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MS in Civil Engineering in USA: Complete Course Guide for International Students

Komal Yadav Komal Yadav
Study Abroad Expert

MS in Civil Engineering in USA is a part of STEM degree offered as a full-time and part-time program. It offers the coursework like designing, construction, maintenance of the physical built environments and public works. The duration of the full-time masters in civil engineering in USA universities is between 9 months to 2 years. 

  • Students having a bachelors degree in civil engineering or related field and GRE test score can apply for MS in Civil Engineering in USA.
  • Tuition fees of universities in USA offering masters in civil engineering range between 13,800 USD to 149,080 USD. 
  • The average annual salary of civil engineers in the USA is 86,640 USD.

Why Study MS in Civil Engineering in USA?

Civil engineering is one of the most quick-moving domains in the USA, where the students can nurture their skills and can explore various career paths. Following are some of the reasons for pursuing higher education in USA in this field:

  • According to US News Ranking 2020, civil engineering was ranked as the 2nd best engineering job and 17th best STEM job in USA.
  • Nine universities in the USA rank among the top 50 universities offering civil engineering abroad as per QS Rankings of 2020. 
No. of Universities Ranking in top 50 V/S country
  • There are approximately 326,800 jobs in the civil engineering domain of the USA. 
  • The job growth for civil engineers in this country is projected to be around 6% till 2028 creating over 20,500 vacancies.
  • Federal government employees are paid the highest salary in this field ie. 95,380 USD per annum (median salary). 

Top Universities for MS in Civil Engineering in USA

According to QS News ranking of 2020 for civil and structural engineering, following are the top 10 universities offering MS in Civil Engineering in USA: 

QS Ranking 2020UniversityProgram Offered & DurationTuition Fees (USD)
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MEng Civil and Environmental Engineering: 9 months;

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering: 2 years



4University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)MS Civil Engineering; 1 year32,374
13Stanford UniversityMS Civil and Environmental Engineering; 2 years149,080
18Georgia Institute of TechnologyMS Civil and Environmental Engineering; 1 year31,370
24University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignMS Civil and Environmental Engineering; 1 year24,122
27University of Texas at AustinMS Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering; 1 year26,782
27Purdue UniversityMS Civil Engineering: 1 year13,809
41University of Michigan-Ann ArborMS Civil Engineering; 1 year25,163
51 – 100California Institute of Technology (Caltech)MS Civil and Environmental Engineering; 2 years124,866
51 – 100University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)MS Civil Engineering63,898

Admission Process of MS in Civil Engineering in USA

The admission requirements for international students is slightly different from domestic students. However, some of the general eligibility requirements and admission requirements are discussed below. 

Eligibility for MS in Civil Engineering in USA Admission

For pursuing MS in USA, international students are required to have:

  • A minimum of 10+2+4 education
  • Four-year bachelor's degree in civil engineering or related field
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in bachelor's (equivalent to Grade “B” or 83-86%)
  • GRE test score
  • Proof of English language proficiency

Minimum test scores required for admission in some of the top-ranking universities of the USA are: 

MITMin Required: 155 (quantitative & verbal) Avg of 2021: 156-168 (both)7.5100
UC BerkeleyRequired7.090
Stanford UniversityRequired7.5100
Georgia Institute of Technology155 (quantitative & verbal)7.090
University of IllinoisRequired6.580
University of TexasRequired6.579
Purdue UniversityRecommended7.090
University of MichiganRecommended6.584

Documents Required for MS in Civil Engineering in USA Admission

The application package of the international student must have the following to successfully apply to USA universities:

  • Official transcripts of previous institutes
  • English translation of non-English transcripts
  • 2 to 3 letters of recommendation
  • CV/Resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • Test scores for English language and other standardized tests submitted directly submitted from the testing agency. 

Visa Requirement for International Students

Students should follow the below-given procedure to apply for a US student visa

  • Visit and accept the approval of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at least prior to the six to twelve months.
  • Complete the visa application form and attach the current photograph.
  • Pay the visa application fees
  • Attend the visa interview with all the required documents. 

Cost of Studying MS in Civil Engineering in USA

Cost of study for an international student can be broadly categorized into pre-departure and post-departure costs. The pre-departure cost includes the cost of variousexams taken for studying in USA, application fees, airfare, visa fees, and others. The tuition fees of the university will contribute most to the post-departure cost. These are the expenses you will have to pay once you have landed in the USA. This will also include the cost of living in USA.

