Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Programs

Graduate Degree Programs Overview

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is an international leader in many areas, including Risk and Reliability Engineering and Nuclear Waste Management.  Graduate students seeking M.S., M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees are engaged in thesis or dissertation research corresponding to one of the ongoing research areas of the department, and have the opportunities to work with our world-renowned faculty.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.)

Degrees are offered through the Graduate School and require a combination of coursework and a thesis.

Master of Engineering

Non-thesis based degree is offered through the School of Engineering.

At the graduate level, the department educates leaders in infrastructure and environmental engineering research and practice, with emphasis on the use of reliability and risk management. Reliability and risk management include engineering design, uncertainty analysis, construction and repair, life-cycle and cost benefit analysis, information management and fundamental phenomena intrinsic to the understanding of advanced infrastructure and environmental systems.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Civil Engineering:

    Applicants may apply directly for the Ph.D. degree; the M.S./Ph.D. degree; or  just the M.S. degree.  The M.S. degree has, however, two options: (a) Thesis option, and (b) Non-thesis option. The thesis option involves writing a thesis based on guided research work undertaken by the student.  The non-thesis option involves satisfaction of expanded coursework requirements and writing of a final project report.

    A student becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree after passing the preliminary and qualification examinations. The Ph.D. degree requires the final defense of a dissertation based on the research work undertaken by the student.

    The is targeted to professional engineers seeking management roles with specialization in Construction Management. The coursework requirements for this degree are similar to that for the M.S. degree with non-thesis option.  All the degrees require prescribed credit hours of coursework.  Refer to the Graduate School Course Catalog for course descriptions and specifics.

    Civil and Infrastructure Systems (CIS) Engineering offers M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. Research in the CEE department area focuses on, but is not limited to:

    • Risk and reliability of engineering systems
    • Resilience of civil infrastructure and communities
    • Sustainable and smart civil infrastructure and transportation systems
    • Hazards risk management in transportation and civil infrastructure.

    Materials and Structural (M&S) Engineering offers M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. Research in the CEE department in this area focuses on, but is not limited to:

    • Computational mechanics
    • Material damage, failure and durability
    • Engineering of cementitious materials and composites
    • Multiscale and multiphysics modeling
    • Risk, reliability and resilience
    • Health monitoring.
  • Environmental Engineering:

    Graduate students in Vanderbilt's Environmental Engineering program have opportunities to pursue exciting research on some of the most serious environmental challenges facing us today. 

    The graduate program in environmental engineering provides opportunities for study and cutting edge research that have an immediate impact on society and that are at the nexus of energy, water, smart cities, and the environment, with an emphasis on long-term sustainability and resilience.

    Students in the Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program concentrate their studies in one of the following areas:

    • Environmental Materials & Materials Durability
    • Nuclear Environmental Engineering
    • Resilience & Sustainability
    • Water Resources, Quality, & Treatment

    Graduate students in Environmental Engineering have an opportunity to work with a variety of other disciplines on campus and with universities worldwide to understand and solve multifaceted problems. Emphasis is placed on a solid grounding in fundamentals, which is complemented by  tailored, multidisciplinary experiences.

    Specific course descriptions and degree requirements can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

  • Construction Management:

    Today's construction engineers and managers are faced with unprecedented challenges in planning, designing and managing the construction process and maintaining the public and private facilities required to meet society's needs.

    Vanderbilt University School of Engineering offers an advanced degree program in Civil Engineering (M.Eng) with concentration in Construction Management.


    • Healthcare Construction
    • Project Delivery Systems
    • Project Life-cycle Analysis
    • Project Schedule Reduction Techniques
    • Construction Contracts
    • Underground/Trenchless Construction

    Construction Project Management is the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the project life-cycle. Vanderbilt University School of Engineering offers an advanced degree program in Civil Engineering (M.Eng) with concentration in Construction Management.

    Built on the fundamentals of civil engineering, this program strives to balance the latest development in construction technologies and software, and management principles in order to understand and solve the broad range of challenges confronting the construction industry and the built environment.

    The Construction Industry Institute (CII) has recognized Vanderbilt's program for its outstanding curriculum and delivery of current research and best practices. Click here to read the Institute's recognition letter.

    Graduates of the Construction Management program are highly sought after and find a wide range of employment opportunities in design, consulting, and construction in the both the private and public sectors.  The program currently boasts 100% internships and professional placement.

    Jump-start a rewarding career in construction management — explore our page to learn more!

  • Risk, Reliability and Resilience:

    Critical systems, processes and devices that support the social and economic well-being of a society are subject to risks of disruptive events, resulting from natural hazards, man-made attacks, malfunctions or accidents during their lifetime. Our critical systems have to be able to not only withstand such events, but also recover from them to an acceptable level of performance within a desired duration.

    • Infrastructure
    • Defense Systems
    • Energy and Environment
    • Transportation
    • Medicine

    Vanderbilt University’s M.Eng. degree in Risk, Reliability and Resilience (RRR) engineering is uniquely designed to develop expertise and leadership in making informed decisions that properly account for uncertainty and risk, in order to enhance quality, efficiency, safety, security and environmental protection. The 12-month, 30-hour interdisciplinary program puts graduates on a game-changing career path in organizations of all sizes and types.

    Why choose Vanderbilt?

