Civil Engineering Master's Degree

Online Program Overview

Degree Level
Master's Degree
Total Credits
Fully Online
Contact Us
Minimum GPA
Qualifying Exam
GRE Required

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 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


Construction Engineering and Management*:

Program in Construction Engineering & Management is designed to prepare its graduates to effectively deliver and manage the capital facilities and infrastructure that are critical to worldwide productivity. The curriculum builds upon a student's technical background to develop managerial and financial expertise through a mix of fundamental and advanced areas of study. The courses expose students to the activities and issues of planning, financing, procuring, constructing and managing the built environment. The program is particularly attractive for architects and engineers without formal education in project leadership, management and finance who now find themselves confronting these challenges. 
*Please note: Courses in this program are subject to availability, consult with the program advisor on the current course offerings available.


"I have to say that I was proud to take a course at CVN. The course was organized very well, and I was happy to be the part of CVN."
Andrew Piatek, AT&T

Admissions 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 (more information about the GREs can be accessed here). 

Other application requirements: 3 recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required.  If you have not earned a degree from an undergraduate or graduate institution in which the instructional language was English, you may be required to take the TOEFL/IELTS. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application. 

Breadth requirement: None 

Students must complete all core courses (described on the Courses tab) and selected electives 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.


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.

Course List

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: Operations Management (3 points)
  • IEOR E4003: Corporate Finance for Engineers (3 points)
  • IEOR E4004: Optimization Models and Methods (3 points)
  • IEOR E4007: Optimization: Models and Methods (FE) (3 points)
  • IEOR E4106: Stochastic Models (3 points)
  • IEOR E4210: Supply Chain Management (3 points)
  • IEOR E4405: Scheduling (3 points)
  • IEOR E4412: Quality Control and Management (3 points)
  • IEOR E4418: Transportation Analytics and Logistics (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.

Please note: The program is subject to changes and alterations at the discretion of Columbia University

Tuition & Fees

2023–2024 Tuition & 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: $2,462.00 per point (Credit Hour)
CVN Fee: $395 non-refundable fee per course
Transcript Fee: $105 non-refundable one-time fee
Tuition Deposit: $1,000 (More information on our Resources page)

Estimated cost of one nondegree course: $7,886.00
Estimated total cost of certification (four courses): $31,229.00

Estimated total cost of MS (ten courses): $77,915.00
*Estimated total cost of DES (ten courses plus a minimum of 12 research credits): $108,249.00

Graduate Admission Application Fee: $85 non-refundable one-time fee 
Certification Program Application Fee: $85 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 $7,781 + transcript fee $105 (one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $7,886

*Assumes DES student enrolls in two six-credit research courses.

For Drop/Withdrawal fees and dates, refer to the Academic Calendar for the current term.

Please note: CVN no longer offers courses for audit.

Payment should be mailed to:

Attn: Shewanna House
Accounting & Business Management
Senior Student Services Rep
Payments & Deposits
210 Kent Hall, Mail Code 9205
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Before you mail your check or money order, please take careful note of the following requirements to ensure the timely processing of your payment:

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