The Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics graduate degree program offers students the flexibility to focus on one of six areas of study. Each concentration has goals for its students, as well as a set of recommended courses, explained in each of the concentrations listed below.

Courses

Please click "Courses" below to view brief descriptions for all Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics courses.
 

Construction Engineering and Management

Columbia's Construction Engineering and Management Program prepares students to effectively deliver and manage the capital facilities and infrastructure that are critical to worldwide productivity. Our curriculum builds upon a student’s technical background to develop managerial and financial expertise through a mix of fundamental and advanced areas of study. Our courses expose students to the activities and issues of planning, financing, procuring, constructing, and managing the built environment in a suite of graduate-level courses. Columbia students apply and discover concepts, methods, and strategies for improving the delivery and management of constructed facilities and systems. This breadth introduces our students to the variety of managerial functions found in the modern construction industry and prepares them for positions of leadership and responsibility within industry, government, or academia.

Students focusing in Construction Engineering and Management are advised to take the majority of their courses from the list below:
CIEN E4129 Managing Engineering and Construction Processes
CIEN E4130 Design of Construction Systems
CIEN E4131 Principles of Construction Techniques
CIEN E4132 Prevention and Resolution of Construction Disputes
CIEN E4133 Capital Facility Planning and Financing
CIEN E4134 Construction Industry Law
CIEN E4135 Strategic Management Global Design and Construction
CIEN E4136 Global Entrepreneurship in Civil Engineering
CIEN E4137 Managing Civil Infrastructure Systems
CIEN E4138 Real Estate Finance for Construction Management
CIEN E4139 Theory and Practice of Virtual Design and Construction
CIEN E4140 Environmental, Health and Safety Concepts in Construction Processes
CIEN E4141 Public-Private Partnerships in Global Infrastructure Development

MS students focusing in Construction Engineering and Management may also take courses from other Engineering departments, the Graduate School of Business, the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and other schools at Columbia.  All courses taken towards the degree from outside of the department must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor.

Engineering Mechanics

Engineering Mechanics is the science that deals with the behavior of solids and fluids when subjected to loads, displacements or a range of other boundary conditions. While many discoveries in Engineering Mechanics that shaped our world were made since the beginning of the civilized world, Mechanics is still an extremely active and rich field of study in Civil Engineering and a major component of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and other societies worldwide.

Our program is intended for those graduate students who wish to acquire a strong theoretical foundation and also those who consider pursuing a PhD degree later on. Many of our students have pursued academic careers in other institutions all over the world or research-focused positions in industry. 

Major study areas of Engineering Mechanics and the corresponding courses are as follows:

Mechanics of Solids: continuum mechanics, elastic and inelastic behavior of solids, large deformation kinematics, micromechanics, shells and plates, fracture mechanics, steel, concrete and rubber materials, composite materials.

ENME E4113x Advanced Mechanics of Solids
ENME E4114y Mechanics of Fracture and Fatigue
ENME E4115y Micromechanics of Composite Materials
ENME E4214x Theory of Plates and Shells
ENME E6315x Theory of Elasticity
ENME E8310x Advanced Continuum Mechanics
ENME E8320y Viscoelasticity and Plasticity

Mechanics of Fluids: turbulent flows, two-phase flows, fluid-structure interaction, fluid-soil interaction, flow in porous media, flow and transport processes, and flow and transport in fractured rock under mechanical loading, computational fluid dynamics.

CIEE E4163x Sustainable Water Treatment and Reuse
CIEE E4252x Environmental Engineering
CIEN E4257x Contaminant Transport in Subsurface Systems

Computational Mechanics: finite element and finite difference methods, multiscale methods, computational fracture and damage mechanics, inverse problems, nonlinear methods in mechanics, optimization and numerical analysis. 

CIEN E4253x Finite Elements in Geotechnical Engineering
ENME E4332x Finite Element Analysis I
ENME E4363y Multiscale Computational Science and Engineering
ENME E6320x Computational Poromechanics
ENME E6333x Finite Element Analysis II
ENME E6364x Nonlinear Computational Mechanics

Stochastic Mechanics: Random Processes and reliability, analysis of random properties of solids and fluids, Uncertainty quantification in mechanics, problems in design against failure under earthquake, wind, and wave loadings; nonlinear random vibrations.

