General Requirements for All Advanced Degrees

Graduate School Requirements and Bulletin

This document is published to provide information specifically about civil and environmental engineering and thus supplements the Graduate and Professional Bulletin published by the Graduate School at Colorado State University. Civil engineering graduate students should view that bulletin on the Graduate School web page and become familiar with its contents. The Graduate and Professional Bulletin is also supplemented by Colorado State's biennial General Catalog which contains a description of the courses of instruction, faculty listings, description of University services, and other general information not in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin. Additional Graduate School publications include a Handbook on Graduate Studies and the Thesis Manual.

Credit Load

The maximum academic load for graduate students is 15 credits per semester, regardless of course level or basis of admission. Graduate students supported by a graduate assistantship must register for at least 1 credit during each term the assistantship is held.  

Audit and Pass/Fail Courses

A student desiring to attend a class without earning credits may register for audit. When computing course loads and assessing fees, audited courses are counted as if taken for credit. Pass/fail courses are graded as S = satisfactory, U = unsatisfactory. The graduate student's committee may impose limitations on pass/fail courses. Courses on the student's Program of Study (GS Form 6) may not be audited and may not be taken pass/fail if traditional A through F letter grading is available and is the instructor's choice.

Quality of Work

In order to remain in good academic standing, a graduate student must demonstrate acceptable performance in course work after being admitted to the graduate program. By Graduate School regulations, this requires a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 be maintained for each of the following three groups of courses:

  1. regular courses taken for a traditional grade and numbered 300 or above (regular courses have numbers ending with 00 through 79),
  2. all regular and non-regular courses graded traditionally, and
  3. all traditionally graded courses contained on the graduate program of study (see the Program of Study section).

Any student progressing unsatisfactorily or whose cumulative average in any one of the above three groups of courses is less than 3.0 at the end of 12 credits or after two semesters of graduate work, whichever comes first, will be placed on academic probation and will be subject to dismissal by the department or the Dean of the Graduate School. Students must earn an S (satisfactory) in special studies, departmental seminars, and research when such classes are not traditionally graded.

The Department of Civil Engineering further requires that students lacking an undergraduate engineering degree maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in all required background courses, including those numbered below 300.

Grades of C or higher must be earned in all required courses on a Program of Study. Although a grade of D is accepted for individual background courses, the department requires that an overall GPA of 3.0 be maintained in the group of all such courses.

Credit Requirements

Exclusion of Courses from the B.S. Students may request that any 500-level courses not applied toward the B.S. degree be excluded from their undergraduate record and thus be identified as courses for possible use in a graduate program. A request to the Registrar's Office for the use of extra courses for the graduate level or exclusion of the courses from the student's undergraduate record is required early in the term during which the excluded class or classes are taken.  

The Student's Graduate Committee

Unless an adviser has been selected before the graduate program begins, the beginning graduate student is initially assigned a temporary adviser, often the division coordinator. In this case, the student should select an adviser during the first semester of graduate work and with input from the program faculty. In all cases, the student and the adviser should select a graduate committee early in the graduate program. This committee must consist of at least three members of the academic faculty for a master's committee and four members for a doctoral committee. At least one committee member must be tenured or be tenure-track within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The committee shall include the student's adviser, who chairs the committee, one or two members in the field of specialization, and at least one member from another department. The outside committee member represents the Graduate School and is appointed by the Graduate Dean, who considers the faculty member nominated by the adviser. Individuals not on the academic faculty but who have special expertise may serve as nonvoting committee members and are in addition to the prescribed academic committee members. The Graduate School has additional information on the graduate advisor and committee makeup.

The committee will advise the student, assist in preparing the program of study, generally supervise the research and thesis, and administer all required examinations.

Program of Study

The graduate committee will help the student develop a program of study, which is the specific course work selected for the student to fulfill the advanced degree course work requirements. The program of study, along with the academic committee membership and any required background courses, are reported to the Graduate School using GS Form 6. This form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the fourth semester of study. Registration for subsequent semesters is denied by the Graduate School to students not complying with this requirement.  

Master's Thesis (Plan A) and Ph.D. Dissertation

The candidate must submit a completed thesis or dissertation to the committee. The M.S. thesis must be submitted at least two weeks before the final examination and the Ph.D. dissertation must be submitted at least four weeks before the final defense. Required corrections or modifications of the thesis/dissertation may result from the final exam/defense. The candidate must submit two unbound copies of the final version of the thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School prior to the end of the twelfth week of the graduation term for fall or spring semester, and prior to the end of the fifth week of the eight week summer term. The Graduate School collects a fee for microfilming upon deposit of the Ph.D. dissertation. Courtesy copies of the final thesis or dissertation to the student's graduate committee members are appropriate.

The candidate may find guidance for thesis and dissertation preparation in the Graduate School Thesis Manual.

Research Publication Policy

Because the primary purpose of the academic research programs within the Department of Civil Engineering, i.e. the M.S. (Plan A) and Ph.D. degree programs, is the instruction for conducting original research, and because the purpose of all such research is to increase the state of knowledge and understanding within the engineering and scientific communities, it is essential that such knowledge and understanding be disseminated for the benefit of all. For this reason, methods for such dissemination is an integral part of the instruction in these degree programs. Thus, the Department of Civil Engineering has the following policy:

  1. Candidates for the Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering, (Plan A), before scheduling their final defense, must have had the results of their research submitted for publication to a refereed journal or submitted for presentation at a national or international technical or scientific meeting. It is understood that the candidate's research may be only part of such a publication or presentation, but the candidate must be a co-author in such cases.
  2. Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Civil Engineering, before scheduling their final defense, must have had the results of their research submitted for publication to refereed journal of international prominence. The paper(s) may be co-authored, but the candidate must be first (principal or senior) author of at least one paper.

Required Publication Form

Time Limitations

Only courses completed within the ten-year period immediately preceding the completion date of the master's degree requirements may be applied to the M.S. degree by Graduate School requirements. Similarly, only courses completed within the ten-year period immediately preceding the completion date of doctoral degree requirements may be applied for the Ph.D. degree. Students may request an extension of these limitations in documented extenuating circumstances; Graduate School approval is necessary to obtain such an extension. The content of courses older than ten years has to be accepted by the Graduate School as still substantially current in order for the use of such classes to be permitted.