The Ph.D. offers an intensive, individually tailored research program suitable for the preparation of students for an academic or similar research-oriented career. The Ph.D. degree programs require that students have already completed a master's degree in civil or environmental engineering or a closely related discipline before they can be accepted into one of the Ph.D. programs.

Qualified students who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. degree are encouraged to contact a faculty member whose research expertise matches the students area of interest.


Ph.D. Programs Requirements

The Ph.D. degree is a research-oriented degree that requires some coursework combined with intensive research. The program is flexible in content, depending on the student and the advisor. However, certain University, College, and Department rules must be met. Other requirements are listed below. A program of study must be developed by the student and advisor and the dissertation committee, and must meet with departmental approval. It is usually developed near the beginning of the Ph.D. program, at which time transfer credit will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis. It can be amended as the research progresses.

  • Minimum hours required for Ph.D. - 72 past the bachelor's degree
  • Hours transferred in from Master's - 30 (maximum) containing a maximum of 6 thesis hours in either case
  • Hours that must be taken in formal courses at UCF - 15 credit hours minimum
  • Dissertation (XXX 7980) - 18 credit hours
  • Doctoral Research hours (XXX 7919) - 9 maximum (more than 9 research hours can be taken, but up to 9 hours only can be counted towards the program of study).
  • Independent Study (XXX 6908) - 6 maximum (more than 6 independent study hours can be taken, but up to 6 hours can be counted toward a program of study).
  • Not more than a total of 12 hours of Doctoral research plus Independent study.
  • Directed Research (XXX 6918) is not permitted in Ph.D. program of study.
  • The student must pass a Qualifying Examination in one of the departmental disciplines. This examination must be taken within the first year of study beyond the master's degree.
  • The student must pass a Candidacy Examination prepared by the student's committee. The Candidacy Examination is normally taken near the end of the course work and consists of a written portion (which may be the written research proposal and/or additional written questions), and an oral presentation of the research proposal. A copy of the written examination will be kept as part of the student's official record. The student cannot register for dissertation hours until the Candidacy Exam has been passed.
  • The student must pass a Dissertation Defense Examination, which is the oral defense of the written dissertation.
  • International students have to meet Graduate Studies and ISS rules to remain in legal standing as a full-time student throughout their tenure at UCF.

Doctoral Dissertation Committee

  • The dissertation committee will consist of a minimum of four members. All committee members should hold a doctoral degree and be in fields related to the research. At least three members must be department faculty (one to serve as chair). Off-campus experts, joint faculty members, adjunct faculty, and other university faculty members may serve as the third and fourth person in the committee. There must be at least one member of the committee from outside the department.
  • In unusual cases, with approval from the department Chair, two professors may chair the committee jointly. Joint faculty members may serve as committee chairs, but off-campus experts and adjunct faculty may not serve as committee chairs.
  • All members vote on acceptance or rejection of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation, and approval requires a majority of the advisory committee.


Approximate Timetable for Graduate Students at UCF

The following listing is intended as a guide and reminder to students and faculty as to the approximate timing of events for graduate students. It is intentionally somewhat vague to account for different starting semesters, different research project needs, and different levels of student capabilities. PhD students should, prior to entering UCF, coordinate with advisor and discuss plan for courses in the first semester.

  • Semester 1: Meet with advisor. Enter and begin classes.
  • Semester 2: Schedule Qualifying Exam to be taken before, during or immediately after the second semester. Continue to take classes. Begin research planning.
  • Semester 3: After passing Qualifier, work with Advisor to form a committee. Prepare a Program of Study, and file it with the Graduate Coordinator. Prepare a formal plan for research, and a research proposal.
  • Semester 4: Finish classes and/or take research hours. Take the Candidacy Exam as prepared by Committee.
  • Semesters 5 - ??: Conduct Research. Register for Dissertation hours, and work on Dissertation.
    Last Semester: File intent to graduate. Defend dissertation.


Program of Study

Each student must have an approved Program of Study (POS). The POS is developed by the student and his/her advisor, and lists the specific courses to be taken as part of the degree requirements. The POS for PhD students is flexible and unique to each PhD student. However, it must meet university, college, and department rules for minimum number of hours, etc. (see Program Requirements, above). The doctoral POS must be completed, submitted, and approved before the student will be allowed to register for dissertation hours.