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Master of Science in Civil Engineering

The Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) at Lawrence Technological University provides detailed specialization in the areas of structural, geotechnical, environmental, water resources, construction and transportation engineering. Knowledge and skills obtained in the program are essential for an individual to become highly desired as a civil engineer. As infrastructures age and the necessity for green technologies increases, the demand for civil engineers and their problem-solving skills is growing.

A master’s degree can significantly improve an individual’s status for promotion and is an important key to new job opportunities. Students must specialize in a minimum of one concentration but are able to select courses over various concentrations, depending on program requirements but also the student’s own interests.

Our experience with Lawrence Tech grads has been excellent. They are extremely well prepared, energetic, and professional – really top notch.

George Hubbell, vice president, Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc.

The MSCE degree requires 30 or 33 credit hours, depending on the option chosen. Most courses are available in the evenings, and one can complete the degree in as few as three semesters.

Students have access to industry-standard software packages and may participate in cutting-edge applied research that offers exceptional hands-on experience in LTU's state-of-the-art facilities, which include:

  1. Center for Innovative Materials Research: A national resource for the development of innovative materials for defense and infrastructure applications.
  2. Structural Testing Center: Equipped with high load actuators and load frames and the Flammability, Smoke and Toxicity Research Center.
  3. Environmental, Geotechnical, Hydraulics, and Transportation/Materials Laboratories

Students also have access to LTU's Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute, a regional resource that promotes positive environmental change through research, education, and the application of innovative water management techniques.

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Shantel Lorenz (PE), MSCE'16
Shantel has been working as a structural engineer for almost six years. After graduating in 2014 with BSCE and BSArch from LTU, she decided to pursue a MSCE degree to help fast track her engineering career. The schedule for the masters program allowed her to work full time and gain valuable work experience while pursuing the degree. "The Masters of Civil Engineering program at LTU allowed me to gain experience in many more aspects of structural engineering than I had seen so far in my career. It prepared me for future projects where I would be using materials and calculations that I had seen in the graduate courses, which would otherwise have been unfamiliar to me. I was able to increase my working knowledge at a faster pace because of the technical skills that I have learned through my coursework. Most of all, I went into the PE exam with a level of confidence that I would not have had without my master's degree."
Katelyn Watson, MSCE’19
Katelyn is an associate project manager at SturctureTec Group and focuses on pavement design within the scope of transportation engineering. Katelyn is a graduate of the MSCE program and also the BSCE program at Lawrence Tech. "Taking the leap and applying to complete my MSCE at LTU was an easy decision. I completed my BSCE at LTU in Spring 2016 and received a top-notch education with professors that cared about each individual student. During my MSCE program, I received similar, if not more one on one time with professors to allow me to advance my education and career. Having the opportunity to concentrate on two sub-disciplines of CE (transportation and geotechnical), allowed me to dive into subject matters that I truly loved. The classes and materials correlated to my specific job, allowing me to utilize new concepts and programs. The adjunct professors at LTU are typically current engineers in the Civil Engineering community surrounding the Detroit area. I have established personal relationships with these professors outside of LTU, allowing me to consult with their expertise in my Civil Engineering career."

Sai Theja Medi, MSCE’18
Theja is currently working at CHA Consulting in Syracuse, New York. He is originally from India, came to LTU and found a home and was able to perform research on two projects in structural engineering. “I chose L.T.U. for its vast research program. As a graduate student in structural engineering (civil engineering), LTU's MSCE. program had plenty of option for me to choose courses, which I needed to achieve my career goals. At the beginning of classes, I fumbled in terms of my grades, but my advisor, Dr. Keith Kowalkowski, was always supportive and motivated me to not focus on G.P.A, but to focus on how much you are learning the concepts. At the end of my course, I felt he was right. I have learned all the advanced concepts in Structural Engineering. That made me a competitive in terms of my job application. Today, I have started my career as a structural engineer in a Top 50 E.N.R. company. It happened because of LTU's MSCE coursework in the civil engineering program. I highly recommend this program for all budding Engineers. It's challenging, but it's worth it.”

All courses within the Master of Science in Civil Engineering are considered elective courses. However, students must complete an acceptable combination of courses as described herein. A special case concentration for construction engineering is discussed later. For other concentrations:

  1. Students must select one of the three degree options summarized below.
  2. Students must select a concentration and complete a minimum of four graduate level courses (12 credits) in their chosen concentration (water resources, structural, geotechnical, environmental, and transportation).
  3. Students must complete a breadth of courses that require analytical abilities to solve complex problems. Therefore, students must obtain a minimum of 14 analytical credits (ACs). The amount of ACs are shown with the courses below.

