Degrees Offered and Requirements

The Virginia Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers the following graduate degree programs in fields related to environmental and water resources engineering:

  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS CE)
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS ENE)
  • Master of Science in Environmental Sciences & Engineering (MS ESEN)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering (PhD CE)

The Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Master’s Curriculum (MS CE and MS ENE) is designed to build upon undergraduate engineering degrees in the fields of Civil, Environmental, Chemical, Mechanical, Mining, and Biological Systems Engineering, but is open to all students with a degree in engineering. Both MS CE and MS ENE degrees are open to students who have earned undergraduate degrees in Engineering. The only difference between the two degrees is the name, so students may choose whether they want their degree to say Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering. Students with a non-engineering background who desire to pursue the degree must complete several required undergraduate courses, as well as a course that focuses on engineering design.

The Environmental Sciences and Engineering Master’s Curriculum (MS ESEN) is designed principally for students with undergraduate degrees in one of the physical or life sciences. The objective is to provide students with an exposure to engineering with technical training that is intermediate between that in the sciences and engineering and has some additional required courses.

Any of the three MS degrees may be taken as coursework only, or with the permission of the faculty, may incorporate a research thesis.

Other details concerning degree requirements as well as admission and registration procedures may be found in the Graduate Catalog or online at A full-time graduate course load is considered to be 9 to 15 semester credit hours. A teaching or research assistant must carry 12 credits each semester. Permission is required for higher credit loads. All students must register for a minimum of 3 hours for all semesters of their graduate program.