Overview

The Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CAE) offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Civil Engineering with the following areas of emphasis:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering

The educational objectives of the Doctor of Philosophy program in Civil Engineering are to produce graduates whom:

  1. Have advanced technical knowledge in at least one specialty area of civil engineering
  2. Have advanced capability to apply advanced knowledge to engineering problems
  3. Have made significant contributions in at least one specialty area of civil engineering

The specialty areas of study for the Ph.D. include:

  • Structural Engineering and Structural Materials
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Integrated Building Systems
  • Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) Systems

A prior degree in civil, environmental, or architectural engineering is preferred, but not required to apply to the Ph.D. program. Applicants with degrees in science or other engineering fields will be considered, especially if their background and research interests align with those of faculty.  Students who do not have a prior engineering degree will be expected to complete several core undergraduate civil engineering courses prior to applying for admission to Ph.D. candidacy.

For students who already have an earned Master's degree (in either civil, architectural, environmental engineering, or a closely-related field), 30 graduate-level credits are required beyond the Master's degree. For students who do not have an earned Master's degree (in civil, architectural, environmental engineering, or a closely-related field), a minimum of 60 graduate-level credits are required beyond the Bachelor's degree. All Ph.D. students are required to complete coursework, engage in supervised research, and defend a dissertation.

The Program of Study is the student's specific set of coursework that defines the course requirements for graduation and must be approved by an advisory committee (known as the Supervisory Committee). Depending on whether the student already has an earned M.S. degree, the Ph.D. degree can typically be completed within two to five years.  

Curriculum Requirements

For a PhD following an M.S. 

  • For students who already have an earned M.S. (in either civil, architectural, environmental engineering, or a closely-related field), a minimum of 30 graduate-level credits (with an average of "B" or better and no grade below a "C") are required beyond the M.S. degree. 
  • The requirement list is provided below.  The classification of courses into their respective Groups can be found in the CAE Courses section.
Requirement
6 credits from Group A6
Group A: 700-level lecture-based CAE Courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
3 credits from any of the following Groups: A, B, and/or E3
Group A: 700-level lecture-based CAE Courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group B: 600-level lecture-based CAE courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group E: CAE Independent Study (Special Problems)
Special Problems
Special Problems
9 credits from any of the following Groups: A, B, C, and/or D9
Group A: 700-level lecture-based CAE Courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group B: 600-level lecture-based CAE courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group C: 600- or 700-level CAE courses in Construction Management (CM)
Group D: Any pre-approved course in any UM Department at the 600- or 700-level (i.e. XXX 600-799)
12 credits from Group H12
Group H: CAE PhD Dissertation
Pre-Candidacy Doctoral Dissertation
Post-Candidacy Doctoral Dissertation
Total Credit Hours30

For a PhD  without prior M.S.

  • For students who do not have an earned M.S. (in either civil, architectural, environmental engineering, or a closely-related field), a minimum of 60 graduate-level credits (with an average of "B" or better and no grade below "C") are required beyond the B.S. degree.
  • The requirement list is provided below.  The classification of courses into their respective Groups can be found in the CAE Courses section.
12 credits from Group A12
Group A: 700-level lecture-based CAE Courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
21 credits from any of the following Groups: A, B, and/or E21
Group A: 700-level lecture-based CAE Courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group B: 600-level lecture-based CAE courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group E: CAE Independent Study (Special Problems)
Special Problems
Special Problems
9 credits from any of the following Groups: A, B, C, and/or D9
Group A: 700-level lecture-based CAE Courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group B: 600-level lecture-based CAE courses in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering
Group C: 600- or 700-level CAE courses in Construction Management (CM)
Group D: Any pre-approved course in any UM Department at the 600- or 700-level (i.e. XXX 600-799)
18 credits from Goup H18
Group H: CAE PhD Dissertation
Pre-Candidacy Doctoral Dissertation
Post-Candidacy Doctoral Dissertation
Total Credit Hours60