    • Recognized leader in RRR research, education and outreach
    • Decades of institutional investment in RRR research facilities and world-class faculty
    • Extensive relationships with government agencies, industry and foundations
    • Substantial experience in developing impactful solutions for industry, government and society
    • Excellence in mentoring and creating immersion experiences for students

    We offer a flexible academic curriculum that cuts across multiple disciplines and allows students to tailor their studies to personal interests and goals by selecting courses from different concentrations. The curriculum includes:

    • Courses on foundations in risk, reliability and resilience engineering
    • Courses in project management, economics, law and public policy
    • Elective courses that can be selected from multiple disciplines
    • Capstone projects

    Why Nashville?

    • Real-world laboratory
      • Among 100 Rockefeller Resilient Cities
      • Home to many Smart City initiatives
    • Rapidly expanding industry base and entrepreneurial initiatives
    • Rich cultural environment known as Music City, USA

    For more information, explore our program page or email:

Graduate Degree Program Requirements

  • Civil Engineering Degree Requirements

    Applicants seeking admission into the Graduate Program in Civil Engineering, leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees administered by the Graduate School, should have a B.S. degree with adequate background in science, mathematics and engineering. In order to specialize in Structural Mechanics and Materials the B.S. degree should have emphasis in mechanics, structural engineering and materials. In order to specialize in Multi-modal Transportation Engineering, the B.S. degree should have imparted a basic background in transportation engineering. In order to specialize in Risk and Reliability Engineering, the B.S. degree should emphasize in one of the majors in engineering. 

    The Master of Engineering Program is administered by the School of Engineering and the admission requirements are less restrictive. Additional information can be found on the Construction Management Program page. 


    The minimum time required for completing the M.S. degree with thesis-option is three semesters and a summer, but two years is more common.  The minimum time required to complete the Ph.D. degree by those admitted with a B.S. degree is four years, but five years is more common. Those admitted with a M.S. degree can complete the Ph.D. degree in the minimum time of three years.


    The M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering provide an in-depth understanding to the graduate students in the concentration areas of (1) materials and structures (M&S), or (2) civil infrastructure systems (CIS). The M.S. program will prepare students for industry expertise or for further advanced studies in the relevant area of concentration. The graduate program in Civil Engineering offers three M.S. degrees:
    • M.S. with thesis option requires 24 credit hours of graduate-level course work (5000 or higher), 6 hours of research/thesis course-work, and the completion of a thesis. 
    • M.S. with no thesis option requires 30 credit hours of graduate-level course work (5000 or higher), but does not require a project, practicum, or reporting beyond the requirements for successful completion of the individual courses.
    • M.S. in passing  is a version of M.S. with no thesis, awarded to PhD students who have completed at least 30 hours of graduate study towards their PhD with GPA of 3.0 or better.
    M.S. students in the CIS concentration area are required to take four courses from three competency areas of Advanced MathematicsSystems Engineering, and Data Analytics. The course lists for each competency area appear in Table 1. M.S. students in the M&S concentration area are required to take four courses from four competency areas of Advanced MathematicsData AnalyticsMaterials and Mechanics, and Computational/Numerical Modeling. The course lists for each M&S competency area appear in Table 2. Each student is required to take at least one course from each competency area. Transfer courses and individual studies cannot be used to satisfy any part of the core course requirements. At least 6 hours of didactic course work taken in the major area (i.e., with CE designation) must be completed at Vanderbilt.
    In the case of M.S. with thesis option, the DGS in consultation with the research adviser and the student will appoint a thesis committee by the end of the first semester in the program. The thesis committee should be comprised of the research adviser and at least one additional Civil Engineering graduate faculty member, including one tenured or tenure-track faculty member from the department. The thesis committee will be responsible for guiding the student in production of a thesis, monitoring the student's progress in completing the requirements toward the degree, and ensuring the quality of graduate work. The student is encouraged to give an oral presentation of their thesis to the department.


    M.Eng. in Civil Engineering at Vanderbilt will prepare Civil Engineers with advanced and broad knowledge and understanding in a range of civil engineering areas for careers in consulting, engineering design and management. The philosophy for the M.Eng. degree follows our general philosophy for our undergraduate program: providing a holistic civil engineering experience leveraging the areas of strength within the department.

    The requirements for completing the M.Eng. in Civil Engineering are as follows:

    • At least six graduate courses (5000 or higher) with civil engineering designation must be completed. (Transfer courses count toward completing this requirement.)
    • At least one course from each of the four competency areas indicated in Table 3 must be completed at Vanderbilt. (Transfer courses do not count toward completing this requirement.)
    • At least one design oriented course (CE 5200, CE 5210, CE 5250, CE 5500) must be completed at Vanderbilt. Transfer courses do not count toward completing this requirement. In case a student has already completed the equivalent of ALL of the design courses above at another institution, the student will coordinate with the DGS for an alternative arrangement to enhance her/his design experience.
    • An extensive, written design report must be submitted on a project approved by the student's project adviser. The student must coordinate the topic and extent of the design project with the project adviser before the end of the first semester of enrollment. Projects aligned with Structures, Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Systems (e.g. transportation) or Engineering Management will be advised by CE faculty with significant practical and design experience. Students can also work with other project advisers from among the CE graduate faculty provided that the relevant faculty agrees to serve in that capacity.


