Lyles School of Civil Engineering Online MSCE Grad Student Handbook


Welcome to graduate study in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University! The purpose of this handbook is to acquaint new and continuing online master’s students in the program with the opportunities and requirements for graduate study and graduate degrees. Useful information for our graduate students, including this document can be found at:

For additional information or explanation of matters that are unclear, please contact the Civil Engineering Graduate Programs Office by calling (765) 494-2436 or emailing

Degree Titles

Graduate degree awarded by the Lyles School of Civil Engineering for the online program:

  • MSCE: Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Interdisciplinary tracks available:


Each student is assigned an initial graduate advisor who will counsel the student on his/her program of study, special classes, and offer academic guidance. Students may select a faculty advisor to discuss course selection and career planning.

Selecting an Advisor

All MSCE students must have a three-person advisory committee. In the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, we have identified default advisory committee members to streamline the process of putting together a committee for online students. Students can choose to keep these default committee members or can select others.

Infrastructure, Resiliency and Sustainability:

  • Dr. Arun Prakash
  • Dr. Hubo Cai
  • Dr. Amit Varma

Smart Mobility:

  • Dr. Satish Ukkusuri
  • Dr. Yiheng Feng

Sustainable Water:

  • Dr. Ernest Blatchley
  • Dr. Venkatesh Merwade
  • Dr. Andrew Whelton

Student Instructions

Before you begin creating your committee, the Lyles School of Civil Engineering recommends that you meet with your advisor to discuss aspects of your plan, such as the courses that should be included, choosing your advisory committee, and any transfer courses to be used (if applicable). If you are not sure who to reach out to in the department, start with the department’s Graduate Program Administrator.

General Academic Requirements for Graduate Students

A description of the academic and registration requirements for graduate students is available in the Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual, Sections V and VI. That document is available online at:

Requirements specific to the Lyles School of Civil Engineering follow:


The general requirement for admission to graduate study in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering is satisfactory completion of a four-year baccalaureate degree at a college or university of recognized standing. Because of the diversity of programs available within the School, no one kind of undergraduate preparation is stipulated. However, if deficiencies in math, physics, or specific civil engineering studies are identified by the admissions committee or advisor, they are often required to be remedied in the first one or two semesters of a student’s courses.

English Proficiency Requirements

At the time of enrollment, the records of all incoming on-campus graduate students are reviewed to determine whether or not they have met the minimum written English proficiency requirements as established by the Lyles School of Civil Engineering. The minimum requirements are as follows:

Domestic Students – A grade of “B” or better in all undergraduate composition courses. Students testing out of all undergraduate courses in composition and writing do not meet this requirement.

International Students – A minimum score of 575 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFLpaper), 233 on TOEFL (computer based), or 22 on the Writing and Speaking Section of the internet based TOEFL (iBT).

Graduate Student Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Purdue's College of Engineering and the Lyles School of Civil Engineering require all engineering degreeseeking graduate students to complete training in Responsible Conduct of Research by the end of their first semester and every 5 years thereafter. This training provides important guidance to all graduate students who will benefit from a fundamental understanding of how research is conducted. Students on NSF- or NIH-funded research projects may have additional requirements or earlier deadlines and should check with their research advisor. More details and instructions can be found at:

Continuation of Studies towards the PhD Degree

Upon successful completion of the Master’s degree, a student may wish to continue towards a PhD degree within Civil Engineering at Purdue. The PhD program is residential, so an Online MSCE student would need to formally apply to the PhD program through the Purdue Graduate School for admission consideration.

Plan of Study

The Online MSCE Plan of Study Manual can be found at:

Transferring courses to a Purdue Graduate Plan of Study

  • A student can transfer up to 6 credits of non-degree graduate level coursework or coursework from a degree seeking program where the degree was not completed, to their Purdue Graduate POS.
  • The “transfer” process happens when the student submits their POS – there is no mechanism to approve transfer courses prior to the generation of the POS.
  • All courses that are being transferred must be verifiable with transcripts and must have credit hours associated with them. An official transcript showing the completion of courses must be on file with the Purdue University Graduate School.
  • Courses being transferred must be graduate level and have earned a grade of “B” or better in order to be used on a POS.

