PhD in Environmental Engineering

This is a degree for students with master's degrees in environmental engineering, civil engineering, or allied fields who wish to do advanced research in an area of environmental engineering. In exceptional circumstances, highly qualified students with bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or civil engineering may be accepted directly into the doctoral program.

Admission Requirements

A minimum master’s GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent, is normally required for admission. The GRE (general section) is required of all applicants with a minimum 155 in the quantitative section. All international students must also achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 79 for the Internet-based exam, 213 for the computer-based exam, 550 for the paper-based exam. or a minimum score of 6.5 with no sub-score lower than 6.0 for the IELTS exam.

Degree Requirements

The department on an individual basis approves specific degree requirements and dissertation topics. Student must attain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. Candidates must conduct independent original research in a specific area of Civil /Environmental engineering. Candidates must select an advisor willing to supervise dissertation work. In general, a minimum of 36 credits of CE 790/EnE 790 Doctoral Dissertation and research are required. These 36 credits should be completed before submission of the final dissertation document, students must register for a minimum of 3 credits of CE 790/EnE 790 until the dissertation has been submitted and accepted. In addition, at least 24 credits of course work beyond the master’s degree are required, of which a minimum of 12 credits must be in the major field of interest, a minimum of 6 credits in another discipline within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and a minimum of 6 credits in a minor field of interest.

Within one year after being accepted into the doctoral program, candidates must pass a preliminary qualifying examination administered in the department. Candidates must select an advisor to supervise his/her dissertation work and form an advisory committee immediately after passing the preliminary qualifying examinations.

Qualifying Examination

Full-time students must take the qualifying exam for the first time within one year of beginning active study and must pass it completely by the next time it is offered. Part-time students must take the qualifying exam for the first time within three years of the beginning of active study and must pass it completely by the next time it is offered. Exceptional students having only bachelor's degrees who are admitted directly into the doctoral program must take the qualifying examination within one and one-half years of admission and must pass it within two years. Students are only permitted to take the examination twice. The passage of the qualifying examinations is reported to the Office of Graduate Studies.

A four-part written qualifying examination is given over a two-day period, usually during April. Additional qualifying examination information.  

Research and Dissertation

After passing the qualifying examination, each student in consultation with his/her major professor will develop a list of five professors who have agreed to serve on an Advisory Committee.  Doctoral candidates must prepare a written research proposal for approval by their dissertation committee. The proposal must be presented after formation of the committee but within one year after passing the qualifying exam.

As the student approaches the completion of his/her work, he/she will prepare the draft of the dissertation his/her advisor. After the necessary modifications as specified by the advisor have been made, the student will provide a typewritten copy to each of the members of the committee for their comments. At this time, an announcement of the date of the defense will be made.  The dissertation defense will be open to the public, but approval of the dissertation may be granted solely by the Advisory Committee.