Civil Engineering Ph.D.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

An applicant must have completed a baccalaureate science degree in engineering, mathematics, or science at an accredited college or university. If coursework or laboratory experience is deficient, an admitted student will be required to fulfill, without graduate credit, all undergraduate prerequisites for graduate courses. In some cases, the student's adviser may require additional undergraduate courses in order to achieve a well-integrated program of study. Applicants must submit current scores (within five years) from the general test of the GRE, unless waived by the graduate coordinator (for current UNH undergraduate civil engineering (CIE) or environmental engineering (ENE) majors only).

Degree Requirements

Following admission into the program, a guidance committee is appointed for the student by the dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the advisor and graduate coordinator. This committee assists in outlining the student's course of study and may specify individual coursework requirements. The guidance committee administers the qualifying examination.

The student must pass a qualifying exam that includes both a written and an oral component. The content of the qualifying exam will be determined at the discretion of the guidance committee and will be based on the coursework (both graduate and undergraduate) completed to date.  The qualifying exam is pass/fail.  At the discretion of the guidance committee a student may conditionally pass the exam and be reevaluated after a specified time period.  The qualifying exam must be completed within 18 months of admission for students that have a master’s degree and within 30 months of admission for students that enter the PhD program with only a bachelor’s degree.

  • Course Credit Requirements: 
    The student must successfully complete at least 18 graded course credit hours beyond a master's degree or 36 graded course credit hours beyond a bachelor’s degree. Additional course credits beyond these minimum levels may be required by the guidance committee.
  • Requirements for Optional Minor:
    An identifiable group of courses (9 credits minimum) in an area outside of the civil engineering department and approved by the guidance committee must be successfully completed to provide a minor to the Ph.D. degree. A minor may be satisfied by courses taken toward a master's degree other than civil engineering, but the credits will not be applied against the 18 or 36 credit-hour minimum.
  • Professional Outreach Experience:
    A minimum of one semester as a teaching assistant or comparable experience, or preparation and submission of article(s) to refereed journal(s), or presentations at professional meetings is required. The guidance committee will evaluate whether a student's past teaching assistantship satisfies this requirement.
  • Doctoral Candidates:
    Upon successful completion of the Ph.D. qualifying examination, a doctoral student is advanced to the status of doctoral candidate. When a student achieves candidacy, a doctoral committee is established. The doctoral committee reviews research, reviews the student's progress, supervises and approves the doctoral dissertation, and administers the final examination (also known as the dissertation defense).  The student must present and defend a research proposal within 6 months of achieving candidacy and no sooner than one year prior to the dissertation defense.

Upon completion of the dissertation, and with the approval of the doctoral committee, the student schedules an oral defense in accordance with the requirements of the Graduate School. For graduation, a B average (3.00 GPA) and successful dissertation defense must be achieved.