Pre-Departure Costs

Tabulated below are some of the expenses you will have to pay before leaving for studying abroad: 

Expense TypeCost (USD)
Application fee1,200
Flight fare (one-way)700
VISA Fee170
SEVIS Fee200

Tuition Fees for MS in Civil Engineering in USA

The tuition annual fees for some of the top-ranking universities in USA offering MS civil engineering ranges between 13,800 USD to 74,540 USD. To support your education finacially, you can also apply for various loans available for international students planning their studies in USA. 

Tuition fees

Cost of Living in USA

The cost of living in the USA is higher compared to other countries. It is estimated to be approximately 10000 USD to 12000 USD per annum. The spending is varied based on the taste and preferences of the students, more specifically it is depending upon the room rent, and on the food habit. The choice of student accommodations opted while in USA is also an important factor that decides your cost of living. 

Types of expendituresCost in USD (Annually)
Hostels or room rent5000-7000
Cost of food2500
Public transport350-800
Entertainment cost1000-1200
Monthly cost of living by Coast

Scholarships for MS in Civil Engineering in USA

The inflation rate of the USA has been increased from 1.5% to 2.3% from the year 2010 to 2020. Consequently, the tuition fees of the universities have also been increased. Thus, international students look for various sources to fund their education. Some of the options are loans, scholarships, bursaries, part-time work, etc.

Following table provides a list of scholarships available for international students in the USA pursuing MS in Civil Engineering: 

Name of scholarship programsAmount of scholarship (USD)
Anne Naureen Whitney Barrow Memorial Scholarship$7000
Western Union Foundation Global Scholarship Program$2500
Arsham Amirikian Engineering Scholarship$2500
MSPE Abrams Grant$3000

For information on other scholarships available for international students, click here. Specific scholarships for Indian students are also available for studying in the USA. 

Loan Application Process in USA

The loan application process is started with the loan evaluation and loan sanction process. The students should show the letter of solvency as the ‘proof of fund’ to apply for an MS program in the USA. The disbursement process for education loan in the USA starts once the students will receive the i20 form from the university. 

Once you apply for a loan, you should compare and check the interest rates provided by the banks and their processing fees. Some of the loan providing Indian banks are

  • HDFC: Maximum loan amount is $26954 and the processing fee is 1.5% on the entire amount
  • State Bank of India: Maximum loan amount is $40431 and the interest rate is 2% on the amount of loan borrowing)
  • Axis bank

You need to apply for a loan at least three months before the visa interview. Do not forget to evaluate the loan disbursement amount and the guarantor. The loan application process will be completed after the submission of immigration records, academic and professional certificates and legal verification certificates such as H1B, J1 and F1 VISA. 

Scope of MS in Civil Engineering in USA

Most of the highest-paid civil engineers in the USA are working with the oil and gas extraction industries. On the other hand, the highest-paid positions in the USA are Houston, Texas, Hinesville, Midland, and Georgia. 

The median pay scale of the civil engineers in the US is 86,640 USD per annum after completion of the MS. The maximum and minimum pay scale of the civil engineers of the USA is $112850 and $67430 respectively. 

Some of the jobs in USA for civil engineers are: 

JobsAverage Annual Pay (in USD)
Construction engineer68,200
Structural engineer67,600
Building control surveyor56,000
Water resource engineer66,000
Transportation planner57,000
Quantity surveyor60,500
Geotechnical engineer66,200

Apart from the above-mentioned professions, the career path of environmental engineer and construction manager are very sharp. The projected growth rate of environmental engineers and the construction managers in is 8% and 11% respectively. Hence, studying MS in civil engineering in this country can give you a vast opportunity to explore your career path in a better way. In addition, the rising employment rate of the country supports the increase in the career growth rate of civil engineers correspondingly.


Ques. Which university is best for MS in Civil Engineering in USA?

Ans. Some of the top-ranking universities offering MS in Civil Engineering in USA are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Georgia Institute of Technology, UCLA etc.

Ques. What is the cost of pursuing MS in Civil Engineering in USA?

Ans. Tuition fees of MS in Civil Engineering in USA range between 13,800 USD to 74,540 USD per year. In addition to this, annual cost of living in this country is approximately between 10,000 USD to 12,000 USD.

Ques. Can I pursue MS in Civil Engineering in USA without GRE?

Ans. Some universities such as Purdue University and University of Michigan do not have GRE as a compulsory requirement for admission in MS in Civil Engineering. However, submission of such scores increases the chances of acceptance into the program.

Ques. What is the scope of MS in Civil Engineering in USA?

Ans. After completion of MS in Civil Engineering in the USA, you can work as Construction Engineer, Structural Engineer, Building Control Surveyor, Water Resource Engineer, etc. The median salary offered to civil engineers is 86,640 USD per annum.

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