Degree Options

Thesis Option

Technical Electives 24 credits
Thesis 6 credits
Total Credit Hours 30 credits

Project Option

Technical Electives 27 credits
Project 3 credits
Total Credit Hours 30 credits

Course Work Option

Technical Electives 33 credits
Total Credit Hours 33 credits

General Courses

ECE 5103 Applied Geographic Information Systems (AC = 0)
ECE 5113 Sustainable Construction Practices (AC = 0)
ECE 5913 Graduate Directed Study (AC = TBD)
ECE 5923 Special Topics in Civil Engineering (AC = TBD)
ECE 6053 Graduate Project (AC = 3)
ECE 6073 Thesis I (AC = 3)
ECE 6083 Thesis II (AC = 3)
ECE 6113 Concrete Engineering (AC = 2)

Construction Engineering Concentration

This option is a 30-credit option that includes 6 credits of thesis work. A course-work only option focusing on construction engineering is available in the Master of Construction Engineering Management (MCEM) Program. A student may not dual enroll in the MCEM and MSCE programs if a construction engineering concentration is selected

Core Classes

ECE 5113 Sustainable Construction Practices
ECE 5223 Techniques of Project Planning and Control
ECE 5223 Construction Safety Management
ECE 5283 Conceptual Estimating
ECE 6073 Thesis 1
ECE 6083 Thesis 2

Technical Elective Courses

Environmental Engineering

ECE 5323 Environmental Cleanup (AC = 2)
ECE 5333 Air Pollution Control (AC = 2)
ECE 5343 Advanced Environmental Engineering (AC = 2)
ECE 5353 Environmental Management (AC = 0)
ECE 5363 Surface Water Quality Management (AC = 3)
ECE 5393 Special Topics in Environmental Engineering (AC = TBD)
ECE 6313 Industrial Water and Wastewater Treatment (AC = 2)

Geotechnical Engineering

ECE 5413 Shallow and Deep Foundation Design (AC = 2)
ECE 5423 Geoenvironmental Engineering (AC = 1)
ECE 5433 Ground Improvement Methods (AC = 2)
ECE 5443 Designing with Geosynthetics (AC = 1)
ECE 5473 Earth Retaining Structures (AC = 2)
ECE 5493 Special Topics in Geotechnical Engineering (AC = TBD)
ECE 6413 Engineering Properties of Soils (AC = 3)
ECE 6423 Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (AC = 3)

Structural Engineering

ECE 5703 Design of Timber Structures (AC = 1)
ECE 5713 Analysis and Design of Prestressed Concrete (AC = 2)
ECE 5723 Advanced Analysis and Design of Structures (AC = 3)
ECE 5733 Structural Masonry Design (AC = 2)
ECE 5753 Advanced Concrete Design (AC = 2)
ECE 5763 Advanced Composite Materials and Their Uses in Structures (AC = 2)
ECE 5773 Advanced Steel Design (AC = 2)
ECE 5783 Bridge Design I (AC = 1)
ECE 5793 Special Topics in Structural Engineering (AC = TBD)
ECE 6723 Structural Design and Analysis for Fire Safety (AC = 2)
ECE 6733 Finite Element Analysis for Structural Engineering (AC = 3)
ECE 6743 Structural Dynamics (AC = 3)

Transportation Engineering

ECE 5813 Pavement Analysis and Performance (AC = 2)
ECE 5823 Pavement Management Systems (AC = 1)
ECE 5833 Traffic Engineering (AC = 1)
ECE 5843 Highway Safety Engineering (AC = 2)
ECE 5893 Special Topics in Transportation Engineering (AC = TBD)

Water Resources Engineering

ECE 5523 River Engineering (AC = 2)
ECE 5533 Coastal Engineering (AC = 2)
ECE 5543 Design of Stormwater Management Systems (AC = 2)
ECE 5553 Ports and Harbors Engineering (AC = 1)
ECE 5593 Special Topics in Hydraulic Engineering (AC = TBD)
ECE 6513 Groundwater Modeling (AC = 3)

Technical Elective Courses

ECE 5203 Construction Quality Management
ECE 5213 Principles of Design-Build Project Delivery
ECE 5233 Advanced Construction Techniques and Methods
ECE 5243 Fundamentals of Construction Accounting and Finance
ECE 5253 Infrastructure Asset Management
ECE 5273 Construction Law
ECE 6113 Concrete Engineering
ECE 6223 Risk Management in Construction Engineering
ECE 6213 Issues in Integrated Engineering Management

Curriculum Notes

With permission of the program director of the MSCE program or the department chair:

  1. Students may transfer a maximum of six semester hours for graduate engineering courses taken at other accredited engineering colleges, provided they are deemed relevant. Students must have taken the courses within the past five years and achieved a grade of “B” (3.00) or better. These may replace technical elective classes listed above if deemed equivalent.
  2. Students may apply up to six credits of 4000-level civil engineering courses (senior-level electives) to the MSCE program. This does not apply for the construction engineering program.
  3. A maximum of two electives may be chosen from other graduate at Lawrence Tech if deemed relevant to the MSCE program. This does not apply for the construction engineering program.