CIEN E4100y Earthquake and Wind Engineering
CIEN E4111x Uncertainty and Risk in Infrastructure Systems
ENME E6220y Random Processes in Mechanics
ENME E8323y Nonlinear Vibrations

Structural Mechanics: structural vibrations; dynamics of rigid and flexible bodies; fluid-structure interactions, active, passive, and hybrid control systems for structures under seismic loading; dynamic soil-structure interaction effects on the seismic response of structures, structural health monitoring.

CIEN E4021x Elastic and Plastic Analysis of Structures
ENME E4202y Advanced Mechanics
CIEN E4213x Elastic and Inelastic Buckling of Structures
CIEN E4235x Multihazard Design of Structures
ENME E4215x Theory of Vibrations
ENME E8323y Nonlinear Vibrations

Experimental Mechanics: experimental methods for soil, steel and concrete structures; design and analysis of novel materials; experimental methods in fracture mechanics; structural health monitoring; environmental fluid mechanics.

CIEE E4252x Environmental Engineering
CIEN E4260y Urban Ecology Studio
ENME E6215y Principles and applications of sensors for structural health monitoring
CIEN E6248x Experimental soil mechanics

Geo-Mechanics: soil-structures interaction; foundations and mechanics of retaining walls; constitutive models for soils and clays; effect of centrifuge modeling on structures and novel geomaterials; slope stability analysis; poro-mechanics.

CIEN E6246y Advanced Soil Mechanics
CIEN E4242y Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
CIEN E4253x Finite Elements in Geotechnical Engineering
ENME 6320x Computational Poromechanics

Environmental Engineering and Water Resources

Overview of Concentration
The Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Concentration is focused on training civil engineers who are interested in engaging in solving the world’s environmental problems and contributing to the sustainable management of global water resources.

Rapid, global urbanization, land-use change, population growth, climate change and others stressors have created a suite of environmental problems that require engineering knowledge and solutions to address. The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University is actively engaged in research at the forefront of these areas, with an emphasis on sustainable development and water resource management from the local to the global scale. Through close collaborations with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Columbia University’s Data Science Institute, and colleagues in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, the Department leads research activities in the areas of sustainable engineering, urban water management, green infrastructure, groundwater contamination and remediation, advanced waste containment design, and environmental monitoring, data analysis and prediction.

The Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Concentration is intended for civil engineering graduate students who wish to advance their knowledge in areas relevant to environmental engineering and water resource management, whilst also having the opportunity to receive graduate training in other areas central to civil engineering research and practice. Graduates of the program have gone onto successful careers in leading civil and environmental engineering companies, government agencies tasked with environmental protection and water resource management, Non-government organizations, including human-aid organizations, and Academia.

Courses
This concentration follows the same requirements as any other concentration in the Master's program in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.  A total of 30 credits is required for the M.S. degree.  A minimum of 24 credits is to be selected among courses offered by the Department, or cross-listed between the Department and another within the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Students select remaining credits in consultation with a faculty advisor. Many students in the concentration elect to also take courses within other Departmental concentrations to broaden their civil engineering expertise. Students also elect to take courses in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering.

Example core courses within the concentration:
CIEE E4252x Environmental Engineering
CIEE E4163x Sustainable water treatment and reuse
CIEN E4244x Geosynthetics and waste containment
CIEE E4257x Groundwater contaminant transport and remediation
CIEE E4250y Hydrosystems engineering
CIEE E4260x Urban Ecology Studio
EC1A W4100y Management and development of water systems

Example courses for those also interested in geotechnical engineering:
CIEN E4241x Geotechnical engineering fundamentals
CIEN E4243x Foundation engineering
CIEN E4245x Tunnel design and construction
CIEN E4246y Earth retaining structures

Example courses for those also interested in structural engineering:
CIEN E4226y Advanced design of steel structures
CIEN E4232x Advanced design of concrete structures
CIEN E4233x Design of large scale bridges
CIEN E4234y Design of large scale building structures

