Civil and Environmental Engineering

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Master of Science (M.S.), Applied Scientist (App.Sc.), Engineer (Engr.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate students have extraordinary opportunities to learn about the state-of-the-art in their studies. Environmental engineering students use one of the world’s largest wastewater treatment plants as a real-world laboratory to improve the water quality of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Structural engineering students study earthquake engineering, extreme event design of structures and bridge design on a state-of-the-art, six-degrees-of-freedom earthquake simulator. 

The Civil and Environmental Engineering department offers Ph.D., M.S. and professional degrees (applied scientist, engineer). The Master of Science program in civil and environmental engineering at GW is a 33-credit-hour graduate program without a thesis, or 30 credits with a thesis. The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours in a formal program of study at the graduate level beyond master’s study or, for students without a master’s degree, a minimum of 54 credit hours in a formal program of study at the graduate level beyond the baccalaureate is required. Graduate students can pursue their degrees in one of the following focus areas: engineering mechanics, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation safety engineering and water resources engineering.

The doctoral program aims to educate highly qualified researchers who will enhance fundamental knowledge and produce technological innovations through original research and development.  Our location and relationships with companies and government agencies in the Washington, D.C., area allow for collaborative research opportunities that greatly increase our graduates’ job prospects. 

The master’s program emphasizes the professional development of our graduate students and the mastery of technical and applied aspects of the chosen specialty.  Evening classes are scheduled to suit working professionals, and students may choose the thesis or non-thesis option. 

The professional degree program is designed for students who want in-depth study in their field beyond a master's degree, but who want to concentrate on applied subject material rather than on basic science.


Admission Requirements

Admissions Deadlines:

Fall - January 15
Spring - September 1
Summer * - March 1 (non-visa applicants)

Standardized test scores:

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. (Institution code 5246). 

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction.  Minimum scores:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0; applicants requesting funding consideration must have an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based; applicants requesting funding consideration must have 600 on paper-based; or 100 on Internet-based; or
  • PTE Academic: 53; applicants requesting funding consideration must have 68.
    Applicants with lower test scores may qualify for our full-time Applied English Studies program.

Recommendations required:

Three (3) recommendations required for Ph.D. applicants and two (2) recommendation required for M.S. applicants. If possible, one of these recommendations should be from your advisor at the institution from which you earned your highest degree.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If academic records are in a language other than English, a copy in the original language and an English language translation must be uploaded. Transcript evaluations should not be uploaded. Applicants with degrees from Indian universities should upload transcripts and/or detailed marksheets.

Statement of purpose:

M.S., Engr., and App.Sc.: In an essay of 250 to 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University; describe your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans; and discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned.

Ph.D. applicants: Please write a more comprehensive essay of 400 to 600 words, indicating your primary and supporting fields of study, your specialized interests, and the general subject area of your planned dissertation or professional project.

Additional requirements:

M.S., Engr., and App.Sc.: Bachelor's degree with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants should possess an undergraduate degree in engineering, the physical sciences, or applied mathematics.

Ph.D.: Admission to the Ph.D. program requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree, evidence of a strong academic or relevant professional background, course work designated by the department as pertinent to the field of study, and capacity for research. Applicants whose highest earned degree is a bachelor’s degree should have a grade-point average of at least 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants whose highest earned degree is a master’s degree should have a grade-point average of at least 3.4.

All applicants must choose an area of focus that most closely matches their interests and note this on the online application. Applicants to the Ph.D. program should identify one to three faculty members whose research interests most closely match their own and note this on the online application. All applicants must submit a resumé or CV.

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW.

* A limited number of doctoral applicants are accepted for the summer. Please contact the admissions office for details.  

For more information on the admission process, please visit the SEAS Frequently Asked Questions page

Contact for questions:
[email protected] - 202.994.1802 - 202.994.1651 (fax)
9:00 – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday