Dec 08, 2023  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Philosophy - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Plan Description

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Construction at UNLV offers a number of program degree options leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) - Civil and Environmental Engineering. Specific areas of engineering that are currently available include Construction, Environmental, Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, and Water Resources.​

For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements


Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

Admission to the program leading to the Ph.D. in Engineering in the field of Civil and Environmental Engineering is open to those students completing the following requirements:

  1. Application must be made to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Applications must include all documentation as required by the Graduate College. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will admit the student and supervise the student’s Ph.D. program.
  2. The applicant must have a Master of Science in Engineering degree or equivalent with a major in civil engineering or a closely allied field. Students with non-engineering backgrounds will be required to complete a set of course work requirements that will assure successful completion of the Ph.D. specialization and qualify the student to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Special cases will be decided upon by the Graduate Program Committee (GPC).
  3. The applicant must submit a written statement of purpose indicating interests and objectives in working toward a Ph.D. degree. In addition, three letters of recommendation for Ph.D.-level study must be submitted.
  4. Applicants from countries where English is not the native language must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, earn scores of at least 213 (computerized) or 550 (written), and submit an official report of the score to the Graduate College.
  5. The GPC will examine the applicant’s academic record and will make the final determination of the applicant’s admissibility to the Ph.D. program. In general, a minimum post-baccalaureate GPA of 3.20 on a 4.00 scale or equivalent is required for admission.
  6. All applicants are required to take the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing portions of the GRE General Test and submit the scores to the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. Successful applicants generally have a combined verbal and quantitative GRE score of at least 300 on the new test (1000 on all GRE exams taken before August 2011) and GRE analytical writing score of at least 3.
  7. All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Plan Requirements

Total Credits Required: 45

Course Requirements

Elective Courses – Credits: 27

Complete 27 credits of advisor-approved elective coursework.

Dissertation – Credits: 18

Degree Requirements

  1. A minimum of 27 credit hours of course work beyond the degree of Master of Science in Engineering or equivalent is required (excluding dissertation) with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
    1. A minimum of 18 of these credits must be 700-level courses.
    2. In addition to these course requirements, a dissertation consisting of at least 18 credits (CEE 799) is required.
  2. A Doctoral Advisory Committee composed of at least five members of the UNLV graduate faculty is to be formed for the student. At least three of the committee members must be from tenured or tenure-track members of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the fourth from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering or a related field, and the fifth must be appointed by the Graduate College.
  3. The student’s Doctoral Advisory committee may add additional requirements in accordance with the individual’s background and area of study.
  4. Doctoral students who have not completed CEE 700, or equivalent, or did not write a thesis as part of their Master of Science studies, may be required to complete CEE 700 as a deficiency course. This course will not count towards their doctoral degree program.
  5. Students whose mother tongue is not English must demonstrate a satisfactory command of the English language by passing the advanced level on the Michigan test during the first year of study.
  6. In order to show breadth and depth of knowledge in his/her discipline, the doctoral student must pass either a written qualifying exam, an oral qualifying exam, or both as determined by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee. These examinations are prepared by the faculty and supervised by the GPC. These qualifying exams must be scheduled after the completion of one year of study but not before the completion of at least 12 credits of course work.
  7. The doctoral student must pass a preliminary exam consisting of the preparation of a written proposal for the dissertation research followed by an oral defense of the proposal. The dissertation must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee. Students are advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. upon the completion of all course work and approval of the dissertation research proposal.
  8. All requirements for the Ph.D. are met upon the satisfactory completion of the proposed research, the submission of a satisfactory dissertation, and the successful oral defense of the dissertation before the Doctoral Advisory Committee.

Plan Graduation Requirements

  1. The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College and then apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing his/her degree requirements.
  2. The student must submit and successfully defend his/her dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
  3. After the dissertation defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their dissertation to the Graduate College for format check. Once the dissertation format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for dissertation defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here