Qualifying Examination

A graduate student must successfully pass a three-part PhD qualifying examination prior to being admitted to PhD Candidacy. Each part is administered sequentially and typically includes:

  1. Written assessment of the student's knowledge of the principles and techniques in engineering.
  2. Oral assessment of the student's knowledge of the principles and techniques in engineering 
  3. Oral presentation of the PhD research proposal (Dissertation Proposal Defense)

A PhD student must pass the written and oral assessments, generally taken at the end of the first year of study, before being allowed to defend a dissertation proposal. The assessments, administered by the student's Supervisory Committee, must consist of a written component, and may also include an oral component if deemed appropriate by the Supervisory Committee.

Subsequent to passage of the assessments, the student can defend his/her Dissertation Proposal to their Dissertation Committee, which is typically the same as the student's Supervisory Committee or, if not, has a makeup equivalent to the Supervisory Committee. All Committee members must approve the Proposal.

Three outcomes of each part are possible: Pass, Fail, and Fail with option to re-take once. For students retaking the exam, the Committee will determine a suitable time frame, but not to exceed 6 months. 

Admission to Candidacy

Admission of the student to Candidacy is subject to passage of the Qualifying Examination.  

Dissertation Defense

The PhD  thesis must be defended to, approved by, and signed by the student's Dissertation Committee, which is typically the same as the student's Supervisory Committee or, if not, has a composition that is equivalent to the Supervisory Committee.

Additional Details

  • The classification of courses into their respective Groups can be found in the CAE Courses section. 
  • Master's Design Project (CAE 604) will not count towards the PhD  degree requirements.
  • Internships, Practical Training, workshops, or other types of practicum are neither required nor optional credit-earning components in the established graduate curriculum (Program of Study). Credit earned through these experiences (such as UMI 605) will not count towards any CAE degree requirements. 
  • At a minimum, a qualifying exam and a final public oral examination in defense of the thesis are required.
  • The Supervisory Committee (and Dissertation Committee) must have a minimum of 4 members, including:
  1. Committee Chair (Advisor) shall be full-time CAE faculty and a member of the Graduate Faculty.
  2. CAE faculty and a member of the Graduate Faculty
  3. CAE faculty and a member of the Graduate Faculty
  4. Non-CAE member with an earned PhD

Mission

The mission of the Ph.D. program in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering is to:

  • Mentor Ph.D. students in conducting high-quality research that will advance the body of knowledge and prepare graduates for a lifetime of scholarly contributions that positively impact society.
  • Provide high-quality graduate education in civil, architectural, and environmental engineering that will prepare graduates for professional careers and a lifetime of learning;
  • Serve the engineering profession and society through active involvement in professional organizations and contribution of professional expertise.

Students in the program will be engaged in research, including interdisciplinary research, while progressing through rigorous coursework to prepare them for professional careers in industry, academia, and government. A small-department atmosphere enables faculty to provide individualized instruction and a personal commitment to mentoring doctoral students. Faculty in the department have a long-standing record of forming strong research partnerships with government agencies, industry, health sciences, and faculty in  other colleges within the university, and external faculty. These collaborative endeavors enable the Department to provide Ph.D. graduates with a world-class education to strengthen their technical, professional, problem-solving, and communication skills necessary for them to generate significant contributions to society.

Goals

The educational objectives of the Ph.D. program are to produce graduates whom:

  • Are capable of advancing knowledge through in-depth study of a specific problem using engineering principles.
  • Have advanced technical knowledge in at least one specialty area of civil engineering
  • Have advanced capability to apply advanced knowledge to engineering problems
  • Have made significant contributions in at least one specialty area of civil engineering

Specialty areas include structural, environmental, water-resources, and architectural engineering.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the discipline (mathematics, science, and engineering), including methodology relevant to a specialty area.
  • Students will demonstrate an advanced ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems to carry out supervised research.
  • Students will demonstrate an advanced ability to generate technical contributions and effectively communicate them to the scientific community.