, ISU distance learners can benefit from career development support, library services, academic advising, technical assistance, and veteran students' resources.

#6 Ohio State University-Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $16,704
  • Median Salary: $109,700
  • Locations: Columbus (OH)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Global Engineering Leadership - Civil and Environmental Engineering degree at Ohio State University is a collaboration between the Fisher College of Business and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. The program is designed for individuals seeking both to enhance their technical skills and study the relationship of engineering to business management and public policy. Students can customize their program by choosing one or more of these tracks: Automotive Systems Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Enterprise Services and Architectures, Radar Systems, and Welding Engineering/Materials Joining. Students must choose their academic track(s) upon applying to the online master’s in civil engineering degree program. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school in a field related to their chosen graduate track. The program can be finished in as few as 12 months of full-time studies or 28 months of part-time studies. To apply, students must submit an application form with their resume, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and an essay; the GRE requirement may be waived based on a strong academic record or work experience.

#7 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign

  • Annual Tuition: $19,512
  • Median Salary: $110,400
  • Locations: Champaign (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is an online degree that is offered with the following concentrations: Construction Management, Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability (EWES), Geotechnical Engineering, Infrastructure, Transportation Engineering, Societal Risk and Hazard Mitigation, Structural Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering and Science. The 36-credit online civil engineering degree program is the same as the one offered on campus, with recorded lectures that can be viewed live or asynchronously, depending on student preference and schedule. There is a thesis option, though it is not required for graduation. Full-time students can complete the program in 11 to 24 months (18 to 24 if the thesis option is chosen) or up to five years if enrolled part-time. Enrolled students have the support of a program advisor, as well as access to a variety of student services including library resources, tech support, and professional development, including the Technology Entrepreneurship Center, which supports innovative leaders in creating solutions for global problems. Admission requires a BS in engineering (a minimum 3.0 GPA or higher is preferable), along with GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume, and transcripts.

#8 New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Annual Tuition: $19,605
  • Median Salary: $108,000
  • Locations: Newark (NJ)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The online Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree at New Jersey Institute of Technology is designed for working professionals who want a flexible course of study to help advance their careers. Students can choose from three concentrations: Construction Management, Transportation, and Structural Design and Construction. This 30-credit program offers coursework in AutoCAD drafting, civil and structural engineering, and project management. In addition to these areas of focus, students will study management science, organizational behavior, and legal issues related to the field of civil engineering. The school's engineering program has a proven track record, as one in every four licensed engineers in the state of New Jersey attended NJIT. To apply to this online civil engineering degree program, prospective students must fill out an online application and submit a fee, college transcripts, and a letter of recommendation. The GRE requirement is waived for students with GPAs of 2.8 or higher in an undergraduate engineering program. 

#9 Missouri University of Science and Technology

  • Annual Tuition: $18,000
  • Median Salary: $105,700
  • Locations: Rolla (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology is an online degree that offers the following concentrations: Construction Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering. This 30-credit online civil engineering degree has the same curriculum and student engagement as the one offered on campus, but with the added benefit of a flexible study format. The program covers a broad core curriculum in addition to electives in the specialized areas. No thesis is required for graduation. Online students have access to academic advisors for support during the course of their studies. Prospective applicants should have earned a BS in Engineering with a 3.0 GPA or above. Applicants from other engineering or STEM fields may also be considered for admission, though they need to complete prerequisites in math, science, and engineering before starting the program. The GRE is required for admission to the graduate program; however, students can enroll in the civil engineering graduate certificate programs without a GRE and later apply that coursework to the degree program.

#10 North Carolina State University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,185
  • Median Salary: $104,800
  • Locations: Raleigh (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Civil Engineering at North Carolina State University is a flexible online degree that is offered with the following areas of specialization: Construction Engineering; Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering; Geotechnical/Geoenvironmnetal Engineering; Structures and Mechanics; Transportation Materials; and Transportation Systems. This 30-credit online civil engineering degree program features 24 credits in the civil engineering core and emphasis area, and six credits that can be taken in another engineering or STEM concentration. The program has the same academic rigor and faculty as the on-campus program. There is no thesis requirement. Students work with an academic advisor to create a plan for graduate work. Graduates may pursue professional opportunities as site managers, superintendents, project managers, and directors of engineering. Prospective students should complete the application form and submit transcripts and GRE scores; test scores can be waived if the student has earned a BS from an accredited engineering program. Students have the option of beginning the program in the fall, spring, or summer sessions.

#11 University of Louisville

  • Annual Tuition: $11,460
  • Median Salary: $100,700
  • Locations: Louisville (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Louisville is a 30-credit accelerated online program that allows working professionals a flexible way to complete their graduate studies. Students who enroll full-time can graduate in one year. The program teaches students the professional skills necessary to deal with modern challenges in the engineering world, such as urbanization and decaying infrastructure. Graduates of the program may explore career opportunities as structural engineers, surveyors, water resource engineers, land developers, transportation engineers, and project engineers. Online students have access to various resources, including academic advising, library databases, and career services. This online civil engineering program offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. It is preferable that applicants have a civil engineering undergraduate degree, but other engineering and STEM-degree students will be considered for admission (a GPA of 2.75 or higher is desired). Prospective students must submit an on online application (fee applies), transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

#12 University of Southern California

  • Annual Tuition: $29,050
  • Median Salary: $105,000
  • Locations: Los Angeles (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering is an online degree offered with two concentration areas: Construction Engineering and Structural Engineering. The online program, which is provided either live or on-demand, features the same lectures and coursework as the on-campus program. It allows for collaboration with peers and faculty via live chats, virtual meetings, and class discussion boards; students can even call into the live classrooms to participate in the discussion. The Structural Engineering program analyzes the behavior of buildings and infrastructure under service and environmental stresses like traffic, weather, and earthquakes. The Construction Engineering program considers the activities and practices in construction and facilities management. Graduates of the program may pursue careers in construction design, architecture, project management, planning and surveying, and more. Students enrolled full-time can complete the degree in as few as 1.5 years, while part-time students can finish in 2.5 to three years. To apply to this online civil engineering degree program, students must complete an online application and submit transcripts and GRE scores.

