Dec 04, 2022  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Philosophy - Civil and Environmental Engineering


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Plan Description


The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Construction (CEEC) 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, Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, and Water Resources/Environmental.​ Two subplans are available (1) Post-Master’s subplan and (2) Post-Bachelor’s subplan.

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: 

  • Applications should be submitted in the Grad Rebel Gateway.
  • The applicant must submit a Statement of Intent (SOI) with no more than two pages, indicating their interests in the area of specialization (construction, geotechnical, structural, transportation, and water resources/environmental) and objectives in working toward a Ph.D. degree.
  • In addition, three letters of recommendation (LOR) must be submitted from individuals familiar with the applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities. It is highly recommended that LOR documents are created using official letterheads (e.g. academic advisor, academic faculty, professional supervisor). Also, applicants must enter professional email addresses of those sending an LOR.
  • A short resume (no more than 2 pages) must be submitted.
  • International applicants must meet English Proficiency requirements established in the UNLV English Proficiency page.
  • All applicants are required to take GRE General Test and submit the scores to the University of Las Vegas, Nevada (code 4861). Successful applicants generally have a combined verbal and quantitative GRE score of at least 300 and analytical writing score of at least 3.

Post-Master’s Subplan

  • The applicant to this subplan 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 coursework requirements that will ensure successful completion of the Ph.D. specialization.
  • A minimum post-baccalaureate GPA of 3.20 on a 4.00 scale (4.00=A) or equivalent is required for admission.
  • The CEEC Graduate Program Committee (GPC) and Graduate Coordinator make all the final decisions after the review of each applicants records and admissions information.

Post-Bachelor’s Subplan

  • The applicant to this subplan must have earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree or equivalent with a major in civil engineering or a closely allied field.
  • A minimum baccalaureate overall GPA of 3.20 on a 4.00 scale (4.00=A) and GPA of 3.5 for the last 60 credits is required for admission.
  • The CEEC Graduate Program Committee (GPC) and Graduate Coordinator make all the final decisions after the review of each applicants records and admissions information. 

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


See Subplan Requirements below.

Subplan 1: Post-Master’s
Subplan 2: Post-Bachelor’s

Subplan 1 Requirements: Post-Master’s


Total Credits Required: 42

Course Requirements


Elective Courses - Credits: 24


Complete 24 credits of advisor approved electives, including 9 credits in one of the following concentrations.

(Optional) Graduate Internship and Seminar Courses - Credits: 1 - 3

Students that opt to engage in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must take 1 credit of CEE 793. This course can be taken a maximum of 3 times during their studies.  However, the credits will not be counted towards the degree.

CEE 798 can be taken to a maximum of three credits. However, credits will not be counted towards the degree. 

Dissertation – Credits: 18


Degree Requirements


  1. Complete 24 credits of advisor-approved elective graduate-level coursework.
  2. Doctoral students who have not completed CEE 700, or its 3-credit equivalent, or did not write a thesis as part of their Master of Science studies, will be required to complete CEE 700. The CEE 700 course will be counted towards elective credits. In addition to CEE 700, all students must successfully complete a minimum of 21 credits of approved graduate-level coursework beyond the degree of Master of Science in Engineering. For students who have completed CEE 700, or equivalent, during their Master of Science studies, a minimum of 24 credits of approved graduate-level coursework is required.
  3. 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 faculty of the CEEC Department and the fourth member from a related field. The fifth faculty member, the Graduate College Representative, is recommended by advisor/advisee and appointed by the Graduate College. It is strongly recommended that the Doctoral Advisory Committee collective expertise reflects the dissertation topic. The committee chair must be a tenured or tenure-track CEEC faculty from the area of expertise chosen for the dissertation topic.
  4. In addition to the coursework requirements, a dissertation consisting of at least 18 credits of CEE 799 is required with the outcome being manuscripts written for a specific indexed conference or journal.
  5. At least 50% of the courses (600 and 700 level) within the total coursework must be from the College of Engineering.
  6. At least 50% of the courses within the total coursework must be 700 level.
  7. Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00. A course, in which a grade of less than C was earned, will not be considered for use toward the degree.
  8. Students must take the doctoral qualifying exam including a written component prepared by the student’s graduate committee. The graduate committee shall provide the examination to the CEEC Department Graduate Coordinator who will administer the written qualifying exam for the CEEC Department on scheduled dates.
  9. Students who have not passed the qualifying exam by their second attempt will be terminated from the Ph.D. program.
  10. After passing the qualifying exam in one area of specialty, if the student moves to other area of specialty by changing the advisor; they must retake the qualifying exam in the new area of specialty chosen by the student.
  11. After passing the qualifying exam, 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 proposal must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee.

Graduation Requirements


The student must submit and successfully defend their dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.

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

Students may apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing their degree requirements. All required forms must be submitted to the graduate college via the Grad Rebel Gateway.

Subplan 2 Requirements: Post-Bachelor’s


Total Credits Required: 60

Course Requirements


Elective Courses - Credits: 42


Complete 42 credits of advisor approved electives, including 9 credits in one of the following concentrations.

(Optional) Graduate Internship and Seminar Courses - Credits: 1 - 3

Students that opt to engage in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must take 1 credit of CEE 793. This course can be taken a maximum of 3 times during their studies.  However, the credits will not be counted towards the degree.

CEE 798 can be taken a maximum of three credits. However, these credits will not be counted towards the degree.

Dissertation - Credits: 18


Degree Requirements


  1. Complete 42 credits of advisor-approved elective graduate-level coursework.
  2. Students will be required to complete CEE 700. The CEE 700 course will be counted towards elective credits. In addition to CEE 700, all students must successfully complete a minimum of 39 credits of approved graduate-level coursework beyond the BS degree.
  3. 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 faculty of the CEEC Department and the fourth member from a related field. The fifth faculty member, the Graduate College Representative, is recommended by advisor/advisee and appointed by the Graduate College. It is strongly recommended that the Doctoral Advisory Committee collective expertise reflects the dissertation topic. The committee chair must be a tenured or tenure-track CEEC faculty from the area of expertise chosen for dissertation topic.
  4. In addition to the coursework requirements, a dissertation consisting of at least 18 credits of CEE 799 is required with the outcome being manuscripts written for a specific indexed conference or journal.
  5. At least 50% of the courses (600 and 700 level) within the total coursework must be from the College of Engineering.
  6. At least 50% of the courses within the total coursework must be 700 level.
  7. Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00. A course, in which a grade of less than C was earned, will not be considered for use toward the degree.
  8. Students must take a doctoral qualifying exam including a written component prepared by the student’s graduate committee. The graduate committee shall provide the examination to the CEEC Department Graduate Coordinator who will administer the written qualifying exam for the CEEC Department on scheduled dates.
  9. Students who have not passed the qualifying exam by their second attempt will be terminated from the Ph.D. program.
  10. After passing the qualifying exam in one area of specialty, if the student moves to other area of specialty by changing the advisor, they must retake the qualifying exam in the new area of specialty chosen by the student.
  11. After passing the qualifying exam, 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 proposal must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee.

Graduation Requirements


The student must submit and successfully defend their dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.

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

Students may apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing their degree requirements. All required forms must be submitted to the graduate college via the Grad Rebel Gateway.

Plan Graduation Requirements


Refer to your subplan for Graduation Requirements.

Subplan 1: Post-Master’s
Subplan 2: Post-Bachelor’s

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