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The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is a research-oriented degree requiring performance of independent research that is the original work of the degree candidate. The Ph.D. degree prepares students for careers in engineering practice, education, leadership, and research, including industry, government laboratories and academia. The final basis for granting the degree shall be the candidate’s grasp of the subject matter of a broad field of study and a demonstrated ability to do independent research. In addition, the candidate must have acquired the ability to express thoughts clearly and forcefully through both oral and written communication.

For a student who has completed a master’s degree, a minimum of 64 hours is required on the degree plan for the Ph.D. degree. For a student who has completed a baccalaureate degree but not a master’s degree, a minimum of 96 hours is required on the degree plan for the Ph.D. degree. All students must also meet the program prerequisites (see the Program Prerequisites section above and also additional details below). In addition to the credit-hour and prerequisite requirements, the Ph.D. requires a dissertation, which is a written document that reports the results of the candidate’s independent research. Students must also pass a Qualifier Exam, a Preliminary Exam oriented around the dissertation proposal and a final Dissertation Defense.

Environmental Engineering Faculty Members

Water Resources Engineering Faculty Members

Coastal Engineering Faculty Members

Dissertation Committee

All student advising for the Ph.D. degree is handled by the student’s Advisory Committee. Students select a committee chair, who will direct both the dissertation research and provide coursework advising. The student should also recruit a minimum of three additional committee members to their thesis committee, one of whom must be from outside the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  For more details on the thesis committee and program requirements for the Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, see the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog.

The coursework requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering with a focus in Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering are listed below. Within each rubric of required coursework, students should discuss their course selections within their Thesis Committee Chair each semester before course registration begins. The degree plan, listing all courses a student plans to take to meet the 64- or 96-credit hour requirement, must be completed and filed with the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies before the end of the fourth semester of study or 36 credit hours of accumulated credit at Texas A&M, whichever occurs first.

Program Pre-requisites

Students admitted directly to the Ph.D. following a baccalaureate degree must complete 24 hours of pre-requisite coursework. These 24 hours of coursework requirements must be taken as follows:

  • Select 9 hours from the list of Foundation Courses specified for the MS With-Thesis requirements.
  • Select 9 hours from the list of Focus Technical Electives specified for the MS With-Thesis requirements.
  • Select 6 hours of electives from among all approved technical electives.

 Following the 24 hours of program pre-requisites, students must also meet the Ph.D. coursework requirements specified below.

Coursework Requirements

Students admitted directly to the Ph.D. and requiring 96 hours on the degree plan, must complete 24 hours of pre-requisite course work, as specified above, and an additional 15 hours of Ph.D. level coursework. Students admitted to the Ph.D. with a masters and requiring 64 hours on the degree plan, must take 15 hours of Ph.D. course work. For either student, the remaining hours on the degree plan are expected to be research hours (CVEN 691).

Ph.D. Qualifier Examination

Students are formally admitted to the Ph.D. Program after passing a written and oral Qualifier Exam, to be taken following the end of the first semester of Ph.D. studies. The Qualifier Exam is administrated by the Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering Division faculty in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering. The Qualifier is designed to ensure broad understanding at an undergraduate level of the key concepts of Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering (fluid mechanics, hydrology, chemistry, and biology) and to test the research creativity of the applicant. Candidates may take the Qualifier Exam a maximum of two times.

Ph.D. Preliminary Examination

In the Preliminary Examination, a Ph.D. candidate presents their research plan to the dissertation committee in the form of a written Dissertation Proposal followed by an oral presentation of the research plan and optional written examination.

Ph.D. Dissertation

The Ph.D. dissertation is a written document reporting the research that is the original work of the candidate. The Dissertation Defense, consisting of an oral examination, will be scheduled with all of the advisory committee members. At this examination, the student will give a presentation of the research work completed for the degree and documented in the Dissertation.