Master's Programs

The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics offers a graduate program leading to the degree of master of science (M.S.) in either civil engineering or engineering mechanics. The master of science degree is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 points of credit of approved graduate study extending over at least one academic year. The program is flexible and may involve concentrations in structures, construction engineering, reliability and random processes, soil mechanics, fluid mechanics, hydrogeology, continuum mechanics, finite element methods, computational mechanics, experimental mechanics, acoustics, vibrations and dynamics, earthquake engineering, or any combination thereof, such as fluid-structure interaction.

A flight structures program is designed to meet the needs of industry in the fields of high-speed and space flight. The emphasis is on mechanics, mathematics, fluid dynamics, flight structures, noise transmission, and control. The program is a part of the Guggenheim Institute of Flight Structures in the department. Specific information regarding degree requirements is available in the department office.

A Well-Balanced Undergraduate Curriculum is Necessary for Success

While a suitable master of science program will necessarily emphasize some specialization, the program should be well balanced, including basic subjects of broad importance as well as theory and applications. The history of modern economic, social, and political institutions is important in engineering, and this is recognized in the prescribed undergraduate program of the engineering school. If the candidate’s undergraduate education has been largely confined to pure science and technology, a program of general studies, totaling from 6 to 8 points, may be required. Supplementary statements covering these special requirements are issued by the school’s separate departments. An applicant who lacks essential training will be required to strengthen or supplement the undergraduate work by taking or repeating certain undergraduate courses before proceeding to graduate study. No graduate credit (that is, credit toward the minimum 30-point requirement for the master of science degree) will be allowed for such subjects. Accordingly, master of science programs may include from 35 to 45 points and may require three terms for completion.

Minimum Degree Requirements

All degree requirements must be completed within five years of the beginning of graduate study. Under extraordinary circumstances, a written request for an extension of this time limit may be submitted to the student’s department for approval by the department chairman and the assistant dean. A minimum grade-point average of 2.5 is required for the M.S. degree. A student who, at the end of any term, has not attained the grade-point average required for the degree may be asked to withdraw.

The 4-2 Master of Science Program

The 4-2 Master of Science Program provides the opportunity for students holding bachelor's degrees from affiliated liberal arts colleges, with majors in mathematics, physics, chemistry, or certain other physical sciences to receive the M.S. degree after two years of study at Columbia.

Each applicant must produce evidence of an outstanding undergraduate record, including superior performance in physics and mathematics through differential equations. The program of study will be individually worked out in consultation with a faculty advisor and will be designed to integrate undergraduate work with the field of engineering or applied science the student chooses to follow. During the first year, the program will consist primarily of basic undergraduate courses; during the second year, of graduate courses in the selected field. The student must complete at least 30 credits of graduate study to qualify for the degree.

A student whose background may require supplementary preparation in some specific area, or who has been out of school for a considerable period, will have to carry a heavier than normal course load or extend the program beyond two years.


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