College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences2020-2021

Department of Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and Environmental Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy

The objective of this degree program is to prepare students to be leaders in industry and academia within the field of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  This is accomplished through a doctoral degree program which provides for close collaboration with faculty members in four emphasis areas of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Transportation, Water Resources, Structures, and Environmental.  Faculty members within these areas are experts in transportation operations, transportation safety, bridge, pavement and structure design, pavement and structure sensing, rural water management, and air and water quality.  Collaborations are encouraged with other advanced programs at NAU, including but not limited to Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, the School of Informatics, the Center for Bioengineering Innovation, the Center for Materials Interfaces in Research and Applications, the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, the Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation, Biology, Business, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Within this degree plan, students take a set of core Infrastructure courses, courses within their chosen emphasis area, and complete and original research project, culminating in a dissertation and oral defense.
 

Careers

What Can I Do with a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering?

The Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering provides students with advanced training in core areas of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Infrastructure Resilience.  Through an integrated and collaborative approach of research and coursework, students develop the skills necessary for careers in academics, national and international research laboratories, and governmental agencies.
 

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Research and development careers in industry, e.g., infrastructure technology, engineering consulting
  • Engineering and/or research positions in National Laboratories

With further education, one of these paths is possible:

This is a terminal degree.


University Requirements

  • To receive a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses, from one or more disciplines, ranging from at least 60-109 units of graduate-level courses. Most plans require research, a dissertation, and comprehensive exams. All plans have residency requirements regarding time spent on the Flagstaff campus engaged in full-time study.

    The full policy can be viewed here.
     

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 60
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Dissertation Dissertation is required.
Comprehensive Exam Comprehensive Exam is required.
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Research Individualized research is required.

Purpose Statement

The Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering trains students to develop and solve high level, complex research problems under the umbrella of Infrastructure Resilience within a specific emphasis area of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Transportation, Water Resources, Structures, or Environmental. Students will learn the set of analytical, experimental and computational tools necessary to identify, elucidate, and propose and carry out solutions to problems within these emphasis areas focused on current topics related Integrated Infrastructure Systems, Smart Infrastructure Systems, Infrastructure Planning, Infrastructure Finance and Investment, Infrastructure Security, Infrastructure Management, and the impact of Infrastructure on the Environment. 
 
The Transportation emphasis will focus on safety, efficiency, and sustainability within the context of infrastructure resilience and smart system technologies.  The Water Resources emphasis will focus on the evaluation, planning, design, and rehabilitation of new and existing sustainable and resilient water resources infrastructure. The Environmental emphasis will focus on the responsible use of resources to minimize human impacts on the natural environment and create a sustainable built environment.  The Structures emphasis will focus on robustness of infrastructure design and use within a wider operational context to address changing life-cycle costs due to security and climate fragility concerns. 
 
Problems within Civil and Environmental Engineering and specifically Infrastructure are inherently interdisciplinary, and students will learn the skill set necessary to work with diverse groups to solve multifaceted problems which span multiple disciplines.  This training will occur through close collaboration and mentoring with faculty who are experts within the various specialties and traditional graduate level coursework.  Those graduating with a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering have a broad range of employment opportunities, including traditional academic positions; research and development careers within industry (infrastructure technology, engineering consulting, and infrastructure management), and engineering and/or research positions in National Laboratories.
 
This program is designed for students with a strong preparation in the engineering sciences, including a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering or related field, with research interests aligned with those identified above, who have the desire to excel within the fields of Infrastructure and Civil and Environmental Engineering.


