Graduate Programs

Doctor of Engineering Program, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Program Objective:

The objective of the Doctor of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering degree is to develop decisive, research oriented engineers with the ability to produce new engineering knowledge and analyze complex, cross-disciplinary issues.  Successful applicants are expected to perform advanced research in one or more areas of concentration within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and successfully complete both core courses and electives that may be drawn from a variety of disciplines.  Beyond the core courses, the program can be tailored to the needs of each student through a formal arrangement between the student and research advisor.

Areas of Specialization: 

The areas of specialization within the Doctor of Engineering focus in Civil and Environmental Engineering are: 

  • Environmental Engineering 
  • Geoenvironmental Engineering 
  • Geotechnical Engineering 
  • Transportation Engineering 
  • Structural Engineering

Program Curriculum:

Students enrolled in the Doctor of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering  program undertake studies that consist of graduate courses in engineering, sciences, mathematics and management. The program also includes oral and written qualifying examinations and a dissertation. A minimum or 63 credit hours is required beyond the bachelor of science degree.  The distribution of credit hours within the curriculum is as follows:

  • Civil engineering and other advanced courses - 33 credit hours 
  • Management courses - 9 credit hours 
  • Doctoral research dissertation

Core Courses in each focus area:

Environmental Engineering

14.561  Physical and Chemical Treatment Processes 
14.562  Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology 
14.567  Environmental Aquatic Chemistry 
14.568  Environmental Fate and Transport
14.578 Biological Wastewater Treatment 
14.595  Hazardous Waste Site Remediation

Geoenvironmental Engineering

14.531 Advanced Soil Mechanics
14.536 Soil Engineering
14.562  Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology
14.567 Environmental Aquatic Chemistry
14.595 Hazardous Waste Site Remediation 

and at least one of the following:

14.529  Engineering with Geosynthetics 
14.538  Soil Behavior 
14.527 Geotechnical Environmental Site Characterization 

Geotechnical Engineering 

14.531  Advanced Soil Mechanics 

and any four of the following: 

14.527  Geotechnical and Environmental Site Characterization 
14.529  Engineering with Geosynthetics 
14.530  Deep Foundations 
14.532  Theoretical Soil Mechanics 
14.533  Advanced Foundation Engineering 
14.534  Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 
14.535  Rock Mechanics and Underground Structures 
14.536  Soil Engineering 
14.537  Experimental Soil Mechanics 
14.538  Soil Behavior 
14.539  Ground Improvement 

Transportation Engineering 

14.541  Traffic Engineering 
14.540  Urban Transportation Planning 
14.581  Engineering Systems Analysis 
14.583  Stochastic Concepts 

Structural Engineering

14.504  Advanced Strength of Materials 
14.551  Design of Steel Structures or 14.552  Design of Reinforced    Concrete Structures          
14.556  Finite Element Analysis or equivalent 
14.557  Structural Dynamics

See the graduate catalog for more information and course descriptions.

A maximum of 24 hours of graduate-level course work taken at another institution with a minimum grade of B will be accepted.  A maximum of 12 credits of dissertation research can be transferred from another institution to the program.

Admission to the Doctor of Engineerig Program

i. Admission of Engineering Degree Holders: Admission of applicants who have at least one degree in engineering from an accredited university and department requires high academic standing in all prior course work.  Applicants are requested to submit GRE (aptitude part only) scores to the Graduate School.  In addition to GRE scores, international students must obtain a minimum score of 550 in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. 

ii. Admission of Non-Engineering Degree Holders: Admission to the Doctor of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering may be offered to applicants who have Bachelor's and/or Master's degree in non-engineering fields.  In such cases, the applicant must successfully complete 30 credit hours of approved graduate-level engineering courses and be awarded an M.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering prior to being considered a candidate for the Doctor of Engineering degree. 

Admission Application Process

Interested applicants are urged to contact the Graduate School for application packages and should contact the Doctoral Program Coordinator of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for information about the program.  The Coordinator will refer applicants  to faculty members in specialization areas for more detailed information about research focus areas and the availability of graduate research assistantships. 

Applicants should send application packages directly to the Graduate School.  The Doctoral Coordinator will review all application files in the Graduate School and circulate a complete list of all applicants to all faculty members every two months.  The Coordinator will convene an Admissions Panel.

Plan of Study

i. Assignment of an Advisor and Formation of a Doctoral Committee 
Within about one academic year of initiation of doctoral study, each student must work with his/her research advisor to develop a Plan of Study that complies with doctoral program and Graduate School policies.  Some courses in the Plan of Study may be substituted for, through a formal request to the Departmental Graduate Committee by the student's Research Advisor.  The student's Research Advisor is the supervisor of the student's research activities.  The Advisor will work with the student to develop Dissertation research focus and request the service of appropriately qualified persons in the student's Dissertation Committee.  The Dissertation Committee will comprise a minimum of 4 persons of which at least 2 will be full time, regular faculty members of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  The function of the Dissertation Committee is to ensure that the final edition of the student's dissertation meets the high technical standards expected in doctoral work and that the student successfully defends his/her findings prior to the award of the Doctor of Engineering degree.  Dissertation Committee members are not necessarily co- investigators of the student's research topic. 

ii. The Qualifying Examination 
Upon the completion of a maximum of 45 credit hours of graduate work that count towards the Doctor of Engineering degree, the student will apply to the Dissertation Committee to take a Qualifying Examination.  In addition, students who were admitted as non-engineering degree holders into the Doctor of Engineering program must satisfy the requirement for the award of the M.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering before they are allowed to take the Qualifying Examination (see section E(ii)).  The Qualifying Examination may be written and oral.  The Dissertation Committee members will submit their grades to the Doctoral Program Coordinator who will tally them and report the overall grade on a pass/fail basis, to the student and his/her Advisor.  Students who successfully complete the Qualifying Examination will be designated as Candidates for the Doctor of Engineering degree.  For each doctoral student, a maximum of two Qualifying Examinations will be allowed.  A doctoral student who fails the Qualifying Examination two times will not be allowed to continue in the doctoral program.  Shortly after passing the Qualifying Examination, the Doctor of Engineering degree Candidate will be expected to develop a thesis plan in collaboration with his/her advisor, and defend it successfully before the Doctoral Committee. 

iii. Residency Requirements
One year of full-time residence is required of all students in the program.  Residency is defined herein as a continuous period of full-time enrollment in the program or research effort at a UMass facility or any other facility approved by the Doctoral Committee.   Prior to graduation, a residency verification form signed by the students Research Advisor must be submitted to the Doctoral Program Coordinator. 

iv. Dissertation 
Prior to the award of the Doctor of Engineering degree, each Candidate is expected to author and defend a dissertation which must represent original contributions to the field of research focus.  Defense of the thesis work will be held in a seminar that will be open to the public.