2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    Apr 20, 2021  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Civil Engineering PhD

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College: Engineering and Computer Science Degree: PHD
Department: Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering Option: Dissertation
Program Websites: http://www.cece.ucf.edu/
Graduate Program Handbook

Program Description

The Civil Engineering PhD program includes courses and research in structural analysis and design, geotechnical engineering and foundations, transportation planning and operations, traffic engineering, construction engineering, and water resources engineering. This will prepare students for roles in consulting firms, construction and construction-related industries and academic institutions as well as in city, county, state and federal government agencies.

The PhD in Civil Engineering reflects the very broad nature of the field, which encompasses the design, construction, and enhancement of the infrastructure of society. The educational program includes course work in structural analysis and design, geotechnical engineering and foundations, transportation planning and operations, traffic engineering and water resources engineering.

Faculty research interests include geotechnical studies of subsurface conditions, soil testing “superpave” mix design, intelligent transportation systems, traffic safety, structural dynamics, nonlinear structural analysis and software development, reinforced concrete, construction engineering, hydraulic modeling, coastal ocean modeling, stormwater management, and watershed management.

This program has potential ties to professional licensure or certification in the field. For more information on how this program may prepare you in that regard, please visit https://apq.ucf.edu/licensure-programs/.


The PhD in Civil Engineering is a research-oriented degree that requires course work combined with intensive research. The program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Thirty of the 72 credit hours can be met with either a nonthesis or thesis MS in Civil Engineering. This leaves 42 credit hours, of which 18 credit hours must be Dissertation Research and a minimum of 15 credit hours must be formal course work. A maximum of 9 credit hours of Doctoral Research hours can be used in the doctoral program, which could be replaced by additional formal course work.

For students not having an MS degree who directly enter the PhD program (BS to PhD), there will be a minimum of 45 hours formal course work (i.e., 30 credit hours identical to the course work for a nonthesis MS in any of the Civil Engineering focus areas plus a minimum of 15 credit hours course work past the MS). In addition, these students can enroll for Doctoral Research credit hours during or after their first semester in the program. The 27 credit hours required in addition to the 45 credit hours course work will be 18 credit hours in Dissertation Research, and a maximum of 9 credit hours in Doctoral Research. Up to 9 credit hours of Doctoral Research can be replaced by additional formal course work subject to the approval of the PhD adviser and the advisory committee.

For both MS to PhD and BS to PhD students, the program of study must be developed with an advisory committee and meet with departmental approval at the beginning of the PhD program, at which time transfer credit will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis.

Total Credit Hours Required: 72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree 42 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Master’s Degree

Elective Courses: 54 Credit Hours Minimum

  • To be approved by a faculty adviser and the graduate coordinator.
  • At least 27 credit hours of formal course work is required, exclusive of research and independent study. For students entering the program with a completed master’s degree, at least 15 of the 27 credit hours (exclusive of independent study and research) must be taken at UCF after the master’s program from approved formal courses. For students entering the program without a master’s degree in Civil Engineering or a closely related discipline, at least 45 credit hours of formal course work are required.
  • Doctoral Research (XXX 7919) - 9 credit hours maximum (more than 9 research credit hours can be taken, but only a maximum of 9 credit hours will be counted toward the program of study). 
  • Independent Study (XXX 6908) - 3 credit hours maximum
  • No more than a total of 12 credit hours of doctoral research plus independent study will be included in a program of study.
  • Directed Research (XXX 6918) is not permitted in a PhD program of study.

Students can choose among the following courses with the consent of the academic adviser. Students that have no MS degree should complete the core courses for the MS degree in the respective focus area. These focus areas are: Structural Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Transportation Systems Engineering, Water Resources Engineering and Construction Engineering. For each one of these areas there is a suggested list of core courses.

Suggested elective courses include:

Construction Engineering and Management

Students are also allowed to take courses from other specialization areas. Students can take courses from Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering and other departments, including but not limited to Statistics, Mathematics, and Industrial, Mechanical, and/or Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science, with the consent of the academic adviser.

Dissertation: 18 Credit Hours

  • XXX 7980 (where XXX can be CGN, CEG, CES, CWR, or TTE; 18 credit hours)


The student must pass three examinations.

Qualifying Examination

The first is the PhD Qualifying Examination in one of the departmental disciplines. This written examination must be taken within the first year of admission into the PhD program. It may be attempted no more than twice.

Candidacy Examination

The student must pass a Candidacy Examination, normally taken near the end of the course work. It consists of a written and oral presentation of a research proposal, and may include additional written or oral questioning by the committee. A copy of the written examination will be kept as part of the student’s official record.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours. Evidence that items have been completed must be received by the College of Graduate Studies on the Friday before the first day of classes for those who wish to enroll in dissertation hours in that semester:

  • Completion of all but 6 hours or less of course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination.
  • Successful defense of the written dissertation proposal.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved program of study.

Dissertation Defense Examination

The Dissertation Defense Examination is an oral examination taken as defense of the written dissertation.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all dissertation defense announcements be approved by the student’s adviser and posted on the college’s website and on the College of Graduate Studies Events Calendar at least two weeks before the defense date.

Equipment Fee

Students in the Civil Engineering PhD program pay a $16 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $8 per semester.

Independent Learning

The Independent Learning Requirement is met by successful completion of the student’s candidacy and dissertation defense examinations.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirement , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Master’s or bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering or a closely related discipline.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement of educational, research, and professional career objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting applicants into their research program.

Application Deadlines

Civil Engineering PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Jul 1 Dec 1  
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15 Jul 1  
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Andrew Randall PhD PE
Telephone: 407-823-6429
Engineering II, 211-L

Ana Lucia Salas
Graduate Student Services Coordinator
Telephone: 407-823-1299
​Engineering II, 211-K

Graduate Admissions

Ashley Rivera Mercado
Telephone: 407-823-5692
Millican Hall 230
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL 32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241

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