Student Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the major theories, research methods, and technical approaches within Civil and Environmental Engineering (CENE) and its effect on infrastructure, as well as the impact of these elements on society. 
  • Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply the fundamental concepts of infrastructure and CENE, including the inter-relationships between various infrastructure systems, the impact of changing environmental conditions on infrastructure resilience, the relationship between infrastructure management and public policy, and the interdisciplinary nature of infrastructure itself.
  • Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply expertise within one of the following CENE technical focus areas: water resources, environmental, transportation, structures, or others as identified.
    • The Transportation emphasis will focus on safety, efficiency, and sustainability within the context of infrastructure resilience and smart system technologies.  Students will apply fundamental principles of transportation engineering through state of the art transportation analysis techniques including advanced sensing systems, connected infrastructure, and exploitation of large and emerging data sets.
    • The Water Resources emphasis will focus on the evaluation, planning, design, and rehabilitation of new and existing infrastructure. Students will explore current topics, learn modern techniques, and critically evaluate alternative methods and materials to construct sustainable and resilient water resources infrastructure using creative thinking to meet societal and ecosystem water allocation needs.
    • The Environmental emphasis will focus on the responsible use of resources to minimize human impacts on the natural environment and create a sustainable built environment. Students will explore design, construction and management strategies that achieve the goals of the sustainable built environment and demonstrate the ability to collaborate with the various professional disciplines required to deliver performance-based engineering solutions with minimal environmental footprint.
    • The Structures emphasis will focus on robustness of infrastructure design and use within a wider operational context to address changing life-cycle costs due to security and climate fragility concerns.  Students will apply fundamental principles of structural engineering using emerging technologies, state-of-the-art materials, performance monitoring systems, and forensic data sets to develop solutions to identified concerns.
  • Identify, survey, analyze, organize, and critically distill information from the scientific literature within a CENE emphasis area and creatively identify open research questions.
  • Independently apply appropriate expertise, methods, and tools to the creative design, execution, and assessment of an investigation that addresses original CENE  research questions.
  • Compose and engage in highly-effective written and oral communication in CENE areas; demonstrate clear argumentation and logical cohesion in a variety of written and oral communications, including scholarly dissemination, funding requests, industry, and lay-communication.

Details

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • A minimum of a B.S. degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering.
    • GRE scores
    • Three references (submitted via a web interface)
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
Doctoral Requirements
  • This Doctoral degree requires 60 units distributed as follows:

    • Infrastructure Foundations Coursework: 15 units
    • Communication Coursework: 3 units
    • Statistics: 9 units
    • Emphasis Requirements or Individualized Focus: 18 units
    • Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar: 5 units
    • Dissertation: 10 units


    Take the following 60 units:

    Infrastructure Foundations (15 units)

    Communication Coursework (3 units)
    • CENE 611, CENE 612, CENE 613
    Statistics (9 units)

     

  • Emphasis Requirements or Individualized Focus (Select One)

    • Individualized Focus (18 units)
      • In consultation with your coordinator, select additional CENE graduate coursework or Interdisciplinary electives to fulfill your research needs. 
  • Up to 30 units of Graduate-level coursework from an MS degree may be applied toward the degree requirements with the approval of the dissertation committee


    Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar (5 units)

    • CENE 698

    Dissertation (10 units)
    • CENE 799

    Students in this program must engage in original research in one of the focus areas of CENE, and will be primarily mentored through the program by their advisor. Students must secure an advisor by the end of their first term of study.

     

  • Milestones

    • Qualifying exam: An emphasis specific comprehensive examination intended to establish the student's mastery of foundational CENE/Infrastructure topics, key expertise in their emphasis area, analytical and synthesis abilities, and potential for excellence in original research.   You must receive a grade of Ph.D. Pass to continue degree progression.
    • Advancement to Candidacy:  This exam consists of written and oral portions: the Advancement Proposal and the Advancement Defense, respectively. The Advancement Proposal consists of a comprehensive and well-organized survey of foundational and related work to the student's dissertation topic, a dissertation abstract, a description of the methodology used, outcomes of major milestones completed, and a clear plan for completing any remaining work and preparing the final dissertation. The Advancement Defense is an oral seminar that presents and defends this work to the student's Dissertation Committee. The outcome of this combined exam may be a Pass or Fail.  Students who do not receive a Pass may retake the exam the following semester.
    • Dissertation Defense: This examination consists of written and oral portions: The Dissertation and Dissertation Defense, respectively. The Dissertation captures the summative outcomes of a student's research and the Dissertation Defense allows for a comprehensive oral examination by the Dissertation Committee to determine the merits and adequacy of the work. The outcome of this combined exam may be a Pass or Fail.  Students who do not receive a Pass on this exam may retake the exam the following semester.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
     

Campus Availability



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