Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers programs of graduate study and research in the following two areas: mechanics, materials, and structures; and environmental engineering and water resources.
The department offers three degree programs of study: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.). Students must be admitted to one of these three degree programs.
The student-faculty ratio in the department is kept small to allow for productive working relationships between students and their advisers. The department maintains an atmosphere in which close interaction between students and faculty is the norm, whereby students benefit from the background, experience, and knowledge their advisers have gained in solving important engineering problems.
Study leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is offered in two areas: environmental engineering and water resources (EEWS); and materials, mechanics, and structures (MMS). When a student enters the department, an adviser is assigned to the student based on the student's area of interest.
Every admitted Ph.D. student is given financial support in the form of a first-year fellowship.
In addition, all admitted Ph.D. students are automatically considered for the prestigious Wu and Upton Fellowships.
The plan of study for the first year is arranged by the student, in consultation with the adviser and the department’s director of graduate studies. All students must successfully complete CEE 509 and CEE 510 prior to the end of the semester preceding the general examination. Students are also required to take two courses to complete the mathematics/computational methods requirement. These courses must be in the areas of calculus, probability, statistics, and numerical methods, and are normally at the 500-level, but upon approval, an upper class undergraduate course may be used. Mathematical/computational methods requirement courses are subject to the approval of the student's program.
Students are also required to take a minimum of six additional courses that inform their specialized area of study and breadth of knowledge in their field. Students consult with the advisor, program director, and/or the departmental director of graduate studies regarding the appropriateness of a particular course.
Students are expected to complete the general examination successfully within the first two years of their Ph.D. studies. Students are not normally readmitted to a third year (fifth term) of graduate study unless they have successfully completed the general examination. In no case are students admitted to a fourth year (seventh term) of graduate study unless they have passed the general examination.
While specific elements of the examination vary between the EEWR and MMS programs, the general examination consists of an oral examination, in addition to some written requirements per the specific program. The general examination committee is selected by the program faculty in consultation with the adviser. The committee consists of three to six faculty members from the program and is normally chaired by the adviser. A portion of the examination includes a research seminar, the basis of which is the dissertation research proposal, presented to the committee. The faculty examining committee will provide the Program and DGS with a written evaluation of the student’s performance in the general examination, and this evaluation with be shared with the student. Since specific requirements vary between the two programs, students should consult with the program about examination details well in advance of the examination.
The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is normally an incidental degree on the way to full Ph.D. candidacy and is earned after a student successfully completes required coursework and the general examination. It may also be awarded to students who, for various reasons, leave the Ph.D. program, provided that the coursework requirements have been met and the sections of the general exam showing proficiency and scholarship have been passed. In such cases it is not required that students have completed the part of the general exam involving a research seminar based on a dissertation proposal.
Please note, students admitted to the Ph.D. program who do not wish to complete the program may be considered for an M.S.E. degree with approval from the department and the Graduate School. Ph.D. students who have already been awarded the incidental M.A. are not eligible to earn an M.S.E.
Teaching experience is considered to be a significant part of the graduate education. It is recommended that Ph.D. candidates assist with course instruction for at least one term.
Yearly Meetings with Research Committee
Upon completion of the general examination, students must have in place a research committee consisting of the adviser and two or more additional faculty members. The research committee meets with the candidate at least once per academic year to supervise the research and provide feedback on it.
Upon completion and acceptance of the dissertation by the department, the candidate is admitted to the final public oral examination, in which the dissertation is presented and defended by the candidate.
The Ph.D. is awarded after the candidate’s doctoral dissertation has been accepted and the final public oral examination sustained.
Study leading to the degree of M.S.E. is offered in two areas: environmental engineering and water resources; and materials, mechanics, and structures. The M.S.E. program has a strong research focus reflected in the requirement of a master’s thesis. The M.S.E. is usually completed within two academic years of full-time study. Financial support in the form of a research or a teaching assistantship may be available for students enrolled in this program.
The course requirements are fulfilled by successfully completing 10 one-term courses. Two of the courses must be CEE 509 and CEE 510, which are required research courses. Other courses are selected with the approval of the program.
The M.S.E. program has a strong research focus reflected in the requirement of a master’s thesis. By the second term of study, a committee consisting of the adviser and one additional faculty member is formed to guide and supervise the candidate's thesis research. Candidates must prepare and submit an acceptable thesis as well as present an open seminar on their research.
An M.Eng. degree is offered to students who are interested in the applied aspects of engineering and who wish to prepare for professional practice and consulting. The department offers two such programs: the M.Eng. in structural engineering, and the M.Eng. in environmental engineering and water resources. The M.Eng. degree is usually completed in one academic year of full-time study.
Students interested in the M.Eng. degree should contact the departmental director of graduate studies prior to application. The program also provides the opportunity for formal study in nontechnical areas such as corporate finance, public policy, and regulatory issues.
Students fulfill program requirements by successfully completing eight one-term courses selected from a list of relevant courses.
Catherine A. Peters
Director of Graduate Studies
Elie R. Bou-Zeid
Michael A. Celia
Maria E. Garlock
Peter R. Jaffé
Denise L. Mauzerall
Catherine A. Peters
Amilcare M. Porporato
Z. Jason Ren
James A. Smith
Sigrid M. Adriaenssens
Claire E. White
Mark A. Zondlo
Ian C. Bourg
Dominik J. Weiss
Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.