Master of Applied Science


The Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering (MASc) is a research-based thesis graduate program in Civil Engineering, and is available in the following areas of specialization:

*Note that the specialization does not appear on the degree parchment or on the transcript.

Successful completion of the MASc degree requires the completion of 30 credits through 18 credits of coursework and a 12-credit MASc thesis, subject to various constraints and requirements as provided below. For further information, please contact UBC Civil Engineering’s Graduate Support.

University Policies and Regulations

All students should also be aware of the relevant campus-wide Policies and Regulations within the University Calendar, including the Statement on Academic Freedom. They should also be aware of the relevant University Policies, giving particular attention to: Policy LR2 – Research; Policy LR11 – Inventions; Policy SC6 – Scholarly Integrity; and Policy SC3 – Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment.

Faculty Policies and Regulations

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) is responsible for the MASc program. The policies and regulations from G+PS apply to the MASc program. Students should review and be aware of the relevant policies, regulations and administrative requirements as may be relevant. A summary is given in the University Calendar (see Academic Regulations). Additional information is available through the G+PS website and G+PS requirements for completing the MASc program are specified here.

Research Supervisor

By April of the first full year of study, all MASc students must arrange for a faculty member to serve as the Research Supervisor. The principal roles of the Research Supervisor are to provide guidance on the selection of coursework, to collaborate on and supervise the research effort, and to provide guidance on preparation of the MASc thesis. On occasion, a student may be co-supervised by two faculty members.

Prior to the first April in the program, the student may be assigned an interim supervisor, usually the Specialty Advisor. If the Research Supervisor is on study leave or other leave exceeding two months, it is recommended that an interim co-supervisor be appointed.

Coursework Requirements

The MASc Program requires completion of at least 30 credits: 18 credits of coursework and successful completion of a 12-credit thesis (CIVL 599). The 18 credits of coursework are subject to the following requirements:

  • 500 level courses. A minimum of 12 credits of graduate level course (numbered 5XX) courses must be completed, of which at least 12 credits must be in Civil Engineering (labelled CIVL 5XX).
  • CIVL 597. All students are required to register once in the appropriate section of CIVL 597 Graduate Seminar (1 credit, Pass/Fail mark); however, they are encouraged to attend the seminar series (without subsequent registration) throughout their time in the program. All MASc students are required to give at least one seminar presentation within CIVL 597 during the program.
  • CIVL 592. A maximum of 6 credits may be taken through CIVL 592 Directed Studies.
  • CIVL 598. A maximum of 6 credits may be taken through CIVL 598 Topics in Civil Engineering. (These are courses that have not yet been approved by the University Senate.)
  • 300/ 400 Level Courses. A maximum of 6 credits of 300 or 400 level courses may be taken.
  • 100/200 Level Courses. 100/200 level courses may not be used for credit towards the MEng program. 
  • Specialization Requirements. Coursework requirements specific to each area of specialization must be satisfied and may be found under Areas of Specialization.

Students are required to obtain approval of their course selection from their Specialty Advisor or the Research Supervisor.

Coursework Regulations

Coursework Plan. Prior to registering in any courses, all MASc students are required to consult with the Research Supervisor or Specialty Advisor regarding a Coursework Plan, and thereby secure approval of the Plan. The student should initially develop a draft plan that lists the proposed courses and schedule, taking account of course availability (not all courses are offered every year) and term in which they are given, and may take account of prior courses and course substitutions in the manner indicated below. This will assure adherence to course credit requirements, coursework regulations, an appropriate course load and selection, and no scheduling conflicts.

Minimum Course Marks.  A minimum of 68% is required in each course used for credit. However, a maximum of 6 credits with grades between 60 and 67% may be accepted for credit, if the candidate has an average greater than or equal to 68% in all coursework. Supplemental examinations are not granted to graduate students: a course in which a grade of less than 60% is obtained may be repeated for a higher standing, subject to approval of the Department and G+PS. A student who obtains a grade of less than 68% in more than 6 credits will normally be required to withdraw for inadequate academic progress.

Prior Courses and Transfer Credit.  Transfer credit arrangements for the MASc degree are governed by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (see Transfer Credit). These allow students to transfer up to 12 credits of coursework taken prior to or after admission to the current program, subject to certain constraints. The courses cannot have been used to satisfy the requirements of another credential; they cannot have been used as a basis for admission to the current program; they must have been taken within five years of admission to the current program; and a standing of a least 74% must be obtained in the relevant courses. For clarity, transfer credits may be applied to all courses used for credit in the current program, including CIVL 500-level courses, but not CIVL 597, and need not entail exact course equivalencies. Students requesting transfer credit, including advanced credit from prior studies, should consult the Research Supervisor or Specialty Advisor upon entry or prior to registering in affected courses. The Supervisor or Advisor may so recommend to the Graduate Advisor, who may in turn so recommend to G+PS for approval.

Core Course Substitutions. A Core Course may be substituted by an elective course if the equivalent course has already been taken.

Selection of Elective Courses. Elective Courses may be selected from the list of Approved Elective Courses for the relevant specialization, CIVL 592 (which needs to be arranged with a particular instructor), a relevant CIVL 598 section (if available) and/or other courses including 300/400 level undergraduate courses and courses outside Civil Engineering. However, beyond the Approved Elective Courses, the final selection of elective courses requires the approval of the Specialty Advisor, typically at the time of Coursework Plan approval. At all times, Department-wide course credit requirements and constraints need to be strictly adhered to.

