Jun 17, 2024  
2017-2018 General Catalog 
2017-2018 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Civil Engineering, MS

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The CEE department admissions requirements for the Master of Science (MS) degree program are as follows:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or closely related engineering science discipline from an accredited college or university.
  • Good academic standing in the academic institution last attended.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on all coursework attempted as an upper division student (beyond 60 semester credit hours).
  • A minimum graduate record examination (GRE) percentile ranks of 25% (score of 144) on the verbal reasoning section and 65% (score of 153) on the quantitative section. For valid GRE tests taken prior to August 2011, minimum of 370 on the verbal reasoning section and 680 on the quantitative reasoning section.
  • Three letters of recommendation from academics or professionals attesting to the M.S. study potential of the applicant.
  • Statement of purpose describing reasons for pursuing the Master of Science degree and career goals.
  • International students whose native language is not English will be required to pass the TOEFL examination and demonstrate proficiency in English prior to admission per university guidelines. The minimum score is 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This requirement may be waived for students who have obtained a prior degree from a U.S. institution.

The Master’s of Science (MS) in Civil Engineering provides students with training in advanced civil engineering topics as well as research experience.


The MS curriculum includes a total of 30 semester hours, consisting of coursework and thesis research. For all courses in the curriculum, students must satisfy prerequisites to enroll in a course. Students entering the major without a civil or environmental engineering degree also must satisfy a set of articulation courses. Students are expected to enroll in Graduate Seminar (CGN 5935 ) each semester they have full-time status.

The specialty (depth) area courses provide students with advanced training beyond the bachelor’s degree in a specific civil engineering sub–discipline. The majority of the specialty area courses should be taken from the CEE department.

The supplementary electives are intended to assist the student with developing complementary multidisciplinary skills and knowledge. Supplementary electives may include courses from other civil and environmental engineering areas outside of the chosen specialty, other engineering disciplines, the sciences, computer/computational science, urban and regional planning, and geography.

Mathematics and quantitative skills are critical in civil engineering work. Therefore, a student will be required to take at least one course (a minimum of three (3) credit hours) in mathematics, statistics, or computational science in the MS curriculum.

Major Professor and Supervisory Committee

The MS student selects a major professor and a Supervisory Committee by the beginning of the second semester. The major professor must agree to serve as the student’s academic advisor and thesis supervisor and must be a full-time CEE faculty with Graduate Faculty/Directive status.

The MS student will identify the supervisory committee in consultation with the major professor. The supervisory committee consists of three (3) full-time faculty members, in which the Major Professor is the chair and one member may be from outside of the CEE department. All committee members must have Graduate Faculty status. Additional members may be appointed to the Committee, if deemed appropriate by the major professor. The supervisory committee oversees and supervises the student’s research effort, approves the written thesis, attends the oral defense of the thesis, and recommends granting of the degree.

Plan of Study

The MS student, in consultation with his/her major professor, is required to submit an approved Plan of Study to the departmental Graduate Committee by the end of the first semester. The Plan of Study includes a list of proposed courses, a time schedule for completion of these courses, and a summary of the proposed thesis topic. Upon recommendation of the Graduate Committee, the Department Chair will approve the proposed Plan of Study. The Plan of Study is used by the student and major professor as a guideline throughout the student’s MS study and must be updated and approved if changes occur.

Degree Requirement Certification

The MS degree candidate must submit an approved Degree Requirement Certification form to the CEE department by the beginning of the final semester of coursework. The form certifies that the student has satisfied all degree requirements as set forth in the latest approved Plan of Study. If courses shown in the Degree Certification form differ from those shown in the latest approved Plan of Study, the department will not approve the Certification form.

Thesis. The MS student prepares the thesis with the supervision of the major professor and supervisory committee. The student selects the thesis topic in consultation with the major professor and supervisory committee. Before registering for thesis hours, the student must consult the major professor as to the proportion of time to be devoted to thesis work.

It is the responsibility of the student to comply with the required thesis format of his/her university and the deadlines and requirements for thesis submission. See FAMU’s School of Graduate Studies’ website for information.

When the complete thesis is ready for review by the supervisory committee, the major professor will authorize the distribution to committee members. The thesis should be complete in every respect, including data analysis, figures, and tables. The supervisory committee can recommend editorial and/or substantive changes after review and the oral thesis defense. The thesis should be provided to the major professor and the examining committee (supervisory committee) at least ten (10) working days before the date of the oral examination.

Journal Manuscripts

In partial fulfillment of the MS degree requirements, the MS student must prepare at a minimum one (1) complete manuscript that is ready for submittal to a peer- reviewed journal publication. It is expected that the major professor will submit the manuscript and complete the publication process.

Thesis Defense

An oral examination in the form of a thesis defense is mandatory and is part of the degree requirements. The student must satisfactorily pass this oral examination, as determined by the Supervisory Committee, before submission of the final thesis to the university.

  • The thesis defense will be scheduled only with approval of the major professor, supervisory committee, and the department. The approvals are documented in the Request for Thesis Defense Examination form. The student will be permitted to schedule the thesis defense only if the student has 1) completed the research work, 2) written a complete thesis, and 3) satisfied the journal manuscript requirement.
  • The defense should be scheduled before the final thesis submission deadline with sufficient time to allow for revisions; see university deadlines.
  • The oral presentation of the thesis is announced and open to the public.
  • The oral defense consists of two parts: 1) a defense presentation that include appropriate use of visual aids and duration of 30-40 minutes and 2) oral examination by the supervisory committee.
  • The outcome of thesis defense is determined by the major professor and supervisory committee and is reported by the major professor to the department in the Thesis Defense Outcome Form.

Suggested Timeline and Checklist

A suggested timeline for completion of MS degree requirements and milestones checklist is provided below.

Suggested Timeline

Students may need to enroll in additional hours to maintain full-time status each semester.

Semester 1:

  • 9 hours of approved coursework;
  • Complete RCR training *

Semester 2:

  • 9 hours of approved coursework;
  • Identify thesis topic

Semester 3:

Semester 4:


*See Section 4.3 RCR Training

M.S. milestones checklist

The list is indicated by Milestone or Action, and When.

  • Select a Major Professor; Complete RCR training; First semester
  • Submit approved Plan of Study:By completion of 9 credit hours
  • Request transfer credit (if applicable): By completion of 9 credit hours
  • Complete RCR training: By end of first year
  • Submit approved Degree Certification form: Semester prior to graduation
  • Apply for graduation with university: Beginning of final semester
  • Prepare a complete manuscript for journal submission: Final semester
  • Request thesis defense; Defend thesis;
  • Submit approved final M.S. thesis to university: Final semester;
  • Check University for deadlines
  • Complete Exit Survey:
  • End of final semester

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