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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Administrative Unit:Civil and Environmental Engineering
College/School: College of Engineering
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Benson (chair), Adams, Anderson, Bahia, Cramer, Hanna, Harrington, Hurley, Noguera, Noyce, McMahon, Oliva, Park, Potter, Ran, Russell, Schauer, Wu; Associate Professors Ahn, Fratta, Karthikeyan, Likos, Loheide II, Long, Parra-Montesinos, Pincheira; Assistant Professors Block, Ginder-Vogel, Hedegaard, Remucal


The aim of the civil and environmental engineering program is to develop leaders in education, industry, and government who can use their acquired skills to improve society. The program provides a comprehensive framework of courses in the broad area of civil and environmental engineering with opportunities to develop specialized expertise. It also emphasizes the development of integrated teamwork abilities, communication, leadership, and creative research skills. Graduate study in the department offers an opportunity to undertake advanced study and research in various areas of specialization. Areas include:

  • Construction engineering and management: construction engineering and management, sustainable design and construction, and construction and computer modeling
  • Environmental engineering: water supply, water quality, water treatment, wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste management, air pollution, biotechnology, and alternative energy
  • Geo and pavement engineering: geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, pavement materials and design, asphalt binders and mixtures, geosynthetics, in-situ testing and engineering geophysics, recycled materials in sustainable construction
  • Structural engineering: structural analysis and design of wood, concrete, steel, and highway bridge structures; design for earthquake and wind loading; seismic rehabilitation
  • Transportation engineering/geo-spatial information: highway and traffic engineering, intelligent transportation systems, transportation planning, municipal engineering, geodesy, remote sensing, and photogrammetry
  • Water resources/environmental fluid mechanics: analysis, measurement, modeling of currents, flows, and waves in natural and constructed systems; surface and groundwater hydrology; hydraulic engineering; coastal engineering; sedimentation and transport processes; and hydroecology and stream restoration

Students may also pursue studies in the broad fields of environmental engineering/science and systems analysis. Areas of specialization are organized into a constructed facilities division (including transportation engineering, geo-spatial information engineering, structural engineering, construction engineering and management, pavement engineering, and geotechnical engineering) and an environmental engineering division (including geoenvironmental engineering, environmental fluid mechanics and water resources engineering, environmental science and technology, and water chemistry).

Degrees require a coordinated core program of courses, selected from CEE and other department/program offerings. Graduate degree programs closely associated with the department include environmental chemistry and technology, water resources management, geological engineering, land resources, and limnology and marine science.

In support of the instructional and research programs are laboratory facilities for geographic and land information systems, photogrammetry, and remote sensing; highway materials; transportation systems; soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering; coastal and hydraulic engineering; environmental fluid mechanics; and environmental engineering processes and engineering chemistry. Additional facilities for structural, geoenvironmental, and geotechnical research are available in the Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory. Water resources engineering, environmental engineering, and water chemistry have additional research facilities in the Water Science and Engineering Laboratory on the shore of Lake Mendota. The Environmental Engineering Field Laboratory is located at the Nine-Springs Madison Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant.


All applicants must meet the Graduate School's admission requirements to be considered for admission. In addition, applicants must also meet the department's more stringent admission requirements listed below to be considered for admission:

  • Grades: A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) is required for domestic applicants. A strong academic performance comparable to an average of B or above grades for all undergraduate course work is required for international applicants.
  • Degree: A bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or from a recognized international institution is required. Applicants who do not have a bachelor's degree as specified above may study for the master of science in civil and environmental engineering (Program Option C); however, to become eligible for this program, applicants must meet the department's deficiency requirements, some of which may be completed as deficiencies after admission. As a general rule, students with more than 12 credits in deficiencies are not admitted to the graduate program. Rather, they are encouraged to enroll as special students until more of their deficiencies are satisfied. All plans of study within this option must be approved by the department faculty. The deficiency requirements for applicants without a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or from a recognized international institution must be obtained from the department.
    A complete graduate application is required before an application will be reviewed by the faculty. A complete graduate application contains the following:
    • Graduate School Application Form and application fee: Applicants must submit an online application to the UW–Madison Graduate School. See Graduate School Admissions to apply.
    • Statement of purpose: A statement of purpose for graduate study must be submitted through an applicant's online UW–Madison Graduate School application. Please limit this important document to 1,000 words.
    • Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation must be submitted through an applicant's online UW–Madison Graduate School application.
    • Transcripts: One official transcript from each institution you have attended must be sent to the department directly. International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Documents must be issued by the institution with the official seal/stamp and an official signature.
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores are required for all applicants.
    • English proficiency scores: Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Scores are accepted if they are within two years of the start of the admission term. See Graduate School Admission Requirements for more information on the English proficiency requirement.

Financial Aid 

Financial support is available through fellowships, project/program assistantships (PA), research assistantships (RA), and teaching assistantships (TA). Applicants apply for financial support when filling out the Graduate School Application Form.

For more information: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2258 Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-890-2420; cee@engr.wisc.edu; www.engr.wisc.edu/cee.