Civil Engineering


Degrees Offered


Civil engineering has been taught at Clemson since the University was founded in 1889. Civil engineering became a department in 1932 when the engineering department became the School of Engineering.

Today, the department offers graduate degree programs leading to the MS and PhD degrees with specializations in applied fluid mechanics, construction materials, construction engineering and management, transportation systems, structural engineering and geotechnical engineering. Student organizations include the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and the Chi Epsilon Honor Society.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

Although most graduate students come to Clemson with a strong interest in one area of civil engineering, some take courses from multiple areas within the department. Others opt to take courses from other departments, including environmental engineering and science, hydrogeology, engineering mechanics, experimental statistics, business, construction science and management, city and regional planning and industrial engineering. You will have flexibility in the selection of courses to accommodate your career objectives.

MS You may elect a thesis or non-thesis option in the MS program. MS degrees are normally completed in three to four semesters. A 12-month plan of study leading to the MS degree can often be developed if you are planning to pursue a design-oriented degree in one or more areas of civil engineering. This option is not available in all areas, but often can be accomplished by combining two related areas of civil engineering. Specific course offerings vary year to year.

Most MS graduates seek careers in industry that utilize their newly acquired skills and knowledge in their field of expertise.

Others elect to seek a PhD degree leading to a career in academia or advanced research or application.

PhD The doctoral program in civil engineering leads to the PhD in one of the six supported emphasis areas: applied fluid mechanics, construction materials, geotechnical engineering, construction engineering and management, structural engineering and transportation systems. The time frame for completing a PhD typically ranges from two to four years. Admission to the PhD program usually requires a master’s degree, but under certain circumstances, it is possible to enter the PhD program directly from a BS degree program.


The Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulic Laboratories are equipped with instrumentation and house a collection of flumes and modeling basins.

The Experimental Geomechanics Laboratory contains specialized equipment for measuring dynamic properties, shear strength, consolidation and hydraulic conductivity.

The Computational Geomechanics Laboratory contains computers and software necessary to perform analytical and computational research in braced excavation systems, liquefaction, slope stability, earth dams and pile foundations.

The Construction Computer Laboratory is equipped with software packages used within the construction industry.

The Concrete Materials Laboratory contains equipment for research in the area of Portland cements, concrete, aggregates and supplementary cementing materials.

The Asphalt Rubber Technology Service Facility contains asphalt testing equipment in an aggregate lab, a binder lab, a mix design lab and a performance-testing lab.

The Wind and Structural Engineering Research (WiSER) Facility is a premier laboratory for the study of wind effects on structures. Consisting of four distinct research areas—the boundary layer wind tunnel, the structures lab, the long span reaction platform and the outdoor slab—the facility tests the structural performance of buildings and bridges. The facility also supports hurricane field investigations in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida.

The Transportation Systems Laboratory has both mobile and stationary components with specialized traffic surveillance equipment and computing systems.


The faculty and graduate students in each of the emphasis areas work closely together to form thrust areas of research in natural and man-made hazard mitigation and construction materials. Following is a listing of the primary interests of the different research areas.

Applied Fluid Mechanics

  • Open Channels & Sediment Transport
  • Turbulence & Turbulent Jets
  • Hydrologic Modeling
  • Contaminated Sediments & Flux
  • Coastal processes and wave mechanics

Construction Materials

  • Asphalt & Portland Cement Concrete Materials
  • Recycling & Reuse of Waste Materials
  • Asphalt & Concrete Pavements

Construction Engineering & Management

  • Infrastructure Maintenance Management
  • Materials Management
  • Process Control & Quality Assurance
  • Project Delivery & Contract Strategies

Structural Engineering

  • Structural Behavior, Analysis & Design of Buildings & Bridges
  • Wind Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Reliability & Risk Management

Geotechnical Engineering

  • Evaluation & Design of Geosystems
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Geomechanics
  • Fuzzy Analysis & Neural Networks

Transportation Systems

  • Transportation safety and evaluation
  • Facility Design
  • Traffic Operations
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems

Our Students

The majority of graduates from the civil engineering program seek employment in industry or government agencies. Recent graduates have gained employment with both national and regional agencies, including Kimley-Horn & Associates, Walter P. Moore, Black and Veatch, Metromont Prestress, Tindall Corporation, Fluor Corporation, Lin Consulting, URS Corporation, Highland Engineering, SCDoT and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The MS program has 72 students, while the PhD program has 28. Of the 100 students in the programs, 80 percent are male, 97 percent are full-time students, and 40 percent are international students. Lower-level graduate classes generally have an enrollment of no more than 30 students, and upper-level classes average 15-20 students.


Application Information

If you wish to pursue a graduate degree in civil engineering at Clemson University, you should submit your application, preferably through the Graduate School website by July 15 for fall semester admission or December 1 for spring semester admission. If you are seeking financial assistance, you should submit your application, including your request for financial assistance, by December 1 for fall semester admission or by September 1 for spring semester admission. Admission is based on academic performance, standardized scores and reference letters. Your statement of purpose provides insight into your goals and mutual interests. Relevant work experience should be highlighted in your application.

Required Documents


More than 80 percent of current civil engineering graduate students receive some type of financial assistance. Most students are hired by individual faculty members to conduct research on externally funded projects. The department also hires a number of students to assist in instructional activities. Both quarter-time and half-time assistantships are awarded based on the expected weekly time commitment. Students receiving these assistantships also qualify for reduced fees. The department awards three research fellowships to outstanding PhD students. In addition, the College of Engineering and Science and Clemson University award recruitment fellowships. Civil engineering faculty members take responsibility to nominate outstanding applicants for these fellowships. Faculty members also help identify external fellowships and assist in the application process.


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)