Civil Engineering PhD

Temple University’s Civil Engineering PhD program offers you the opportunity to work towards new advancements and perform original research in civil engineering. Research interests can include bridge longevity, geotechnical engineering, infrastructure modernization, or many more. This doctoral degree program is fully customizable; you can design an individualized plan of study. Pursue your research interests with the guidance of our highly experienced faculty, whose research areas include

  • construction management;
  • earthquake engineering and evaluation of deep foundations;
  • geophysical imaging and site characterization;
  • infrastructure reconstruction;
  • pavement construction, materials and rehabilitation; and
  • transportation engineering.

Temple’s doctoral program in Civil Engineering also encourages interdisciplinary collaboration with faculty in departments in and outside of the College of Engineering, including

  • Chemistry, Geology and other sciences (in the College of Science and Technology),
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering,
  • Mathematics, and
  • Mechanical Engineering.

Completion Requirements

Completion requirements depend on whether you enter the doctoral program with a master’s degree.

  • If you have a master’s degree, you must complete 15 credits of PhD-level didactic coursework and 15 credits of PhD exams and dissertation research, for a total of 30 credits.
  • If you only have a bachelor’s degree, you must complete 45 credits of master’s- and PhD-level coursework and 15 credits of PhD exams and dissertation research, for a total of 60 credits. See the Admissions section below for more information.

Between didactic coursework, dissertation research and examinations, the PhD can take four or five years, depending on your trajectory and project interests. You have up to seven years to complete your degree.

There are three major pieces of culminating work for the PhD.

  • Preliminary examination: This exam evaluates your communication, information-synthesis and research skills.
  • Dissertation proposal: Research and write your proposal, and present it at an open college seminar.
  • Dissertation writing and defense: Present and defend your dissertation in front of a dissertation committee.

Classes & Curriculum

The coursework you complete will be selected in consultation with your research advisor and doctoral advisory committee and follow the outline of your plan of study. Some of the areas you might study include

  • airport and transportation systems engineering,
  • behavior of steel or concrete structures,
  • bridge design,
  • construction or engineering project management,
  • geotechnical engineering and geosynthetics, and
  • pavement design and management.

You’ll enjoy small classes held in the evening. Course offerings are scheduled through 2020, allowing you to arrange an uninterrupted plan of study. You’ll leave the doctoral program steeped in diverse engineering approaches that will make you a well-rounded academic, researcher or engineer in industry. You’ll also form close relationships with your cohort: a dynamic student body representing a wide range of ethnic, national and racial identities.

Check out a full list of Civil Engineering PhD courses.

Labs & Research

Students and faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering are engaged in a variety of high-profile research studies. Opportunities are available to participate in research-funded studies through grants from organizations such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and National Science Foundation. You may choose from a wide variety of subject areas including

  • construction management,
  • geophysical imaging,
  • instrumentation and sensor technology,
  • nondestructive evaluation,
  • pavement management and rehabilitation,
  • scour countermeasures for bridges,
  • sustainable infrastructure, and
  • transportation engineering.

Check out the Department of Civil Engineering’s cutting-edge labs and equipment.

Research Funding

The College of Engineering had more than $14 million in active research in 2016–2017. With external support from prestigious organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Navy and the American Heart Association, faculty members of Temple University’s College of Engineering are engaging in advanced research. Graduate students will find multiple opportunities to partner with faculty on innovative projects and perform experiments. Take a look at the full range of labs in the College of Engineering.

In 2016, the National Science Foundation placed Temple among the top 100 in terms of research expenditures, which amounted to $242 million. Learn more about the university’s expanded research support efforts.

Carnegie Classification

In 2016, Temple was elevated to an R1 institution of “highest research activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, placing it in the top 4% of all four-year educational institutions in the nation. Temple’s research enterprise distinguishes itself through its focus on community, and using advances in technology to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Doctor of Philosophy offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency, and more. These tuition costs apply to the 2023–2024 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $1,280.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,675.00 per credit

Learn more about our tuition and fees.

PhD Advising

PhD students should identify a faculty advisor prior to applying. A faculty advisor will guide you in navigating the curriculum and selecting the appropriate coursework to achieve your academic and professional goals. Applicants may reach out to faculty via the faculty directory


Additional Program Information