Graduate programs - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD

The PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering program offers advanced courses in the areas of structural analysis and design, water resources and environmental engineering, transportation engineering, and geotechnical engineering. This program aims to educate technical experts to meet challenges related to enhancing infrastructure and the environment. Students learn about conducting research and solving technical problems that have an impact both regionally and globally. The PhD program culminates in a written dissertation representing an original contribution to knowledge in the field, significantly enlarging, modifying or reinterpreting what was previously known. Students work closely with their advisor, but PhD research is an original, independent investigation of the chosen research topic.


Application Deadlines - PhD

  • Priority Fall - First Monday of January (for strongest consideration for funding as a Graduate Research or Teaching Assistant)
  • Fall - April 1
  • Winter - September 1
  • Spring - November 1

Degree Requirements - PhD

A PhD student must complete the following departmental requirements:

  1. Complete a minimum of 51 credits (including coursework and dissertation credits) beyond the M.S. degree;

  2. Complete an approved program of study, which includes a minimum of 24 hours coursework. Coursework may include up to 8 hours of CE 601 Research, CE 604 Internship, CE 605 Reading and Conference, or CE 606 Projects;

  3. Meet the University's residency requirement;

  4. Pass the comprehensive examination;

  5. Present and pass a proposal defense for advancement to candidacy;

  6. Complete 27 credit hours of dissertation credit (CE 603) leading to the completion of a doctoral dissertation;

  7. Present and pass the final oral dissertation defense; and

  8. Submit the written dissertation in compliance with University guidelines and deadlines.

Internship credits (CE 604) require a project and final report; these credits must be arranged in advance between the CEE faculty advisor and the student. CEE courses for which the student receives a grade of "C+" or lower will not be counted toward fulfilling the requirements. Grades of C+, C, or C- may sometimes be counted toward the degree with the approval of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Program Chair.

All courses taken in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering by degree candidates must be taken for a letter grade, unless a course is only offered with a pass/no pass option. Courses outside the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering may be taken pass/no pass only with the consent of the student’s advisor. Non-degree seeking students may take Civil and Environmental Engineering courses pass/no pass with the consent of the instructor.

Departmental policies and other helpful information for graduate students can be found in the Department’s Graduate Handbook, located on the CEE website ( All other degree requirements for the PhD program are established by PSU's Graduate School. Please refer to the Graduate School for the university's doctoral degree requirements.