Example courses for those also interested in construction management:
CIEN E4131x and y Principles of construction techniques
CIEN E4135y Strategic management in global design and construction
CIEN E4137y Managing civil infrastructure systems
CIEN E4140x Environmental, health and safety concepts in construction processes

Example courses for those also interested in computational methods and analyses:
ENME E4332x Finite element analysis I
ENME E4363y Multiscale computational science and engineering
EAEE E4009x Geographical information systems (GIS) for resource, environmental and infrastructure management
EAEE E4257y Environmental data analysis and modeling

Example courses for those also interested in hazard analysis:
CIEN E4100y Earthquake and wind engineering
CIEN E4242y Geotechnical earthquake engineering
CIEN E4235x Multihazard design of structures
CIEN E4111x Uncertainty and risk in infrastructure systems

Example courses for those interested in environmental engineering and water resources courses offered by the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering
EAEE E4150y Air pollution prevention and control
EAEE E4160y Solid and hazardous waste management
EAEE E4300x or y Introduction to carbon management
EAEE E4350x Planning and management of urban hydrological systems
EAEE E4901y Environmental microbiology
EAEE P6329 Water, sanitation and human health
EAEE E4006y Field methods for environmental engineering

Forensic (Structural) Engineering

Background
Engineering investigation and determination of the causes of structural failures of buildings, bridges and other constructed facilities, as well as rendering opinions and giving testimony in judicial proceedings, often referred to as Forensic Structural Engineering, has become a field of professional practice of its own in the US. With rapid economic development, increased design sophistication, more-and-more daring construction technology and accelerated project delivery came the proliferation of structural failures throughout the world. Several countries are reviewing and/or streamlining technical, business, and legal procedures modeled on US practices - with both their advantages and faults - which require expert consultants/witnesses in both the forensic investigation and in the ensuing dispute resolution.

Reasons
In recent years, there has been an increasing expression of interest, from both this country and abroad, about a graduate program in Forensic Structural Engineering. Professional engineering groups as well as insurance companies, government agencies, architects and attorneys have been looking for programs that could provide an integrated education on the forensic aspects of structural engineering practice.  The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University, traditionally at the forefront of civil engineering education, has launched this new graduate-level concentration in Forensic Structural Engineering. The Department's full-time faculty and its laboratory facilities, as well as its adjunct faculty of practicing engineering, construction and legal professionals  and the "real-life laboratory" of the New York City design-construction environment makes us the perfect home for this innovative program.

An engineer's success in the field of forensic engineering is the result of the combination of many components in his or her background: first, a good education in engineering and its related subjects; then years of hands-on experience in analysis, design, construction, testing, inspection, condition assessment, and trouble-shooting; understanding of the design-construction process;  comprehension of legal implications; good communication skills; a knack for problem solving;   a positive attitude to team work; a strong sense of ethics; self-confidence without arrogance;  confident and credible disposition; and a high level of intellectual sophistication.  Some of these traits can be learned but some are ingrained or acquired. Our concentration would provide the "learning" and a few other attributes.

Purpose
The purpose of the concentration in Forensic Structural Engineering is to acquaint graduate students, as well as other young practicing professionals, with various aspects of the field, to provide them with the basics for the investigation of failures and understanding some of the pertinent legal aspects, and to prepare them for the eventual practice of forensic structural engineering.

One of the benefits of forensic investigations is the lessons learned from failures and the use of those lessons to improve codes, standards and practices to avoid similar failures in the future. Therefore the purpose of the concentration is not only [a] to teach forensic investigation of failures and providing technical support in the consequent dispute resolution process (which are what forensic engineers do), but also [b] to show how to avoid failures and what the consequences of failures may be.

