CEGE Handbook

Graduate Student Resources Canvas Page

















































Doctor of Philosophy - Civil Engineering

Please refer to the Graduate School Website and your MyMichiganTech account for deadline requirements (


A minimum of 30 course and/or research credit hours beyond the MS degree, or a minimum of 60 course and/or research credit hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree are required for the Ph.D. degree. No formal coursework requirements are promulgated, although about 40 semester credit hours of coursework beyond the B.S. degree will usually be necessary for a properly prepared engineering graduate. Coursework is determined by the student's advisory committee and early discussions with the committee in this regard are recommended.

Once students have a research advisor they may enroll in Doctoral Research (CEE6999).

After all required courses are completed, and no later than the semester prior to the final oral examination, the Degree Schedule form should be completed, reviewed by the Graduate Program Director, and filed with the Graduate School.

Qualifying Exam

The Qualifying Examination is administered by the Advisory Committee.  The entire Civil Engineering faculty shall be invited to submit questions at least 30 days before the date of the exam.  The invitation to submit questions must include a complete list of the graduate courses taken by the candidate to allow faculty to decide the appropriateness of questions they might submit. However, the final decision as to the use or non-use of any question is the decision of the Advisory Committee.  The Advisor will coordinate the examination.  Each Advisory Committee member must contribute questions for the exam.  Since the Ph.D. is a specialized research degree, the exam will test the student on the principles of the specialty area in which the research will be performed.  If the student fails the examination, they may retake all or a portion of the exam once with the majority approval of the committee.  However, the reexam must occur within six months and these results are final.  A form documenting results of the Qualifying Examination must be filed with the Graduate School (

Research Proposal Examination

The Research Proposal Examination is taken after the Qualifying Exam has been passed. It is administered by the student's Advisory Committee for the purpose of reviewing and evaluating the student's proposed plan for research. Once a student has identified a research problem in consultation with their research advisor, has become familiar with the related literature, and has devised a plan for research, the Research Proposal Exam should be scheduled. A paper describing the proposed research should be distributed to the Advisory Committee one week prior to the scheduled exam. The student should prepare a 30- to 40-minute talk outlining both the problem and the proposed research methods. The remainder of the exam will be devoted to questions and answers related to the proposed research. The Report on Research Proposal Examination is filed with the Graduate School upon successful completion of the examination.

Doctoral Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

The final examination may be scheduled any time after a period of two academic semesters following the successful completion of the research proposal exam and upon completion of the dissertation in satisfactory form. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of the most current policies and rules regarding graduation (check with the Graduate School and their website). Scheduling of a final oral examination is done through MyMichiganTech. Two weeks prior to the final examination a completed draft of the dissertation, prepared in accordance with the manual "Instructions Concerning the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations", must be submitted to the Graduate School. The dissertation is also distributed to the Advisory Committee at this time. The day of the defense, the student completes the Report of Final Oral Examination. Following the defense, the Ph.D. candidate incorporates all corrections and suggestions of the examining committee into the final dissertation. After all technical corrections are completed, advisors will submit the Approval of Dissertataion via Google Forms to the Gradaute School.

Students can familiarize themselves with the deadlines, dissertation submission policies, and necessary graduation forms via the Graduate School’s website:

Note to International Students: Visa requirements for international students often change.
International students should stay well informed of current visa requirements through the offices of International Programs or the Graduate School related to timelines and possible changes of status after graduation.

Timeline and Time Limit for Completion

The Graduate School requires that the Qualifying Examination must be taken within five years, and all requirements must be completed within eight years, from the time of a student's first enrollment in the Doctoral program. For degree completion timelines, please review the Graduate School webpage (