Programs

PhD program

PhD in Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics


The Graduate Handbook for the Department describes official degree requirements, residency, rules on transfer of courses, etc. In addition to the general information provided here, please refer to sections of the Graduate Handbook for the Structures Program available in PDF format at the CEE Handbooks web page.


  • Strong Demand from Industry & Government:
  • High-end consulting firms
    Not-for-profit research organizations
    R&D groups in large organizations
    Government research organizations, regulatory agencies
    National laboratories

  • Growing Demand Over Next 10 Years for Professors
  • 25-50% of Domestic PhD Students Enter Academia
  • Substantial Salary Increase Compared to MS Degree
  • Typically Requires 3 Years Additional Study Beyond MS Degree



  • PhD Road Map


  • MS Degree
  • Continued coursework:
  • 8 graded courses total beyond MS
    Only 2 of the 8 units may be taken from the MS core of CEE (470, 462, 463, 472, 471, 570)
    4 of the 8 units must be at the 500 level
    Students often enroll in a variety of courses in other departments (CS, MATH, MATSE, MIE, STAT)
    Students must enroll in CEE 595S (seminar) every semester

  • Start working on dissertation research
  • Take Qualifying Exam (see details below)
  • Complete remainder of coursework
  • Preliminary Exam to approve dissertation plan
  • Continue research full-time, attend conferences, write technical papers, complete dissertation
  • Take Final Examination on dissertation research



  • Qualifying Examination


  • Students must pass a written Qualifying Exam for admission to PhD Candidacy in the structures program
  • The written Qualifying Examination covers the following five core areas of structural engineering:
  • Analysis of truss and frame structures
    Structural dynamics
    Structural mechanics
    Concrete structures
    Steel Structures

  • Listings of topics for each of these five core areas can be seen by clicking here
  • A password protected archive of prior QE sample problems may be downloaded here (the password may be obtained from the faculty member who is administering the QE examination)
  • Structural engineering PhD students must pass an offering of the Structures Qualifying Exam taken within 16 months of starting their post-MS graduate work
  • The Qualifying Exam is offered in the Fall semester and the Spring semester each academic year
  • Details of the Exam are given at the start of each semester