Master of Science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering


Program Director: Usama El Shamy, Ph.D.

The global impact of once localized catastrophes, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis....  The decaying infrastructure of roads, bridges, and dams requiring not just repair but reengineering....  The rising demand for energy combined with growing concern for climate-change....  With such seismic shifts has come the need for a new and deeper understanding of that most fundamental of all engineering structures and materials—the earth itself.  This is the brave new world awaiting those who pursue the Master’s in Civil Engineering—with a focus in geotechnical engineering—at SMU Lyle.

Geotechnical engineering brings high technology down to earth.  Through the latest advances in computer science, microelectronics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, geotechnical engineers are gaining new and more precise tools for understanding and modifying the performance of rock and soil.  The focus of Lyle’s Master’s program is on understanding this new technology and applying it to the study and design of earth structures.  In this 30-hour program, students explore such core topics as solid foundation engineering, finite element analysis, and advanced soil mechanics.  They then expand their studies through such fascinating electives as geotechnical earthquake engineering, groundwater control, and special topics courses designed to meet the needs of students in areas such as geothermal energy, soil stabilization, and seismic analysis of soil-structure systems.  Graduates become fully grounded in applying the newest techniques of measurement and analysis to the most ancient of building materials.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, or a closely related engineering discipline.
  • G.P.A. of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  • Satisfy Lyle School of Engineering GRE score guidelines.

Degree Requirements

Recommended Degree Plan (PDF)

Requirements include the completion of ten graduate level courses (30 TCH), or the completion of eight courses (24 TCH) and a Thesis (6 TCH).

Core Courses (15 TCH).

CEE 7340 Introduction to Solid Mechanics
CEE 7361 Matrix Structural Analysis and Introduction to the Finite Element Methods
CEE 7364 Introduction to Structural Dynamics
CEE 7385 Advanced Soil Mechanics
CEE 7386 Foundation Engineering 

Example Electives (15 TCH or 9 TCH and Thesis).
CEE 7362 Engineering Analysis with Numerical Methods
CEE 7387 Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
CEE 7388 Groundwater and Seepage
CEE 7391 Special Projects (Geotechnical Engineering)
CEE 8340 Theory of Elasticity
CEE 8364 Finite Elements in Structural and Continuum Mechanics
CEE 8366 Basic Concepts of Structural Stability
CEE 7(0,1,2,3,6)96 Thesis