The Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering offers a professional master's degree tailored toward working engineers who desire to develop a new skill set. The programs are coursework based and result in a Master of Science degree. 

Areas of Emphasis

Water Engineering and Management Emphasis

CU Boulder’s professional Master of Science degree in civil engineering, with an emphasis in water engineering and management (WE&M), combines technical courses in environmental and civil engineering with highly-valued professional, non-technical skills in communication, leadership, management, utility finance and governance. The water engineering and management program provides students with leadership skills so they can effectively manage teams and initiatives typically faced in the water profession.

The water engineering and management professional master’s program (PMP), designed for working professionals, provides the tools you need to produce results and solve increasingly complex problems in the water profession. Courses are delivered on campus and live streamed/recorded options over the internet, allowing working professionals from around the world to earn a graduate MS degree while continuing to put the learning into practice in their work.

Students are young and mid-career professionals working for utilities, consulting firms, government and regulatory agencies, looking to advance their careers in the water industry. With faculty of senior water professionals from across the country, including those from utilities, consulting firms, and global professional organizations, students gain an opportunity to network and learn through real work case studies.

All of the graduate courses are available to distance and on campus students. All the students can come to class, watch the live classes over Zoom and/or the recorded Zoom classes.   

The WE&M courses are available for a WE&M graduate certificate or as an Professional MS degree.

Degree Options

The PMP program has three plans. Plan I includes a written thesis, with reduced course work. Plans IIa and IIb focus on coursework, with an option of including up to 2 semesters of independent study for a report.  A vast majority of PMP students use plans IIa and IIb.

  • Plan I (Thesis Options): This plan requires 24 hours of course credits and 6 hours of thesis credits. This is pursued under the direct supervision of a research advisor, and student must formally defend the thesis.
  • Plan IIa (Coursework Option): This plan requires 30 credits. Thirty credits can be obtained with 10, 3 hour-credit courses. This plan has a wider variety of coursework.
  • Plan IIb (Report Option): This plan requires 30 credits, but up to 6 hours of independent study may be included towards to 30-credit requirement. The independent study requires a report completed under the guidance of a faculty member.

For more information, visit the department’s Water Engineering and Management webpage.

Global Engineering Emphasis

The Master of Science degree in civil engineering, with an emphasis in global engineering is a unique program offered by the Mortenson Center at CU Boulder. This degree is a professional track of the MS program in civil engineering. It is designed to offer students exposure to a breadth of knowledge in relevant areas such as global health, development economics and impact evaluation, while also building technical skills and providing the opportunity for further study in a specific area of interest within global engineering. In addition to classroom-based learning, students are required to complete a field practicum, embedded for six weeks to six months with a global development organization. These practicum placements have taken place in over 50 countries, partnering with over 80 organizations. Learn more about our practicum partnerships on the Mortenson Center website.

Our graduates are able to provide technical expertise to development agencies or other firms by recognizing the many facets of community development that are critical to sustainable solutions. Students gain skills in data analysis, project management and systems thinking so they can help create and implement solutions to address worldwide needs.

For more information, visit the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering webpage. 

Distance Education Option

Students can take individual courses toward a master's degree or graduate certificate through distance education (online). For more information, connect with the individual graduate program directly.


Course Requirements

The following course requirements are subject to change; for the most current information, visit the department's Water Engineering & Management webpage or the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering webpage.

The professional master's degree requires a total of 30 credit hours, at least 24 of which must be completed at the 5000 level or above. At least 18 credit hours must be from coursework in CVEN.

Time Limit

All degree requirements must be completed within four years of the date of commencing coursework.

Areas of Emphasis

Water Engineering & Management Emphasis

This emphasis requires at least 30 credit hours from the following categories.

Environmental Engineering Core Courses
CVEN 5464Environmental Engineering Processes3
CVEN 5404Water Chemistry3
CVEN 5484Applied Microbiology and Toxicology3
Choose one:3
Drinking Water Treatment
Wastewater Treatment
Hazardous and Industrial Waste Management
Water Engineering & Management Core Courses
CVEN 5564Water Profession: Communication and Utility Finance3
CVEN 5574Water Utility Management: Current Issues and Future Challenges3
CVEN 5584Water Profession: Leadership and Management3
Electives & Master's Report and Seminar Courses
Choose from the the following for a total of 9 credits:9
Civil engineering electives (3-9 credits)
Public affairs electives at CU Denver (0-3 credits)
Master's Report and Seminar (2 credits)
Additional courses to fulfill 30-credit minimum, if necessary.
Total Credit Hours30

Global Engineering Emphasis

This emphasis requires at least 30 credit hours distributed as follows.

Required Core Courses
CVEN 5919Global Development for Engineers3
CVEN 5939Global Development Practicum3
Global Engineering Series 1
MCGE offers courses as series of 5-week modules, with each module worth one credit-hour. In the Professional Master’s in Global Engineering, students are required to complete 12 credit-hours from the series12
Project Management
Field Methods
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Humanitarian Aid
Household Energy
Option Area
Students work with their faculty advisor to determine which courses to take in order to fulfill the remaining 12 required credit hours. These can be met through courses that fall under an established theme (e.g., energy, infrastructure, WASH) or that help to strengthen prioritized skills (e.g., project management, data analysis) as identified by the student and their advisor.12
Total Credit Hours30

Dual-Track Emphasis

For this emphasis, students are required to:

  1. Select 9 credit hours from the courses listed in Group A and 15 credit hours from Group B of more than one sub-areas listed below.
  2. Select 6 credits of 5000-level free electives from the extensive course offerings from civil or other engineering disciplines in the College or professional management classes, such as EMEN 5010 and EMEN 5020, collectively referred to as Group C.
Sub-area 1: Structural Engineering
Group A
Advanced Mechanics of Materials I
Matrix Structural Analysis
Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Structural Dynamics
Group B
Advanced Topics in Steel Design
Advanced Topics in Reinforced Concrete Design
Earthquake Engineering
Sub-area 2: Construction Engineering
Group A
Special Topics for Seniors/Grads (CEM Fundamentals)
Construction Safety
Legal Aspects of Construction
Group B
Engineering Risk and Decision Analysis
Managing Construction and Engineering Projects and Organizations
Special Topics for Seniors/Grads
Sub-area 3: Geotechnical Engineering
Group A
Soil Mechanics
Dynamics of Soils and Structures
Computational Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering
Introduction to Rock Mechanics
Group B
Seepage and Slopes
Foundation Engineering
Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
Sub-area 4: Water Resources Engineering
Group A
Physical Hydrology
Groundwater Hydrology
Environmental Fluid Mechanics
Statistical Methods for Natural and Engineered Systems
Numerical Methods in Civil Engineering
Group B
Modeling of Hydrologic Systems
Water Resources System and Management
Applied Groundwater Modeling
Transport and Dispersion in Surface Water
Water Resources Engineering Design