First Cohort of Students Graduate from the Online Civil Engineering Transportation Leadership Master’s Degree Program

By Ines Aviles-Spadoni, M.S., UFTI Research Coordinator/Marketing & Communications

Some of the graduates of the master’s degree in civil engineering transportation leadership program celebrate their graduation at the recently inaugurated I-STREET lab facilities.

This month, UFTI celebrated an important accomplishment: its first ten students graduated from the online master’s degree program in civil engineering with a focus on transportation leadership. The program is exclusively designed for professionals working in the transportation industry. It offers students a unique opportunity to elevate their skills and pursue leadership roles within their agencies or companies.

The program was created by Dr. Siva Srinivasan, a professor at the UF Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), to address the ever-growing need for skilled transportation industry leaders.

“We are super excited about our online master’s degree program with a concentration in Transportation Leadership,” said Srinivasan. “Congratulations to the first set of graduates who have not only successfully completed their academic requirements but have also actively helped shape various administrative protocols. We look forward to these graduates putting their knowledge to practice and grow as leaders in the profession. UFTI and FDOT are continuing their collaboration to enrich the program further and to open it up to a larger cohort of future students.”

The program also aligns with the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering’s Lifelong Learning Model, particularly the Lifelong Engineers stage, which focuses on ongoing professional development for engineers. This approach to lifelong learning accommodates professionals such as Billy Best, a structural designer at FDOT District 3 in Chipley, Florida. With a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of West Florida, Best has been with FDOT for 25 years, serving in various capacities. His decision to pursue a second master’s degree was driven by UF’s reputation as a top public university and its commitment to career development.

“The University of Florida is a well-known school for its academics, and just the opportunity to come here was an honor I will never forget,” Best said. “A few classes really stick out to me in this program. I liked Dr. Siva’s class, Transportation Planning; it was very technical, but I learned a lot about using SPSS software and forecasting. I also liked Dr. Najafi’s class, Public Works Planning, and one of my favorite assignments was helping to design a subdivision using AutoCAD software, which taught us all a lot about using correct design criteria, and at the same time creating a subdivision that will minimize environmental impacts.

“Overall, the courses were challenging and really opened my mind up a lot about transportation, in terms of transportation policy and the importance of leadership. Lastly, I can’t say enough good things about the professors and the staff at UF, they are the best, ” he added.

Professionals such as Best enter the transportation sector with diverse degrees in finance, business, marketing, communications, public administration, law, environmental sciences, and beyond, in addition to traditional paths like engineering and planning. This adds value to the profession.

Dr. Siva Srinivasan (center) and Myra Monreal (at left), a doctoral student in transportation engineering, with the 2024 graduating class.

The online 30-credit master’s program provides students with coursework in the transportation profession’s leadership and technical aspects. Students take four core courses: Fundamentals of the Transportation Profession, Engineering Leadership, Fundamentals of Engineering Project Management, and Engineering Innovation. Students can choose from six additional courses in operations and simulation, planning and analytics, networks, safety, and design. Through these courses and the experiences in the program, graduates of this program will be better equipped to take on vital roles that will help elevate the transportation profession to new heights.

The program is available to working professionals in the public and private sectors and is open to in-state and out-of-state students. State of Florida employees are eligible for a tuition waiver. This first cohort of graduating students were primarily FDOT employees.

Shereen Yee Fong is a transportation planner at FDOT District 6. She has been trying to pursue a master’s degree for a long time, but when she learned about the online program, she sprung into action and was glad she did.

“FDOT and UF teamed up for this amazing program that allowed me to go to school online along with a tuition waiver that was applied to almost all of my classes; I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” she said. “I am grateful to FDOT and UF for the program, and I hope it continues, and it’s going to be a phenomenal recruit and retain program.”

Fong was very impressed with the quality of the coursework. She said the Project Management and Fundamentals of Engineering classes are very important for transportation agency employees because of the broad overview they provide of the subject matter.

“Anyone who manages programs and projects at FDOT really needs to take something similar to the Project Management class,” she said.

If you are interested in pursuing a degree in civil engineering with a concentration in transportation leadership, visit,

Applications are open twice a year, in June for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester.

For questions, contact Dr. Siva Srinivasan at