Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Program Description

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics offers graduate programs leading to the degree of Master of Science (M.S.) This program is flexible and may involve concentrations in structures, construction engineering, reliability and random processes, soil mechanics, fluid mechanics, hydrogeology, continuum mechanics, finite element methods, computational mechanics, experimental mechanics, acoustics, vibrations and dynamics, earthquake engineering, or any combination thereof, such as fluid-structure interaction. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to the department. Civil Engineering: By selecting technical electives, students may focus on one of the several areas of concentration or prepare for future endeavors such as architecture. Some typical concentrations are:

  • Structural analysis and design: applications to steel and concrete buildings, bridges, and other structures
  • Geotechnical engineering: soil mechanics, engineering geology, and foundation engineering
  • Construction engineering and management: capital facility planning and financing, strategic management, managing engineering and construction processes, construction industry law, construction techniques, managing civil infrastructure systems, civil engineering and construction entrepreneurship
  • Environmental engineering and water resources: transport of water-borne substances, hydrology, sediment transport, hydrogeology, and geoenvironmental design of containment systems

Engineering Mechanics: Programs in engineering mechanics offer comprehensive training in the principles of applied mathematics and continuum mechanics and in the application of these principles to the solution of engineering problems. The emphasis is on basic principles, enabling students to choose from among a wide range of technical areas. Students may work on problems in such disciplines as systems analysis, acoustics, and stress analysis, and in fields as diverse as transportation, environmental, structural, nuclear, and aerospace engineering. Program areas include:

  • Continuum mechanics: solid and fluid mechanics, theories of elastic and inelastic behavior, and damage mechanics
  • Vibration: nonlinear and random vibration; dynamics of continuous media, of structures and rigid bodies, and of combined systems, such as fluid-structure interaction; active, passive, and hybrid control systems for structures under seismic loading; dynamic soil-structure interaction effects on the seismic response of structures
  • Random processes and reliability: problems in design against failure under earthquake, wind, and wave loadings; noise, and turbulent flows; analysis of structures with random properties
  • Fluid mechanics: turbulent flows, two-phase flows, fluid-structure interaction, fluid-soil interaction, flow in porous media, computational methods for flow and transport processes, and flow and transport in fractured rock under mechanical loading
  • Computational mechanics: finite element and boundary element techniques, symbolic computation, and bioengineering applications

Admission Requirements

Degree required for admission: Students admitted to the program must possess an undergraduate degree in civil engineering or a related field from an accredited academic institution. Applicants should have a strong undergraduate record to be competitive for admission.

  • GPA required: Minimum of 3.0
  • GRE requirements: General test required.

Other application requirements: Two recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required. TOEFL test scores are required of all students who received their bachelor's degree in a country where English is not the official and spoken language. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application.


Students must complete all core courses (described below) and selected electives (described below) for a total of 30 graduate points of academic work via CVN with an academic average of 2.5 or better. Up to 6 credit hours (points) of acceptable graduate-level academic work from an accredited academic institution earned prior to enrolling at Columbia may be transferred as elective credit, subject to advisor approval. Core Courses: The core courses provide a student with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of Civil Engineering. The core courses contribute 18 points (students must choose six courses from the twelve listed below) of graduate credit toward the degree.

  • CIEN E4021: Elastic and Plastic Analysis of Structures (3 points)
  • CIEN E4111: Uncertainty & Risk in Infrastructure Systems (3 points)
  • CIEN E4129: Managing Engineering & Construction Processes (3 points)
  • CIEN E4332: Finite Element Analysis I (3 points)
  • CIEN E4132: Prevention & Resolution of Construction Disputes (3 points)
  • CIEN E4242: Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (3 points)
  • CIEN E6246: Advanced Soil Mechanics (3 points)
  • ENME E4215: Theory of Vibrations (3 points)
  • ENME E4114: Mechanics of Fracture & Fatigue (3 points)
  • ENME E4202: Advanced Mechanics (3 points)
  • ENME E4113: Advanced Mechanics of Solids (3 points)
  • MECE E6313: Advanced Heat Transfer (3 points)

Elective Courses: A student must select four elective courses from those listed below for a total of 12 points of graduate credit. Students may select courses not listed with the approval of a program advisor. These courses allow the student to pick subjects from a variety of areas to complement the core program. These electives enable students to explore theories and concepts from the fields of industrial engineering and operations research, applied mathematics, and management.

  • APMA E4001: Principles of Applied Mathematics (3 points)
  • APMA E4101: Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamical Systems (3 points)
  • APMA E4200: Partial Differential Equations (3 points)
  • CIEE E4252: Environmental Engineering (3 points)
  • IEME E4310: Technology & Strategic Issues in Manufacturing Enterprises (3 points)
  • IEOR E4000: Production Management (3 points)
  • IEOR E4003: Industrial Economics (3 points)
  • IEOR E4004: Intro to Operations Research: Deterministic Models (3 points)
  • IEOR E4007: Optimization: Models and Methods (3 points)
  • IEOR E4106: Intro to Operations Research: Stochastic Models (3 points)
  • IEOR E4210: Supply Chain Management (3 points)
  • IEOR E4405: Production Scheduling (3 points)
  • IEOR E4412: Quality Control and Management (3 points)
  • IEOR E4418: Logistics and Transportation Management (3 points)
  • IEOR E4998: Managing Technological Innovation (3 points)
  • MECE E4314: Energy Dynamics of Green Buildings (3 points)

Scholastic average required for graduation: 2.5 Time Limit: All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of the beginning of the first course credited toward the degree. This includes courses taken in the non-degree program.

