Schools with Transportation Engineering Programs: How to Choose

Oct 20, 2021

Students interested in transportation engineering can pursue a variety of different degrees. Bachelor's degree programs in civil engineering include elements of transportation engineering, and students can engage in specific study through graduate certificate, master's and doctoral programs.

10 Top Civil Engineering Schools

The following ten universities are all viable options for students seeking to study transportation engineering:

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Types Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $14,184 (in-state), $43,176 (out-of-state)
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $15,094 (in-state), $31,664 (out-of-state)
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, PhD $51,354 (graduate)
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Master's, PhD $11,742 (in-state, graduate), $22,564 (out-of-state, graduate)
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $12,424 (in-state), $33,020 (out-of-state)
Purdue University - West Lafayette West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $9,992 (in-state), $28,794 (out-of-state)
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $15,262 (in-state), $49,350 (out-of-state)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $51,832
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $55,465
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, PhD $55,188

Sources: *NCES

School Selection Criteria

An individual's personal goals and academic interests will help them decide what type of degree is right for them. Students interested in transportation engineering programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • Students at the bachelor's level may prefer shorter programs in order to enter the workforce more quickly, but longer programs tend to offer a greater variety of elective coursework, including classes on topics like highway capacity and city planning.
  • Dual degree programs or graduate degrees with specializations can accommodate students with related interests outside of transportation engineering.
  • Some certificate and other graduate programs allow students to complete coursework online, which could offer scheduling flexibility for professionals continuing their education.
  • Graduate-level fellowships and assistantships provide opportunities for both experience and additional income.

Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering

A bachelor's program in civil engineering commonly includes studies in structural analysis, transportation engineering, and hydrology.

In addition, students take foundational courses like mechanics, chemistry and calculus. Elective classes in traffic engineering, railroad planning and transportation safety might also be included. Students may be required to complete a senior engineering design project, and they may have opportunities to participate in field experiences. Bachelor's degree programs in civil engineering can take 4-6 years to complete due to varying course loads. Students with extensive interest in areas outside of transportation engineering, such as city planning, might consider programs with dual degree options.

Graduate Certificate in Transportation Engineering

A graduate certificate program in transportation engineering often can be completed in one year or less, independently or in combination with other studies. Some programs require students to complete a research paper or presentation. Certificate programs may be suitable for individuals simultaneously earning a master's degree in a separate field of engineering or those on the educational path to completing a master's degree in transportation engineering.

Master's Degree in Transportation Engineering

A master's program in transportation engineering can be completed on its own or as a concentration in another program, like civil engineering. Students typically must complete either a thesis or a master's project. Internship opportunities may be available as well.

Doctorate in Transportation Engineering

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in transportation engineering commonly offers a great deal of academic freedom, so curricula are based primarily on students' chosen areas of concentration. A dissertation comprised of publishable, original research and the passage of several examinations are usually required.

Students have the opportunity to take bachelor's level courses, pursue certificates, or obtain master's degrees in transportation engineering. A Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering is also possible for those looking to achieve this advanced credential.

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