    The goal of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination is to assess the potential of the graduate student in being successful in graduate level research in the relevant area of concentration and completing PhD studies with skills and qualifications listed in the vision statement. The PhD preliminary exam requirements are as follows:

    • The student performs a research project within the second semester of enrollment (typically Spring). In order to facilitate the internship, the student enrolls in 3 research hours during the second semester. 3 research hours cannot be counted towards any course credit hour requirements, but count towards the 72 credit hour requirement for PhD. 
    • The research project topics are offered by the CE gradate faculty (offeror). The research topics are submitted by the faculty to the DGS by October (for fall admissions) and July (for spring admissions) of each year. Each topic must clearly define the full cycle of research, including literature research, hypothesis development and testing, analysis of results, presentation of results, etc.
    • At the end of the semester long internship, the student writes a research paper and prepares a presentation of research performed.
    • The performance of the student is assess by a faculty committee based on the research paper and an oral examination that includes the student presentation. The four-member committee (including the offeror) is proposed by the offeror from among the relevant graduate committee (CIS or M&S). Two out of the three other (than the offeror) committee members must be Tenure/Tenure Track faculty.

    Possible outcomes of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination:

    • Pass: The student satisfies all requirements of the preliminary examination and is allowed to continue toward a PhD degree.
    • Provisional Pass: The student satisfies some aspects of the preliminary examination requirements, whereas others have been deemed unsatisfactory by the committee. The committee recommends remedial action(s) and the time frame within which, the remedial actions must be completed. The remedial actions range from a complete retake of the preliminary examination, taking specific courses, or other actions as deemed appropriate by the committee. In case of a provisional pass, the graduate adviser of the student must follow the progress of the student towards successful completion of the remedial actions and approve their completion.
    • Fail: The student cannot continue towards the PhD degree and is removed from the PhD program. The student is allowed to continue pursuing an M.S. degree.


    The PhD qualifying examination is expected to be held at the end of the third academic year. The student is expected to have at least one journal article submitted for publication (or published) by the time of the qualifying exam on the dissertation research performed at Vanderbilt University. The purpose of the PhD qualifying examination is to test (1) the student’s overall understanding of the specific research area within M&S or CIS concentration including sufficient background knowledge and literature; (2) potential scientific contributions of the proposed dissertation research if successfully completed; and (3) potential for success of the research using the proposed technical approach within the proposed schedule. The qualifying exam is administered by the student’s dissertation committee, which is appointed upon formal recommendation to the Graduate School by the DGS. The committee consists of not fewer than four members of the Graduate faculty. Three of the members must be graduate faculty from within the student’s department/program and one from outside the program. The committee must include at least two tenured or tenure track faculty members from the graduate faculty of the Department (one of whom may be the adviser), and at least one tenured or tenure track member of the Vanderbilt faculty from outside the Department. The committee could include experts from outside Vanderbilt. Committee members outside the department must be approved by the Graduate School upon request by the DGS in order to be appointed to the dissertation committee. Any variation of the committee makeup must be approved by the Graduate School. The committee must be appointed by the Graduate School no less than two weeks before the time the student expects to take the qualifying examination.
    The qualifying exam consists of the review of a written research proposal and a private oral defense of the proposal before the PhD committee. The written proposal should be no longer than 15 pages (single‐spaced, margins 1 inch in every direction, with 12‐point Times New Roman fonts), including figures and tables. References may appear in additional pages. Relevant technical details could be included as appendices, but the 15-page proposal must be self-contained and understandable without the necessity to review the appendices. An up-to-date and detailed CV must also be attached to the research proposal. In the oral presentation, the student should clearly and briefly present the project, as well as answer questions from the members of the committee. The dissertation committee should receive the proposal no later than a week before the exam. Students approved in the qualifying exam are recommended for promotion to candidacy, at which time they officially become PhD candidates.
    By the time of graduation, each PhD student is expected to have published or submitted for publication a sufficient number of high quality, peer-reviewed journal articles based on their dissertation research. The number of publications may vary significantly from one area to another. The student and the research adviser are expected to have a clear, mutual understanding of the expectation for the journal publication output. Additionally, the student is expected to have attended and presented their dissertation research in at least one technical conference or workshop during their PhD. 


    Students in Civil and Infrastructure Systems (CIS) Engineering concentration area are required to take four courses from three competency areas of Advanced MathematicsSystems Engineering, and Data Analytics. The courses for each CIS competency area are listed in Table 1. Students in the Materials and Structural (M&S) Engineering concentration area are required to take four courses from four competency areas of Advanced MathematicsData AnalyticsMaterials and Mechanics, and Computational/Numerical Modeling. The course lists for each M&S competency area are listed in Table 2. For both the CIS and the M&S concentration areas, each student is required to take at least one course from each competency area. Transfer courses and individual studies cannot be used to satisfy any part of the core course requirements. The students are required to complete the core course requirements before they can take the PhD qualifying examination. At least two core courses must be civil engineering courses with a CE designation in the graduate catalog. For PhD students, a minimum of 30 hours of formal coursework must be completed. Each student is allowed to take a maximum of 6 credit hours as independent study courses at Vanderbilt. The students should consult their research adviser (if adviser has not yet been assigned, the DGS) in choosing the core as well as other courses.


