Civil Engineering MSCEGraduate ProgramHandbookLast updated May 16, 2019

Table of ContentsIntroduction .1Articulation Course Requirements .1Curriculum .2Timeline for Completion .2Approximate Timeline for Completion of Degree Program .2Master’s Students (Thesis): .2Master’s Students (Non-thesis): .2Advising/Mentoring .3Roles and Responsibilities.3Plan of Study .4Examination Requirements .4Thesis Requirements .4University Thesis Requirements .4General Requirements.5Master’s Thesis Committee .5Graduate Research .5Financial Support .6Graduate Teaching .6Conference Presentation Support .7Graduate Student Associations .7Professional Development .7Instructor Training and Development .8Pathways to Success Workshops .8Graduate Research Forum .8Graduate Excellence Awards .8Other .9Job Search .9Forms .9Useful Links .9Grad Faculty . 10Contact Info . 13Civil Engineering MSCE Program Handbooki

Civil Engineering MSCETogether, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your mainguide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies,requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details aboutgraduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderfulresources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the GraduateCollege.The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of theuniversity community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarlyintegrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the higheststandards of academic and personal integrity.Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities: Academic HonestyAcademic Integrity Training - Open to all graduate students at no costPlagiarismIntroductionThe Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) degree is designed for students who have an undergraduatedegree in Civil Engineering or another closely related engineering degree. Graduate work and research in civilengineering reflects the very broad nature of the field, which encompasses the design, construction, andenhancement of the infrastructure of society. The program includes course work in structural analysis and design,geotechnical engineering and foundations, transportation planning and operations, traffic engineering and waterresources engineering. Students completing the program find positions in consulting firms, construction andconstruction-related industries, in city, county, state, and federal government agencies, and academic institutions.The Civil Engineering MSCE program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree andcan be obtained via either a thesis or a non-thesis option. The thesis option requires 24 credit hours of acceptablecoursework plus 6 credit hours of thesis, and the non-thesis option requires 30 credit hours of acceptablecoursework with a comprehensive final examination. The non-thesis option is strongly recommended for part-timestudents. Students must develop an individual plan of study with a faculty adviser by their second semester ofstudy. At least one-half of the required credits must be taken at the 6000 level.Research studies are required in one or more courses. The research study and report will focus on reviewing andanalyzing contemporary research in a student’s particular specialization within the profession in order to helpstudents acquire knowledge and skills pertaining to research-based best practices in that specialization area. Inaddition, students may engage in directed independent studies, directed research or a research report during theirstudies.Articulation Course RequirementsArticulation courses are those undergraduate courses that are prerequisites for graduate courses. Articulationcourses are required for some students, especially with backgrounds outside the discipline of Civil Engineering.These typical senior-level courses give students the appropriate level of knowledge needed to take required andelective graduate courses in the discipline. A few articulation courses may be taken via COVE, or from otherschools, but most are only offered live at UCF. Articulation requirements may vary for each individual studentdepending on their background. For the MSCE degree program, appropriate articulation courses will be chosenCivil Engineering MSCE Program Handbook1

by the department after review of the student’s background. Please contact the program director for moreinformation.CurriculumPlease visit the Graduate Catalog to see the current curriculum for our program.Timeline for CompletionApproximate Timeline for Completion of Degree ProgramStudents must follow a prescribed, yet flexible path, achieving milestones along the way. Although there is noguarantee that each student will be able to complete all the requirements, if a student is hard working and diligent,and is a full-time graduate student, he or she should be able to complete a master’s thesis program within 1 to 2years. For non-thesis master’s students who are working full-time and going to school part-time, it may take 3 to 6years to achieve the degree.The following listing is intended as a guide and reminder to students and faculty as to the approximate timing ofevents for graduate students. It is intentionally somewhat vague to account for different starting semesters,different research project needs, and different levels of student capabilities.Master’s Students (Thesis):Semester 1: Enter UCF, and begin taking courses ensuring articulation courses (if needed) are taken first. If youare not already on a research project at the time of entry, begin searching for a research project and researchadviser.Semester 2: Find a research adviser and start research; complete articulation courses (as needed); continuetaking graduate courses; file a Plan of Study.Semester 3: Begin working in earnest on research; start literature review; perhaps finish coursework. Work withadviser to form a committee.Semester 4: Finish coursework; begin wrapping up research; start writing thesis.Last Semester: File intent to graduate. Finish writing thesis, get approvals from committee, and defend. Followall College of Graduate Studies rules and meet all deadlines.Note: Students are ultimately responsible for their own progress, including compliance with all rules andregulations of the University.Master’s Students (Non-thesis):Semester 1: Enter UCF, and begin taking courses ensuring articulation courses (if needed) are taken first.Semesters 2 and 3: Find an adviser and design a Plan of Study. Continue taking courses.Semesters 4–5: Take courses maintaining acceptable grades. In semester before last, request scheduling of thecomprehensive final exam. Note that there is a UCF rule (7-year statute of limitations on courses), so try to finishall your courses in 4 or 5 years.Last Semester: File intent to graduate; take and pass comprehensive final exam.Civil Engineering MSCE Program Handbook2

