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Transportation Degree Programs

Degrees Offered:

Masters Degree

For regular admission to a Master's Degree program in Transportation Engineering, the student should have earned a bachelor's degree in an engineering field from an accredited program. Students may be admitted to the program on a Provisional basis without an engineering baccalaureate; however, they may need to make up coursework at the basic level of undergraduate engineering to be eligible for the M.S. in Transportation Engineering. No graduate credit is granted for this basic level work and Provisional status will be held during this period. These students should consult their Advisor to determine which basic level courses are required.

All Master's degree candidates must earn a minimum of 31 graduate credits. At least 12 credits must be earned in 600-800 level courses. Graduate students may elect to do either a Master's Thesis (CEE 699, 6 credits), a Master's Project (CEE 689, 6 credits) or an Engineering Report (CEE 679, 3 credits) if the all course option is chosen. Students should meet with their Advisor to determine which option is appropriate. Registration for a one (1) hour seminar is required (CEE 695). Attendance at the seminar is required throughout the graduate program.

In addition to the course requirements described in the next section, electives can be taken in areas relevant to the student's professional objectives. Students may take electives in other departments; however, no more than 9 graduate credits can be taken outside the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department that apply to the Master's Degree requirements. Additionally, no more than 6 credit hours can be taken as Independent Study (CEE 696) that apply to the Master's Degree.

Graduate students transferring from other programs or those who completed their undergraduate studies at UMass may transfer up to six (6) graduate credits towards the Master's Degree if a grade of B or better was received. Courses applied to undergraduate degree requirements or Thesis, Project, Engineering Report, or Independent Study credits may not be transferred. Approval of transfer credits should be obtained in writing from your Advisor and the Area Coordinator.

Course Requirements

UMass is committed to providing a strong educational foundation in three primary emphasis areas within transportation engineering: planning, design, and traffic operations. With this commitment, a three tier system has been developed. Tier 1 courses are required core courses to be taken by all graduate students. Tier 2 courses are elective and provide depth in several different emphasis areas. Graduate students are required to take at least 6 credits from Tier 2. Tier 3 courses provide advanced learning in a specific area of transportation engineering. Graduate students are required to take at least 3 credits from the Tier 3 groups. Tier 3 courses are designed for upper level Master's and Ph.D. students. Other course topics may be provided under Independent Study if student interest exists. Detailed transportation course descriptions are included in the last section of this manual.

  • Tier 1 - Core Courses
  • CEE 509 Transportation System Analysis
  • CEE 511 Traffic Engineering
  • CEE 516 Transportation Design
  • CEE 695A Transportation Seminar
  • Tier 2 - Advanced Courses
  • CEE 510 Public Transportation Systems
  • CEE 518 Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
  • CEE 611 Transportation Investment and Pricing Analysis
  • CEE 614 Advanced Concepts in Traffic Safety
  • Tier 3 - Depth Electives
  • Group A: Planning
    • CEE 610 Transportation Analysis and Planning
    • CEE 612 TransportationPlanning and Policy Analysis
  • Group B: Traffic Operations
    • CEE 520 Traffic Flow Theory and Simulation I
    • CEE 521 Traffic Flow Theory and Simulation II
  • Students should meet with their Advisor to select Tier 3 courses specific to their degree program.
  • Given the requirements and courses described above, a typical Master's program will consist of the following:
  • Thesis or Project Option or Engineering Report Option
  • 9 Credits - Tier 1 Courses
  • 6 Credits - Tier 2 Courses
  • 3 Credits - Tier 3 Courses
  • 6 Credits - Electives* 9 Credits - Electives*
  • 6 Credits - Thesis 3 Credits - Thesis
  • 1 Credit - Seminar 1 Credit - Seminar
  • TOTAL - 31 Credit Hours TOTAL - 31 Credit Hours
  • * Note that electives may include other Tier 2 and Tier 3 courses.

Other Requirements. Specific requirements for the Thesis option, Project option, or Engineering Report option can be found in the Regulations Governing The M.S. and Ph.D. Programs in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. All other requirements established by the Graduate School or the University must be satisfied.

Master's Examination

All Master's candidates must pass an Examination that consists primarily of, but not limited to, presenting and defending the Thesis, Project, or Report. The Examination is conducted by the student's Committee. At the discretion of the Committee Chair, a portion of the examination may be closed to all but faculty members. Approval by all Committee members is required to pass the examination.