    Advanced Mathematics
    CE 6305
    Engineering Design Optimization
    BIOS 6341
    Fundamentals of Probablility
    BIOS 8370
    Foundations of Statistical Inference
    BIOS 8372
    Bayesian Methods
    CS 6310
    Design and Analysis of Algorithms
    EECE 6361
    Random Processes
    MATH 5620
    Introduction to Numerical Mathematics
    MATH 5640
    MATH 5820
    Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics
    MATH 6620
    Linear Optimatization
    MATH 6630
    Nonlinear Optimization
    MATH 5610
    Ordinary Differential Equations
    Systems Engineering
    CE 5240
    Infrastructure Systems Engineering
    CE 5300
    Reliability and Risk Case Studies
    CE 5340
    Risk and Decision Analysis
    CE 5500
    Transportation System Design
    CE 5510
    Traffic Engineering
    CS 6376
    Foundations of Hybrid and Embedded Systems
    EECE 5257
    Control Systems I
    EECE 5358
    Control Systems II
    EECE 6311
    Systems Theory
    EECE 6321
    Cyber-Physical Systems
    ENGM 5010
    Systems Engineering
    ENVE 5305
    Enterprise Risk Management
    Data Analytics
    CE 5320
    Data Analytics for Engineers
    CE 6300
    Probabilistic Methods in Engineering Design 
    CE 6310
    Uncertainty Quantification
    BIOS 6301
    Introduction to Statistical Computing
    BIOS 6312/L
    Modern Regression Analysis
    BIOS 6342/L
    Contemporary Statistical Inference
    BIOS 7362
    Advanced Statistical Inference
    BIOS 8366
    Advanced Statistical Computing
    CS 5262
    Foundations of Machine Learning
    CS 5266
    Topics in Big Data
    CS 6350
    Artificial Neural Networks
    CS 6362
    Advanced Machine Learning


    Advanced Mathematics
    CE 6305
    Engineering Design Optimization
    CHBE 6100
    Applied Math in Chemical Engineering
    MATH 5620
    Introduction to Numerical Mathematics
    MATH 5640
    MATH 5820
    Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics
    MATH 6620
    Linear Optimization
    MATH 6630
    Nonlinear Optimization
    MATH 7110
    Partial Differential Equations
    MATH 6600
    Numerical Analysis
    Materials and Mechanics
    CE 6200
    Continuum Mechanics
    CE 6205
    Theory of Inelasticity
    CE 6212
    Advanced Computational Mechanics
    CE 6215
    Structural Dynamics and Control
    CHBE 6110
    Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
    CHBE 6200
    Transport Phenomena
    IMS 5320
    Nanoscale Science and Engineering
    PHYS 8030
    Quantum Mechanics
    PHYS 8040
    Statistical Mechanics
    Computational/Numerical Modeling
    CE 6210
    Finite Element Analysis
    CE 6313
    Multiscale Modeling
    CHEM 5410
    Molecular Modeling Techniques
    SC 5260
    High Performance Computing
    Data Analytics
    CE 5320
    Data Analytics for Engineers
    CE 6300
    Probabilistic Methods in Engineering Design
    CE 6310
    Uncertainty Quantification
    CS 5262
    Foundations of Machine Learning
    CS 5266
    Topics in Big Data
    CS 6350
    Artificial Neural Networks
    CS 6362
    Advanced Machine Learning
    BIOS 6312/L
    Modern Regression Analysis


    Area 1: Structures
    CE 5200
    Advanced Structural Steel Design
    CE 5210
    Advanced Reinforced Concrete Design
    CE 5250
    Foundation Analysis and Design
    CE 5999
    Special Topics - Advanced Structural Analysis
    CE 6200
    Continuum Mechanics
    CE 6318
    Prestressed Concrete
    Area 2: Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Systems
    CE 5240
    Infrastructure Systems Engineering
    CE 5430
    Building Systems and LEED
    CE 5500
    Transportation System Design
    CE 5510
    Traffic Engineering
    ENGM 5010
    Systems Engineering
    Area 3: Engineering Management
    CE 5400
    Construction Project Management
    CE 5401
    Advanced Construction Project Management
    CE 5420
    Construction Law and Contracts
    ENGM 5600
    Technology-Based Entrepreneurship
    ENGM 5700
    Program and Project Management
    Area 4: Reliability and Risk-Based Engineering
    CE 5300
    Reliability and Risk Case Studies
    CE 5305
    Enterprise Risk Management
    CE 5340
    Risk and Decision Analysis
    CE 6300
    Probabilistic Methods in Engineering Design
    CE 6310
    Uncertainty Quanitification


  • Environmental Engineering Degree Requirements

    Students pursuing advanced degrees focus their course work and research in:

    • Environmental Materials & Materials Durability
    • Nuclear Environmental Engineering
    • Resilience & Sustainability
    • Water Resources, Quality, & Treatment
    The master of science (M.S. degree) in environmental engineering requires completion of 30 hours of graduate credit (5000-level or higher) and may be earned through: (1) 24 hours of didactic graduate coursework, including at least 15 hours of graduate level courses at Vanderbilt in the major area (i.e., within Environmental Engineering graduate program) and a research thesis of at least 6 semester hours - Thesis M.S. Degree or (2) 30 hours of didactic graduate coursework, including at least 15 hours of graduate level courses at Vanderbilt in the major area (i.e., within Environmental Engineering graduate program) and a substantive report of 3 semester hours of independent study - Non-Thesis M.S. Degree.

    The Ph.D. degree required completion of 72 hours of graduate credit (5000-level or higher), a minimum of which must be 30 hours of didactic graduate coursework with a minimum 24 course credit hours to be completed at Vanderbilt and 6 hours of didactic graduate coursework (excluding directed study) in the major area (i.e. within Environmental Engineering graduate program). The remaining credit hours can be fulfilled with courses or research hours. During the fall semester, entering graduate students are required to a take a 1-hour, zero credit seminar to orient them to how critical review of a topic is conducted and how research proposals are prepared. In addition, all Ph.D. students must pass the Environmental Engineering Graduate Program comprehensive exam, must complete the university-required qualifying exam, and must write and defend a dissertation.
    Specific course descriptions and Graduate information may be found in the university Graduate School Catalog.
  • Construction Management Degree Requirements

    A majority of the Construction Management classes are offered during the late afternoon and early evening to allow students to work part-time or even full-time while also pursuing the M.Eng. degree.  Students without prior work experience in the United States are strongly encouraged to complete a two semester internship prior to graduation. Students may start their practicum after completing one semester of academic work at Vanderbilt University.  For International Students, please consult with the VU office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for your eligibility to conduct the practicum.

    We assist students in securing an internship.






    CE5400: Construction Project Management
    (3 cr)

    CE5410: Construction Scheduling
    (3 cr)

    CE5415: Const Materials & Methods
    (3 cr)

    CE7899: Master of Engineering Project
    (0 cr)

    CE5405: Construction Estimating
    (3 cr)

    CE5420: Construction Law & Contracts
    (3 cr)

     CE5884: Internship 
    (0 cr)

    CE5401: Advanced Proj. Management
    (3 cr)

    ENGM5100: Acct & Finance
    (3 cr)

    CE5430: High Performance & Green Buildings
    (3 cr)

     Elective II (3 cr)
    CE5425: Building Information Modeling  
    (3 cr)

    CE5884: Internship 
    (0 cr)

      Elective III (3 cr)

    Required courses
    Elective courses
    1000-4000 level courses are for UG only
    5000 level courses are for MS/MENG students
    6000 level courses are for PHD students


    CE5200: Advanced Structural Steel Design (Fall)
    CE5210: Advanced Reinforced Concrete Design (Spring)
    CE5250: Foundation Analysis and Design (Spring)
    CE5500: Transportation System Design (Spring)
    CE5510: Traffic Engineering (Fall)

    ENVE5305: Enterprise Risk Management (Spring)
    ENVE5615: Environmental Assessments (Fall)
    ENVE5620: Environmental Characterization & Analysis (Spring)

    ENGM5010: Systems Engineering (Fall & Spring)
    ENGM5300: Technology Assessment & Forecasting (Spring)
    ENGM5600: Technology Based Entrepreneur (Fall)
    ENGM5650: Operations and Supply Chain (Fall)

    ** Student in MEng program are not allowed to take ENGM 5700: Program and Project Management course **

    OWEN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT ELECTIVES (all courses are 2 credit hours each):
    MGT438: Real Estate Development (Spring)
    MGT439: Real Estate Finance (Spring)
    MGT444: Leadership (Fall & Spring)
    MGT447: Labor & Employee Relations (Spring)
    MGT448: Negotiation (Fall & Spring)
    MGT449: Managing Innovation (Spring)
    MGT453: Small Business Management (Fall)
    MGT472: Supply Chain Management (Spring)

    Language Requirements

    Proficiency in written and oral English is required for enrollment in an academic program. Applicants whose native language is not English must present the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with their application, unless they have earned a degree from an American or English-speaking institution. International students transferring from unfinished degree programs of other universities in the United States should present TOEFL or IELTS scores.

    The minimum acceptable score on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is 570, and for the internet-based test, 89.

    In lieu of TOEFL, students may submit their IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test scores as supplemental information in their online application. The minimum acceptable score for the IELTS is 7.0.

Program Highlights

Graduate Application Deadlines and Fees

Fall admission January 1*
Fall admission offers Early March
Deadline to accept admission Apr. 15

FAQ for Prospective Students

  • General


    We offer Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in Civil Engineering and M. Eng., M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering. We offer a separate M. Eng. degree in Civil Engineering with Construction Management focus. The M.Eng. degree in Risk, Reliability and Resilience offered by the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering is also closely affiliated by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.


    Yes, if you obtain your Bachelor's degree at an institution in the United States, or at an international institution where the official language of instruction is English.


    The Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. programs are engineering-oriented. However, if you have a strong mathematical or science background, you may be successful in our program. You could also be admitted and required to take undergraduate engineering courses. These undergraduate courses would not count toward your graduate degree, and are not covered by scholarship. The Directors of Graduate Studies and admissions committee will make this determination for applicants without an engineering major.


    We have partnered with Vanderbilt's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences to offer a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering with focused studies in Environmental Science. This program is part of the Environmental Engineering Graduate Program and applications must be made to Environmental Engineering.


    No, our graduate courses are taught on campus and research is conducted on campus or at nearby research facilities.


    Our program is designed for full-time students and full-time participation – typically starting in the fall semester of the year you are admitted. Occasionally a student is offered admission with the intention of part-time studies, understanding that their part-time status will require them to advocate for their non-traditional, part-time involvement in the program. Part-time students are challenged to be creative and flexible in how they can achieve the courses/hours required, and must work closely with their advisor to maintain this status.

