Distance Learning Program

Convenient graduate level professional development courses are of great benefit to the student and their employer, whether you choose to take a few courses or obtain a Master’s Degree.

Distance Learning Opportunities


The nationally recognized Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) offers two Masters of Science degrees through the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP):

  • Environmental Science and Engineering – Designed for students with undergraduate or graduate degrees in physical or life sciences who wish to specialize in the environmental field. Students will be required to meet certain mathematics, statistics and biology prerequisites. Courses are available in a variety of environmental disciplines.
  • Civil Engineering Designed for students with undergraduate or graduate degrees in engineering. Degree may emphasize one of two specific option areas of civil engineering –  construction engineering and management and water resources engineering. The following text better describes each degree option:
    • Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) – The Construction Engineering & Management (CEM) Option focuses on the lifecycle management of infrastructure projects and systems. Vertical and horizontal infrastructure are vital to our quality of life and economic productivity. Yet, infrastructure development and management are increasingly complex as both performance expectations and resource scarcity rises. Courses taken in the CEM option provide students the opportunity to examind the challenges that decision-makers and managers face during the planning, construction, operations and maintenance of infrastructure through coursework that covers topics in both project management and infrastructure management.
    • Environmental and Water Resources (EWR) Engineering Option – This program focuses primarily on traditional components of an environmental engineering program. Students focused in this option will learn basic and applied engineering principles related to one of more of the following environmental areas: water quality and treatment, industrial and hazardous waste management, air pollution engineering, or solid waste management. Courses include topics such as environmental chemistry and principles, water and wastewater treatment, water quality management, air resources engineering, solid and hazardous waste management and public health engineering.

Student Population

Most students in CGEP enroll part-time in the program while working as full-time professionals, completing 1-2 courses each academic term. Occasionally a student may choose to pursue one of the MS degree programs via CGEP as essentially a full-time graduate student, taking 3-4 courses per semester. Classes are often scheduled in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate students’ workday schedules.

Faculty and Staff

Full-time EWR faculty are located on the Blacksburg campus and also in Northern Virginia. Full-time faculty associated with the CEM program are all located on the Blacksburg campus. The CEE CGEP activities are administered on the Blacksburg campus through:

  • William R. Knocke, Ph.D., Professor and Program Coordinator, 301 Burruss Hall (0244), Blacksburg VA 24061, E-mail: knocke@vt.edu, Phone: (540)231-9050
  • Beth Lucas, Program Support, 418 Durham Hall (0246), Blacksburg VA 24061, E-mail: blucas06@vt.edu, Phone: (540)231-4595

Admission Requirements

CGEP Distance Learning students must meet the same admission requirements as on campus students. To be admitted, the applicant must possess an appropriate undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The general GRE examination scores are also required.

For more information, please see the CGEP Flyer_PDF.

Commonwealth Campus Program

Students that are interested in taking only a few courses can enroll as a non-degree student through the Commonwealth Campus Program. The only requirements are an unofficial transcript and an application to the university. Letters of recommendation and GREs are not required for enrollment. After a formal application to the graduate program is approved, Commonwealth Campus students may transfer up to 12 credits toward the Master of Science degree. Further information about enrollment as a Commonwealth Campus student may be found on the VT Graduate School website.

Virginia Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate program was recently ranked #9 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report with Environmental Engineering ranking #7.