Educational Objectives

During the course of study, students are expected to:

  1. Formulate and solve ill-defined engineering problem appropriate to civil engineering by selecting and applying appropriate techniques and tools.
  2. Apply specialized tools or technologies to solve problems in a traditional or emerging specialized technical area appropriate to civil engineering.
  3. Analyze a complex system or process in a traditional or emerging specialized technical area appropriate to civil engineering.
  4. Design a system or process or create new knowledge or technologies in a traditional or emerging specialized technical area appropriate to civil engineering.
  5. Plan, compose and integrate the verbal, written, virtual, and graphical communication of a project to technical and non-technical audiences.
  6. Evaluate the design of a complex system or process, or evaluate the validity of newly-created knowledge in a traditional or emerging advanced specialized technical area appropriate to civil engineering.

Eccentric Stiffeners Part of Moment Connections to Column Flange

Primary Graduate Student : Javier Rodilla (MSCE’20)
Project Advisor : Keith Kowalkowski, PhD, PE, SE

A research project was funded by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) entitled “Analysis and Design of Eccentric Stiffeners Part of Moment Connections to Column Flanges”. The research project included both experimental and analytical work. All work was performed with the primary investigator, Dr. Keith Kowalkowski, and graduate student Javier Alvarez Rodilla (Spain). The experimental structural engineering tasks was assisted by an additional graduate student, Sai Theja Medi (India). Digital Image Correlation (DIC) was supervised by Dr. Xin Xie (former faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering) and student assistants Himanshu Kolambe (India), Abhijit Bothe (India), and Chukiang Fong-Ramirez.

In the experimental investigations, forty column specimens were tested. Three different test methods were used: (1) single compression in which a downward force was applied to the top flange of a column specimen from a hydraulic actuator, (2) double compression in which a downward force was applied to the top flange of a column specimen but with a support directly adjacent and at the bottom flange, and (3) single tension in which an upward force was applied to the top flange of a column specimen. In a group of four specimens, one specimen was tested without stiffeners, one was tested with concentric stiffeners, one was tested with stiffeners at a low eccentricity and one was tested with stiffeners at a high eccentricity. Relationships were derived between the magnitude of eccentricity and the “Effective Stiffener Capacity”.

Civil Masters Degree

Finite element models were developed for larger column sizes more regularly used in practice. All test methods included the column sizes W14X68, W14X120, W14X176, W14X233, W24X131, and W24X229. The finite element models were developed and analyzed by Javier Alvarez Rodilla and the influence of stiffener eccentricity was evaluated in a similar way as for the experimental results. The research collectively resulted in recommendations for determining the capacity of eccentric stiffeners in comparison to that of concentric stiffeners by using a formula that considered the amount of eccentricity and the flange thickness of the wide flange beams. Two papers were authored by Dr. Kowalkowski and Mr. Alvarez Rodilla.

Eccentric Stiffeners Part of Moment Connections to Column Flange

Design of Irregular Hanger Connections

Primary Graduate Student : Sai Theja Medi (MSCE’19)
Project Advisor : Keith Kowalkowski, PhD, PE, SE

Lawrence Tech was contracted by Nederveld Inc. to perform eighteen (18) tests on “irregular” hanger connections that have been constructed in General Motors (GM) automotive plants. In the plants, there are several hangers than are connected to header steel. The work was primarily performed the research assistant Sai Theja Medi (India) and supervised by the primary investigator, Dr. Keith Kowalkowski.

Header steel is a term used in assembly plants for steel members that are added after the main structural building is constructed and usually connect to the bottom chord of existing steel trusses. Header steel is typical designed for special applications dependent on the operations performed on the floor in the area. It often hoists added platforms, conveyors, etc. Hangers are connected to the header steel to directly connect to loads below and are subjected to axial tension. This project focused on connections specifically from the hangers to the header steel and the end connections of the header steel as it connects to the bottom chord of trusses part of the main structural steel framing. In this project, the hangers were single angle sections and the header steel members were channel sections. Dissimilar from most standard connections, the hangers were not bolted or welded director to the header channel sections. Instead, the connections were “wrapped” around the channel sections, which induced flexural, shear and torsional loading on the channel sections.

Design of Irregular Hanger Connections

The results of the research investigations saved GM and subcontractors a significant amount of money. Prior to the tests being performed, engineers considered removing a significant amount of header steel in multiple plants, since individual capacities were uncertain. The research resulted in recommendations for allowable loads for several connections that exist in the field.

CE Beam Testing

Admission to the Master of Science in Civil Engineering program requires:

  1. An earned B.S. degree in civil engineering (or related field) from an accredited undergraduate program;
  2. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00;
  3. Application for Graduate Admission;
  4. One letter of recommendation (employer and professor are preferred);
  5. Official transcripts of all college work;
  6. Professional resume

Although not required, additional documents recommended include; additional recommendation letters and a statement of purpose discussing what the applicant plans to do with the degree and why the university was chosen. The program director may allow provisional admission to applicants who do not meet all conditions for regular admission. A provisional student is typically granted regular status after completing the provisional requirements.



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