  • Admission


    A minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA. However, we take all aspects of an application into consideration. This means that the strength of letters of recommendation and statement of purpose, as well as GPA, will be part of the overall consideration.


    That varies with the total number of applicants and the amount of financial aid available to support Ph.D. students. Typically, the percentage is low as we have many highly qualified applicants and a limited number of positions to offer. Admission is highly competitive.


    January 1.


    We do not make early admission decisions and every qualified applicant whose application is complete and officially submitted by the deadline will receive equal consideration.


    Individual faculty members are not empowered to make graduate admission offers to prospective students. Admission decisions are made by the faculty as a group after reviewing all qualified applicants.

  • Ph.D. applicants currently enrolled in master's degree programs


    Yes, if the degree program is comparable to our program, at an accredited four-year college or university, and you have received a grade of A or B.


    A maximum of 6 hours can be transferred towards the M.S. degree. A maximum of 48 hours can be transferred towards the Ph.D. degree. The credit transfers are subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies of the relevant degree program, must be relevant to the graduate program (as judged by the relevant DGS). The credit transfers are allowed from comparable programs and academic institutions with grades of B or higher.

  • Financial support


    For PhD students: 

    • Full-Time Teaching Assistantships - a monthly stipend, 100% tuition scholarship, 100% health insurance scholarship, and 100% activity and recreation fees scholarship.
    • Full-Time Research Assistantships -  a monthly stipend, 100% tuition scholarship, 100% health insurance scholarship, and 100% activity and recreation fees scholarship.

    For MS/MEng students: A $10,000 tuition scholarship ($2,500/semester for four semesters) is given to all Master's students. 

    For MEng-Construction Management students: 50% tuition scholarships are available.


    Our goal is to provide the most complete financial support package possible and we are usually able to provide this. We do occasionally admit an applicant as an "alternate for aid," which means that they are qualified academically, but will only receive aid if a funded position becomes available.

  • International applicants


    Yes, with a satisfactory English test score on one of the following:

    • TOEFL score of 90
    • IELTS band score of 7.0
    • Duolingo score of 110

Steps for New CEE Graduate Students

  • Activate your VUNet ID and Vanderbilt Email Account

    You will receive an email from with instructions for activating your VUnet ID and email. You can add the email address to your address book to ensure you receive the notification. (Make sure to check your spam and junk folders) If you need additional assistance in setting up your ID and email, please contact the University Registrar's Office. All Vanderbilt communications will be sent to your Vanderbilt email account. Make sure to check this email regularly before your arrival for important information and updates.

    If you have questions or concerns after establishing you VUnet services, you may contact Vanderbilt IT.

  • Confirm Submission and Receipt of All Official Test Scores and Transcripts

    Your official test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) and transcripts will need to be submitted to Vanderbilt’s Office of the University Registrar. You will need to make sure to submit an official transcript for each degree/institution listed on the application. Your admission to Vanderbilt is contingent upon the submission of these documents. Transcripts and test scores must be received by Vanderbilt no later than August 1. Please have your final official transcript mailed directly to the Office of the University Registrar:

    Office of the University Registrar
    Vanderbilt University
    PMB 407701
    110 21st Avenue South, Suite 110
    Nashville, TN 37240-7701
    United States of America

    For additional information concerning the submission of your documents:

  • Create Your Student Health Portal Account

    All incoming students are required to submit immunization records in order to register for classes prior to arriving at Vanderbilt. Please visit and review the New Student Checklist on the website for the Student Health Center. You should create a Student Health Portal Account to upload your completed Graduate Immunization Requirements Form. You will not be able to register for courses until you have completed this requirement.

  • Complete Your Course Registration

    You must consult with your advisor prior to course registration. Review both the Degree requirements for your program and the Graduate School Catalog for academic policies and course descriptions. Full-time status for Graduate Students is 9 hours. You should complete registration through your YES account.

    Other registration notes:

    • Please view the Graduate School Academic Calendar regarding important registration timelines.
    • You may change your course registration with the approval of your advisor through the add-drop date listed in YES. However, you cannot have a credit hour total greater than 9 hours.
    • If you will be enrolling in Independent Study, you will need to submit the Request for Independent Study to the Program Coordinator. Registration for this course cannot be completed through YES.

    You may view the YES User Guide for an introduction to the YES system. For additional guides to YES please visit here.

  • Review Your Student Billing Account

    You should review any posted charges to your account. Payment is due August 31 (for fall charges) and January 2 (for spring charges) for any charges not covered by departmental grants, awards, and/or financial aid. All students are automatically enrolled for e-bills. You may access the e-bill from your YES landing page.

    All Vanderbilt University students will be required to acknowledge the terms and conditions of an online Student Account Agreement Form (regardless of your funding) when logging into the YES portal. Please note that the acceptance of these terms and conditions is mandatory, and will be required on an annual basis. Failure to agree to these terms will prevent access to the YES landing page. Once the terms have been accepted, a copy of the most recently accepted form will be available for viewing and printing within the YES portal. Please read these terms and conditions carefully. Visit Student Accounts for more information.

