2019 Best Master's in Civil Engineering Online Programs

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The 16 schools on this list offer affordable online master degrees in civil engineering without compromising academic quality. Columbia University in the City of New York takes the top spot and provides a general degree as well as five specializations in areas like construction, environmental, and structural engineering. World-renowned Stanford University is ranked #2, and two schools, Colorado State University-Fort Collins (#5) and Iowa State University (#7), have annual tuition rates under $10,000.

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

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Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 Columbia University in the City of New York $30,270 $132,700
#2 #2 Stanford University $20,280 $120,400
#3 #3 University of Washington - Seattle $15,330 $113,100
#4 #4 University of Houston $16,000 $113,100
#5 #5 Colorado State University-Fort Collins $9,360 $111,200
#6 #6 The University of Texas at Arlington $16,120 $110,900
#7 #7 Iowa State University $9,405 $109,100
#8 #8 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign $19,512 $110,400
#9 #9 Missouri University of Science and Technology $18,000 $105,700
#10 #10 North Carolina State University $18,675 $104,800
#11 #11 University of Southern California $36,090 $105,000
#12 #12 University of Louisville $10,710 $100,700
#13 #13 Villanova University $20,925 $99,200
#14 #14 Auburn University $14,235 $95,700
#15 #15 Norwich University $19,008 $95,600
#16 #16 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville $11,475 $86,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $30,270
  • Median Salary: $132,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Columbia University in the City of New York offers a fully online master’s degree in civil engineering through the Columbia Video Network (CVN). Students can choose a concentration for their degree, such as structural analysis and design or environmental engineering and water resources. All lectures are pre-recorded so as to allow students to “attend” class whenever is convenient for them, from anywhere in the world. Online group projects will also give students the opportunity to collaborate with their peers—from those on-campus to those overseas.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,280
  • Median Salary: $120,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Earn a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering studying online through the prestigious Stanford University. Their innovative distance learning opportunities have expanded the reach of their engineering school to learners all over the world. They offer this online master’s degree with several specializations, including atmosphere/energy and sustainable design and construction. This degree is designed for students who have already earned a B.S. in civil engineering. If a student is studying part-time, they can typically earn this degree in three to five years. Some on campus attendance is required for completion.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,330
  • Median Salary: $113,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
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The University of Washington – Seattle offers an online master’s degree in civil engineering: construction engineering. This fully-online program was designed for engineers who work in the field of heavy construction and aspire to lead large infrastructural projects. Students have the flexibility to continue working during the day while they study part-time at night, which allows them to earn a master’s in two to three years. This program attracts students from all over the world who bring unique global perspectives to the online classroom. Admission is granted on a quarterly basis.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Salary: $113,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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An MS in civil engineering is one of 24 online graduate programs offered by the University of Houston. Students in this master’s program can choose one of many available concentrations, including environmental engineering, geosensing and geoinformatics, and mechanical engineering. The flexible online schedule allows students to continue working full time as they pursue their degree. UH has a strong network of online students all around the world; new distance learners join a community that’s more than 40,000 strong.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,360
  • Median Salary: $111,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Colorado State University – Fort Collins’ highly affordable online master’s in civil engineering degree offers a unique specialization in managing one of earth’s most vital resources: water. The program—offered as both an ME and an MS—is taught by engineering professionals with expertise in the areas of environmental statistics, hydrology, infrastructure management, and more. All coursework is offered asynchronously; students watch recorded lectures and participate in online discussions and projects on their own time. Students can earn this degree within three years of part-time study, which allows them to maintain personal and professional commitments throughout.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,120
  • Median Salary: $110,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of Texas at Arlington offers students the opportunity to earn a master of science in civil engineering degree while studying entirely online. Students can choose a technical concentration for their research and study, such as construction engineering and management, environmental, geotechnical, structures and applied mechanics, or water resources. Completion of a thesis is required for graduation. UTA has been offering online degree programs since 1998 and today educates students from all over the world.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,405
  • Median Salary: $109,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Iowa State University offers one of the most affordable online master’s degrees in civil engineering available in the United States today. This fully-online master’s program focuses on construction engineering and management and is available as both an ME and an MS. It is one of five programs in the country to have been recognized by the Associated General Contractors of America. ISU admits new candidates to the program each semester and offers asynchronous coursework so students can stream video lectures any time of the day or night. This degree can be completed in two years, but students can work at their own pace to accommodate work and family commitments.

