Civil & Environmental Engineering

Department Head: Markus J. Buehler | Email | Website Give to MIT

77 Massachusetts Ave. • 1-290 • Cambridge, MA 02139 • (617) 253-7101

Grounded in science and engineering, the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering seeks to understand the world, invent, and lead with creative design. To address some of the greatest challenges of our time, we use pioneering approaches that range from basic scientific principles to complex engineering design, at scales from the nano to the global. Our students define the future and make an impact in the world as scholars, professionals, and innovators.

Emphasizing the use of quantitative approaches, CEE features two vibrant centers of gravity: environment, what exists as natural systems; and infrastructure, what is created by human activity. 

Our core mission is to educate, inside and outside the classroom. We offer undergraduate degree programs in the broad areas of infrastructure and environment. Our graduate programs provide limitless possibilities at the frontier of knowledge and innovation, and foster multi- and interdisciplinary research.

CEE consists of people from a very broad range of academic disciplines who work together to contribute to exciting intellectual networks across the department and MIT. We are defined by our singular strengths, collaborative synergies and our commitment to excellence. We foster diversity of people, research and interests, and champion the careers of our students, researchers, staff and faculty.

Infrastructure

Our efforts in the area of infrastructure focus on innovative science and engineering approaches that advance the design of infrastructure materials, transportation systems, cities and energy resources. Emphasizing collaborations across MIT, we seek to address fundamental issues that are critical to society and the environment, and to serve as the center of excellence in the design, manufacturing and operation of infrastructure. We are particularly interested in advancing areas such as benign materials design, infrastructure data analytics, smart infrastructure, geo-chemo-mechanics for subsurface energy and other material resources, as well as resilient cities. A priority is identifying and applying radically new approaches to the design, manufacturing and characterization of infrastructure materials. The Pierce Laboratory serves as the home for these activities, and its members and affiliates play a leadership role in many cross-cutting initiatives and programs.

Environment

Our long-term objective in the area of environment is to understand and engineer human adaptation to a changing environment, the core mission of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering. Human activities are affecting the global environment at rates that are likely to increase dramatically. In light of global effects such as rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and changing weather patterns, the specific local impacts of global environmental change on water, agriculture and food, water and air quality, natural hazards and public health remain largely unknown. A priority is to understand which local changes must be made due to global changes, how marine and terrestrial ecosystems respond to global changes, and how local ecosystem services are affected and utilized. We are particularly interested in advancing areas such as microbial ecology, terrestrial ecology, coastal processes and engineering, and chemical impacts of materials design and manufacturing.

Education

Master of Engineering

The nine-month degree program is designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a closely related field and provides additional technical depth and an educational experience geared to professional practice.

Master of Science

These two-year, research-oriented degree programs are for students wishing to gain an in-depth understanding of an aspect of civil engineering or environmental engineering science and work closely with a faculty member on a research project, which usually forms the basis of the master’s thesis. The majority of students who earn this degree stay on to earn a doctoral degree.

Master of Science and MBA

The two-year MIT Leaders for Global Operations program offers both an SM in CEE and an MBA or SM from the MIT Sloan School of Management. LGO’s program of study in CEE offers optional tracks in energy and the environment, transportation, supply chain management and general CEE.

Doctoral Degree

The doctoral degree is a research-intensive degree program. Students are expected to select a research project in one of the focal areas of the department and work with faculty to design and complete the research program, leading to the writing of a doctoral thesis.

Interdepartmental Master of Science or Doctorate in Transportation

The Master of Science and the Doctorate in Transportation are offered through an interdisciplinary degree program administered through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with involvement of faculty from several departments at MIT. Students work closely with a faculty member on a research project, which usually forms the basis of the thesis.

CSE: PhD Program in Computational Science and Engineering

The Ph.D. Program in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) is a collaboration of CEE and the Center for Computational Engineering. The CSE Doctoral Program allows CEE students to specialize in a computation-related field of their choice through focused coursework and a Doctoral Thesis, and to participate in a multi-departmental program by satisfying a set of computation-specific requirements.

The three CEE undergraduate degree programs share a common core, usually taken in the sophomore year, that includes courses in ecology, mechanics, mathematics, and design. The CEE engineering design lab sequence introduces sophomores to design and fabrication in a supportive team-oriented environment. In the junior and senior years, students build on the core by taking more specialized subjects in their chosen degree tracks, and in the senior year, students also design and build projects.

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

The program provides a solid foundation for practice in both classical and emerging areas of civil engineering, including structural analysis and design, engineering materials, geotechnical analysis and design, sustainable built environments, and transportation and logistics. The program provides a solid foundation for graduate studies and a direct transition to the Master of Engineering program.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering Science

This option gives students an in-depth understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that control the natural environment and its interactions with human activities. Sufficiently flexible to prepare students for careers in medicine or environmental law, it is also a solid foundation for graduate study and research in both basic and applied environmental disciplines and provides a direct transition to the Master of Engineering program.

Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

This program is for students drawn to the core features of our curriculum, but who desire flexibility in their choice of subjects in order to concentrate more fully on a specific focal area in civil and environmental engineering science.