Skip to main content
Online Master’s Engineering Programs
close Close off-canvas menu

Online M.S. in Civil Engineering Curriculum

Quick Facts
Apply Now Tuition Summary
Next start date: August 26, 2024

Application deadline: August 12, 2024
Credit hours required: 30

Tuition cost: $29,850

The online Master of Science in Civil Engineering curriculum provides a rich grounding in theoretical concepts and practical skills. As an R1 research university, MSU offers students exceptional access to industry resources and real-world data, often drawn from the systems that serve the university’s own sprawling campus. Our faculty members teach the quantitative methods and industry-standard software tools that enable professionals to solve vital problems.

You’ll work with an academic adviser to determine a customized program plan that fulfills graduation requirements while helping you build the expertise to take on complex engineering projects, qualify for state licensure and progress in your career.

  • Master’s students must complete 30 total credit hours (10 courses) to graduate.
  • Choose from courses in three specialization areas:

    Students may take any selection of 27 credit hours (9 courses) in the focus areas of Transportation Engineering, Structural Engineering and Pavement Engineering. You may choose to focus primarily on one of these areas or split your coursework between the three.

    • Students who are pursuing a Structural Engineering focus area will also have the option to complete a three-credit design or analysis project in place of one elective course.
  • In addition, all online civil engineering students are required to take one general course that covers the fundamentals in statistical theory and programming in R.

Master of Civil Engineering Course Descriptions

Note: Course availability varies by semester. Contact an admission counselor for details.

General Course (Required)

Programming in R and use of associated open source tools. Addressing practical issues in documenting workflow, data management and scientific computing.

Transportation Engineering

Introduction to transportation engineering, including: transportation planning, traffic engineering, geometric design, traffic flow, and highway capacity, queuing theory, traffic control, and highway safety.
Driver and vehicle characteristics affecting traffic flow and safety. Speed, density and capacity relationships. Signal control in street networks. Freeway management systems. Risk management and liability.
Geometric design of highways. Operation, capacity, safety and geometric features. Alignment, drainage and pavement design. Use of CAD systems in preparing contract plans.
Application and interpretation of quantitative methods and design of experiments for transportation research. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), non-parametric, discriminant analysis, factor analysis, multivariate regression and SPSS statistical analysis software.
Analysis of highway geometric design alternatives and operational-control strategies with respect to accident probabilities. Statistical methods of pattern identification. Countermeasure selection and evaluation methodology. Risk management.
Advanced highway design policies and practices. Evaluation of operational and safety effects associated with highway design including analytical methods. Traffic control and signalization strategies for highways.

Pavement Engineering

Engineering concepts and information needed to rehabilitate pavements. Network and project survey and evaluation: design of rigid and flexible overlays, other methods of rehabilitation and selection of rehabilitation alternatives. Initial and life cycle cost analysis of various rehabilitation alternatives.

Theoretical models for analysis of concrete pavement systems. Impact of concrete material on pavement response and performance. Formulation of improved mechanistic structural design procedures.
Mechanistic approach to asphalt pavement design. Analysis of asphalt pavement systems using theoretical models, asphalt material modeling, prediction and performance. Formulation of improved mechanistic structural and mix design procedures.
Theoretical and statistical analysis of pavement networks. Engineering monitoring. Determination of distress mechanisms and engineering solutions. Assignment of priorities to engineering actions.
Superpave asphalt mix design, binder tests, hot mix asphalt performance tests, viscoelasticity, continuum damage models and image analysis methods.

Structural Engineering


Design of steel beams, columns, tension members, and connections. Stability and plastic strength. Required only for non-CE majors.

Flexural and torsional instability of columns and beams. Slender cross-sectional elements, design of beam-columns. Torsion, plastic design, plate girders, composite steel-concrete construction, connections.

Analysis and design of prestressed and conventionally reinforced concrete structures.

Fire safety, fire codes, and fire engineering design methods. High temperature material properties, and behavior of materials and structures exposed to fires. Fire resistance design of steel, concrete, composite and timber structures. Use of the computer program for thermal and structural analysis.

This course will provide an introduction to the design and analysis of short and medium-span bridge superstructures with specific examples of reinforced concrete slab bridges, steel deck girder bridges, and prestressed concrete girder bridges.

This course will introduce students to elements of the design and operation of smart and sustainable buildings, including both residential and commercial sectors. As we face increasing challenges related to energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and electric grid reliability, new and existing buildings must become more flexible, dynamic and energy efficient in design and operation while maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. This course will include an overview of the current and future energy-related challenges of existing buildings in the U.S., analysis of recent and ongoing efforts to improve the energy performance, demand flexibility and sustainability of buildings.


Microstructure, engineering characteristics and modeling of concrete materials. Structure-property relationships in concrete materials. Control of concrete structure and properties for different infrastructure applications.

This course provides an introduction to the field of smart materials and structures. The content focuses on the characteristics of different types of smart materials, their properties and constituent behavior.


Dynamic response of single degree-of-freedom systems. Damping in structure and soils. Time and frequency domain methods. Analytical and numerical techniques. Earthquake response spectra. Classical and finite element formulation.

Advanced linear mechanics. Potential energy principle. Finite element formulations. Applications to problems in structural, geotechnical and pavement engineering.

Theoretical, numerical and computational methods for civil engineering problems. Physical modeling, numerical techniques and programming methods. Focus on civil engineering dynamics, solving systems of differential equations and visualizing the results.


Master’s degree Plan B individual student research project. Original research, research replication, or survey and reporting on a research topic.

Request Brochure

To learn more about Michigan State University’s online master’s programs in engineering and download a free brochure, fill out the fields below to request information. You can also call us toll-free at (888) 351-8360.

Michigan State University has engaged AllCampus to help support your educational journey. AllCampus will contact you shortly in response to your request for information. About AllCampus. Privacy Policy. You may opt out of receiving communications at any time.

* All Fields are Required. Your Privacy is Protected. Are you enrolling from outside the US? Click here.