Plan B for M.S.C.E./M.S.Geo.E.

The Master of Science Plan B is design-oriented and requires completion of at least 27 credits of coursework plus at least 3 credits of projects (CEGE 8094) and a final defense.


Coursework for the Graduate Degree Plan is selected in consultation with the faculty advisor, to meet the needs and interests of the student. All Graduate Degree Plans must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Plan B must include a minimum of 30 Credits:

  • 20 “Core” Credits
    “Core” Credits =
    • Registered while a degree-seeking U of MN student in your program
    • “Core” credits start the first semester of matriculation
    • Unique to the graduate program
  • 10 Other Credits
    Other credits =
    • Taken as non-degree seeking student
    • Transferred from another institution
    • Taken in another graduate program (i.e., credits in common)
    • Graduate–level credits taken in the undergraduate program
  • 30 Total Minimum Credits

Project(s) and Defense

In addition to the coursework, Plan B students must demonstrate their ability for independent work and effective presentation of that work by completing one to three project papers. The number of projects is determined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Previous projects have included literature reviews, analysis of applied engineering problems, and computer modeling projects.

Project reports should be written in a format similar to the M.S. Plan A thesis but are not required to be submitted electronically to the Graduate School.

Collectively, the Plan B papers should represent at least 120 hours of effort in addition to time associated with assistantship duties (if the papers are based on work associated with an RA appointment) or coursework (if the papers are an extension of work submitted for a class).

Students should submit complete drafts of all project papers to their committee members at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense date.

The final defense of the Plan B projects is closed to the public. Only the student and committee members may attend. The defense is typically 90 minutes in length and includes a formal presentation of the project(s) (not to exceed 30-45 minutes) followed by questions and comments from the committee. Questions may relate to both the project/paper content and technical course competence.

For additional details on program requirements and milestones, consult the CEGE Graduate Handbook