Registration of Graduate Students

Registration is the process of selecting courses, reserving space in those courses, receiving a schedule, and paying fees. A student is not officially enrolled until fees are paid.

The CE Graduate Office will contact new and returning online MSCE students prior to the beginning of each semester with registration information and PINs. The student can then access myPurdue and register for most courses via the Scheduling Assistant, using the PIN number. If a student encounters errors when registering, they can contact the CE Grad Office for assistance. Once a faculty advisor has been identified, the student can also contact the faculty member for advice on selecting coursework.

Note that many of the online courses use software that pre-packages the course materials and deadlines. Instructors will not be able to provide extensions of assignment deadlines. Please be sure to read the course syllabus closely to ensure that you are aware of deadlines and will be to meet then.

You will access the courses through Brightspace. Instructors must initiate the course in the system – some faculty do this before the start date of the course, others on the start date.

General Credit Requirements

  • One credit of registration in a semester is sufficient to maintain your student status. Eight credits are considered full-time.
  • You can sit out two semesters and still maintain your student status – summer semesters count.

Administering Online MSCE Degree Program

Steps for an Online MSCE:

Meet all admissions conditions that apply. Most students will need to submit official transcripts, showing their bachelors degree has been awarded, and diploma to the Purdue Graduate School before being permitted to enroll in their second semester. These conditions are listed in the admission offer.

Submit a Plan of Study by the end of the third semester of study. If a student intends to graduate in less than three semesters, POS should be submitted by the end of the second semester.

Graduate Student Responsibilities and Rights

Academic Grades

Success in graduate studies requires performance at a high level. Only grades of A, B, or C are acceptable for fulfilling Graduate School requirements in any Plan of Study. An advisory committee may require higher performance than C in certain courses. Pass/not-pass grades are not acceptable. The student's progress will be reviewed each semester by both the Graduate School and the Lyles School of Civil Engineering. Should the student fail to perform at a satisfactory level, he or she may be asked to discontinue graduate study at Purdue. The same scholastic requirements in effect during the regular University year apply to graduate study during the summer session.


Integrity in scholarship and research is an essential part of Purdue University's intellectual and social structure, and adherence to its spirit and principles must be maintained. These principles include commitment to truth, objectivity, fairness, honesty and free inquiry. Advances in scientific knowledge depend on trustworthy data and honestly, reported legitimate information in a manner that other scholars, operating in good faith, can judge and replicate. The integrity of the process of research and scholarship must depend largely on self-regulation; it is the responsibility of all who engage in the search for knowledge.

Each graduate student is required to complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course on Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR). The Graduate School in cooperation with the Office of the Vice President for Research has developed the Purdue University Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) program. The purpose of this program is to inculcate, promote and sustain an environment of research integrity in all graduate students, staff and faculty at Purdue University.

Purdue University Graduate School recommends a multi-pronged approach to promote Responsible Conduct of Research:

a. Attending workshops,
b. Online training/tutorial modules, and
c. Meeting Departmental or College expectations in Responsible Conduct of Research

Within the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, part (a) is waived for online students; part (b) is met by completing the online RCR module during the first semester.

More information can be found at:

Copyright Permission

The use of photographs, figures, tables, or other information that is scanned from other individual documents must receive written authorization for use in a thesis or dissertation.


It is, and has been, the policy of Purdue University to maintain the campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff, and students, free of sexual harassment or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or other protected status. In providing an educational and work climate which is positive and discrimination free, faculty, staff, and students should be aware that harassment in the workplace or the educational environment is unacceptable conduct and will not be condoned. If a graduate student believes he/she has been the victim of harassment, there are a number of ways to seek assistance. For further details please contact the School of Civil Engineering Graduate Programs Office or the Dean of Students Office.

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering recommends that all online graduate students participate in an Equal Access/Equal Opportunity Training Session. The session is designed to provide participants with a foundation in the areas of equal access and equal opportunity. Information on discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, disabilities, retaliation, and the process at the University for the resolution of complaints will be presented. The University's Nondiscrimination Policy Statement, Antiharassment Policy, and Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment will be provided to every participant. Participants are asked to assess the role personal behavior and conduct play in ensuring an inclusive university community free of discrimination and harassment. The Training may be completed online at: