Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering requires 24 hours of course work beyond the Masters Degree. The student first registers as a post MS student until they pass the Qualifying Examination, they are then Ph.D. students. Once the student passes the Candidacy Exam, they are considered Ph.D. Candidates. During the period of study, the students are expected to carry out original research, which must be written up in a dissertation and defended before a committee.

Generally, Ph.D. students are offered financial aid in the form of teaching and/or research assistantship. Financial support includes medical insurance and qualifies the student for the lower, Texas-Resident Tuition. A tuition scholarship may also be awarded that covers up to nine hours of tuition per semester.

Ph.D. Course Requirements

Starting in the Fall 2021 semester, there will be 4 required core courses enforced for structural focused PhD students as listed below

  1. CIVE7397 (Computer Methods in Structural Engr)—a new course replacing CIVE6337 (Matrix Analysis of Structures) 
  2. CIVE6350 (Advanced Mechanics of Materials)
  3. CIVE6355 (Introduction to Dynamics of Structures)
  4. One of these three courses:
  • CIVE6335 (Advanced Concrete Design)
  • CIVE6338 (Advanced Steel Design)
  • CIVE7397 (Masonry Structures Design)


The following are minimum requirements that may be exceeded in any case:

  • A total of at least 24-credit hours of course work beyond the M.S. (excluding prerequisites and remedial courses) is required for the Ph.D. degree in the following way:
    • A minimum of 12 hours of credit in Civil Engineering courses (6000 level or above numbered courses) in the student's major and supporting areas.
    • A minimum of 9-credit hours of 4000 level or above numbered courses in related fields of study outside Civil Engineering. (If justified, a course in 3000 level outside the Engineering College may be accepted with a prior approval.) At least 6 hours of these should constitute a coherent minor field. A maximum of 6 hours with numbers below 6000 will be allowed; additional courses must be 6000 level or above.
  • At least 30-credit hours in research and dissertation; this includes Ph.D. research (any combination of CIVE 8198 through 8598) and a minimumof 12 hours of dissertation (Ph.D. Thesis) (CIVE 8399, 8699, or 8999). Registration in the dissertation must be continuous after the first registration in the 8399 series of the program.
  • The courses must be in accordance with a preliminary degree plan, approved by the student's Major Advisor, two other Civil Engineering Faculty members in the student's major or supporting areas, and the Director of Graduate Studies. The degree plan shall be kept in the student's file, with copies distributed to all concerned. The final degree plan should be approved by the Comprehensive examination and Dissertation Committees and the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Normally, no more than 6 graduate credit hours may be transferred into a Ph.D. program from another institution (transferred graduate courses grade must be "B" or better).
  • The student is required to take CIVE 6111 (Graduate Seminar) during his/her registration in the dissertation and research courses (this is in addition to the course load described above).
  • No Civil Engineering courses with a grade of less than "B" shall count within the degree program. No grade of less than "C+" is acceptable within degree requirements; a maximum of 6 hours of courses outside Civil Engineering with a grade of "C+" may be counted within the degree program. A grade of "C+" or less in three courses attempted during the program may result in dismissal from Ph.D. studies. A grade of "C+" or less in four courses attempted during the UH graduate program shall result in dismissal from graduate studies. A GPA of at least 3.5/4.0 over all work attempted in the Ph.D. program is generally required or graduation.
  • Technology courses will not count within the requirements of the Ph.D. degree program.