Construction Degree Programs
The "Sustainable Built Environment Group" at Stanford
The Construction Program is part of the Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) group in the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford, which includes faculty from:
- structural engineering and geomechanics,
- construction engineering and management,
- design-construction integration,
- and sustainable design and construction.
Our focus is on educating practitioners and researchers who can play a variety of roles in planning, designing, building and operating more sustainable buildings and infrastructure.
The Structural Engineering and Geomechanics (SEG) program educates designers who want to progress beyond traditional life safety code-based design, to develop and disseminate "performance-based" structural and geotechnical engineering methods and tools that maximize the life-cycle economic value of facilities.
The Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program prepares students for careers with progressive construction firms worldwide, interested in building more sustainable buildings and infrastructure using advanced modeling and visualization methods and tools that we call "Virtual Design and Construction."
The Design-Construction Integration (DCI) program combines courses from CEM and SEG, along with additional DCI courses, to educate professionals for design, construction and design-build firms that provide integrate design-build project delivery, construction management and pre-construction services.
Our new program (launched in 2008-2009) in Sustainable Design and Construction (SDC) expands the breadth of the DCI program with courses in sustainable, multi-stakeholder design methods and tools that incorporate lifecycle cost analysis, green architectural design, lighting and energy analysis, to educate students from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds interested in promoting more sustainable development of buildings and infrastructure.
Each of these programs offers MS, Engineer and Ph.D. degrees. Admissions to these programs are handled separately; prospective students should indicate their preference on their application.
Within the Sustainable Built Environment group, the Construction Program offers five degrees: three MS degrees with a shared core and differentiated elective courses to support students with different career goals, and two advanced graduate degrees:
Our MS degrees can typically be completed in three quarters of full time study, starting in Autumn Quarter, for students with an engineering or architecture undergraduate degree.
Students with other undergraduate degrees - our MS alumni include students with undergraduate majors in field as diverse as physics, economics, management, industrial relations, philosophy and music - may require one or more additional quarters to complete the MS degree, depending on the student’s prior background in mathematics, physics and management topics. The curriculum requirements for all MS degrees may be found here (Requirements PDF download).
Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) -- M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program prepares technically qualified students for responsible engineering and management roles in all phases of the development of major constructed facilities. It emphasizes management techniques useful in organizing, planning, and controlling the activities of diverse specialists working within the unique project environment of the construction industry, and it covers construction engineering aspects of heavy, industrial and building construction.
The CEM concentration offers courses in:
- building systems,
- construction administration,
- construction law,
- project finance,
- real estate development,
- structural design,
- HVAC design and construction,
- equipment and methods,
- international construction,
- labor relations,
- managing human resources,
- planning and control techniques,
- productivity improvement,
- and project and company organizations.
Additional related course work is available from other programs within the department, from other engineering departments, and from other schools in the University such as Earth Sciences and the Graduate School of Business. The CEM program allows students substantial flexibility to tailor their program of study for careers with general contractors, specialty contractors, real estate or infrastructure developers or facility owners and operators. Details of the M.S. CEE -- CEM curriculum may be found in the Curriculum Requirements for MSCEE-CEM, MSCEE-DCI, and MSCEE-SDC Degrees. Go to the Requirements and Policies page for the MSEE-CEM degree.
Design Construction Integration (DCI) -- M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Design-Construction Integration (DCI) program prepares students for multidisciplinary collaborative teamwork in an integrated design and construction process. The program extends a student’s design or construction background with core courses in each of these areas and develops the background needed to understand the concerns and expertise of the many project stakeholders. It includes a comprehensive project-based learning experience.
The field of study in Design-Construction Integration is open to applicants with backgrounds in engineering and science. Applicants should also have a background in the planning, design, or construction of facilities by virtue of work experience and/or their undergraduate education. Knowledge in subjects from the traditional areas of civil engineering is necessary for students to receive the degree and to satisfy prerequisite requirements for some of the required graduate courses. Students with an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, and who expect to pursue careers with design or construction firms that emphasize design-build, EPC, or turnkey projects should consider DCI. Details of the M.S. CEE -- DCI curriculum may be found in the Curriculum Requirements for MSCEE-CEM, MSCEE-DCI, and MSCEE-SDC Degrees. Go to the Requirements and Policies page for the MSEE-DCI degree.
