Pigman College of Engineering

Civil Engineering - Graduate


credit hours + thesis

M.S. Degree, Plan A


credit hours including 3 hours of independent study

M.S. Degree, Plan B


years beyond MS degree

Ph.D. Degree

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Often considered the oldest practitioners within engineering, the intellectual ancestors of civil engineers have been around since the first cities were built by humans 10,000 years ago. Fast forward to the 18th century, when the development of the modern civil engineering profession led directly to many conveniences we enjoy every day. Civil engineering is part of our daily lives. From the water in your faucets every morning, to the roads and bridges that you use for transportation, to the energy distribution systems that power your home, civil engineers help make modern life possible. Civil engineering is a people-serving profession. Thanks to the development of technologies like clean water treatment plants, civil engineers have helped improve the quality of life around the world. From tunnels under the Earth’s surface to skyscrapers standing far above it, civil engineers plan, design, construct, operate, maintain, and rehabilitate the infrastructure of the world.

Why Pursue Graduate Studies at UK?

Students enrolled in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky enjoy the benefits of studying at the Commonwealth’s flagship research institution, with an energetic and experienced faculty committed to each individual student’s educational and professional success. Civil engineering students at UK experience an environment where faculty are readily accessible and where students have the chance to grow through hands-on research, cooperative education, and service opportunities.

The department is internationally known for water resources research and computer software developed by faculty members.  The department has close partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Center, enabling students to study alongside practicing engineers.  The CEPM program is supported through a number of dedicated endowments and extramural funding and is renowned for its research excellence.





Degrees Available


The University of Kentucky offers a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) degree. Two programs are available for these degrees:

  • MSCE Program, Plan A: 
    • This MSCE plan requires the satisfactory completion of 24 semester hours of graduate course work plus a thesis. The thesis generally discusses an organized research topic and must be actively supervised by a member of the graduate faculty.
  • MSCE Program, Plan B: 
    • This MSCE plan requires the satisfactory completion of 30 semester hours of graduate course work. The 30 hours include a three semester hour independent study course. The independent study course must be taken under the supervision of a faculty member who will assign the work to be performed, monitor its progress, and assign a grade at its completion. A written report will generally be required for all projects.

There are no credit hour requirements for the Ph.D. The type and number of courses required varies, depending on the background of the student. Normally, at least one year of full-time graduate course work beyond the master’s degree will be required before a student is ready to take the Qualifying Examination. At least one additional year will be required for the dissertation, which must significantly advance knowledge in the field.

Admission Requirements

  • CV
  • Personal Statement
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • GRE (NOTE: Students who graduated from an ABET-accredited program are not required to take the GRE for admission into this program).

Applicants seeking admission to the Graduate programs in Civil Engineering must have been awarded a baccalaureate degree from an engineering (not engineering technology) program, accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET/EAC), or equivalent agency. Engineering Technology degree holders will not be admitted. Also, students must have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.8 on a 4.0 scale. An applicant whose native language is other than English must score at least 550 (paper-based TOEFL) or 213 (computer-based TOEFL) or 80 (internet-based TOEFL).

Applicants who have been awarded bachelor degrees in fields other than engineering, such as physical sciences, should contact the Director of Graduate Studies for consultation.  

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines:

Fall: July 22 (domestic), April 15 (international)

Spring: December 9 (domestic), September 15 (international)

Areas of Research

Graduate students choose to specialize in one of the seven technical areas:

  • Construction Engineering and Project Management (CEPM)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Material Engineering
  • Structure Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering

Meet the Faculty

Dr. Gabriel Dadi
Research Areas: building information modeling in construction;
spatial information visualization; labor productivity, and more

Dr. Kelly Pennell
Research Areas: physical chemical processes in natural and engineered
environments; fate, transport and treatment of hazardous chemicals; and more

Dr. Sebastian Bryson
Research Areas: field instrumentation, ground modification, insitu and
laboratory testing of soils, insitu response of geotechnical systems, and more

Dr. Scott Yost
Research Areas: fluid mechanics, hydraulics, hydrologic modeling of
watersheds, numerical modeling of surface-water environments, and more

Click here to meet more faculty!

Career Prospects in Civil Engineering

From the water in your faucets, to the roads and bridges that you use for transportation, to electric distribution systems that power your home, civil engineers help make modern life possible. What’s more, thanks to the development of technologies like clean water treatment plants, civil engineers help improve the quality of life around the world. Civil engineers are employed by the construction industry, engineering or architectural firms, utility companies, energy companies, telecommunications businesses, manufacturing companies, consulting firms, railroads and state and federal governmental agencies.

Imagine Your Future

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction and maintenance of building and infrastructure projects.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2023

Number of Jobs


in 2023

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Civil engineers work in a variety of locations and conditions, commonly splitting their time between an office setting and construction sites. Most civil engineers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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