Civil Engineering, Ph.D. | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Civil Engineering, Ph.D.

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Growing and established cities are continually meeting new infrastructure needs and maintaining older systems, such as highways, bridges, and airports. The School of Engineering's Ph.D. in Civil Engineering program produces graduates dedicated to enriching the field. Research-oriented and focused on the latest developments in the discipline, our program readies you for civil engineering research careers in the private sector. It also prepares you to teach at the university level, ensuring the most recent advancements in the field are shared with a new generation of civil engineers.


As a Ph.D. candidate, you will choose to concentrate in 1 of these sub-disciplines:

  • structural materials and engineering
  • geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering
  • environmental and water resources engineering
  • construction management and engineering
  • highway and traffic engineering
  • urban infrastructure systems

Other focus areas are possible and can be developed with the assistance of faculty advisers. All subject areas must be relevant to the degree sought, and a faculty member must be willing and able to guide your research.

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Abu Dhabi Global Fellow Program

Applicants to this degree program may be eligible to participate in the Abu Dhabi Global Fellow Program
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Urban Science Doctoral Track

Tandon Ph.D. students can specialize their studies in civil engineering with a focus on urban science through the new doctoral track offered by the Center for Urban Science + Progress.


  1. Admission to this program requires an MS in Civil Engineering or equivalent with a GPA of 3.5 or better (on a 0-4 scale).
  2. GRE scores are required for all full-time Ph.D. applicants.
  3. Foreign applicants must take the TOEFL examination and submit the results for consideration.

In criteria 1 and 2 above, the “equivalent" can be achieved in several ways. You may have an MS degree with a different title that covers substantially the same material. In more general terms, you must demonstrate that you have the equivalent of all undergraduate and masters-level coursework to be able to pursue doctoral-level work in the chosen major area, as well as in a minor area within the umbrella of civil engineering. Further, “equivalence” is evaluated based on the totality of your undergraduate and graduate record, not course-by-course. Thus, if you wish to pursue doctoral work in Environmental Engineering, for example, you must have the entire undergraduate and masters-level course background expected in Environmental Engineering, but you do not need to demonstrate such a background in structures.

Because admission to a Ph.D. program requires a relevant MS (or equivalent), applicants who have not yet achieved a master’s degree would normally be admitted as MS students. They are expected to earn an MS degree while completing their major and minor course requirements. In rare cases, an applicant with only a BS degree may be directly admitted into the Ph.D. program with the written approval of the department head.

Find out more about Admission Requirements.

A maximum of 48 credits of approved graduate work may be transferred and applied to your degree requirements. They would be awarded on a course-by-course basis or by the transfer of an MS degree from another institution in satisfaction of 30 graduate credits. The latter requires a recommendation from the department’s Graduate Committee and the approval of the department head. Transfer credits must be approved by the academic adviser, the graduate coordinator, and the department head.


Every Ph.D. student upon admission is assigned an academic adviser, who is designated by the department head. Any member of the civil engineering faculty may be an academic adviser to a Ph.D. student. The first meeting should take place shortly after receiving an acceptance letter from the Admissions Office. During this first meeting the student’s Program of Study should be established. The Program of Study should include a list of the fundamental and advanced topics that will comprise the specific courses, the subject matter for the qualifying exam and possible research areas.

Program Requirements

Before becoming a candidate for the Ph.D., you must pass a qualifying examination. 

Immediately after you pass 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 Ph.D. work will be the defense of the final draft of your dissertation. There are important requirements involved in the qualifying examination and dissertation processes. One of these requirements is that your defense of the final draft of your dissertation must take place in-person at the Brooklyn Campus.