Courses
This concentration will follow the same requirement of any other concentration in the Master's program in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.  A total of 30 credits is required.  Courses will be selected among those offered by the Department and by the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The following four CIEN courses will be required:
CIEN E4210x: Forensic Structural Engineering
CIEN E4212y: Structural Failure: Cases, Causes, Lessons Learned
CIEN E4134y: Construction Industry Law
CIEN E4132x or y: Prevention and Resolution of Construction Disputes

Other six courses can be chosen among those in the following list:
CIEN E4100y: Earthquake and Wind Engineering
CIEN E4111x: Uncertainties and Risk in Infrastructure Systems
CIEN E4129x or y: Managing Engineering and Construction Processes
CIEN E4130x: Design of Construction Systems
CIEN E4131x or y: Principles of Construction Techniques
CIEN E4226y: Advance Design of Steel Structures
CIEN E4232y: Advance Design of Concrete Structures
CIEN E4233x: Design of Large-Scale Bridges
CIEN E4234y: Design of Large-Scale Building Structures
CIEN E4235x: Multihazard Design of Structures
CIEN E4236y: Design of Prestressed Concrete Structures
CIEN E4241x: Geotechnical Engineering Fundamentals
CIEN E4243x: Foundation Engineering
CIEN E4245x: Tunnel Design and Construction
CIEN E4246x: Earth Retaining Structures
CIEN E6131x: Quantitative Infrastructure Risk Assessment
CIEN E6133y: Advanced Construction and Infrastructure Risk Management Using Real Options
CIEN E6232x: Advanced Topics in Concrete Engineering
CIEN E6248x: Experimental Soil Mechanics

In addition, MS graduate students are encouraged to enroll in Independent Study or Research efforts in the area of Forensic Structural Engineering using:
CIEN E9101x and y: Civil Engineering Research
E9130x and y: Independent Studies in Construction
Appropriate courses from other departments, such as Mechanical Engineering, and Earth and Environmental Engineering, can also be included in the course list.

Geotechnical Engineering

Overview of Concentration
Geotechnical Engineering is a branch of civil engineering that deals with the behavior of soils, and the design and analysis of natural and man-made soil structures. The forces exerted by the buildings and structures are transmitted to the ground through shallow and deep foundations designed by geotechnical engineers. Many constructions are conducted on less ideal ground conditions that may need to be improved. Construction of infrastructures and residential buildings may encounter unstable slopes and retaining walls are often used to stabilize them. In some cases, modern reinforced soil technologies are used. Geotechnical engineers are nowadays mandated to design foundations and soil structures that ensure stability and satisfactory performance under the impact of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

The late Professor Donald M. Burmister established one of the earliest soil mechanics programs in the nation in 1933 with his studies on the fundamental soil behavior and soil classification system that is still in use. Today, the geotechnical laboratory is named under him and was designated as a Geotechnical Heritage Laboratory by the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering in 2012. Columbia University is also the birth place for the world’s first geotechnical centrifuge where the late Professor Philip B. Bucky used it extensively for studying mining problems in early 1930’s. The modern 200-g centrifuge in our department was a donation from Kajima Corporation, Japan. Several state-of-the-art soil testing equipments are housed in Burmister’s Laboratory. 

We also have a long history of developments in theoretical soil mechanics. Just to name a few seminal contributions that have greatly impacted the current state of practice: three-dimensional consolidation theory by the late Professor Maurice A. Biot, layered theory by the late Professor Donald M. Burmister, and Cap model by Professor Emeritus Frank L. DiMaggio.

Courses
Master’s students majoring in geotechnical engineering are required to take up to a total of 10 courses (30 credits).  Usually, students may include a few courses from Structures/Mechanics and/or Construction Engineering. For students who plan to pursue a PhD after the Master of Science Program, Applied Mechanics courses are strongly recommended.  

A list of recommended courses are as follows:

Geotechnical Courses (*: courses may be offered in alternate years)
CIEN E4241x Geotechnical Engineering Fundamentals
CIEN E4242y Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering*
CIEN E4243x Foundation Engineering
CIEN E4244y Geosynthetics and Waste Containment*
CIEN E4245x Tunnel Design and Construction
CIEN E4246y Earth Retaining Structures
CIEN E4247x Design of Large-Scale Foundation System
CIEN E4253x Finite Elements and Plasticity in Geotechnical Engineering*
CIEN E6246y Advanced Soil Mechanics*
CIEN E6248y Experimental Soil Mechanics*

Structures/Mechanics Courses
CIEN E4111x Uncertainties and Risk in Infrastructure Systems
ENME E4113x Advanced Mechanics of Solids
ENME E4202y Advanced Mechanics
ENME E4215x Theory of Vibrations
ENME E4332x Finite Element Analysis I
ENME E6333y Finite Element Analysis II
ENME E6320x Computational Poromechanics
ENME E8320y Viscoelasticity and Plasticity

Construction Management Course
CIEN E4130x Design of Construction Systems

Other Activities
In addition to taking classes, students have opportunities to attend Departmental Seminars and ASCE Met Section Geotechnical Seminars. Professional organizations, such as the Deep Foundations Institute, invite a limited number of geotechnical students to the annual Gala Dinner where they will have opportunities to interact with practicing engineers.

