Civil and Environmental Engineering

Graduate Degrees: Ph.D., M.S., M.Eng

Apply for Admission: December 16, 2019 (Professional M.S. and Ph.D)
January 6, 2020 (M.Eng)

Required Tests: GRE (general test)

Important departmental information:

Starting with the 2017-18 academic year, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is instituting Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition as part of the MS degree. On a per semester basis, this will add approximately $3100 for California residents and $6100 for non-residents to the cost of attending. The Department is committed to attracting a diverse graduate student body and to making the cost of attendance as reasonable as possible. Financial awards to offset the cost of attendance are based on academic merit and the decisions on these awards are made at the time of admission.


The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) offers a Master of Science (MS) program, a doctoral degree (PhD) program, and a Master of Engineering (MEng) program.

CEE also offers three concurrent degree programs and two certificate programs.

Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

These degrees emphasize the application of the natural sciences to the analysis and solution of engineering problems. Advanced courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and the life sciences are normally included in a program that incorporates the engineering systems approach for analysis of problems.

Students in these degree programs select one of the following seven concentrations:

  1. Energy, Civil Infrastructure and Climate: The objective of the Energy, Civil Infrastructure and Climate (ECIC) program is to educate a cadre of professionals to analyze complex problems — such as energy efficiency of buildings, environmentally-informed design of transportation systems, embodied energy of construction materials, and electricity from renewable sources, as well as biofuels — from engineering, environmental, economic, and management perspectives. The analysis will be used to address such overarching societal problems as mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation of infrastructure to a changing climate. ECIC also promotes research at the intersection of energy, infrastructure, and climate science.
  2. Engineering and Project Management: The Engineering and Project Management (E&PM) program educates students for leadership positions in managing infrastructure, especially construction projects, and within field, project, and corporate management. Contemporary project management practice demands that the engineering professionals not only have a mastery of engineering, including construction concepts, but also a strong background in engineering and management methods. E&PM emphasizes new technologies, developments, and techniques in both domestic and international project management and construction, as well as the interrelationships of all life-cycle components: planning, design, manufacturing, construction, operation, maintenance, and end-of-life options.
  3. Environmental Engineering: The Environmental Engineering program encompasses air quality engineering (AQE), water quality engineering (WQE), and environmental fluid mechanics and hydrology (EFMH). AQE focuses on indoor microenvironments, plume dispersion, urban and regional air pollution, as well as global changes in climate and atmospheric chemistry. There is an emphasis on environmental and public health issues related to the built environment, including energy and transportation systems. EFMH focuses on physical processes that govern air and water movement, and the associated transport of contaminants, energy, and other scalars. It takes an integrated approach to studies of the coastal ocean and estuaries, the atmospheric boundary layer, surface and subsurface water flow, land-atmosphere interactions, the management of water resource systems, climate change and variability, and contaminant transport. WQE addresses the sources, transport and treatment of chemical and microbiological contaminants that affect water. Research and coursework focus on assessment of the sources, fate and transport of contaminants and the development of natural and engineered treatment systems for chemical contaminants and human pathogens.
  4. GeoSystems (Geoengineering): GeoSystems encompasses a broad area of teaching and research in geotechnical and geological engineering, environmental geotechnics, and applied geophysics. GeoSystems' focus is on the evaluation of engineering properties of geologic materials and on providing engineering solutions for dealing with geologic environment and processes, and natural hazards. Emphasis is on the study of the mechanical behavior of soil and rock masses, laboratory and field characterization of material properties, development and application of geophysical techniques for site and subsurface characterization, development of advanced analysis methods, and evaluation of static and dynamic (seismic) performance of soil deposits, earth structures, and underground space.
  5. Structural Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials: The Structural Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials (SEMM) program consists of three emphases: (1) Structural engineering, which is concerned with the analysis and design of all types of structures, including earthquake-resistant design. (2) Structural mechanics, which employs the disciplines of applied mathematics and the engineering sciences to examine problems in the behavior of structural elements and systems, and to investigate the mathematical description of properties. (3) Structural materials engineering, which is concerned with the development of construction materials (e.g., steel, concrete, aluminum alloys, timber, plastic, and composite materials) for engineering projects, such as mechanical and thermal response, microstructure behavior, and durability.
  6. Systems (Civil Systems): The focus of the Systems Program is to understand complex large-scale systems and to develop tools for their design and operation. Such systems encompass built elements (infrastructures transportation, structures), societal systems (social networks, populations enterprises), and natural systems (land, water, air). The understanding of how such systems work requires knowledge about the constitutive laws that govern them, such as traffic flow, fluid mechanics, structural mechanics, and smart networks. It also requires an understanding of the theoretical paradigms (e.g., theories of computation and control, optimization, behavioral economics, sensor networks, statistics, and signal processing) that are used to model, control and optimize such systems.
  7. Transportation Engineering: The Transportation Engineering (TE) program is concerned with the planning, design, construction, operation, performance, evaluation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of transportation systems and facilities, such as highways, railroads, urban transit, air transportation, logistic supply systems, and their terminals. There is an emphasis on the economic and public policy aspects involved in transportation systems as well. TE stresses development of analytic, problem-solving, design, and management skills suitable for public and private sector professional work.

Students in the PhD program have the option of pursuing a designated emphasis (DE) to supplement their study.

Master of Engineering (MEng)

This professional degree emphasizes solving technical, sociological, environmental, and economic problems involved in the design, construction, and operation of engineering structures, processes, and equipment. Studies include courses in the engineering sciences necessary to the engineering interpretation of the latest scientific developments. Courses in design, operation, humanities, and economics provide a basis for the analysis and solution of problems in professional engineering.

Students in this degree program select either a concentration in Systems (Civil Systems) or Transportation Engineering (see above descriptions). There are options for either full-time or part-time enrollment.

CEE’s MEng program is offered in conjunction with the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership.

Concurrent Degrees

The concurrent degree program is a formal arrangement of two existing, but separate, master's degree programs, which result in the students earning two master’s degrees. CEE offers the following concurrent degree programs:

  1. Structural Engineering and Architecture (MArch/MS)
  2. Transportation Engineering and City and Regional Planning (MCP/MS)
  3. Any CEE graduate program and Public Policy (MPP/MS)

For further information regarding these programs, please see the department's website.


Certificate in Engineering and Business for Sustainability: This program is open to all Berkeley graduate students who meet the EBS Certificate course requirements. The EBS certificate program allows students to tap into multidisciplinary educational resources from the College of Engineering, Haas School of Business, Energy and Resources Group, Goldman School of Public Policy, College of Natural Resources, and the School of Public Health, to learn how to have a lasting beneficial impact on the global environment. For further information regarding this program, see the department's website.

Certificate in Intelligent Transportation Systems: Jointly sponsored by CEE, the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, this program is designed to assist students in studying ITS in a systematic and focused way. Faculty advisers help students design a personalized study program to meet their goals. For more information regarding this program, see the department's website.

Designated Emphasis

Berkeley Ph.D. students are eligible to pursue a Designated Emphasis as part of their doctoral studies. Common Designated Emphases for CEE doctoral students include:

A designated emphasis is a specialization, such as a new method of inquiry or an important field of application, which is relevant to two or more existing doctoral degree programs. You are required to complete the academic work in the area of specialization and all the requirements of the doctoral program. You must be admitted to the DE before taking the qualifying examination. A complete list of Designated Emphases is here.

Source: Berkeley Academic Guide

Programs List