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Master's Program

Civil Engineering Masters

Construction Engineering Management Masters


Program Requirements


Each graduate student is required to select a graduate committee composed of at least three members. The chair of the graduate committee, or graduate advisor, must be from the student’s major department. During the first semester, the student works with their graduate advisor to select the committee.

Receive Biannual Evaluations

The progress of each graduate student will be evaluated twice each year, Fall and Winter semesters. The student’s graduate committee chair rates each student as making satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory progress. The committee chair may consult with other members of the graduate committee when determining this rating. The committee chair reports the student’s progress to the graduate program manager. Students whose progress is rated as marginal or unsatisfactory will receive notification to meet with their graduate committee chair and sign the evaluation.

The evaluation given to a student will include:

  • Specific tasks the student must complete in order to maintain or regain a satisfactory rating
  • Clear deadlines established for each of the specified tasks
  • A recommendation of faculty member(s) they can contact for more information or support

Marginal progress may include the following:

  • Failure to submit a Program of Study and establish a graduate committee by the end of first semester
  • Failure to submit a prospectus by the end of second semester
  • Poor performance in research or registering for thesis hours when little or no work has been performed
  • Minimal contact with the committee chair

Unsatisfactory progress may include the following:

  • Failure to submit a Program of Study since prior evaluation
  • Failure to submit a prospectus since prior evaluation
  • Failure to resolve any problems or fulfill any requirements indicated in a previous marginal or unsatisfactory review
  • Minimal or no contact with the committee chair
  • Poor performance in research or registering for thesis hours when little or no work has been performed
  • Program of Study GPA below 3.0 or Program of Study course grade below 2.0
  • Unacceptable ethical or professional behavior

If a student receives a marginal or unsatisfactory rating and has not improved his or her performance in accordance with the actions outlined on a previous evaluation, by the time of the next evaluation, the student should meet with his committee chair to determine possible recourse, if any, to termination. The biannual evaluation is used by the department to satisfy criteria for continuing funding. It is also used by the BYU Financial Aid Department to determine eligibility for financial aid.

A student receiving two consecutive marginal and/or unsatisfactory student evaluation ratings will be terminated.

Program of Study and Course Work

The Program of Study is a carefully considered plan which identifies the student’s major, lists all courses required, and designates the graduate committee. Each Program of Study must meet the minimum university degree requirements and all the requirements as explained below. Necessary changes in a student’s program or committee can be made if authorized by the student’s committee and department graduate coordinator.

Master’s degree students should outline their Program of Study under the direction of their graduate committee during their first semester, completing it no later than the third week of the second semester.

Thirty (30) hours of coursework and directed design or research are required; one hour of seminar credit is also required. A GPA of 3.0 or higher must be maintained.

These hours must include:

  • Thesis Option: 6 hours of thesis credit (CEEn 699R)or
  • Project Option: 3 hours of project credit (CEEn 698R) 

These hours include:

  • Maximum of 6 credits of approved courses numbered from 400 to 499.
  • In some restricted instances students seeking a master’s degree may apply credit taken during the senior year at BYU toward the degree, but in no instance can this credit apply to both a baccalaureate and a graduate degree. Senior and post-baccalaureate credit combined cannot exceed 10 semester hours in a graduate program.
  • Maximum of 7 hours of approved transfer or non-degree courses.
  • Courses may be applied to the MS degree within five years of taking the course.

These hours may NOT include:

  • Any courses with D or E grades
  • Any course credit applied toward a BS degree
  • Any additional seminar courses beyond one required hour
  • Any skill requirement courses
  • Any courses numbered below 400

Submit Prospectus

The purpose of the prospectus is to define the scope of the thesis or project. The prospectus establishes the minimum requirements for completion of the thesis or project and helps prevent the student from undertaking an unrealistic thesis or project. When written early in the program, the prospectus provides focus that will help expedite completion of the thesis or project.

Prepare a prospectus with the help of the graduate advisor. Please meet with advisor as soon as possible to discuss and make a plan to complete this requirement.

  • Identify a topic (or potential topic) for Master's Thesis or Master’s Project and come up with a tentative title for the Thesis or Project.
  • Read several technical articles (from reputable journals) that are pertinent to the topic.
  • Start the word processing document for the Thesis or Project Report using the College template.
  • Work with the advisor on a preferred outline.
  • Start as earlier as possible; the earlier a student starts the better off the student will be.
  • Prepare a chapter-level outline for the Thesis or Project Report.
  • Meet with advisor as often as necessary to review the prospectus.
  • Identify graduation date and make a list of all specific due dates associated with graduation date (e.g., deadlines for scheduling defense, defending, submitting final ETD to the department, college, and graduate studies through the GRADPROG system).

Seminar Requirement

Students must register for and attend the weekly graduate seminar (CEEN 691R) during their first two semesters while at BYU. Official announcements regarding graduate study are made at the seminar. The seminar also serves to broaden graduate education through exposure to technical ideas in a variety of areas.

Thesis vs. Project Options

The intent of a thesis is to advance the state of the art, while the intent of a project is to apply the state of the art. The results of a thesis should be publishable as a journal or conference article, while the results of a project may or may not be publishable. Students completing a thesis receive 6 credit hours for their effort, while students completing a project receive 3 credit hours for their effort. Work on a thesis is more likely to be funded than work on a project. Both a thesis and a project are reviewed by a graduate committee comprised of three faculty members. A thesis is presented to the faculty committee, while a project is usually presented in graduate seminar. Expectations regarding the quality of written and oral presentation are the same for both a thesis and a project.

Thesis Option

The student must complete an original research study under the direction of the chair of the advisory committee. A written thesis must be prepared by the student and approved by the advisory committee. The thesis is orally defended before the advisory committee, although additional faculty and others may be in attendance. Copies of the thesis must be distributed to the advisory committee at least two weeks prior to the oral thesis defense.

In the oral thesis defense the student will spend approximately one-half hour presenting his or her thesis work and approximately on-half hour responding to questions from the committee. The student will be judged on mastery of the thesis subject and on the quality of thesis work. The committee may vote as follows:

  1. Pass
  2. Pass with qualifications: In this case the student must complete the minor revisions or requirements specified by the committee to the satisfaction of the committee chair, who then sends a written approval to the Graduate Office. 
  3. Recess: In this case the student must pass a second and final oral thesis defense no sooner than one month later.  The new date must be rescheduled with Graduate Studies.
  4. Fail: In this case the graduate degree program of the student is terminated. 

Project Option

For the project option, the student is required to complete a research, design, or special topic project under the guidance of the chair of the advisory committee. This project is not as extensive as the thesis study and need not be original research. Three hours of credit is allowed for the project. In order to provide adequate time to accomplish the work, the student should select and begin working on the project during the first semester of their MS study. The project should require synthesis of information from several sources and/or a comprehensive design of an engineered faculty. For design projects, cooperation with professional engineers is encouraged to solicit actual design problems and information.

A written project report is required, but not for archival purposes in the Harold B. Lee Library, as occurs with a thesis. The written text will be reviewed and corrections made by the advisory committee. The student must allow time for revising his or her report as part of the project. The project is to be presented orally to students and faculty, usually as part of a graduate seminar. The project report will be graded by the student’s advisory committee and must be submitted to the committee before the oral report is given. Submittal should occur several weeks before the deadline date. After the student has made final corrections to the project report, a completed Signature Page, along with a pdf copy of the project, should be submitted to the department. A spiral bound copy should be submitted to the committee chair.

Students who do not have a bachelors degree

Working with their graduate committee, students may be required to complete some or all the listed CEEn courses (and any prerequisites to these courses). The table is organized by optional specialization tracks, though courses could be required from more than one track.

The tracks are:

  • Option (1) Structures and Structural Mechanics
  • Option (2) Transportation
  • Option (3) Water Resources and Environmental
  • Option (4) Geotechnical
Options 1 2 3 4
CEEn 304/306 (3 hrs) Civil Engineering Materials
CEEn 321 (3 hrs) Structural Analysis
CEEn 332 (3 hrs) Hydraulics and Fluid Flow Theory
CEEn 341 (3 hrs) Elementary Soil Mechanics
CEEn 361 (3 hrs) Transportation Engineering
CEEn 424 (3 hrs) Reinforced Concrete Design
CEEn 431 (3 hrs) Hydrology     X  
CEEn 433 (3 hrs) Hydraulic Engineering     X  

Note: Students without an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering should be aware that in many states they may not be eligible to sit for the Principles and Practices of Engineering (PE) license exam. Students interested in professional licenses should carefully review the license exam requirements for the state in which they intend to practice.

Minimum Registration Requirements

  • To maintain graduate status and registration eligibility, new students must register for a minimum of 2.0 credit hours in the first semester or term for which they have been admitted.
  • International students must register for and complete at least nine credit hours each fall and winter semester while at BYU. Please click here for more information.
  • Students must register for and complete at least 6 credit hours per academic year to be eligible to register the following year and to maintain an active graduate student status.
  • Students must register for at least two hours of credit during any semester (including two hours during spring/summer term) in which they use university facilities, consult with faculty, thesis defense, graduate, or work as a TA/RA.
  • Students must pay graduate tuition for two full time semesters.
  • The master’s degree must be completed within five years of admission to the master’s program at BYU.

Time Limit

The Civil & Environmental Engineering program is designed to be completed in 2 years; however, the student has up to 5 years to complete the program. (For example, if they start their graduate program in Fall 2015, they must complete their program by end of Fall 2020.) If a student has not completed the necessary degree requirements by this time, their program will be terminated.

Master's Emphasis