#13 University of Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $30,134
  • Median Salary: $104,400
  • Locations: Gainesville (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment (ESSIE) at the University of Florida offers a Master of Science and a Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering degree; a thesis option is available. Both 30-credit programs offer a concentration in Structural Engineering and have a similar curriculum. Students in the MS program must pass a comprehensive exam, while students in the ME program must have already earned a bachelor’s in engineering from an ABET-accredited institution. Students take 15 credits within the engineering curriculum, and 15 credits can be taken in areas such as leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Students are assigned to an advisor upon enrollment. To apply to either online civil engineering degree program, students must submit an online application with their transcript, a resume (optional), GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement that indicates interest in working with a particular faculty member and whether any outside funding has been secured for research.

#14 Villanova University Online Graduate Programs

  • Annual Tuition: $21,600
  • Median Salary: $99,200
  • Locations: Online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering Management degree at Villanova University is offered fully online or in a hybrid format, depending on student preference and schedule. The program offers flexible study options, though it has the same curriculum and is taught by the same expert faculty as the one offered on campus. Areas of study in this online civil engineering degree program include geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, water resources engineering, and environmental engineering. Students can choose a single area of study or combine two for a custom, interdisciplinary program that meets their personal and professional interests and goals. Graduates of the program may pursue careers at engineering firms and companies in the public and private sectors. Online students have access to a wealth of Villanova career services, including advising and career development. To apply to this program, students must create an online account and upload transcripts and other required documents as specified.

#15 Norwich University

  • Annual Tuition: $19,392
  • Median Salary: $95,600
  • Locations: Northfield (VT)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The online Master of Civil Engineering degree at Norwich University is offered with the following areas of concentration: Construction Management, Environmental/Water Resources Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, and Structural Engineering. This 36-credit program is divided into six, 11-week courses that begin in the fall or spring. The curriculum aims to equip students with the skills needed to take on modern engineering challenges through the study of math, science, technology, and humanities. Students take one course at a time to become fully immersed in the subject area; full-time students can finish the program in as few as 18 months. The program can be finished online, with the exception of a one-week residency on-site, which is completed as a culminating experience. Classes have fewer than 15 students to encourage collaboration and personalized attention. To apply to this online civil engineering degree program, students submit their transcripts online; no test scores are required for admission. Scholarships are available to eligible students. Online students have access to career and academic advising, military and veteran support, and other campus resources.

#16 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

  • Annual Tuition: $10,710
  • Median Salary: $86,300
  • Locations: Knoxville (TN)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville’s Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree is offered with the following areas of concentration; Public Works Engineering (general or technical focus) and Transportation Engineering. The program’s curriculum consists of 30 engineering credits plus a non-credit professional seminar series. Students may choose to complete a six-credit thesis in their area of research interest, or they can instead pass a comprehensive exam to earn the degree. Graduates of the program may explore career opportunities at utility companies, telecommunication firms, federal and state governments, government agencies, and within academia. Prospective students to this online civil engineering program must apply online and submit their transcripts (a GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred) and test scores. The GRE requirement for admission can be waived for applicants who have earned a civil engineering undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Students without a civil engineering background but with a degree in a related STEM field will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

#17 Michigan Technological University

  • Annual Tuition: $18,180
  • Median Salary: $88,700
  • Locations: Houghton (MI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Michigan Technological University has a concentration in Structural Engineering. The curriculum covers structural dynamics, building codes, seismic design, and other advanced design techniques. This ten-course program can be completed in five semesters with full-time enrollment. It has the same academic rigor as the on-campus version. The program aims to prepare graduates for leadership positions on a variety of civil and structural engineering projects. Online students have access to a variety of Michigan Technological resources, including career services, academic advising, library resources, and disability services. Applicants to this online civil engineering degree program should have earned an undergraduate engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program. There is no GRE requirement; rather, the admissions committee will review transcripts, resume/CV, and both a personal statement and a statement of purpose. Students start the application process by filling out the online form (no fee is charged).

Online Master's in Civil Engineering Overview

An online master’s degree in civil engineering is necessary for anyone seeking a senior-level position in public and private sectors within the civil engineering field. Master’s degree programs can last from one to two years, depending on how many courses a student takes during a given semester or quarter. An approximate accumulation of 30 credit hours are needed to graduate, but could vary with specific programs. Most master’s degree programs require a practicum, or a form of field experience to complete the program.

Students pursuing an online master’s degree in civil engineering can expect to take courses that delve into extremely pertinent and technical aspects of civil engineering. These classes are more study-intensive and focused than engineering course work as an undergrad. Construction management, qualitative and quantitative statistics, and soil mechanics are examples of common courses offered. Colleges offering specific plans of study within the field may require additional courses for students to meet the program’s criteria. Civil engineering graduate students are also expected to produce a thesis during the course of obtaining a master’s degree. When earning an M.S. in civil engineering, students that are interested in pursuing a degree beyond the graduate level may want to choose a research track of study.

To obtain an online master’s degree in civil engineering, a bachelor’s degree is required. Prior internships related to civil engineering are also extremely helpful with being accepted into a graduate degree program. Strong GRE scores are expected and letters of recommendation are often required. Colleges and universities that offer four-year degrees are the most practical places to look for graduate programs. Many give students an option to combine both, allowing the student to take extra course work for an additional year or two and earn a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.