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 of Science 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

In addition to meeting the Lyle School of Engineering admission requirements for an M.S. degree, applicants are required to satisfy the following additional requirement: a B.S. in civil engineering or a closely related engineering discipline.

Degree Requirements

In addition to meeting the Lyle School of Engineering degree requirements for an M.S. degree, candidates are required to satisfy these additional requirements:

  • 30 credit hours, with a minimum graduate G.P.A. of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale. Additional articulation courses may be required for students without a civil engineering undergraduate degree.
  • Given the multidisciplinary nature of civil engineering, the core curriculum and elective courses comprising the degree plans for master’s students will vary, depending on the student’s undergraduate background and their desired area of specialization. 

Satisfactory completion of the core curriculum consisting of five courses (15 credit hours):

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

Satisfactory completion of five elective courses (15 credit hours) chosen from structural analysis, structural design, geotechnical engineering, transportation systems management, construction management, environmental engineering, and water resources courses:

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

Degree Plan

Course Descriptions

Graduate Catalog

Graduate Catalog Archives

M.S. | Civil Engineering - Geotechnical Engineering Flyer (.pdf)

M.S. | Civil Engineering - Geotechnical Engineering + MBA