Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:

Minimum Number of Credits Required Beyond the Bachelor’s: 60, including 45 credits of graduate-level didactic coursework and 15 research credits, including preliminary Ph.D. examination and dissertation research

Minimum Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 30, including 15 credits of graduate-level didactic coursework and 15 research credits, including preliminary Ph.D. examination and dissertation research

Required Courses:

Post-Baccalaureate (for students WITHOUT a master's degree in Civil Engineering)

Didactic Courses 145
Research Courses 215
Directed Research (8 credits)
Preliminary Examination Preparation (1 credit)
Pre-Dissertation Research (3 credits)
Dissertation Research (3 credits)
Total Credit Hours60

Post-Master's (for students WITH a master's degree in Civil Engineering)

Didactic Courses 115
Research Courses 215
Directed Research (8 credits)
Preliminary Examination Preparation (1 credit)
Pre-Dissertation Research (3 credits)
Dissertation Research (3 credits)
Total Credit Hours30

Culminating Events:
Formation of the Doctoral Advisory Committee:
Selection of a research advisor and formation of a Doctoral Advisory Committee constitute the first steps toward achieving a Ph.D. Selection of a doctoral advisor depends on the student’s level of preparation upon entering the Ph.D. program. The Doctoral Advisory Committee selects the required coursework and guides the progress of the student’s dissertation research:

  • Students entering the Ph.D. program with a master's degree, i.e., those who must complete 30 credits to earn the degree, form their Doctoral Advisory Committee before the end of their second regular term of study.
  • Students entering the program with a bachelor's degree, i.e., those who must complete 60 credits to earn the Ph.D. degree, generally complete most of their coursework before forming their Doctoral Advisory Committee by the end of their fourth regular term in the program.

See Graduate School Policy 02.28.11 for clarification on the composition of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.

Preliminary Examination:
All students generally complete their didactic coursework prior to taking the preliminary examination. (See Graduate School Policy 02.27.11.) Students in the 30-credit cohort ordinarily take the exam in their third or fourth term. Students in the 60-credit cohort typically take the exam no later than the eighth regular term. Students should register for one credit of CEE 9994 Preliminary Examination Preparation in the term when the exam will be taken.

The preliminary exam tests both the student’s core knowledge in Civil Engineering and her/his capacity to synthesize and interpret research communications. The student coordinates the scheduling of the preliminary exam with the CEE Graduate Program Director. The CEE Graduate Program Director supervises the specific form, content, and frequency of the Civil Engineering preliminary exam. A maximum of two opportunities to pass the preliminary exam are available to the student. In each term when the exam is attempted, the student registers for one credit of CEE 9994. Students are dismissed upon the second failure.

Dissertation Proposal:
Within a year of passing the preliminary exam, the student must develop a written research proposal and present it in an open College seminar. Ten business days prior to the presentation seminar, the student must schedule the proposal and post an announcement. Immediately following the seminar, the Doctoral Advisory Committee questions the student about the details and strategy of her/his proposed research.

Approval is granted for the proposed dissertation research when the "Dissertation Proposal Transmittal for Elevation to Candidacy" form (found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms”) has been signed off by the entire Doctoral Advisory Committee. After the dissertation proposal has been accepted by the Doctoral Advisory Committee and the Graduate School has received the form, the student is considered to be a doctoral candidate. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.12 for more information.)

Research Credits:
Students carry out research throughout their studies and register for the corresponding research credits while in the Ph.D. program. However, the type of research credits that a student registers for depends on the student’s progress in the program:

  • Prior to passing the preliminary exam, credit hours associated with the student’s research should be registered under CEE 9991 Directed Research.
  • After the preliminary exam is passed, but before elevation to candidacy, credit hours associated with the student’s research should be registered under CEE 9998 Pre-Dissertation Research.
  • After elevation to candidacy, the student’s research credits should be registered under CEE 9999 Dissertation Research. Students are required to register for at least three credits of CEE 9999 following their elevation to candidacy. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.15.)

Publications:
Paper writing and presentation at a conference are considered integral to the student's training. Also, peer review, in part, offers an indication of the quality and novelty of the student's research. All doctoral students must publish at least two technical papers in refereed journals or refereed conferences. The papers must be based on the student's dissertation research with the student as the first author.

Dissertation:
The dissertation defense is an open University seminar in which the student presents the concepts and results of her/his research.

The student must coordinate the formation of the Dissertation Examining Committee in the term that s/he intends to defend her/his dissertation. This committee consists of the original Doctoral Advisory Committee plus one additional “external” member who is not faculty in the College of Engineering. If the external examiner is not a member of Temple University’s Graduate Faculty, the person must be approved by the Graduate School at least four weeks prior to the dissertation defense.

The dissertation defense is to take place during a regular academic term (i.e., not scheduled during study days, final exams, or the breaks between terms). If the student is to graduate in the same term as the dissertation defense is held, then the defense should take place at least 30 days prior to the end of the term to allow for document revisions.

Three weeks prior to the defense, the members of the committee elect a Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee. The Chair cannot be the student’s doctoral advisor. The Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies must approve the selection. The Chair is identified to the Graduate School in the student’s official request for permission to schedule the defense. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.15.) The Chair’s role includes coordination of the proceedings of the defense and completion of all relevant College and Graduate School forms concerning the defense.

The dissertation document should be prepared in a format compliant with University standards. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.18.) A copy of the completed dissertation must be provided to the committee at least three weeks before the date of the dissertation defense. Note that any Graduate Faculty may request a copy of the dissertation in advance of the defense and may participate in the defense.

A minimum of two weeks prior to the defense, a public announcement of the defense must be posted. Prior to posting, this announcement must be approved in writing by the Graduate School. (See Graduate School Policy 02.28.16.)

Immediately following the presentation, the Dissertation Examining Committee closely examines the student’s performance and her/his research. External attendees may participate in this closed portion of the defense with the permission of the Dissertation Examining Committee Chair. However, only members of the Dissertation Examining Committee may actually vote on the decision to accept the dissertation as prepared, accept the dissertation with revisions, or not accept the dissertation. If the dissertation is accepted with revisions, a revised copy of the dissertation must be submitted and approved by the Committee within 30 days of the original defense date.