Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Civil Engineering Ph.D.

CSENG Civil, Envrn & Geo-Eng (CEGE)
College of Science and Engineering
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering, University of Minnesota, 122 Civil Engineering Building, 500 Pillsbury Drive S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-625-5522; fax: 612-626-7750)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 60
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Civil engineering emphases are available in environmental engineering (e.g., pollutant fate and transport, process modeling, soil and groundwater remediation, water and wastewater treatment), geomechanics (e.g., fracture and localization, groundwater flow, stability and liquefaction, wave and shock propagation), structural engineering (e.g., computational and structural mechanics, earthquake engineering, infrastructure performance and durability, new systems and materials), transportation engineering (e.g., intelligent transportation systems, pavement design and materials, transportation economics, traffic safety), and water resources engineering (e.g., earthscape processes, environmental and biological systems, hydrologic and climate dynamics, hydrodynamics, and turbulence). The PhD degree couples independent research with coursework in a comprehensive program for those wishing to attain mastery of their field. The PhD degree demands the ability and desire to pursue independent and original studies and can be earned with emphasis in environmental, geomechanics, structural, transportation, or water resources engineering. Research performance, as judged by preparation of a dissertation on an independently pursued research topic, is the primary requirement for the PhD degree. Students enter the PhD program two to four years following the bachelor's degree, normally after completing the MS degree. The PhD program is typically completed in four to six years following the bachelor's degree. Each program of study is designed in consultation with a faculty adviser to meet the special needs of the student, although programs must be approved by the director of graduate studies.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
A bachelor's degree in an engineering, basic science, or mathematics program is preferred.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Admission depends primarily on the applicant's academic record and letters of recommendation. Applicants who lack civil engineering training are often required to complete one or more appropriate courses from the undergraduate civil engineering program. Graduate credit is not awarded for such preparatory work.
Special Application Requirements:
The application deadlines are December 3 for fall admission and August 31 for spring admission. All materials must be submitted to the online application. Additional information is available at
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
36 credits are required in the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
A typical program consists of 36 credits of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree, plus 24 thesis credits. Credits earned in a MS program may be presented in partial fulfillment of the PhD requirements. Rigid requirements for the number of 8xxx courses appropriate for PhD programs have not been set; nonetheless, the PhD represents the highest level of scholarly achievement and coursework should be selected accordingly.
Required Courses
Any courses at the 5xxx and 8xxx level from the following programs may be used: AEM, AST, BBE, BMEN, CEGE, CHEM, CHEN, CSCI, EE, ESCI, IE, MATH, MATS, ME, PHYS, STAT. Use of 4xxx level courses must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and a maximum of 9 credits may be included. The following 4xxx courses may not be used: CEGE 4301, 4401, 4501, 4502, and 4522. The 36 course credits may include 12 credits in a minor.
Students may count up to two seminar credits for the Ph.D. program in the 36-credit total.
CEGE 8200 - Seminar: Transportation (1.0 cr)
or CEGE 8300 - Seminar: Geomechanics (1.0-3.0 cr)
or CEGE 8400 - Seminar: Structures (1.0 cr)
or CEGE 8500 - Environmental Seminar (1.0 cr)
Thesis Credits
Take 24 credits after passing preliminary oral exam
CEGE 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
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CEGE 8200 - Seminar: Transportation
Credits: 1.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Content depends on instructor and student. Sample topics: traffic safety, traffic flow theory, transportation materials, transportation planning, transportation economics.
CEGE 8300 - Seminar: Geomechanics
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00955 - CE 8300/GeoE 8300
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Presentations on various topics.
CEGE 8400 - Seminar: Structures
Credits: 1.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Content depends on instructor and student. Sample topics: theory of elasticity, optimization, reliability, wave propagation, soil dynamics, experimental equipment, wind forces on structures, structural failures, modern construction practices.
CEGE 8500 - Environmental Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: grad CE major or #
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Broad coverage of topics in environmental engineering and science. Speakers consist primarily of graduate students in these areas, but presentations may also be given by University faculty and guest speakers. prereq: grad CE major or instr consent
CEGE 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Prerequisites: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required