Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Master of Science (MS) with Thesis (Plan A)

Program Overview

The thesis option provides an opportunity for independent research in a specialized sub-discipline of civil and environmental engineering (e.g., structures, water resources, hydrology, hydraulics, geoengineering, fluid mechanics, etc.). The thesis option allows a student to explore in depth a topic within a sub-discipline of interest under the supervision of a faculty who serves as the student’s major advisor. A master’s thesis provides opportunities for students to plan, execute, analyze, interpret, and report the results of research. The completion of a thesis exemplifies the development of skills in both research and technical writing that typically are not available through coursework alone. The thesis option is most appropriate for those who desire to conduct research or eventually continue their education with a doctoral degree. The thesis option includes a publication requirement for graduation.

Curriculum Requirements

Courses selected for the thesis option are intended to provide depth of study in a particular sub-discipline of interest. Selection of courses should be conducted with the faculty advisor who is supervising the thesis to ensure that the courses taken complement the thesis. Some sub-disciplines of focus require specific courses to be completed. Please reference your sub-discipline of interest for any required courses. Depending on the student’s bachelor’s degree, background courses may be required in addition to the following specifications.

  1. A minimum of 30 credit hours is required, of which at least 12 credit hours must be regular graduate-level courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
    • Regular graduate-level Civil and Environmental Engineering courses include courses with a CIVE prefix that are numbered 5XX, 6XX, or 7XX and with the last two digits ranging from 00 through 82 (e.g., CIVE 655).
  2. A research thesis must be written and is allocated from 3 to 6 credit hours (CIVE 699A-K).
  3. A maximum of 3 credit hours of Independent Study (CIVE 695) may be allowed for the coursework.
  4. A minimum of 16 credit hours in regular graduate-level courses (500 level and higher) must be earned at Colorado State University.
  5. Up to 6 credit hours of 300- or 400-level coursework may be taken.
  6. Up to 3 credit hours of a 300- or 400-level CIVE courses may count towards the degree if the course is not required to satisfy background coursework. Examples of 300- or 400-level background coursework include CIVE 367, 441, 442, 438, 466 and MIP 300.
    • No lower-division (100- and 200-level) courses may be used to satisfy graduate program requirements, although these courses may be included as background courses.
  7. A minimum of 24 credit hours must be earned at Colorado State University, 21 of which must be earned after admission to the Graduate School. Credits used for one master’s degree may not be used for a second master’s degree.
  8. A final examination that will cover thesis research and coursework is required.
  9. Research publication form signed by your advisor.
    • Before final submission of their thesis, candidates for the Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering (Plan A) must have 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. 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.