Engineering: Civil Engineering, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Civil Engineering

About the Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering is an interdisciplinary (IDC) doctoral program offered at the college level. Students in this program have access to all the academic resources available in the College of Engineering rather than to just those within a department. However, students must identify a primary discipline at the time of application to the doctoral program.

The IDC Ph.D. program in Civil Engineering provides students with opportunities to gain expertise in specific areas of civil engineering to research, generate, and disseminate in-depth knowledge to design, build, and maintain the foundation for our modern society – our buildings, roads and bridges, drinking or waste water and energy systems, seaports and airports, and the infrastructure for a cleaner environment, to name just a few.

The research areas our doctoral students can pursue for their dissertation are from any of the specific focus areas within structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources and hydraulic engineering. The IDC doctoral program in Civil Engineering requires each student to complete a minimum of 96 credit hours (total) with at least 45 credit hours of coursework.

A variety of courses are taken by each doctoral student to develop an adequate background necessary to conduct his or her dissertation research in an area of interest. To fulfill the requirements of the program, the student needs to take a qualifying examination by the end of student’s first year of study. A candidacy examination and an acceptable dissertation proposal are also part of the program. A written dissertation that is acceptable to the student’s IDC committee must be submitted upon completion of his or her research. The doctoral candidate must successfully pass an oral defense to fulfill the requirements of the program.

Salary and Career Outlook

The career outlook for well-qualified civil engineers has never been better in the last two decades. The projected percent change in employment from 2012 to 2022 for civil engineers is 20%, which is almost double the average growth rate for all occupations in architecture and engineering (11%).

The median salary for civil engineers in 2012 was $79,340. Recent graduates with a doctoral degree in civil engineering from our department have been able to attract salaries in the range of $60,000 to $75,000.

Why Akron?

The Department of Civil Engineering faculty comprises 18 nationally and internationally renowned experts who actively conduct research in their respective areas. The faculty members bring their expertise and practical knowledge to the classroom to teach graduate courses effectively and involve students in their funded research projects. The department constantly procures and updates the latest state-of-the-art commercial computer software and research instruments in different areas of Civil Engineering. These resources assist the faculty to train our students in the use of such software and facilities to conduct their doctoral research. The faculty advisors take personal care in providing greatest opportunities to their students to succeed by training them to conduct independent research and disseminate research findings in journals and at various conferences.

Program advantages

  • Our Ph.D. program in Civil Engineering is designed to instill in-depth knowledge and skills in graduate students who are trained to be job-ready and can inevitably secure faculty/researcher/engineering positions locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Our Ph.D. program provides adequate flexibility with a robust framework for students from different backgrounds to conduct independent research and disseminate their research in journals and at conferences.
  • Up to 24 credit hours of acceptable coursework from the student’s M.S. program from our College of Engineering or from other national or international Master’s programs may be transferred to our Ph.D. program. These transfer credits normally reduce the duration of the program by 12 to 18 months.
  • The faculty members of the department are dedicated and committed to student success; and help their students complete their doctoral program in a timely manner.
  • All doctoral students in our department are fully funded during the entire duration of their study.

Contact Information

            Graduate Coordinator:           Dr. Anil Patnaik

                                                            Auburn Science and Engineering Center,

                                                            Room 209E


                                                            (330) 972-5226

            Graduate School:                   Heather Blake

                                                            Polsky Building, Room 467


                                                            (330) 972-7664