  • Annual Tuition: $19,512
  • Median Salary: $110,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign offers busy working adults the opportunity to earn a master of science in civil engineering degree entirely online. Distance learners can choose to specialize in construction management, infrastructure, transportation engineering, or structural engineering, with various electives available to complement their selection. Asynchronous coursework provides students with the flexibility to watch lectures recorded on-campus whenever they have time. Online students complete all the same assignments, projects, and tests as their on-campus counterparts. They can take up to five years to complete the program, and no thesis is required for graduation.

  • Annual Tuition: $18,000
  • Median Salary: $105,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Missouri University of Science and Technology offers an online master’s in civil engineering geared toward working professionals who seek to improve their skills and salary. This non-thesis MS degree offers students the chance to concentrate in one of the following areas: construction, environmental, geotechnical, structural, or water resources engineering. Most coursework can be completed asynchronously as all classes are recorded and archived for the convenience of distance learners. Students are given up to six years to complete the degree, but most finish within three to four of part-time study.

  • Annual Tuition: $18,675
  • Median Salary: $104,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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North Carolina State University has been providing distance engineering education since 1978. Forty years later, they have the bandwidth to offer their rigorous master of civil engineering degree entirely online. This program, designed for professional engineers seeking advancement, can be customized for a concentration in construction engineering, structures and mechanics, transportation systems, or one of several other options. With no thesis requirement and a generous six-year window for completion, this NCSU program helps busy adults achieve their academic and professional goals.

  • Annual Tuition: $36,090
  • Median Salary: $105,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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The University of Southern California offers two online master of science in civil engineering degrees—one in construction engineering and one in structural engineering. These online programs are offered through DEN@Viterbi, a flexible online platform that allows students to learn whenever and wherever is convenient for them. Through this platform, distance learners can collaborate with their peers on group projects, access digital lecture notes, and stay in close communication with their instructors. They can also visit campus for the occasional lecture if they wish. These online master’s degrees can be completed in one and a half to two years of full-time study or two and a half to three and a half years of part-time study.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,710
  • Median Salary: $100,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Working professionals with a bachelor’s in civil engineering can continue their studies with an online master’s degree through the University of Louisville. Their fully-online MS in civil engineering helps individuals gain the technical skills and knowledge they need to advance in their careers. Many students complete the program on a part-time basis while working full-time, but it can be finished in as few as three semesters of rigorous study. Online courses are taught by faculty of UL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. The program allows students to transfer in up to six credits from an approved graduate institution.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,925
  • Median Salary: $99,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Villanova University offers an online master’s in civil engineering degree with concentrations in geotechnical, structural, transportation, or water resources and environmental engineering. Students can customize their degree further by choosing an interdisciplinary program. 88% of students study part-time, which allows them to take just one course per semester and complete the degree in three years. The online program is comparable in all ways to the on-campus one. Students learn from the same instructors, follow the same course syllabus and semester schedule, and even live-stream on-campus video lectures or attend them in-person when their schedule allows. If they can’t participate synchronously, students can view lectures in the class archive later, a resource they have continued access to for years in the future.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,235
  • Median Salary: $95,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The online master of civil engineering degree at Auburn University was designed to give busy professionals the opportunity to go back to school without taking time off from work. This master’s program gives students the opportunity to develop their skill set and gain specialized knowledge in the areas of environmental, structural, or geotechnical engineering. If studying part-time, students typically complete the program in three to three and a half years, though they can take up to six. The program is open to students all over the United States, and no thesis is required for completion.

  • Annual Tuition: $19,008
  • Median Salary: $95,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Norwich University provides a fast-track option for adults seeking an online master’s in civil engineering degree. Taking six courses that are 11 weeks each, students complete their degree in just 18 months. The school offers concentrations in the areas of construction management, environmental/water resources, geotechnical, and structural engineering. With no GRE requirement, NU makes it easier to go back to school. Students can also transfer in up to 12 credits from approved institutions. Classes are capped at 15 students to ensure each receives personalized faculty attention, and the program culminates in a one-week residency on NU’s historic Vermont campus where students meet their online peers and take part in commencement.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,475
  • Median Salary: $86,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Earn a master of science in civil engineering degree from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville while studying from the comfort of your own home. UTK’s Tickle College of Engineering currently offers two concentrations for this degree to distance learners: public works and transportation. These programs are intended for both students straight out of their undergraduate studies and professional engineers returning to school for an advanced degree. Online learners study under the same faculty as on-campus students. UTK offers both thesis and non-thesis options for this degree.

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.

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