Note: Students are ultimately responsible for their own progress, including compliance with all rules andregulations of the University.Student/Advisor PolicyEvery student upon admissions will work closely with an advisor throughout their Masters career at UCF. Thestudent’s advisor will assist with course planning, research, degree progress, etc. It is a policy and requirementthat a funded Masters student of the Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering department may notchange advisors without prior permission of their original advisor. Funded students are required to do a Thesis inorder to complete their Master’s degree. Once funding is accepted, even for one semester, the student isobligated to do a thesis and cannot switch to a non-thesis degree except in very extreme cases.Advising/MentoringAdvising and mentoring are two very important elements in a graduate student’s career. Upon acceptance into theCECE department, graduate students are assigned a faculty adviser, who is identified to the student in theacceptance letter from the department. In most cases, the student will have indicated an area of interest in theirapplication, and the faculty adviser will be specialized in that sub-discipline. The faculty adviser is a very importantperson in the life of a graduate student. The faculty adviser will most likely end up being the student’s thesisadviser.In some cases, incoming MS graduate students will not have indicated a strong research preference, or mayarrive just prior to the start of the semester, and will need to register for courses before they can meet with theiradviser, or may be assigned an adviser who does not fit comfortably with the student’s interests. In those cases,the student will be advised into courses for at least the first semester by the graduate coordinator. New studentsshould meet with the graduate coordinator upon arrival at UCF if they cannot meet with their adviser.The graduate coordinator will provide initial guidance on overall academic requirements, program and universitypolicies and procedures, while the faculty thesis adviser serves as a mentor providing direction on research,advice on plan of study, and guidance on other areas of academic and personal life. All non-thesis master’sstudents should contact the graduate coordinator for an initial interview (may be conducted by telephone), whomay then assign an appropriate faculty adviser, or will advise the student directly.Roles and ResponsibilitiesFaculty Adviser The adviser helps the student select which courses to take.The adviser (in consultation with the student) develops the student’s plan of study.The adviser directs the student’s research.For MS thesis option, the adviser reviews and approves the student’s thesis.The adviser often provides financial support for the student (based on a research grant).Student The student takes coursework as required, maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.The student maintains a full course load and works diligently to complete all requirements in a timelymanner.The student (in consultation with the faculty adviser) develops a plan of study prior to completing thefirst 9 hours of coursework.The student identifies (in consultation with the faculty adviser) a suitable research topic.The student works in the lab or field or other venue as needed to complete his or her research.Civil Engineering MSCE Program Handbook3

The student is responsible for knowing and meeting all university deadlines, rules, and regulations –see the section titled Student Responsibilities in the Graduate Catalog.If a student wants to change faculty advisers, the student should discuss the situation with his or hercurrent faculty adviser first, and then request the change through the graduate coordinator. Thechange must be approved by the current faculty adviser, the new faculty adviser, and the graduatecoordinator.Plan of StudyThe Plan of Study (POS) serves as an agreement between the student and the program, listing course and otherrequirements for completing the degree. Each student must have an approved Plan of Study (POS). The POS isdeveloped by the student and his/her adviser and lists the specific courses to be taken as part of the degreerequirements. The student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in his or her POS.For all master’s students, the POS must be signed and submitted during the first semester that the student is atUCF, or no later than upon completion of 9 credit hours of graduate coursework. The POS can be revised later toreflect necessary changes in the courses, but it is crucial that a POS be on file, signed by the student and thefaculty adviser, and approved by the graduate coordinator. For each master’s program, certain courses arerequired and others are elective (as was discussed previously). Any substitutions must be approved by thegraduate coordinator.Examination RequirementsThesis Students: After conducting research and writing the thesis, the student will defend the thesis, and standfor an oral examination. Questions will come from the committee and may cover topics other than what was donein the research (e.g., topics from courses taken). The committee has the final say on whether the student passesor fails. If failed, this exam may be retaken once at the discretion of the committee.Non-thesis Students: In the last semester of coursework, the student must contact his or her faculty adviser orthe graduate coordinator to schedule the comprehensive final exam. The exam will consist of questions thatrepresent knowledge that should have been gained from the various courses taken by the student. The exam maybe open or closed book or have questions of both types. If failed, this exam may be retaken once.For additional information, see 4 Master’s program Policies.Thesis RequirementsUniversity Thesis RequirementsThe College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page contains information on the university’srequirements for dissertation formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-stepcompletion guide is also available on Thesis and Dissertation Services Site.All university deadlines are listed in the Academic Calendar. Your program or college may have other earlierdeadlines; please check with your program and college staff for additional deadlines.The following requirements must be met by dissertation students in their final term: Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadlineSubmit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defenseDefend by the defense deadlineReceive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)Submit signed approval form by final submission deadlineSubmit final thesis document by final submission deadlineCivil Engineering MSCE Program Handbook4

