PhD Program

PhD in Civil Engineering with Concentration 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

  • 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