Civil and Environmental Engineering (Ph.D.)


The Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering requires that students complete the doctoral core courses, courses from the department, and additional courses as specified by the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering. Students must also take 30 credit hours of dissertation research as well as complete Examinations.  For additional information, please see the Civil and Environmental Engineering department webpage.

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    Program Learning Outcomes

    Graduates of this program will be able to:

    1. analyze and design a complex engineering system or component (Technical Competence)
    2. independently investigate an engineering topic and make conclusions about its effect on designs (Research Skills)
    3. present an engineering solution (Effective Communication)

    Admission Requirements

    Students may apply to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering program upon completion of either a baccalaureate or a master’s degree in civil engineering or a closely related field. Typical minimum requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a graduate GPA of 3.5 (if relevant). Students who have taken relevant graduate level courses elsewhere (possibly as part of earning a master’s degree) may transfer up to 30 credit hours from their master’s program. Although the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required, a strong score on the GRE will strengthen the application. In addition, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if applicable, while not required as part of the application, is encouraged because its results can be useful in facilitating the admission process.  Students who obtained their degree(s) outside the U.S. must also submit official ECE or WES evaluation reports for each institution attended.


    Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering Degree Requirements (81 credit hours)

    The Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering is divided into three parts: Coursework, Dissertation, and Examination.  All doctoral programs of study must be approved by the faculty advisor/committee and the department chairperson.


    Coursework consists of 51 post-baccalaureate course credit hours at the graduate level. Up to 30 graduate credit hours may be transferred but at least 21 additional graduate credits must be earned at Detroit Mercy. Coursework is divided into:

    • Doctoral Core (six credits)
    • CIVE Discipline Specific (nine credits)
    • Electives (36 credits) 

    Two Doctoral Core courses (or equivalent) are required: ENGR 5020 Design of Experiments (or EMGT 5470 Six Sigma II) and ENGR 5300 Advanced Engineering Mathematics.

    Discipline specific courses (CIVE) are those from the Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Department that pertain closely to the student's dissertation topic. These courses must be agreed upon by the student’s advisor and the department.

    Elective courses are selected (with written approval of the student's advisor) from CIVE, ENGR, MENG, and/or AEV. Courses from additional departments may be permissible with written approval of the advisor, however, co-op related credits may not be used toward the requirements

    At least six of these discipline-specific and/or elective credits must be from classes that are 5000-level graduate-only (not cross-listed) courses.  A partial list of these graduate-only classes is provided below:

    • CIVE 5400 Advanced Structural Dynamics  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5420 Dynamics of Foundations and Soils (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5430 REVIT and CAD (Credit Hours 3) 
    • CIVE 5630 Environmental Risk Analysis and Design (Credit hours 3)
    • CIVE 5660 Bridge Design (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5750 Pavement Design and Management  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5760 Pre-Stressed Concrete  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5780 Physicochemical Unit Operations  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5800 Biological Unit Operations (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5862 Soil Remediation  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5864 Landfill Design  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5910 Geographical Information Systems  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5920 Capstone Design  (Credit Hours 3)
    • CIVE 5990  Civil Engineering Master's Thesis  (Credit Hours 6)
    • MPD 5300 System Optimization (Credit Hours 3)

    Note: Students are expected to have a GRE Analytic Writing Section score of 3.5 out of 6, TOEFL Writing score of 4 out of 6, TOEFL iBT Writing score of 24 out of 30, or have their master thesis evaluated for writing proficiency. Some students not meeting these requirement may be required to take up to three additional courses in writing such as English as a Second Language (ESL).


    Dissertation credits consist of research credits accrued under the guidance of a doctoral dissertation committee headed by a faculty member who acts as the supervisor. Although doctoral research is independent, novel, and advances the state-of-the-art, the committee members can provide guidance, advice, and technical expertise. A minimum of 30 dissertation credits is required for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Dissertation credits may only be taken after passing the qualifying examinations.


    Examinations comprise three stages: Qualifying, Dissertation Topic, and Final.

    The Qualifying Examination consist of two parts: mathematics and discipline specific (in this case, civil and environmental engineering topics relevant to the individual examinee). The Mathematics Qualifying Exam should be taken in the first year of the program and must be taken when the student has completed the doctoral core courses. The Discipline-Specific Qualifying Exam is administered by the Civil, Architecture, & Environmental Department. This exam is comprised of a major area exam and a minor area exam. Major and minor areas are selected by the student in cooperation with his/her doctoral advisor. These exams are typically taken after the area-specific coursework has been completed. Students passing the Qualifying Examinations are allowed to advance in the doctoral program. Students can repeat each qualifying exam once. Students failing the second time are dismissed from the doctoral program.

    The Dissertation Topic Examination consists of the formal presentation of the dissertation topic to the supervisory committee. The committee provides feedback to the student regarding scope, depth, and relevancy of the topic. With approval of the committee, the student can proceed with the research and subsequent accrual of dissertation credits.

    The Final Examination consists of the formal and public presentation of the dissertation results. The written dissertation must also be approved and accepted by the supervisory committee and the dean of the College. The Final Examination, in concert with submission of the approved version of the written dissertation, constitutes the last step in completion of the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

    Information about:

Program Contact Information

Department Chairperson: Utpal Dutta, Ph.D.
Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering Department
Office: Engineering 262
Telephone: 313-993-1040