Carnegie Mellon University

PhD Program

PhD Focus Areas

A number of influences on the built and natural environment will drive future research needs and opportunities in civil and environmental engineering.  As the world’s population continues to grow and concentrate in urban areas, it taxes all forms of existing infrastructure and creates significant environmental quality issues.

At the same time, much of the infrastructure in developed urban areas is aged and in poor condition. As the climate changes, weather patterns in both urban and rural areas will also change and create new challenges for both the built and natural environment in the form of more intense and frequent wind, flood and landslide events.

Each of our established focus areas serves to address these real challenges facing professionals in the civil and environmental engineering disciplines.

Students who have completed an MS degree in engineering from Carnegie Mellon or another institution are eligible to apply to the PhD program in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Students who have completed the MS requirements at Carnegie Mellon who wish to continue must formally apply to the PhD program. 

How long will it take?

To complete a PhD, typically at least four years of graduate study beyond the BS degree, or three years of graduate study beyond the MS degree are required. 

What is the form of the PhD qualifying examination?

PhD Candidates will be required to take a Qualifying Examination consisting of two parts:

  1. Comprehensive Examination
  2. Thesis Proposal Examination

For detailed information about the degree requirements for PhD students, please visit our PhD Requirements section.

What are the course requirements for the PhD program?

There are no formal course requirements for the PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering program. Most PhD students take some courses to prepare for the candidacy exam and/or provide additional bakground for their chosen research area. 

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