Procedures for Civil Engineering PhD Qualifying Examination
- The primary intent of the Civil Engineering PhD Qualifying Examination is to identify potential weaknesses in a PhD candidate’s background.
- This exam is for students pursuing the PhD Degree in Civil Engineering and is monitored and administered by the Civil Engineering Graduate Program Director. Separate qualifying exam procedures apply to PhD candidates pursuing degrees in Environmental or Geosensing Engineering.
- All Civil Engineering PhD candidates who have already completed at least five graduate courses will be recommended to take the written PhD Qualifying Exam before the beginning of their third semester in the UH graduate program. The written exam will be closed-book and offered twice a year: on the first Friday after the spring commencement and two Fridays before the beginning of the spring semester.
- Students going directly from the BS degree to the PhD degree are recommended to take the written qualifying exam by the semester after they complete five courses in their graduate programs.
- Score ≥ 80%: pass (may be accompanied by the requirement of additional coursework in specific areas).
Score ≥ 70% but < 80%: oral exam required. After administration of the oral exam the student may receive a grade of pass (may be accompanied by the requirement of
additional coursework in specific areas) or a grade of unacceptable. If an unacceptable grade is assigned, the student will be allowed a second attempt at the written exam in the regularly scheduled qualifying exam period of the following semester.
- Score < 70%: unacceptable. Student will be allowed a second attempt at the written exam in the regularly scheduled qualifying exam period of the following semester.
- If an oral exam is required it will be administered by a committee of at least three civil engineering faculty members. The oral exam committee must be submitted to the Civil Graduate Program Director at least 24 hours before the oral exam. The Chair of the Oral Exam Committee will be selected by the Civil Graduate Program Director.
- After the exam(s) a memo from the Civil Graduate Program Director documenting the student’s performance (pass or fail, with any additional requirements or recommendations) will be placed in the student’s Departmental file.
Core Areas and Exam Format for PhD Candidates in Structural/Mechanics Area
The exam will consist of two questions in each of the four core areas below. Students will answer four questions from at least three core areas.
|Structural Analysis and Mechanics||Classical methods of structural analysis, matrix structural analysis(stiffness and flexibility methods), structural dynamics, structural stability|
|Design||Structural concrete design, steel design, composite design|
|Engineering Mathematics||Ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, linear algebra, vector calculus|
|Mechanics of Materials||Stress-strain relationships (2D and 3D) and transformations, beam theory, shear and torsion, elasticity, plasticity|
Core Areas and Exam Format for PhD Candidates in Hydro-systems and Water Resources
Students will select three of the four core areas listed below to be tested on. The exam will consist of four to six questions from the select three core areas. All exam questions must be solved.
|Fluid Mechanics||Basic governing equations, pipe flow, laminar flow solutions, turbulent channel flow, scalar transport|
|Open Channel Hydraulics||Energy and momentum principles, uniform flow and resistance, gradually varied flow, dam break flows, sediment transport, basic fluvial geomorphology|
|Coastal Mechanics||Wave properties, linear and nonlinear waves, random waves, wave forces|
|Hydrology||Rain fall, infiltration, hydrographs, flood water routing, water resources|
Core Areas and Exam Format for PhD Candidates in Geotechnical Engineering
Students will be tested on four of five core areas listed. The exam will consist of four to six questions from the core areas. All exam questions must be attempted.
|Geotechnical-Theory||Soil Classification, Effective Stress, Consolidation, Compaction, Permeability, Geology|
|Geotechnical-Laboratory||Triaxial, Consolidation, Permeability, Specific gravity, Index Properties, Swelling, Shear|
|Foundations||Bearing Capacity, Settlement, Design of Spread Footing, Deep Foundations, Retaining Wall|
|Materials||Elastic behavior, Inelastic behavior, Stress-Strain relationship, Yielding, Testing, Anisotropic Materials, Grouts, Coatings, Nanomaterials, piezoresistive materials|
|Environmental||Contaminated soils, Adsorption, Biodegradation, Leaching, Surfactants, Solubility, Treatment Methods, Testing|