The department prepares PhD students to become the next generation of leaders able to address a wide variety of challenges.The department prepares PhD students to become the next generation of leaders able to address a wide variety of challenges.

Graduate Study
Mechanics, Materials, & Structures
Curriculum & Requirements

Eligibility and admission

Graduate students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering come from throughout the world with degrees in a variety of fields, including engineering, mathematics, the physical sciences, management, economics, and other social sciences.

Admissions decisions are based on the overall academic picture presented through GRE exams and transcripts, as well as the statement of purpose and letters of recommendation.

PhD requirements

PhD degree candidates may enter the program with a BS or an MS degree. PhD students are required to take 18 courses when starting with a BS degree, or 6 courses post-external MS coursework (excluding thesis).

PhD Handbook 2015

Satisfactory academic progress

All students must attend weekly meetings to discuss progress. In addition, each student is required to make formal, monthly presentations to the entire group, where the results are discussed, debated, and criticized.


  1. A PhD student should be considered for Admission to PhD Candidacy no earlier than the end of the first academic year (3 quarters) and no later than the end of the second academic year. PhD students must have a research advisor who has agreed to supervise their PhD studies before consideration.
  2. For each PhD student, the Program Areas conduct a Qualifying Exam that the student must pass before consideration. The Program Areas are free to choose the form of the Qualifying Exam.
  3. Once a quarter, the Program Areas forward a list of the PhD students to be considered for Admission to PhD Candidacy by the CEE Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will review the records of all students, and discuss their research potential, and issue approvals. PhD students will be admitted to PhD Candidacy only upon this final approval by the Graduate Committee.


The prospectus process typically involves development of a written research proposal that will culminate in the dissertation. This research proposal is also typically delivered in oral form to the prospectus committee.

Dissertation defense

Students must provide an oral defense with the PhD final committee.