Da Li, CEE PhD Student, helps install a body sensor on a nursing school test participant in the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, MI.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) offers two Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs: Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering. Our PhD programs usually include 50 to 60 hours of graduate coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree level. Foreign languages are not required. The focus of doctoral studies is the student’s dissertation research, which must make a significant contribution to professional knowledge in the field.

PhD in Civil Engineering

Areas of specialization include:

  • Construction Engineering and Management
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Hydraulic and Hydrologic Engineering
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Materials and Highway Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Next Generation Transportation Systems

PhD in Environmental Engineering

Areas of specialization include:     

  • Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology
  • Hazardous Substance Treatment and Control
  • Hydraulics and Fluid Mechanics
  • Management Policy and Economics
  • Surface and Groundwater Hydrology
  • Watershed Hydrology and Ecohydrology
  • Water Quality Engineering
  • Geostatistical Modeling and Optimization
  • Atmospheric Modeling

Steps Toward the PhD Degree

Major steps toward the PhD degree include:

  • preliminary examination
  • appointment of dissertation committee
  • completion of coursework and English proficiency requirement
  • advancement to candidacy
  • research proposal defense
  • final oral examination
  • completion of dissertation

Admission to the PhD program is granted to students who show promise and provide sufficient evidence that they can meet scholastic requirements of study, including independent research, at an advanced level. The preliminary examination is only open to students with GPA of better than B+. View this flowchart to understand how this process works.

Preliminary Exam Procedures

The specific format of the Preliminary Examination will vary, depending on the student’s area of specialization. Areas of specialization for the Preliminary Examination are:

The Preliminary Examination is typically scheduled during either the first week of January or first two weeks of May.

For details regarding scheduling and requirements, please refer to the PhD guidelines document as well as the document specific to your area, if available. Questions not answered by these documents can be directed to your faculty advisor.

PhD Mentoring Framework

This sample framework provides a starting point for establishing a good advising and mentoring relationship between faculty advisors and PhD students engaged in research together. The framework needs to be established when students start their PhD programs. By revisiting and updating shared expectations within the framework (at least annually), it can then be tailored to emphasize relevant and important topics in a timely way during the course of a student’s time in the graduate program.

PhD Most requested forms

Please note all forms should be turned in to the Grad Coordinator for Grad Chair signature via email or turned in to the Student Services Office in 2188 GG Brown Building.