Students must format their dissertation according to the standards outlined in Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse.Formatting questions or issues can be submitted to the Format Help page in the Thesis and Dissertation Servicessite. Format reviews and final submission must be completed in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. TheDissertation Approval Form is also available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site.The College of Graduate Studies offers several thesis and dissertation Workshops each term. Students are highlyencouraged to attend these workshops early in the dissertation process to fully understand the above policies andprocedures.The College of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation office is best reached by email at [email protected] Requirements Students will complete a formal thesis on a topic selected in consultation with an advisory committeeand will meet both departmental and university requirements for the thesis.A minimum of six credit hours of thesis credits is required.No more than six credit hours of thesis credits will be applied toward degree requirements.To be considered full-time after completion of coursework, students must be continuously enrolled inthree hours of thesis research every semester (including summers) until successful defense andgraduation. This enrollment each semester reflects the expenditure of university resources. Studentsthat wish to enroll in part-time hours must consult with their adviser. For more details aboutenrollment, please refer to the UCF Graduate Catalog: 4 Policies Master’s Program Policies Thesis Requirements Thesis Enrollment.Requirement and the UCF Graduate Catalog: 4 GeneralPolicies Full-time Enrollment Requirements.A written thesis and final oral defense are required for each thesis student.The thesis document may be among the biggest academic efforts that you will ever make. It isrequired that all theses be officially submitted in electronic form. It is highly recommended that you(the student) discuss format and content with your adviser and carefully review other theses beforeyou get started.Master’s Thesis Committee The thesis committee will consist of a minimum of three members. All committee members shouldhold a doctoral degree and be in fields related to the thesis topic. At least two members must bedepartment faculty (one to serve as chair). Off-campus experts, joint faculty members, adjunct faculty,and other university faculty members may serve as the third person in the committee.In unusual cases, with approval from the department chair, two professors may chair the committeejointly. For additional information, please visit 4&navoid 204.All members vote on acceptance or rejection of the thesis proposal and the final thesis. The finalthesis must be approved by a majority of the advisory committee.Graduate ResearchResearch is a vital part of graduate education. The development of research skills and the practice of goodresearch ethics begins with graduate study. Faculty serve a crucial role and are the primary source for teachingresearch skills and modeling research ethics. In the CECE department, much of our research is carried out as a part of Contracted SponsoredResearch. Faculty obtain sponsored research from many different government agencies, and/orindustry, and thus commit the university to doing certain research tasks. Students are typically hiredto help the faculty conduct the research, and as such are contractually obligated to give their “bestCivil Engineering MSCE Program Handbook5