    Other account notes:

    • If you have been awarded a fellowship award (as outlined in your official offer letter), fees for tuition, health insurance, and student services will be funded by your fellowship. Awards will be applied to your student account as funding information is made available. (You should not submit a payment for any of these charges)
    • All newly admitted students are assessed a one-time transcript fee of $100.00. This fee is the responsibility of the student and will not be covered by any fellowship awards.
    • Other fees (transcripts, Commodore Cash, fines, etc.) are also the responsibility of the student

    For more information or additional questions about billing please visit Student Accounts.

  • Review Your Health Insurance Information

    All Graduate School students who are registered for four or more credit hours, or who are actively enrolled in research courses that are designated as full-time enrollment, are required to be covered by health insurance - either by the Vanderbilt Student Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan or a policy of the student's choice that provides comparable coverage. Information about Vanderbilt’s 12-month student insurance policy is available at the Student Care network link below. You should visit the student insurance site for information of waiver deadlines and requirements as well as comprehensive policy information.

    *International students are required to enroll in the Vanderbilt Student Health Insurance Plan and may not waive with alternate coverage.

    You should also visit the Student Care Network to view other important information concerning the Vanderbilt Student Health Insurance Plan.

  • Graduate Student Orientation

    Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory.

    Graduate School Orientation: More information will be sent directly from the Graduate School.

    Teaching Assistant Orientation (PhD students only): The Center for Teaching will host a Teaching Assistant Orientation for newly admitted graduate students who will complete the teaching experience in their first year of study. It offers preparation in effective teaching strategies as well as information on campus resources relevant to TA work. For additional information on the Teaching Assistant Orientation please visit:

    Please note, students who have been admitted as a Research Assistant (as stated in the official offer letter) are not required to attend the Teaching Assistant Orientation.

  • Student Appointment: Employment Eligibility (PhD Students Only)

    All Vanderbilt students who will be employed by the university must verify their eligibility to be employed by completing the federal form I-9 on or before the first day of work for pay. You cannot receive your fellowship stipend until all applicable steps have been completed.

    Special Note: Some HR functions are being completed remotely due to COVID. Please take care to pay close attention to updated HR instructions.

    1. Share your access in Oracle Cloud

    Please view the Quick Reference Guide for additional instructions for access and navigating Oracle Cloud.

    Once logged in, you can access step-by-step guides within your GUIDE ME tab:

    • Click the “Share my data access” link to open on-screen instructions. Please complete the steps outlined in the tutorial to share your data with Sara Carroll (

    2. Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9

    You must be present in the U.S to complete any potion of your I-9.

    If you will serve in the role of a research or teaching assistant, you must complete the I-9 before you can begin your duties.  There are two parts that must be completed. Section 1 can be completed electronically, but Section 2 must be completed in person via a remote agent. For detailed instructions on the completion of the I-9, please visit: (you will follow the instructions as a student).

    • The work unit name should be listed as Civil and Environmental Engineering.
    • You may input Jackie White as the supervisor.
    • Unless you have made other start date arrangements with your advisor, the employment start date for fall admits is August 16 and for spring admits the start date is January 1.

    Please note, you cannot begin your student appointment until all parts of the I-9 have been completed. Hire dates cannot be backdated if the I-9 is not completed by the intended start date.

    3. Set up your Direct Deposit

    Participation in direct deposit is required. Fellowship stipends are paid out on the last business day of each month.

    • You can set up or change your direct deposit enrollments at any time through Oracle. After logging in, click ‘Pay’ and then ‘Payment Methods’ to add, delete or update your accounts. For assistance with this feature, view the resources available in Oracle’s Help Center.
      • Direct deposit changes may take up to two pay periods to begin.
      • This feature is only available to active employees and service-free stipend recipients. If you are a student worker attempting to update your direct deposit and the ‘Payment Methods’ screen is not available to you, wait until you begin working and then attempt to access that option.
    • Employees without bank accounts can join the Vanderbilt University Credit Union or apply for a First Horizon Payroll Card.
    • Employees who are foreign nationals that have not yet been assigned a Social Security Number (SSN), which is necessary to set up a U.S. bank account, should notify Payroll for temporary alternatives.
    • Student workers who have enrolled in Direct Deposit through YES (Your Enrollment Services) will need to enroll separately for direct deposit through Vanderbilt University's payroll system as these systems do not share your direct deposit information.
    • Paper direct deposit forms are available upon request by contacting Human Resources or Payroll.

    The Vanderbilt University Mandatory Direct Deposit Policy can be found here.

    If you have questions, contact Human Resources.

    • International Students: You will need to apply for a U.S checking account if you do not already have one before you can set up your direct deposit. More information for setting up a bank account can be found here: ISSS: Banking. You may contact payroll at for a temporary alternative until your bank account has been established.

    Processing of your direct deposit can take up to 4-6 weeks, so your first stipend payment may be in the form of a paper check that would be sent to the address on file with the registrar’s office.

    4. Completion of your Glacier Profile (international students only):

    Complete the online GLACIER profile. Print the Tax Summary Report before exiting the system.

    • To answer the tax form question “What type of payment(s) will you receive from Vanderbilt University?”, please select both ‘Compensation/Wages’ and ‘Scholarship or Fellowship’
    • To answer the question “Are you requesting a PHN (placeholder number)?”, please select ‘No’.

    Note: If you are not already in the U.S., you will not be able to complete this form until your U.S. arrival date is less than 30 days away.

