Curriculum

Degree Requirements

To earn a doctoral degree in Civil Engineering, you must meet the following requirements:

1. 54 credits of graduate course work (not including the PhD dissertation) in relevant major and minor areas of study beyond the bachelor’s degree, with an average grade of B or better (cumulative average of 3.0 or better on a 0-4 scale). Up to 6 credits of the 54 credits may be satisfied by individual guided studies, readings, projects and theses.

2. Completion and successful defense of a 21-credit dissertation related to the major area of study. Dissertations must consist of original research that advances meaningfully the state of the art in the research subject area and should result in the publication of at least one paper in a strictly peer-reviewed technical journal related to the subject. A grade of B or better must be achieved for the dissertation. There are 2 types of dissertation credits:

  • CE 9998: Independent original investigation demonstrating creativity and scholarship worthy of publication in a recognized engineering journal. Registration for a minimum of 6 credits is required before registering for CE 9999.
  • CE 9999: Independent original investigation demonstrating creativity and scholarship worthy of publication in a recognized engineering journal. Candidates must successfully defend dissertations orally. Registration for 3 to 6 credits per semester is permitted after successfully completing the doctoral qualifying examination, but a minimum of 12 credits must be completed before the defense. Registration must be continuous (excluding summer semesters), unless a formal leave of absence is requested and approved. Registration for 3-12 credits per semester is permitted. In the final semester of work, registration for credit is permitted with the approval of the department head. Prerequisites: CE 9998 (6 credits), degree status, successful completion of doctoral qualifying examinations and approval of the dissertation adviser.

3. Completion of 2 minor areas of study, as follows:

  • Out of Department Minor: Completion of 9 credits of graduate or undergraduate course work in 1 or 2 technical areas of study.
  • In-Department Minor: Completion of 6 credits of graduate course work in a minor area outside the major subdiscipline in civil engineering.

4. Residency requirements for the PhD (Civil Engineering) include the 21-credit dissertation, plus a minimum of 15 credits of applicable graduate course work taken at the School of Engineering.

5. In satisfying the 54-credit course requirement (Item 1), you must satisfy all requirements for the major and minor areas selected, or their equivalent.

6. In satisfying these basic PhD requirements, you also must satisfy 1 of the 2 following conditions:

  • 48 credits of relevant graduate course work, not including individual guided studies (readings, projects, theses, etc.) beyond the bachelor’s degree, with an average grade of B or better (cumulative average of 3.0 or better on a 0-4 scale).
    OR
  • 24 credits of approved graduate course work, not including individual guided studies (readings, projects and theses) beyond the master’s degree, with an average grade of B or better (cumulative average of 3.0 or better on a 0-4 scale). Satisfying condition 2 requires that the department accept the student’s MS degree without regard to its specific content. This acceptance requires a recommendation from the department’s Graduate Committee and department head approval.

7. Although publication is not required as a condition for graduation at this time, journal publication is strongly encouraged. Every PhD candidate is expected to generate knowledge worthy of publication in 2 or more reputable journals.

Qualifying Examinations and Dissertation

Before becoming a candidate for the PhD, you must pass a qualifying examination. The qualifying examination consists of a 6-hour written portion (generally given in 2 three-hour blocks on the same day), and an oral portion which may be given before or after the written portion. Both written and oral portions focus on fundamental and advanced civil engineering topics relevant to your specific program of study.

Immediately following passage of your qualifying exam, a Dissertation Committee will be formed. This panel of experts will guide your course of study and research work. You are required to submit and present a dissertation proposal. The culmination of your PhD work will be the defense of the final draft of your dissertation. There are important requirements involved in the qualifying examination and dissertation processes. Please consult pages 150 and 151 of the School of Engineering academic catalog for details.