efforts” to accomplishing the research tasks. In most cases, students who are supported on contractsmay use the results of their work as the basis for their thesis.Faculty research interests include geotechnical studies of subsurface conditions, soil testing"superpave" mix design, intelligent transportation systems, traffic safety, structural dynamics,nonlinear structural analysis and software development, reinforced concrete, hydraulic modeling,coastal ocean modeling, storm water management, and watershed management. To learn moreabout CECE research and its institutes, visit is important to be honest and ethical in conducting research as well as in taking classes. Report alldata factually and completely. Please see Thesis and Dissertation Requirementsat 4&navoid 204.Patents and inventions may arise from the faculty and graduate student research. UCF has clearguidelines and a Patent and Invention Policy in the Graduate Catalog. Pleasesee 4&navoid 201.Students should be aware that in our department, we require that theses be written in a journal articleformat. The university conducts workshops on thesis and dissertation formatting, library research, andwriting essentials. Students, when beginning to write their thesis, should always see the College ofGraduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation website It ishighly recommended that each student coordinate with his or her faculty adviser as to the preferredjournal format, prior to beginning to write the thesis.There are specific Laboratory Safety Procedures that must be followed by each student working in alab in the CECE Department. It is department policy that each student is responsible for knowing andfollowing the safety procedures. Please see the laboratories manager and/or your faculty adviser toget a copy of the safety procedures for the appropriate lab.Financial SupportFinancial support is a major concern for graduate students, especially since many rely on financial support fromthe university to pursue graduate study. In combination, the college, the university, and the department providefinancial assistance to graduate students in several ways: (1) fellowships and scholarships are available toacademically outstanding students, (2) Graduate Teaching Assistantships – GTAs (for grading or for lab teaching)are available in limited numbers, (3) Graduate Research Assistantships – GRAs (for helping faculty with research)are more widely available depending on the funding levels of the faculty. The thesis option is the only option for students who are receiving a fellowship or assistantship (GTAor GRA) from the department.Students with assistantship agreements are expected to work 10 to 20 hours per week on theirassigned tasks (whether it be grading, lab teaching, or research), while they are maintainingsatisfactory progress in completing their academic courses.To maintain financial support, students must meet their obligations by making satisfactory progresstowards their degree, enrolling full time, maintaining a 3.0 GPA in their Plan of Study, and doingacceptable research or grading or teaching work as defined by their supervisor.The duration of financial support may vary from one semester to another.International students are expected to be here as full-time students, and may not work off campusexcept under certain strict conditions. For information about the types of employment available tointernational students, and the requirements and restrictions based on visa type, see the InternationalServices Center’s website: Students Employment.Graduate TeachingGraduate students may be appointed as graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) to carry out responsibilities asclassroom teachers (instructors of record), co-teachers or classroom assistants, graders, lab assistants, or otherroles directly related to classroom instruction. Mandatory training requirements must be met for a student to behired in the position of Graduate Teaching Associate, Assistant or Grader. The training, offered by UCF’s FacultyCenter for Teaching and Learning, covers course design, learning theories, ethics, and other topics relevant toCivil Engineering MSCE Program Handbook6

preparing GTAs for their responsibilities. See Student Finances GTA Informationfor training requirements and registration instructions.Students who are non-native speakers of English and do not have a degree from a U.S. institution must pass theSPEAK test before they will be permitted to teach as Graduate Teaching Associates (position code 9183) orGraduate Teaching Assistants (position code 9184). The SPEAK test is not required for students who will beappointed as a Graduate Teaching Grader (position code 9187). Additional information including how to registerfor the test can be accessed through the GTA Information section of the College of Graduate Studies studentwebsite.Conference Presentation SupportThe College of Graduate Studies offers a Graduate Presentation Fellowship that provides funding for master's,specialist, and doctoral students to deliver a research paper or comparable creative activity at a professionalmeeting. Students must be the primary author and presenter. For additional information, Student Government Association also funds individuals for travel. To apply for SGA funding, fill out theConference Registration and Travel (CRT) Individual Allocation form and submit it to the SGA Office located inthe Student Union, room 214. Additional information, including links to form may be found at Student AssociationsThe Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students'personal, educational and professional experience. To learn more or get involved, pleasevisit For individual department or graduate program organizations, please seeyour program adviser.Professional DevelopmentA graduate student’s professional development goes beyond completing course work, passing exams, conductingresearch for a thesis, and meeting degree requirements. Professional development also involves developing theacademic and non-academic skills needed to become successful in the field of choice. UCF has an active professional development program for graduate students, including theProfessoriate Program, sponsored by Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, the GTA CertificateProgram, sponsored by FCTL, the Pathways to Success Workshops, the Graduate Research forum,sponsored by the College of Graduate Studies, and special award recognitions such as the Award forExcellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant, the Award for Excellence in Graduate StudentTeaching, the Award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis, and the Award for the OutstandingDissertation (see section below for more information).Doctoral students intending to pursue a career in academia have the opportunity to develop grantproposal writing skills by working closely with faculty mentors.Students are expected to publish the results of their research. In fact, the CECE department stronglyencourages students to write their thesis in the journal paper format.Graduate students in CECE are encouraged to present a poster or a topic of research at conferenceswhile still a student, and often their faculty mentor will be able to fund one or more such opportunities.Also, see the Financial Support section of this handbook for information about travel support.Civil Engineering MSCE Program Handbook7

Instructor Training and DevelopmentThe Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) promotes excellence in all levels of teaching at theUniversity of Central Florida. They offer several programs for the professional development of Graduate TeachingAssistants at UCF. GTA Training (mandatory for employment as a GT

and is a full-time graduate student, he or she should be able to complete a master’s thesis program within 1 to 2 years. For non-thesis master’s students who are working full-time and going to school part-time, it may