Master of Science Program

Rice University offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in civil and environmental engineering. Many of our MS students earn this thesis degree en route to entering our PhD program.

For a non-thesis program tailored for professionally-focused students looking to expand their engineering knowledge, check out our Professional Master's Program.

MS Program Requirements

  • 30 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements

  • 24 credit hours from approved graduate-level courses while maintaining a minimum average GPA of 3.0 (and at least a minimum grade of B)

    • For students focusing on environmental engineering, coursework must include at least one course in each of the following areas: environmental chemistry, water treatment, bioremediation, hydrology, and air quality

    • For students studying civil engineering, coursework must include at least one course in each of the following areas: structural mechanics and FEM, structural dynamic systems, earthquake engineering, probabilistic mechanics and applied mathematics

  • 6 credit hours of thesis research

  • Select a thesis committee according to department requirements and conduct original research in consultation with the committee

  • Present and defend in oral examination an approved research thesis

  • Students take the oral exam only after the committee determines the thesis to be in a written format acceptable for public defense

  • Normally, students take two academic years and the intervening summer to complete the degree

  • In addition, up to two credits of seminar may count toward the total 24 credit hours from approved graduate-level courses.

  • Comparable coursework completed previously may be substituted for these core courses. For general university requirements, see Graduate Degrees in the General Announcements.

For PhD Students

Students intending to extend their studies into the Ph.D. degree program should note that the department does not grant an automatic master’s degree to doctoral candidates who have not written a satisfactory master’s thesis.

Suggested Timeline

  • First year: Coursework, begin research under direction of adviser as deemed appropriate

  • End of first year or latest by spring of second year: Take the preliminary exam if intending to continue for a PhD

  • First semester, second year: Form committee and consult with the committee; meet if necessary (at the discretion of the committee chair)

  • Second semester, second year: Write and defend thesis

Need Help

Have questions or need guidance about applying or your degree plan? We're here for you.

Please contact:

Andrea Torres
Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Administrator

Office: 204 Ryon Lab
Phone: 713-348-2353

Apply Now

Ready to apply? Visit our Graduate Admissions to begin your application to Rice University.

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