MASc Thesis

All MASc students should register and maintain registration in CIVL 599 MASc Thesis in order to complete the 12-credit research thesis.

The thesis is prepared under the guidance of the Research Supervisor. The Research Supervisor, in consultation with a second reader, may request revisions to the thesis and must approve the thesis. They assign a grade to the thesis. A minimum grade of 68% must be obtained in order to submit the thesis and request approval for graduation.

Part-Time Status, Leaves of Absence and Program Duration

MASc students are normally considered full-time, but may apply for part-time status, during the program. They may apply for leaves of absence during the program, and any such leave, if granted, does not count towards the total duration limitations of the program. (Such changes in status may impact the level of tuition fees charged.) Full-time MASc students are required to spend at least one winter session at the University; and they typically complete the program within about 24 months. In any event, the program must be completed within 5 years of initial registration.

Leaves of Absence. Students may apply for a leave of absence to have time away from their academic responsibilities. Leave is granted for personal, health, professional, or other reasons. Leave, not including parental leave or leave to pursue concurrent programs, is limited to one year for MASc students. A leave will normally begin on the September 1, January 1 or May 1, and will extend for a period of four, eight, or twelve months.

Both the Department and G+PS must approve all leaves of absence, and requests for leaves for medical reasons must be accompanied by a doctor’s note recommending the leave. It is understood that students with on-leave status will not undertake any academic or research work, or use any University facilities during the period of leave. Students must inform the University immediately upon return. Building access requests during leaves will be denied. The time spent on leave is not counted as part of the allowed time for completion of the degree.

Students granted a leave-of-absence or parental leave retain the full value of any fellowship or award whose terms and conditions are established by G+PS. However, award payments will be suspended at the onset of the leave and reinstated at the termination of the leave period, provided the student then returns to full-time study. Other awards will be paid in accordance to the conditions established by the donor or granting agency.

Parental Leave. Any graduate student who is welcoming a child into their family is eligible for parental leave. Students are permitted a leave of between 4 and 12 months.


Extenuating circumstances may justify additional time to complete the degree program. A request for a one-year extension must be justified and supported by the student’s Research Supervisor, but this requires a compelling rationale. A second year’s extension requires a compelling rationale from the Research Supervisor and an explanation of the special circumstances that would justify the exception. All extension requests must be made through the Department by emailing and must include a schedule showing how the thesis will be completed in the period requested. Extensions will not be granted beyond two years.

Transfers between programs

MASc to MEng. A transfer to MEng from the MASc program is possible, but could affect your tuition payments. For more information, please contact

MASc to PhD. A transfer from the MASc to the PhD is usually based on an invitation from a faculty member, and needs to be initiated within the two terms of the MASc program. For more information, please see Transfer Degree or Program on the G+PS website.

Program transfers involving other Departments. Such program transfers are possible if the original and intended disciplines are closely related. Otherwise, if the intended transfer is to a distinct discipline, then it is treated as a new admission.

Transfer of Specializations. It is also possible to transfer between specializations within the same program. Transfer requests will be considered after completion of Term 1 courses.

The following requirements relate to the various transfers:

  • All transfers must be supported by a strong rationale relating to the student’s personal or professional goals and a review of the student’s academic qualifications.
  • All transfers need be approved by the current and intended Research Supervisors / Specialty Advisors and the Graduate Advisor.
  • The effective date of transfer must correspond with the beginning of a term, and must not be earlier than the beginning of the term in which the transfer is recommended.
  • A program transfer does not change the maximum time allowed for completion of degree program, so that the start date of the intended program is taken as the start date of the original program.
  • Transfers between programs involving a change of discipline are treated as new admissions.
  • Bear in mind that transfers between programs may have implications for student funding.

Additional information is available on the G+PS website. The relevant forms, which indicating the supporting materials and approvals required, are available here.

Financial Support

Information on University awards and scholarships can be found at the G+PS site Award Opportunities for Current Students.  Information on financial support made available through the Department of Civil Engineering can be found at Graduate Funding Opportunities.

Thesis Completion and Degree Application

Thesis Completion

For detailed information on thesis preparation, refer to Dissertation & Thesis Preparation.  When the thesis has been completed and approved by the Research Supervisor and second reader[1], the student should arrange for the submission of completed and signed Department and G+PS Thesis Approval Forms, and the thesis should then be submitted electronically following the G+PS Instructions. The thesis needs to be approved by G+PS before a student is eligible to graduate. When the thesis meets all G+PS requirements, it will be added to the UBC Library’s cIRcle Institutional Repository. The submitted thesis must be complete and accurate – it cannot be subsequently changed and re-submitted. IMPORTANT: If a student wishes that the thesis to be delayed from publication, G+PS approval must be obtained before thesis submission.

Degree Application

Upon the completion of program requirements, a MASc candidate must apply for graduation by submitting an Application for Graduation form, and immediately thereafter inform the Civil Engineering Graduate Support Office.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students are responsible for ensuring that their program registration is complete, that all fees have been paid and that they meet all course requirements for the program. If you have any questions of clarification please contact the Civil Engineering Graduate Support Office.