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Degree Overview: Graduate Degree Programs in Transportation Engineering

Majors Overview September 16, 2015

Those with an interest in land use, traffic engineering, and highway design should look into Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Transportation. These programs also provide an advanced background in transportation operations, logistics, engineering, and planning. This article talks about graduate degree programs in transportation engineering and their educational requirements, coursework, and job and wage outlook.

Graduate Programs in Transportation Engineering

Students who want to gain a broad grasp of the designs, systems, and policies that comprise regional transportation would benefit from enrolling in a 2-year master’s degree program in transportation. Core coursework related to mechanical and civil engineering is usually in the program. Students learn about designing effective highways, engineering traffic in cities, collecting and analyzing traffic data, and developing and implementing transportation systems, such as train and bus routes. Enrollees in most universities are required to complete a research paper or thesis project. Program graduates are trained to seek jobs as planners in private and public markets, as well as transportation engineers.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in one of the several undergraduate majors, such as mechanical engineering, civil engineering, business administration, architecture, and logistics, among others. Applicants are also typically required to meet a high school GPA standard of 3.0 and submit acceptable GRE scores.


Coursework is a combination of elements of regional planning, engineering, and logistical operations. Core courses may cover topic areas such as:

•Transportation infrastructure
•Transportation system analysis
•Transportation data analysis
•Traffic operations and maintenance
•Traffic Engineering
•Highway design
•Transportation management
•Strategic logistics management
•Land use
•Transportation policy planning

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, about 272,900 individuals were employed as civil engineers, including transportation engineers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Civil engineers can expect an average job growth rate of 20%. In 2012, civil engineers brought in an average annual wage of $79,340 (BLS).

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