Structural Engineering

Overview of Concentration
In civil engineering, the term “Structural Engineering” is used to define the segment of the profession that deals with the analysis and design of civil structures, mainly buildings and bridges. While buildings and bridges have been built since the beginning of time, the ways of analyzing and building them has slowly evolved over the centuries thanks to discovery of new materials and tools.  However, in the last twenty years, advancements in computer technology and the discovery of new materials have boosted the field of structural engineering beyond any imagination.  Today, new buildings are so tall that can literally “reach the sky” and new bridges can link continents.  In the near future, buildings and bridges will be built with technology that will be able to measure continuously their response to the environment, e.g. to earthquake, wind, traffic, etc., and to immediately provide corrective actions to guarantee the safety and comfort of the people.  Modern structural engineers will have to learn how to deal with these continuous challenges: this can be achieved only with a solid educational background on the theoretical fundamentals, which is strong on the latest and most advanced methods of analysis and design, well informed on real-life applications and, above all, open to new technology and practices.  This is the trademark of the graduate education in structural engineering at Columbia University.

Program
The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics prides itself for offering a flexible graduate program in structural engineering where students, under the supervision of an advisor, can tailor a program of study to fit their individual interests.  Students have the opportunity to fulfill the 30 credit requirement by choosing from a large variety of courses: from fundamental mechanics courses, e.g. Advanced Mechanics of Solids and Theory of Vibrations, to more advanced structural analysis (e.g. Elastic and Plastic Analysis of Structures) and design (e.g. Advanced Design of Concrete and Steel Structures) courses as well as courses led by world-leading design companies, e.g. Design of Large-Scale Buildings organized by Thornton-Tomasetti.  With the vision of creating a broader education where students are exposed to the latest trends in analysis and design, the Department has created a set of graduate courses that are taught by some of the leaders in the field of structural engineering;  for example, courses like Design of Large-Scale Buildings, taught by Richard Tomasetti, founder of Thornton-Tomasetti, or Design of Large-Scale Bridges, taught by Ted Zoli, bridge chief engineer at HNTB, or Multi-Hazard Design of Structures, taught by Raymond Daddazio, co-president of Thornton-Tomasetti, expose the students to the latest developments in building and bridge design worldwide and offer them a unique opportunity to get in contact with leaders in the industry, which could be beneficial for future employment.

Courses
The concentration in structural engineering follows the same requirements of any other concentration in the Master of Science program in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.  A total of 30 credits is required.  Courses will be selected among those offered by the Department and by the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

There are no required courses.  Students interested in structural engineering are advised to select 10 courses among those listed below:
CIEN E4021x Elastic and Plastic Analysis of Structures
CIEN E4022y Bridge Design and Management
CIEN E4100y Earthquake and Wind Engineering
CIEN E4111x Uncertainty and Risk in Infrastructure Systems
CIEN E4130x Design of Construction Systems
CIEN E4210x Forensic Structural Engineering
CIEN E4212y Structural Assessment and Failure
CIEN E4213x Elastic and Inelastic Buckling of Structures
CIEN E4226y Advanced Design of Steel Structures
CIEN E4232x Advanced Design of Concrete Structures
CIEN E4233x Design of Large-Scale Bridges
CIEN E4234y Design of Large-Scale Buildings
CIEN E4235x Multihazard Design of Structures
CIEN E4236y Design of Prestressed Concrete Structures
ENME E4113x Advanced Mechanics of Solids
ENME E4114y Mechanics of Fracture and Fatigue
ENME E4214x Theory of Plates and Shells
ENME E4215x Theory of Vibrations
ENME E4332x Finite Element Analysis I