MS Degree Requirements

The environmental program of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers Master of Science degrees in Environmental Engineering, and in Civil Engineering.  A student without a BS degree from an accredited engineering program or a student who has not passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam preparatory to professional registration may need to take fundamental engineering courses which are prerequisite for graduate level courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Graduation requirements depend on whether a student pursues the non-thesis or thesis program.

Non-thesis program:         A total of 36 hours of course work is required for all candidates who elect to pursue the non-thesis program; it is possible to complete this in three semesters (fall, spring, and summer) if adequate knowledge of the areas was obtained during undergraduate studies, and if an English course (for international students only) is not required based on an English placement exam.

The Environmental Engineering and Sciences Program now offers an online program. Please see for details.

Adequate knowledge of the area*:

General Chemistry I (CHEM 102) 3 hrs.
General Chemistry II (CHEM 104) 3 hrs.
General Physics: Mechanics, Heat, and Sound (PHYS 101) 5 hrs.
General Physics: Heat, Electricity, Magnetism, and Modern Physics (PHYS 102) 5 hrs.
Calculus (MATH 220) 5 hrs.
Calculus II (MATH 231) 3 hrs.
Calculus III (MATH 241) 4 hrs.
Introductory Matrix Theory* (MATH 225) 2 hrs.
Intro Differential Equations* (MATH 285) 3 hrs.
Computer Science
Introduction to Computing, Eng & Sci (CS 101) 3 hrs.
Introductory Fluid Mechanics (TAM 335) 4 hrs.
Environmental Engineering (CEE 330) 3 hrs.
Systems Engineering and Economics* (CEE 201) 3 hrs.
Water Quality Engineering (CEE 437) 3 hrs.
Air Pollution Sources, Transport and Control (CEE 441) 4 hrs.

* Background in these courses may not be required for some areas of specialization.  It will be determined in consultation with the academic advisor.

Course requirement:

Core courses

CEE 442: Env Eng Principles, Physical

CEE 443: Env Eng Principles, Chemical or  CEE 447: Atmospheric Chemistry

One or more of the following courses:

CEE 434: Environmental Systems I

CEE 440: Fate Cleanup and Environmental Pollutant

CEE 441: Air Pollution Sources, Transport and Control

CEE 444: Env Eng Principles, Biological

CEE 493: Sustainable Design & Eng Tech

Twelve hours of graded 500-level courses in CEE.

CEE595G, Environmental Engineering Seminar, during the first fall and spring semesters

Other courses within CEE and at departments on campus in consultation with the academic advisor

Thesis program:     A total of 32 hours of course work and thesis research credit are required for those who choose to prepare a thesis. Each specialty area has a specific set of core courses that are required for students specializing in that area. Students who have had material comparable to that covered in the 400-level core courses may not be required to take all of these courses. Exact requirements will be determined in consultation with the advisor. Other graduate courses offered by the University may be selected to fulfill degree requirements in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Course requirements:

Required and elective courses in the specialty area (see MS curriculum)

Twelve of the 32 hours must be in courses numbered in the 500 series, and eight of these must be graded courses taken in the specialty area.

A total of at least 16 hours must be in a major field.

Thesis may be used to satisfy the 500-level course requirements. Thesis topics must be selected in consultation with a faculty advisor.

MSE492, Lab Safety Fundamentals

CEE595G, Environmental Engineering Seminar, during the first fall and spring semesters

CEE 595AG, Advanced Environmental Engineering Seminar, after the first two semesters while the student is in residence.

CEE 599M Thesis Research. MS degree in Civil Engineering:     Students may also elect to obtain a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering. A candidate for this degree must hold a baccalaureate degree in engineering and complete at least 32 or 36 hours of graduate work with satisfactory grades. Twelve of the 32 or 36 hours must be in courses numbered in the 500 series, and eight of these must be taken for a grade in a major field. A total of at least 16 hours must be in the major field. When a thesis is not presented, the candidate must complete at least 36 hours of course work. This degree option may be of special interest to students who want to combine environmental engineering course work with advanced course work in other departments or other civil engineering specialty areas.

Research assistants normally write a thesis on a phase of the work conducted as part of the research project to which they are assigned. Those master’s candidates who expect to continue their graduate work for a PhD should complete a thesis or special problem that will demonstrate their ability to perform independent research. Master’s candidates can satisfy the special problem requirement by completing an analytical or experimental problem under the supervision of their advisor.

PhD Degree Requirements

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Engineering is the most advanced degree offered by the Environmental Engineering and Science Program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To be admitted to the PhD program, nearly all students have to have earned an M.S. degree in environmental engineering or related engineering or science field. Students who are nearing completion of the M.S. degree in our program at UIUC and who have determined, in consultation with their advisor, that their PhD program would be successful, may begin work on that degree prior to completion of the M.S.   in exceptional cases, and with appropriate justification, students may be admitted to the PhD program without having earned or being in the process of earning, the M.S. degree.

The academic program for each doctoral candidate is planned on an individual basis. The formal requirements for the doctoral degree consist of a minimum of 64 hours beyond the master’s degree. This requirement is met with 32 hours of course work or independent study beyond that normally taken for the master’s degree plus 32 hours of thesis credit. The doctoral program includes three stages. At least two of these stages must be completed in residence; the residence period must include two successive semesters in the second or third stage. The first stage ends when the candidate receives a master’s degree or earns the equivalent (32 or 36 semester hours); the second stage comprises a successful qualifying exam, 32 hours of course work, fulfillment of departmental requirements, and a successful preliminary examination; the third stage comprises research and seminars (32 hours), preparation of a dissertation, and the final examination, including a public presentation of research results. All doctoral students are expected to enroll in CEE 595AG, Advanced Environmental Engineering Seminar, each semester in residence. All PhD students are initially admitted on a provisional basis, pending successful completion of the PhD qualifying examination. This examination is administered approximately biannually, and consists of written and oral portions. The written portion is divided into a core part which covers material in the core courses and a specialty part crafted specifically for the student by his or her committee. The oral portion is also designed by the student’s committee. The committee is selected by the student in consultation with his or her advisor and must include that advisor and two or three other members of the environmental engineering faculty listed elsewhere on this website. Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student is officially admitted to the PhD candidacy.

The major areas of specialization often involve a selection of courses that are closely related to, but not necessarily offered within, the Environmental Engineering and Science Program of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. With the aid of an advisor, students are encouraged to arrange their programs of study to encompass a reasonable number of courses that augment the major program of study.

No foreign language is required for the PhD in Environmental Engineering and Science, unless the candidate’s selected research area requires knowledge of a foreign language.