MS Degree in Transportation

Degree Requirements

Since the master's degree in transportation is interdisciplinary, you must apply to the program and be admitted through one of the three participating departments. For more information, see admissions.

Requirements at a glance

  • A minimum of 34 credit hours including a six credit thesis or two to three credit creative component.
  • Three core courses: Urban Transportation Planning, Statistical Methods for Research Workers, and the Seminar in Transportation Planning. The seminar is sponsored by the Institute for Transportation and brings to campus experts from many fields to speak on a variety of transportation issues. The seminar is intended to expose you to a variety of potential research topics and stimulate your interest in transportation research.
  • Two courses from outside your admitting department, one from each of the other cooperating departments.

Core course requirements

These courses are required of all students majoring in transportation:

  • Stat 401. Statistical Methods for Research Workers. (3-2) Cr. 4. F.S.SS. Prereq: 101 or 104 or 105 or 226. Graduate students without an equivalent course should contact the department. Methods of analyzing and interpreting experimental and survey data. Statistical concepts and models; estimation; hypothesis tests with continuous and discrete data; simple and multiple linear regression and correlation; introduction to analysis of variance and blocking. Nonmajor graduate credit.
  • C E 551. Urban Transportation Planning Models. (Dual-listed with 451.) (2-2) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: 350 or 355. Urban transportation planning context and process. Project planning and programming. Congestion, mitigation, and air quality issues. Transportation data sources. Travel demand and network modeling. Use of popular travel demand software and applications of geographc information systems. Term project required for graduate credit.
  • Trans 691. Seminar in Transportation Planning. Cr. 1. S. Provides an overview of current transportation issues; lecturers provide seminars on a variety of timely transportation topics.
  • At least one course from each participating department other than your home department (6 Cr Hrs)
  • A unique and cohesive curriculum designed for each student (18 Cr Hrs)

Other approved courses

At least one course from each of two areas must be included in your program of study. The two courses must be selected from two areas other than your home department.

Area A

  • C E 524. Air Pollution. (Cross-listed with EnSci, A E). (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: Two of Phys 221, Chem 178 and either Math 166 or 3 credits in statistics. Air quality legislation. Sources and effects of pollutants. Physics and chemistry of air pollution. Modeling point sources. Global warming, ozone depletion, meteorological and geographic aspects. Indoor air quality. Volatile organic compounds. Odor and air analysis. Optional sessions: a) air pollution control, b) transportation pollution, c) aerial emissions from agriculture.
  • C E 550. Advanced Highway Design. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: 453. Evaluation of rural and urban street and highway design theory. Establishment of design criteria, application to street and highway systems, and to intersections and interchanges; drainage design, and urban freeway design aspects. Computer applications.
  • C E 552. Traffic Safety, Operations, and Maintenance. (2-2) Cr. 3. Prereq: 355. Engineering aspects of highway traffic safety. Reduction of accident incidence and severity through highway design and traffic control. Accident analysis. Legal implications. Safety in highway design, maintenance, and operation.
  • C E 553. Traffic Engineering. (2-2) Cr. 3. Prereq: 355. Driver, pedestrian, and vehicular characteristics. Traffic characteristics; highway capacity; traffic studies and analyses. Principles of traffic control for improved highway traffic service. Application of intersection, corridor or network analysis computer evaluation and optimization tools.
  • C E 555. Advanced Traffic Operations. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: 553. Solve real-world traffic engineering problems; explore interactions between traffic systems components; advanced skills related to signal timing, coordination, and optimization; practical applications of common traffic engineering tools.
  • Trans 555. Economic Analysis of Transportation Investments. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: C E 350 or 355. Application of economic analysis methodologies to evaluate transportation projects. Multi-modal approaches to evaluate impacts of transportation investments and maximize economic efficiency while considering equity and other social issues related to investment options.
  • C E 556. Transportation Data Analysis. Cr. 3. Prereq: 355, Stat 101 or 105. Analysis of transportation data, identification of data sources and limitations. Static and dynamic data elements such as infrastructure characteristics, flow and operations-related data elements. Spatial and temporal extents data for planning, design, operations and management of transportation systems. Summarizing, analyzing, modeling and interpreting data. Use of information technologies for highways, transit, and aviation systems.
  • C E 557. Transportation Systems Analysis. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: 355, 3 credits in statistics or probability. Travel studies and analysis of data. Travel projections. Public transportation forecasts and analyses. Statewide, regional, and local transportation system planning. Corridor travel planning. Optimization of systems.
  • C E 558. Transportation Systems Development and Management Laboratory. (2-2) Cr. 3. Prereq: 350 or 355 . Study of designated problems in traffic engineering, urban transportation planning, and urban development. Forecasting and evaluation of social, economic, and environmental impact of proposed solutions; considerations of alternatives. Formulation of recommendations and publication of a report. Presentation of recommendations in the host community.
  • C E 559.Transportation Infrastructure/Asset Management. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: 355 or 453, 382. Engineering management techniques for maintaining and managing infrastructure assets. Systematic approach to management through value engineering, engineering economics, and life cycle cost analysis. Selection and scheduling of maintenance activities. Analysis of network-wide resource needs. Project level analysis.