    Send a signed copy of the Tax Summary Report along with the immigration documents outlined in the report to

    • If this is not completed, any payment may be subject to all taxes.

    If there are any changes to your information (address change, SSN update, immigration status change, extension, etc.), you must update your Glacier profile and send a new signed Tax Summary Report and any new immigration documents to

    For further information on GLACIER and completing your profile please visit:

    5. Social Security Number (international students only):

    A Social Security Number (SSN) is for employment purposes only.  You can only apply for a social security number if you have a job and have been in the U.S. for 10 or more days.

    Please visit here for details on completing the steps to receive your Social Security Number (SSN).

    The department can provide you with a Social Security Letter Form.

  • International Students: Additional Steps

    Student Financial Statement: If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States you should have received an International Student Financial Statement from International Student and Scholar Services. The University cannot issue a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) to be used to apply for a visa to enter the United States until the International Student Financial Statement has been satisfactorily completed and returned to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

    International Student Check-In: Please review the New Student Pre-Arrival checklist carefully. You should complete all forms and submit all necessary documents as communicated to you from ISSS.

    New International Student Orientation for Graduate and Professional Students: The fall date to be determined. (Attendance is mandatory). Information for Orientation will be available on the ISSS website for your review.

    International Teaching Assistant Language Assessment (PhD students only): Incoming international Graduate Students who are not native speakers of English or who have not completed a baccalaureate degree at an institution in which English is the primary language of instruction, should make arrangements for an English Language Proficiency Assessment with the English Language Center. For additional information on the assessment and registration, please visit here.

    For additional questions regarding processes for international students, contact ISSS. Phone: (615) 322-2753 Email:

  • Additional Resources

    Vanderbilt ID Card: You should obtain your student identification card as soon as possible when you arrive to Vanderbilt. Visit the Commodore Card Office located in the Sarratt Student Life Center. You will need to take with a photo ID such as a driver's license or passport when you go.

    • Where: 184 Sarratt Student Center
    • Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8:30 AM-4:00 PM

    Housing: On-campus housing for Graduate Students is unavailable. If you are interested in locating off-campus housing options please visit the Vanderbilt’s Off-Campus Referral Service. This website includes listings from landlords looking for tenants, as well as from students looking for roommates.

    In Addition, the Graduate Students at Peabody have put together a Student Housing Guide that has some great insight on housing in Nashville from the student perspective.

    Parking/Transportation: Parking permits are required for motor vehicles on campus. You may purchase your parking permit online through Vanderbilt University Parking Services. If you would like to set up monthly recurring charges for your permit, you must visit VUPS Parking Services in person:

    • 111 28th AVE S Nashville, TN 37212
    • Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:00 AM-6:00 PM

    Graduate students may also ride to and from the Vanderbilt campus free of charge on Nashville's WeGo Public Transit buses. To utilize this service, a valid student ID card is required for boarding the bus.

    Additional transportation resources can be viewed here:

    Disability services: If you need an accommodation, please contact the Student Access Services Center, 110 21st Avenue South, at (615) 343-9727. More information is available at the following link, as well:

    Student Services

    Campus Employment: RA and TA positions are not available to MS students at this time. MS students should contact student employment for campus job opportunities.

    For Vanderbilt events please visitevents@vanderbilt

Other Resources

Make sure to check your email regularly as additional communications and updates will be sent over the summer before fall classes begin.

The Graduate School Academic Calendar   Student Handbook
Graduate School Current Student ResourcesStudent Health Insurance
Career DevelopmentStudent Accounts
International Student and Scholar ServicesUniversity Registrar
Graduate School CatalogStudent Care Network

Graduate Student Council

  • Purpose


  • Membership

    Membership is open to all students at Vanderbilt University with an interest in Civil & Environmental Engineering including current Civil , Environmental , and Construction Management  graduate students.

  • Activities

    We organize both social and academic events to foster collaboration within the department. Our activities include:

    • 3 Minute Thesis competition
    • grants information sessions
    • semester socials
    • service events such as volunteering for various community organizations.

Financial Support & Fellowships

Vanderbilt University expends its awards and assistantship funds for the twin purposes of attracting superior students and providing assistance to the faculty in instruction and research.  Full financial aid for PhD students covers tuition, stipend, health insurance, and some incidental fees. This financial aid can be in the form of Teaching or Research Assistantship. In the case of exceptionally qualified applicants, the financial aid is, sometimes “topped” with additional support from VU as Scholarship or Fellowship. MS students students receive a tuition scholarship of $2,500/semester and MEng students are eligible for a 50% tuition scholarship.

Some graduate students receive scholarships or fellowships sponsored by external governmental or private agencies like National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, IBM and other organizations.

Fellowships and Assistantships described below are awarded on the basis of academic merit and potential for scholarship

Details on the various programs listed below can be found on the Graduate School at Vanderbilt web pages.

  • University Tuition Scholarships
  • University Fellowships
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships
  • Graduate Research Assistantships
  • Traineeships
  • Topping Up Awards

International Student and Scholar Services

Year-round social and cultural activities are sponsored through this office:


Phone: 615-322-2753

Contact Us

Gabriel Luis
Director of Graduate Recruiting
Assistant Dean for Graduate Education
Official GEM Representative
(615) 343-3128
PMB 351826
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235-1826