Santa Clara University

Graduate School of Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering

Professor Emeritus: E. John Finnemore, P.E.
Wilmot J. Nicholson Family Professor: Sukhmander Singh, P.E., G.E.
Peter Canisius SJ Professor: Mark Aschheim, P.E. (Chair)
Robert W. Peters Professor: Edwin Maurer, P.E.
Professor: Reynaud L. Serrette
Associate Professors: Steven C. Chiesa, P.E., Rachel He.
Assistant Professor: Hisham Said
Lecturers: Tonya Nilsson, P.E.


The Department of Civil Engineering offers graduate programs in the areas of structural engineering, general civil engineering, and construction management. The focus of the educational effort is on modeling, analysis, and practical methods used to design and construct structures and other civil engineering-related infrastructure systems. As such, many of the courses offered are beneficial to civil and construction engineers and construction managers interested in advancing their knowledge and enhancing their technical skills.


The civil engineering graduate program at Santa Clara University is designed to accommodate the needs of students interested in advanced study. An individual may pursue the degree of master of science (M.S.) as either a full-time or part-time student through a customized balance of coursework, design projects, and directed research. Program participants are also required to supplement their technical work with coursework on project management topics addressed in the graduate engineering core curriculum.

The structural engineering track provides students with an opportunity to effectively link theory and practice by completing a combination of analysis- and design-oriented courses. Options within the structural engineering track allow students to either complete a capstone design project or a faculty-directed research investigation. This program track is aimed at individuals looking to prepare for a career in consulting structural engineering or in structural plan review.

The general civil engineering track has been configured to provide students with additional analytical and design coursework in several related areas of civil engineering. This could potentially include work in water resources engineering, environmental engineering, transportation engineering, and geotechnical engineering. A capstone design or research project with a required sustainability component is used to integrate these different elements. This track is geared towards individuals preparing for a career in land development, municipal engineering, or public works.

The construction engineering and management (CEM) track is designed to prepare students with skills and knowledge required to effectively manage time, cost, safety, quality and sustainability requirements of construction projects. The track has some flexibility to accommodate students with interests in practical applications or research investigations. This track is designed for students with career objectives of managing building or heavy construction projects for contractors, owners, and developers.

Master of Science in Civil Engineering
To be considered for admission to the graduate program in civil engineering, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-accredited four-year program or its equivalent
  • An overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 (based on a 4.0 maximum scale)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test
  • For students whose native language is not English, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) exam scores are required before applications are processed.
  • In very rare cases, applicants not meeting the above requirements may be given conditional acceptance into the M.S. program. A formal acceptance may then be given upon the successful completion of a defined course of studies.

Applicants who have taken graduate-level courses at other institutions may qualify to transfer a maximum of nine quarter units of approved credit to their graduate program at Santa Clara University.

Upon acceptance or conditional acceptance to the graduate program in civil engineering, a student will be required to select a graduate advisor (full-time faculty member) from within the Department of Civil Engineering. The student’s advisor will be responsible for approving the student’s course of study. Any changes to a student’s initial course of study must have the written approval of the student’s advisor.

To qualify for the degree of Master of Science in Civil Engineering, the students must complete a minimum of 45 quarter units, including elective and required core courses, within the School of Engineering. Required and elective courses for the structural engineering, general civil engineering, and construction management tracks are provided below. Students may elect to do a design project or research project. Students undertaking a design project would apply a new technique or method in the analysis or design of a structure, system, or element, and this must be documented in a design report. Students undertaking a research project would develop a new technique, method, component, or design criteria, and this must be documented in a conference or journal publication or report.

Course requirements are as follows:

Engineering Track
General Civil
Engineering Track
Management Track
Required Technical Coursework

CENG 205 (2)
CENG 206 (2)
CENG 222 (4)
CENG 233* (4)
CENG 234 (4)
CENG 236 (4)
CENG 237 (4)
(24 units)

CENG 237 (4)
CENG 249 (4)
CENG 260 (3)
(11 units)

CENG 218 (3)
CENG 284 (3)
CENG 286 (4)
CENG 287 (4)
CENG 292 (4)
17 units)

Elective Technical Coursework

7 units from:
CENG 207 (2)
CENG 213 (4/5)
CENG 215 (4/5)
CENG 218 (3)
CENG 220 (4)
CENG 231 (4)
CENG 232 (2)
CENG 238 (4)
CENG 239 (2)
CENG 240 (2)
CENG 241 (2)
CENG 244 (2)
CENG 246 (4)
CENG 292 (3)
CENG 293 (2 – 4)
CENG 295 (4 – 6)
CENG 297 (2 – 4)

14 units from:
CENG 217 (4)
CENG 218 (3)
CENG 219^ (4)
CENG 238 (4)
CENG 242 (4)
CENG 247 (4)
CENG 250 (4)
CENG 251 (4)
CENG 256 (3)
CENG 258 (4)
CENG 259 (3)
CENG 261 (3)
CENG 262 (3)
CENG 263 (4)
CENG 293 (2 – 4)
CENG 295 (4 – 6)
CENG 297 (2 – 4)