Sustainable Design and Construction (SDC) -- M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Sustainable Design and Construction (SDC) program prepares students for careers in planning, designing, building and operating sustainable buildings and infrastructure to maximize their life-cycle economic value, their net contribution to environmental functions and services, and their social equity. The program offers courses in:
- Lifecycle, triple bottom line assessment of projects;
- project finance;
- sustainable multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder planning and design processes;
- green architecture;
- performance-based structural design;
- building energy systems;
- sustainable construction processes and materials; and
- entrepreneurship related to “cleantech” innovations for the built environment.
Classes on entrepreneurial corporate or governmental initiatives focused on enhancing the sustainability of buildings and infrastructure round out the technical and project management content in the program. This degree program was launched in 2008-2009 and is intended for students with undergraduate degrees in architecture, engineering, science, construction management, economics or business who wish to pursue careers that enhance the sustainability of the built environment. Potential employers include architectural or engineering design firms, sustainability consultants, construction firms focusing on green buildings, green-tech start-ups and green-tech venture funds. Please refer to the Curriculum Requirements for MSCEE-CEM, MSCEE-DCI, and MSCEE-SDC Degrees for details. Go to the Requirements and Policies page for the MSEE-SDC degree.
Students interested in additional coursework and independent study beyond the MS can enroll in the degree of Engineer. This degree is similar to the M.Eng. degree that is offered at several other US engineering schools. The Engineer degree requires 45 units consisting of a program of additional coursework to address the student’s interests designed by the student and advisor, and a 12-15 unit thesis. This degree can be completed in three quarters of full time study beyond the M.S. degree.
Students typically enroll in the Engineer degree for one of two reasons:
Acquire state-of-the-art knowledge in a fast-changing field.
- Our Engineer Degree graduates have explored topics as diverse as: designing, building and operating high efficiency data centers; deploying large scale photovoltaic solar arrays; developing innovative ways to finance global infrastructure projects; measuring the costs vs. benefits of deploying virtual design and construction methods and tools; and clarifying the legal liabilities of owners for construction accidents.
- The Engineer Degree positions graduates to work as a leading edge practitioner or consultant in their newly won area of technical or managerial expertise.
Explore their interest in a research topic or research career, and demonstrate their research abilities for potential follow-on PhD research to a prospective advisor.
- Students who already have an MS degree from another university and are interested in enrolling as PhD candidates in CEM are generally required to apply for admission as candidates for the Engineer Degree first.
- Stanford M.S. graduates sometimes enroll in the Engineer Degree to explore their interest in, and their motivation and ability to pursue, a career as a researcher/educator.
See the Engineer Degree degree requirements page for more information.
The Ph.D. degree requires 90 units beyond the M.S. degree (or 45 units beyond the degree of Engineer), including a dissertation that is judged by the student’s dissertation advisor and committee to make an original contribution to knowledge. The Ph.D. degree was historically on the path leading to a career in university education and research. This remains true; our Ph.D. graduates are highly sought after for faculty positions by the top universities in our field worldwide. More recently, leading edge companies and government agencies are also recruiting our Ph.D. graduates to serve as practice leaders and champions in the adoption of new technologies and management approaches.
It is theoretically possible to complete the Ph.D. Degree in six quarters of full-time study after the MS degree. A handful of our prior students have enrolled full time with support from their own funds, or from an external or internal fellowship, and completed all of the requirements for the Ph.D. in two years. However, most of our Ph.D. students receive 50% time research assistantships and can thus enroll for up to 10 units per quarter; so the Ph.D. degree takes a minimum of 9 quarters after the MS degree to complete, and more typically requires from 12-16 quarters of enrollment.
See the Doctor of Philosophy page for more information.