Application Fee

  1. A processing fee of $200 is required for first-time applicants to a graduate degree program.
  2. The Graduate Student Services Office will only process applications which are submitted with an application fee. The processing fee is non-refundable. Please make the check payable to Columbia Video Network.
  3. Applications for more than one-degree program cannot be processed simultaneously.

Application Deadline

Please note: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Once a completed application has been received it will be processed and given to the Admissions Committee for review. Applications will be considered for the next upcoming semester's admissions cycle. For example, an application received in February will be evaluated for the upcoming Summer semester. Only completed applications will be submitted to the Admissions Committee for review.


  1. Official transcripts from each college/university you have attended or are currently attending must be submitted with the application. Transcripts must be in the original, sealed envelope.
  2. Credits which appear as transfer credits on any other transcript are not valid; an official transcript from the school where the credits were earned must be submitted.
  3. Students who have previously or are currently enrolled at Columbia University must request that copies of their transcripts be sent to CVN at Columbia Video Network, 500 W 120th St, 540 MUDD, MC 4719, New York, NY 10027
  4. The Graduate Student Services Office requests that transcripts be submitted with the application. If you foresee a delay in submitting official transcripts, please attach an unofficial set to the application. Your file may be reviewed by the department with a complete set of unofficial documents; however, you will be required to submit official transcripts before you will be formally admitted to a graduate degree program.
  5. All materials submitted in support of an application, whether official or unofficial, become the property of Columbia University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other schools or agencies. Since your documents will not be returned, we suggest that you keep copies of any documents you may need for your personal records.

Required Exam Scores

  1. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test results are required of all MS applicants. GRE scores are valid for 5 years.
  2. TOEFL or IELTS is required of all candidates who have not received their bachelor's degree in a country where English is the official spoken language. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years.
  3. All score reports must be official and sent to Graduate Admissions directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
  4. The Columbia Engineering CEEB code is 2111 (not 2162 which belongs to the Graduate School of Arts and Science).

Required Documents

These application materials are designed to help individuals provide personal and academic information about themselves, which will be used to evaluate their candidacy for admission to graduate study in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. Applicants can assist the Graduate Admissions office in providing prompt feedback about their application status by not submitting extraneous information which has not been requested such as excessive numbers of recommendation letters, copies of abstracts and theses, videotapes and/or photographs of research work, and secondary school transcripts. The information below indicates what items are required for a complete application.

  1. Degree application form (online)
  2. Two recommendation letters in sealed envelopes via mail, or directly from the recommender via e-mail to
  3. Official GRE general exam results
  • All score reports must be official and sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  • The Columbia Engineering CEEB code is 2111
TOEFL or IELTS test results (if applicable)

One copy of official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary colleges/universities Personal/Professional Statement - a concise (not more than two pages) typewritten statement outlining your academic and professional goals Resume/Curriculum Vitae $200 Application Fee Transfer Credits Form (if applicable)

Please note: Students that begin their studies at Columbia University under non-matriculated status through CVN must continue to take all of their coursework through CVN. When applying for admission to a degree program, students must submit all of their application materials directly to Columbia Video Network for processing. Applications that are sent directly to the Office of Graduate Student Services or submitted online via the ApplyYourself Application form instead of CVN's forms will result in total forfeiture of all credits taken under non-matriculated status through CVN. All Columbia courses to be used towards a student's program must be completed via CVN. Also, note that any student taking courses under the auspices of CVN can take on-campus courses solely under the administrative guidance of CVN with advisor approval.

Tuition and Fees

Please note that all tuition and fees are in U.S. dollars and are estimated. Tuition and most fees are prescribed by statute and are subject to change at the discretion of the Trustees.

  • CVN Credit Tuition:$1782 per point (Credit Hour)
  • CVN Audit Tuition:$834 per point (Credit Hour)
  • CVN Fee:$395 per course
  • Transcript Fee:$105 non-refundable one-time fee
  • Graduate Admission Application Fee:$200 non-refundable one-time fee
  • Certification Program Application Fee:$150 non-refundable one-time fee
  • Late Registration Fee:$100 non-refundable fee
  • CVN Withdrawal Fee:$75, plus prorated tuition and all non-refundable fees

For example: A three-credit course would be $5346 + transcript fee $105(one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $5846

Last updated Nov 2017

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Columbia Video Network has been leading the field of online learning since its inception in 1986, enabling thousands of working professionals and remotely located students to benefit from distance learning and pursue their degrees without any residency requirements on the campus in New York. The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) offers broad-based instruction within a major... Read less