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Graduate Degrees and Requirements

The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department offers the following graduate degree options: Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). General descriptions for each of these degrees are provided below. Detailed descriptions of the requirements specific to each discipline can be found within the Graduate Handbook.

All students in the M.S., M.Eng., and Ph.D. programs must complete Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) requirements.

The SARI program at Penn State is designed to offer graduate students comprehensive, multilevel training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR), through a three-part program: an online course that must be completed in the first year of graduate study, a three hour Colloquium, CE 590, and two hours that can be completed by attending Office of Research Protection (ORP) seminars.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Degree

The M.Eng. degree is intended to be a professional degree composed of a well-balanced, unified, and complete program of study leading to advanced professional practice. Students must complete 31 credits of graduate course work (18 credits of which must be at the 500-level), and satisfy the other academic program requirements outlined in the Graduate Handbook. While full-time students can complete the program in two semesters, part-time students take longer.

Master of Science (M.S.) Degree

The M.S. degree program is a blend of graduate level course work and research. Students must complete 30 graduate credits (18 credits of which must be at the 500 and/or 600-level, combined and 6 credits must be research-based), prepare and orally defend a thesis, and satisfy the other academic program requirements outlined in the Graduate Handbook.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree

The Ph.D. degree program is strongly oriented toward research. Students must complete 15 credits. In addition to meeting course requirements specific to their discipline, Ph.D. students must also successfully pass the Qualifying Exam, Comprehensive Exam, Final Oral Exam, write a dissertation, and satisfy the other academic program requirements outlined in the Graduate Handbook. The duration of the program varies from three to five years depending on the student’s background and professional interests.

Minimum Course Requirements are dependent on area of specialization:

Applicants who do not meet these minimum course requirements can still be admitted on a provisional basis until the coursework is completed elsewhere or as part of the graduate studies at Penn State.

Other Programs

Operations Research (OR) is the use of scientific methodology in the formulation, analysis, and solution of problems in decision making. It draws on techniques from many fields, including economics, mathematics, and engineering. Students with a strong interest in operations research techniques can apply for an Operations Research Dual-title degree, such as Dual Master degree in OR, Dual Ph.D. degree in OR, and Minor Ph.D. degree in OR. Interested students must submit an application for admission to the Chair of the OR Program and meet the necessary course requirements. Relevant information can be found at:

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The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084