Degree Completion

Specific requirements pertaining to the Degree Application/Eligibility Form can be found in Regulations Governing The M.S. and Ph.D. Programs of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Graduate Data Information and Graduate Student Check-Out List forms are included in Appendix D and E, respectively.

Ph.D. Degree

Admission to the Ph.D. program is contingent upon the successful completion of a Master's Degree.  The graduate student and Advisor should consult and follow the CEE Department manual (Regulations Governing the M.S. and PhD Programs of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) regarding requirements and regulations pertaining to the Ph.D. degree. Information on Degree requirements, Committees, Examinations, etc., is described in the manual.

Course Credits. The Transportation Engineering Program requires a minimum of 12 credits of approved coursework beyond the requirements of the M.S. degree. The Ph.D. candidate's program includes courses from both the major and supporting areas; however, the specific breakdown and exact number of credits required is left up to the discretion of the Ph.D. Committee. "Supporting area" may actually involve coursework in one or more academic programs outside of transportation engineering. Examples include Industrial Engineering (human factors), Regional Planning, Business, Math, Statistics, Operations Research, etc. In addition, all Ph.D. students are expected to attend the transportation seminar each semester they are in residence, although formal registration for the course can only take place during one semester. Transportation graduate courses are described in the M.S. degree section of this manual. Course descriptions are provided in the last section of this manual.

The goal is for the Ph.D. student to support his or her research and career plans with additional coursework deemed appropriate by the Ph.D. Committee. Typically, at least six (6) of these credits are devoted to a "research skill" such as statistics, numerical methods, or advanced computer programming.

Dissertation Credits. The CEE Department and Transportation Engineering Program requirements for dissertation credits are the same, but are described here for your convenience. A minimum of 18 Dissertation credits (CEE 899 Doctoral Dissertation) must be earned in addition to the minimum of 24 credits of coursework specified above. A student may not register for CEE 899 until he/she has passed the Comprehensive and Qualifying Examinations and been admitted to Ph.D. candidacy.

Ph.D. Committee. After passing the Comprehensive Examination, the Ph.D. student must select a Dissertation Committee. The committee is composed of at least three Graduate Faculty members: your Advisor, who will be recommended as Chairperson, at least one other faculty member from the Transportation Engineering program, and at least one member from other UMass Departments. Committee composition should be discussed with your Advisor before selection.

Comprehensive Examination. To become a Ph.D. candidate, all Ph.D. students must pass a Comprehensive as well as successfully defend their dissertation proposal. Guidelines are described in the following sections.

Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam
Includes written and oral portions.
Dissertation Prospectus Defense
Schedule: To be performed after successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam.
Examining Committee: Ph.D. Committee, specific to each candidate; defense to be administered by the candidate's Advisor.
Format: The student will present his or her dissertation in a formal presentation. The student will then respond to oral questions from the committee. Exam is expected to last about two hours.
Rules: A passing grade must be earned from all committee members. If on the first attempt the student does not pass, the committee will direct the student to make changes to the Dissertation and reschedule the Defense.
Dissertation Defense
Schedule: To be performed after completion of the written Dissertation with approval of the candidate's Advisor.

Ph.D. Summary

  • The Ph.D. degree has the following requirements:
  • 12 credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the Master's Degree
  • 18 credit hours of dissertation
  • One (1) credit hour of Transportation Seminar
  • Passage of a Preliminary Comprehensive Examination
  • Passage of a Dissertation Prospectus Defense
  • One year of residency (2 consecutive full-time semesters on campus)
  • Completed Dissertation
  • Passage of Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)
  • Other Ph.D. Academic Activities

Teaching and Service

All of the Transportation Engineering Ph.D. students are encouraged to obtain teaching experience as part of their education. Each student should talk to their Advisor about having the opportunity to present lectures in appropriate courses. In addition, the Transportation Engineering Program has a philosophy of having everyone work together to help the program. In this regard, Ph.D. students are occasionally called upon to help with program activities.

Publication/Presentation

All Transportation Engineering Ph.D. students are encouraged to write and publish one or more conference and/or peer-reviewed papers during their Ph.D. program. Each student should consult with their Advisor to identify publishing opportunities. Every effort will be made to obtain financial assistance to send students to conferences and meetings in which a paper written by the student has been selected for presentation. Students will be strongly encouraged to attend professional meetings and conferences within driving distance of UMass.