Frequently Asked Questions

General program inquiries

Will the word "Online" appear on my degree?

No. Although this is a fully-online program, the degree itself is a "Master of Science in Environmental Engineering." The word "Online" will not appear on your degree.

What is a cohort model program?

Our online MS in Environmental Engineering program is based on a cohort model, meaning students admitted for a certain semester are encouraged to move through the program together, form study groups, and make lasting connections with each other. Typically, each cohort moves through the program based on the 5-semester study plan. However, if circumstances cause a student to fall behind or work ahead of their original cohort, they will automatically join the cohort corresponding to their place in the program.

For more information, please refer to the Cohort Model section of our   Homepage. For more information on what happens if you fall out of your cohort, please visit the Continuous Enrollment section of our   Program Requirements   Opens in new window page.

Is it required that I complete the program in 5 semesters?

No. You may complete the program at your own pace, and you do not have to take two courses per semester. However, the degree has a 5-year completion time limit, so all courses must be completed within 5 years to graduate.

Note: Tuition may vary depending on how many units you take per semester. For more information, please refer to   Tuition & FeesOpens in new window .

Am I able to take a semester off if something personal or work-related comes up?

Yes. However, if you are planning to do this you must apply for a leave of absence or enroll in a course called GRAD 700 during that semester to ensure you stay in the program. GRAD 700 is not as expensive as a normal course and has no coursework to complete, but it keeps you on our records as a student so you may return during a later semester. Keep in mind that there is a 5-year completion time limit for the degree and there are different requirements for both leaves of absence and GRAD 700 enrollment.

For more information regarding leaves of absence, please refer to the Continuous Enrollment section of our   Program RequirementsOpens in new window   page or consult Academic Programs at   Graduate Enrollment PoliciesOpens in new window .

What if I have a background in a related field and one of the program courses is a repeat of something I have already taken?

If you have a degree in a related field and have already taken courses similar to a program course, you can attempt to find a different course to replace it with. To go about this, email the Program Coordinator, Dr. Garrett Struckhoff, at detailing the course you wish to replace, the course you aim to replace it with, and why.

Can I recieve a student visa once I am admitted to the program?

Unfortunately, no. United States immigration policy prohibits student visas for fully-online programs, so an I-20 cannot be issued for the MS in Environmental Engineering program.


Admissions Inquiries

Do I need a Bachelor's Degree in an engineering field or any engineering experience to apply for the program?

No. We accept applicants with a baccalaureate degree in any undergraduate field, and no engineering experience is required! The minimum GPA for acceptance is 3.0 for applicants with an undergraduate degree in a non-engineering field, or 2.5 for applicants with an undergraduate degree in an engineering field.

Students with non-engineering baccalaureate degrees will need to complete certain deficiency courses, but are able to complete these courses concurrently while conditionally admitted to the program. Deficiency courses may be taken at another institution, including community colleges.

For more information regarding minimum requirements or deficiency courses, please refer to our   Admission RequirementsOpens in new window .

Am I able to apply for Spring admission?

Yes, the program now accepts cohorts for both Fall and Spring admission. Deadlines for online application and document submission can be found on our   homepage and Cal State Apply.

Why do I need to take deficiency courses once accepted into the program?

Students with non-engineering baccalaureate degrees must complete certain   deficiency courses   in order to provide them a fundamental understanding of chemistry, calculus, physics, fluid mechanics, and environmental engineering, which will prepare them for the concepts in the graduate-level engineering courses. The courses also help prepare students to sit for the FE and PE examinations.

Note: The "Fluid Mechanics" and "Undergraduate Environmental Engineering" deficiency courses will be waived upon completion of EGCE 570 and EGCE 571 with a B or above.

For more information regarding deficiency courses, please refer to our   Admission RequirementsOpens in new window .

Once accepted, how do I know if I have deficiency courses I need to complete?

Once admitted or conditionally admitted into the program, you will recieve a Graduate Department Recommendation (GDR) form from the Admissions Office that outlines the courses you need to take. At the bottom will be a list of deficiency courses you must complete.

You should recieve a GDR form whether you are fully admitted or conditionally admitted. If you have not recieved a GDR form, please contact our Administrative Support Coordinator via phone at (657) 278-2196 or via email at

For more information regarding deficiency courses, please refer to our   Admission RequirementsOpens in new window .

Do I need to complete my required deficiency courses at CSUF?

No, these courses can be completed at other accredited institutions including community colleges. They can also be completed concurrently with program coursework.

For more information regarding deficiency courses, please refer to our   Admission RequirementsOpens in new window .


Enrollment Inquiries

Will I ever need to come to campus for exams?



On-campus exams are available for those close enough to come to campus. These are held on Saturdays/Sundays each semester. Each course has one midterm and one final exam. Those unable to attend the on-campus exams must take the exams at a testing center between the Saturday of the exam and the following Tuesday.

For more information regarding alternative testing centers, please refer to the Exams & Testing Centers section of our Program RequirementsOpens in new window  page.

When I search for my classes to register, why does nothing show up?

Courses may be marked as "Closed" to ensure the program can maintain seats in the roster for MS in Environmental Engineering online students. When searching for classes, either type the five-digit class code directly into the "Add to Cart" field or make sure the box labeled "Show Open Classes Only" is unchecked.

For more information on how to register for courses, please refer to our guide on How to EnrollOpens in new window .


TUition & Fees

Why am I paying campus fees if this is an online program?

Cal State Fullerton does not make any distinction between online students and on-campus students at the administrative level, so these fees ensure you have the same access to the materials, programs, and facilities as any other student whether online or on-campus.

For more information, please refer to our Tuition & FeesOpens in new window  page.

What are online distance fees?

There is a $33-per-unit distance fee for each online course offered at CSUF. These fees are used specifically and exclusively to maximize your online experience. For example, it funds administrative support, faculty training, new student orientation for the program, and lunch during on-campus exams.

For more information, please refer to our   Tuition & FeesOpens in new window  page.


If you have further questions, please feel free to Contact UsOpens in new window ! Please note that office hours are typically 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. 


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