MS - Civil Engineering

A student has considerable freedom in planning their master's program. Guidelines for curriculum are established by each discipline group. The faculty has a great amount of formal training, practical experience, and ongoing research in the following areas: environmental engineering, water resources/coastal and ecological engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, mechanics of materials, and transportation engineering. Well-equipped laboratories in these and related areas are available for research. Graduate students normally specialize in one of these fields (also referred to as "areas of concentration/research/study").

The College cooperates with the Mathematics Department offers Mathematics 4038, Mathematical Methods in Engineering (also listed as ME 4563). This course or any approved course in mathematics numbered above 4000 may be scheduled to satisfy the mathematics/statistics requirement of the M.S. degree or as electives in any graduate program. 

All students are strongly encouraged to review and follow the Master’s in Civil Engineering Program Checklist. 

Academic Program

There are two options leading to the master's in civil engineering degree. The thesis option requires the student to complete a minimum of twenty-five (25) hours of approved course work and to submit an acceptable thesis worth 6 hours. The non-thesis option requires the student to complete a minimum of thirty-four (34) hours of approved course work and submit a final project worth 3 hours. General guidelines for selecting courses in these two programs are given below.

Subject to approval of the advisory committee and department, students transferring from graduate programs of other institutions can transfer a maximum of 50% credit hours of course work done. Per the graduate school catalog, transfer work may not be used to fulfill the master’s program requirement that at least one-half of the minimum required credit be in courses at or above the 7000 level.

Full time graduate students must register for the one credit hour graduate seminar class (CE 7750) every fall and spring semester. Part-time graduate students are required to register for this seminar only in their graduating semester (note: CE 7750 is not offered in the summer, so if a part-time student is graduating in the summer they should complete CE 7750 in the spring). Regardless, only one hour of CE 7750 may be applied to satisfy the course requirements.

Master of Science in Civil Engineering at LSU Online

Start building a strong career with a Master of Science in Civil Engineering at LSU Online. Designed for civil engineering professionals looking to elevate and refresh their knowledge of the industry, our online M.S. in Civil Engineering program offers many areas of specialization that can advance your career. Our students become equipped to design, develop, and effectively lead in the civil engineering industry. Gain the tools needed to address globalization and sustainability, while advancing your position as a lead civil engineer. Visit LSU Online for more information or to request information. 

Thesis Option Requirements

Course work:

  • 12 semester hours in the major field or interest
  • 9 semester hours from a related field
  • 3 semester hours of approved mathematics/statistics
  • 1 semester hour of Graduate Seminar (CE 7750)

Total 25

Thesis: 6 semester hours of thesis

Non-Thesis Option Requirements

Course work:

  • 12 semester hours in the major field of interest
  • 18 semester hours from a related field
  • 3 semester hours of approved mathematics/statistics
  • 1 semester hour of Graduate Seminar (CE 7750)

Total 34

Project: 3 semester hours of project (CE 7740)

For the thesis option, at least twelve hours of the required graduate work must be at or above the 7000 level (CE 8000 and CE 7750 credit hours are not considered towards satisfying this requirement). A minimum of 12 credit hours must be in civil engineering. Students pursuing the non-thesis option will have to complete at least eighteen hours of the required graduate work at or above the 7000 level (CE 7740 and CE 7750 credit hours are not considered towards satisfying this requirement). A minimum of 18 credit hours must be in civil engineering. Courses numbered below 7000 (i.e., 4000) may be taken for credit if approved by the department via the G101: Graduate Degree Program. In some instances, courses may be added to a student's program (with no credit toward the master's degree) to correct deficiencies in a student's undergraduate education.

During a student's final semester, each student is required to pass a comprehensive final master's defense covering work related to research and course work. This defense will be administered by the student's committee and can only be re-taken once. Detailed information about the final defense process can be found lower on this page under Final Master's Defense. 

Master's Committee Requirements

A committee will evaluate the master’s thesis or final project for non-thesis students. Final acceptance of the student’s thesis or project rests with the student's committee. The student, in consultation with the major professor, will recommend the members of the committee to the department via form G101: Graduate Degree Program to be approved by the CEGPC. This committee then becomes the approved committee to evaluate for final thesis or project via your Final Master's Defense.