Area B

  • C R P 525. Growth Management. (Dual-listed with 425; same as Dsn S 525.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2005. Prereq: Graduate classification. Review of techniques used to manage growth-related change and to implement plans. Capital investment strategies; public land acquisition and protection; development impact analysis; impact mitigation, including impact fees; phased growth systems; urban/suburban/rural relationships; and land preservation.
  • C R P 542. Site Development. (Dual-listed with 442; same as Dsn S 542.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2006. Prereq: Graduate classification. Must be taken prior to completing 12 credits in LA. Introduction to site development, including site review. Studio project integrating concept, finance, selection, analysis, and design.
  • C R P 545. Transportation Policy Planning. (Dual-listed with 445.) (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Graduate classification. Comprehensive overview of key policy issues related to transportation planning and investment in the United States and abroad. Policy issues explored include safety, environmental impact, sustainable communities, and economic development. Tools like policy analysis and planning are studied in conjunction with each policy issue explored. Issues of concern to state, metropolitan, and local governments.
  • C R P 551. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. (Dual-listed with 451.) (2-2) Cr. 3. F.S.SS. Introduction to geographic information systems, including discussions of GIS hardware, software, data structures, data acquisition, analytical techniques, and implementation procedures. Laboratory emphasized practical applications and uses of GIS.
  • C R P 552. Geographic Data Management and Planning Analysis. (Dual-listed with 452.) (2-2) Cr. 3. F.S.SS. Prereq: 551. Extensive coverage of geo-relational database concept and design, GIS database creation and maintenance, geographic data manipulation and analysis. GIS output generation and geographic data presentation. Laboratory emphasis practical applications and uses of GIS.
  • C R P 553. Analytical Planning/GIS. (2-2) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: 451/551. Integration of exploratory and predictive spatial analyses and 3D visualization into the planning process. GIS tools and techniques are used to automate decision analysis and facilitate future planning in analyzing and visualizing planning actions. Laboratory emphasizes practical uses of GIS tools and techniques.
  • C R P 563. Planning the American Metropolis. (Cross-listed with DSN S). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Focus on the historical role of planning in the shaping of American cities and regions, from the beginning of the Republic to the present. Examine the legacy of planning by exploring the intersection of design, politics and policy. Investigate the factors and the processes that produce the built environment.
  • C R P 568. Planning and Development. (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: C R P 564 or equivalent Exploration and evaluation of the techniques, processes, and professional skills required to effectively manage land use change at various scales. Land classification systems; land supply and needs inventory for residential uses and commercial and employment centers; capacity and needs analysis for public infrastructure. Includes land use planning project(s) designed to apply the methods explored in this and other courses.
  • C R P 590. Special Topics. Cr. 1 to 3. F.S.SS. Prereq: Graduate classification and written approval of instructor and department chair on required form.
    I. Land Use and Transportation Planning
  • C R P 592. Land Use and Development Regulation Law. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Graduate classification. An in-depth analysis of the legal constructs that shape the practice of planning and plan implementation in the United States. An exploration of how land use regulations are applied to reconcile the competing needs and diverse uses of land. The positive and negative consequences of developing and implementing regulatory controls will be addressed.

Area C (Supply Chain and Information Systems)

  • SCM 461. Principles of Transportation. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: SCM 360. Economic, operating, and service characteristics of the various modes of transportation, with a special emphasis on freight transportation. Factors that influence transport demand, costs, market structures, carrier pricing, and carrier operating and service characteristics and their influence on other supply chain costs and supply chain performance. Nonmajor graduate credit.
  • SCM 462. Transportation Carrier Management. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in SCM 461. Analysis of transport users' requirements. Carrier management problems involving ownership and mergers, routes, competition, labor, and other decision areas. Nonmajor graduate credit.
  • SCM 466. International Transportation and Logistics. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: SCM 360. Logistics systems and legal framework for the international movement of goods. Operational characteristics of providers of exporting and importing services. The effects of government trade policies on global logistics. Nonmajor graduate credit.
  • SCM 560. Strategic Logistics Management. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: SCM 502 or permission of instructor. Positions logistics vis-a-vis supply chain management (SCM). Presents different perspectives on SCM vs. logistics. Describes primary logistics functions: transportation, warehousing, facility location, customer service, order processing, inventory management and packaging. Benefits of and obstacles to the integration of these functions.
  • SCM 561. Transportation Management and Policy. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: SCM 502 or permission of instructor. Analysis of contemporary issues and strategies in transportation management and policy. Emphasis on evaluation of the impacts of transportation policies, new technologies, and strategic carrier and shipper management practices on the freight transportation industry and logistics systems.


  • Each student is required to appoint a Program of Study (POS) Committee and complete a POS form prior to signing up for second semester classes. A student should consult with his/her advisor and committee members when selecting courses for the POS form in order to support the graduate degree and research interests. Students taking classes beyond the first semester without committee approval run the risk of those courses not counting toward degree requirements. Students are directed to the Graduate College Handbook for more information (current students are advised to pay particular attention to chapter 7, which describes student and POS committee responsibilities).
  • A written thesis proposal is to be prepared by the student, distributed to the POS committee, and defended in an oral presentation 6 months prior to first deposit of thesis.
  • After first deposit and prior to final deposit, the student will successfully defend the thesis in a final oral exam/presentation. Members of the student's POS committee, and other interested students, faculty, staff and research sponsors are encouraged to be present at the final thesis presentation.