12 units from:
CENG 219^ (4)
CENG 249 (4)
CENG 256 (3)
CENG 281 (3)
CENG 282 (2)
CENG 288 (4)
CENG 289 (3)
EMGT 289 (2)
EMGT 292 (2)
CENG 293 (2 – 4)
CENG 295 (4 – 6)
CENG 297 (2 – 4)
EMGT 255 (2)
EMGT 295 (2)
EMGT 330 (2)
EMGT 335 (2)
ENGR 329^ (3)
MGMT 3503 (3)
MGMT 3538 (3)

Applied Mathematics 4 units from:
AMTH 210 (2) & 211 (2)
AMTH 214 (2) & 215 (2)
AMTH 220 (2) & 221 (2)
AMTH 245 (2) & 246 (2)
8 units from:
AMTH 210 (2) & 211 (2)
AMTH 214 (2) & 215 (2)
AMTH 220 (2) & 221 (2)
AMTH 245 (2) & 246 (2)
4 units from:
AMTH 210 (2) & 211(2)
AMTH 214 (2) & 215 (2)
AMTH 370 (2) & 371 (2)
AMTH 367 (4)
Project Management and Communications 4 units from:
CENG 282 (2)
EMGT 255^ (2)
EMGT 271^ (2)
EMGT 330^ (2)
EMGT 335^ (2)
6 units from:
CENG 282 (2)
EMGT 255^ (2)
EMGT 271^ (2)
EMGT 330^ (2)
EMGT 335^ (2)
ENGR 329^ (3)

6 units from:
EMGT 270 (2)
EMGT 271^ (2)
EMGT 319 (2)
EMGT 320 (2)
EMGT 329 (2)
EMGT 349 (2)
MGMT 3532 (3)

Graduate Core A total of 6 units from pre-approved courses

Units are shown in parentheses. No more than 6 units from CENG 293, 295, and 297 may be used to satisfy degree requirements. Taking Required Technical Course(s) that repeat previously taken course(s) is discouraged; in such cases, Elective Technical course(s) may be substituted. Program plans may deviate from these requirements with Department approval.

* Replace with CENG 246 if a timber design course was taken previously.
^ May simultaneously satisfy a Graduate Core requirement, thereby allowing additional Elective Technical units to be taken.
° The MGMT 501 prerequisite is waived for students in the Construction Management track.

Upon the approval of the student’s advisor, alternative elective courses may be taken. Courses used to satisfy the 45-unit minimum total for the Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree cannot be used to satisfy any previous undergraduate degree program requirement. This includes cross-listed undergraduate courses at Santa Clara University and/or their equivalent courses at other institutions. Where required courses in the SCU graduate civil engineering programs have been completed prior to graduate-level matriculation at SCU, additional elective courses may be required to satisfy the minimum unit total requirement as necessary.


The Civil Engineering Laboratories contain equipment and facilities to support research and teaching in materials engineering, structural engineering, stress analysis, soil mechanics, geology, transportation engineering and surveying, environmental quality, and hydraulics.

The Simulation and Design Laboratory maintains Windows-based personal computers that are used extensively in course assignments, design projects and research. Commercial software packages in all the major areas of civil engineering are available on the systems, with full documentation available to students.

The Concrete Testing Laboratory contains facilities for mixing, casting, curing, and testing concrete cylinders and constructing reinforced concrete test specimens.

The Environmental Laboratory is equipped with the instrumentation needed for basic chemical and biological characterization of water, wastewater, and air samples. Several pilot-scale treatment systems are also available.

The Geology Laboratory is equipped with extensive rock and mineral samples, as well as topographic, geologic, and soil maps.

The Hydraulics Laboratory is shared with the Mechanical Engineering Department. The laboratory contains a tilting flume that can be fitted with various open-channel fixtures.

The Soil Mechanics Laboratory contains equipment for testing soils in shear, consolidation, and compaction, and for conducting other physical and chemical tests. Field testing and sampling equipment is also available. A complete cyclic triaxial testing system with computer control is used for both research and instructional purposes.

The Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory is equipped with three universal testing machines and an interim high-bay structural test system. These machines/systems are used for testing a variety of construction materials and assemblies under quasi-static and pseudo-dynamic loading. Complementing this equipment are a series of digital and analog instruments, and high-speed data acquisition and control systems.

The offsiteStructural Laboratory Annex is a high-bay test facility equipped with a closed-loop hydraulic system, modern data acquisition and control system, dedicated frames for beam and columns tests, and instrumentation for displacement, pressure, strain, temperature, and acceleration measurements. The Annex has the capability to test unique building components that incorporate wall/frames and floor systems with heights up to 8.0 meters.

TheSurveying Laboratory has a wide variety of equipment, including automatic levels, digital theodolites, total stations, and GPS-based surveying instruments available for instructional purposes.

The Traffic Laboratory has electronic volume counters that are used in studies to classify vehicles and measure their speeds in user-specified ranges and periods of time.

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