In forming the master’s committee, the following requirements apply:

  • At least three (3) members of the Graduate Faculty, including the major professor (who is the chair of the committee), should comprise the student's master’s thesis committee. A complete list of Graduate Faculty by department can be found here.
  • The major professor, who acts as chair or co-chair, must be from the CEE department.
  • If either an adjunct or a non-tenure track faculty member is the major professor, a full-time tenured or tenure track graduate faculty member from the CEE department must co-chair the committee. In such cases, the chair of the master’s committee must be a Full or Associate member of Graduate Faculty. The co-chair can be an affiliate member or administratively approved to serve on the committee.
  • At least one-half (1/2) of the graduate faculty on master’s committees must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty at LSU.
  • A minimum of two (2) of those faculty members must be from the CEE department and at least one (1) of whom must be a full member of the LSU graduate faculty.
  • The remaining members may be from the CEE department or may be from outside the department if pertinent to the student's area of concentration, with the proviso that at least one (1) of the remaining members must be a full member of the graduate faculty.
  • No more than one (1) non-graduate faculty requiring administrative approval can serve on a student’s Master’s Thesis Committee.
  • Any declared outside minors require representation, either among the first three (3) members of the committee or by additional appointments to the committee.
  • All committee members must be full, associate, or affiliate members of Graduate Faculty or administratively approved to serve on the committee.

Committee requirements can also be found in the LSU Graduate Catalog

The Master's Thesis

"...The Master's thesis should demonstrate capacity for research, originality of thought and facility in organizing materials. It must be acceptable in subject matter and exhibit creditable literary workmanship..." -LSU Graduate School Catalog

To ensure an orderly and thorough procedure in thesis preparation, students should proceed as follows:

Thesis Proposal

The student, after selecting the thesis topic in cooperation with their advisor, is required to submit a thesis proposal. Preparation and typing of the proposal is the responsibility of the student. The thesis proposal format should include:

  • Cover Page (Form G103)
  • Abstract (not more than 200 words)
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Objectives/Method
  • Scope of Study (state limitations)
  • Work Plan and Schedule
  • References

It is expected that an informative thesis proposal showing the student's interest, background and general grasp of the project will not be less than 5 and not more than 10 double spaced typed pages.

Thesis research proposals, for unfunded research, must include an estimate of computer and/or other costs associated with fulfilling the objectives of the project. Student should review this matter with his/her advisor so that a reasonable estimate of the costs can be included in the proposal.

The formal typewritten thesis proposal with G103 cover page should be submitted for approval by the CEGPC at least one (1) semester prior to graduation. The student will be notified of the department's decision and recommendations.

Conduct of the Research

Each graduate student is responsible for the performance of the thesis research. Progress will be reported to the assigned faculty advisor on a regular basis.

Preparation of the Thesis

  • Instructions on the preparation and submission of the master's thesis may be obtained from the Graduate School website.
  • The Request for Final Master's Defense form (found on the Graduate School website) is to be filed with the Graduate School at least three (3) weeks prior to the date of the defense or by the date listed on the Graduate School calendar if the student is graduating in the same semester in which they are defending.
  • Copies of the thesis must be in the hands of the student's examination committee at least three (3) weeks prior to the scheduled defense.
  • The student is responsible for providing a finalized bound version of the thesis to the members of the advisory committee.

An "S" or "U" will be awarded as the final grade for the thesis. This grade is not averaged into the student's semester or cumulative average. 

Final Master's Defense

Candidates for master’s degrees are required to pass a comprehensive final defense. The student’s master's committee conducts the  defense. Requests for Final Master's Defense must be submitted to the Graduate School at least 3 weeks prior the the defense date or by the date listed on the Graduate School calendar if you are graduating in the semester in which you are defending. It is encouraged that students also complete and submit their Application for Degree at the same time they submit their defense request. Both forms are available for download on the Graduate School's website. Students are to complete the defense request and acquire all necessary signatures except the Department Chair. Please send your request to the Graduate Program Coordinator for review and approval by the Department Chair. Once approved and signed by the Department Chair, the Graduate Coordinator will submit the request to the Graduate School. If there are any issues with the information provided on the request, the Graduate School and/or Graduate Coordinator will contact you. If there are no issues and your defense request is approved, the Graduate Coordinator will send a reminder and your defense forms to your committee 1-3 days prior to your defense. 

Revalidation of Course Work

Graduate student's coursework can be revalidated for master's degree older than 5 years and for doctoral degree older than 7 years subject to the following guidelines:

  1. Following an oral or written examination the student's graduate committee may approve by majority vote a course or courses it elects to revalidate.
  2. The student's graduate committee then recommends the revalidation of course/courses to the CEGPC for approval (via a memo/letter) and then transmittal to the Graduate School 
  3. Each class may be revalidated only for a period of two years. Classes for master's degree older than 5 years and for doctoral degree older than 7 years must be revalidated.