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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Civil and Environmental Engineering - Sustainability and the Environment - Environmental Engineering Specialty, PhD

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Requirements for Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Students pursuing the PhD must complete a minimum of 72 credits, including the following:

  • 24 course credits (8 courses) in major area
  • 15 additional course or special investigation credits in major area
  • Nine course credits (three courses) in minor area
  • 18 credits of dissertation research

The total number of credits above these minimum requirements will depend on the student’s background, academic achievement, and dissertation topic. This decision will be made in consultation with the major advisor.

Plan of Study

The PhD Plan of Study is prepared by the student with the aid of the student’s faculty advisor during the student’s first two terms of graduate study. It should be approved and signed by the faculty advisor, all other faculty members in the program area, the graduate coordinator, and the department chair. Copies should be made available to the student, the faculty advisor, and the academic coordinator. Any change in the Plan of Study must be approved by the faculty advisor and the academic coordinator, and should likewise be recorded.

PhD Examination Structure

All PhD candidates must pass the preliminary, comprehensive, and final oral examinations:

Preliminary Examination

The purpose of this examination is to determine the student’s potential to complete the PhD program. It is organized by the advisor and faculty from the student’s program area, before or sometime during the first two terms of the program.

Comprehensive Examination

All PhD students must take this examination toward the end of their course work. The examination will be administered by the comprehensive examination committee, and will cover the student’s major and minor areas. It is designed to evaluate the student’s mastery of the course material needed for independent research. The examination consists of two parts: a written examination lasting several days, and an oral examination of approximately three hours’ duration. Portions of the written examination may be waived by the committee. The committee will consist of at least four faculty members as follows: the major advisor as chairman, one full-time faculty member from the student’s program area, one additional faculty member from the department, and one member from outside the department representing the non-civil engineering minor area.

Final Oral Examination

This is an oral defense of the student’s PhD dissertation. The examination will be administered by the doctoral committee. The doctoral committee will consist of the major advisor as chair, at least two faculty members from the student’s program area within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (if available), and at least one faculty member from outside the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

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