Ph.d Program

Ph.D Program Overview

The doctoral degree in Civil Engineering focuses on engineering infrastructure systems. Infrastructure encompasses a very broad range of functions, extending far beyond the traditional scope of public works. The creation of sound, interlinked, infrastructure systems, including transportation, water supply and treatment, energy generation and distribution, and communications play a vital role in economic growth.

The objectives of the program are:

  • To educate engineers, researchers, and scholar/teachers who will address the needs of 21st-century engineering infrastructure research and teaching, especially for the border region and the state of Texas;
  • To educate professionals who will not only be technically competent in emerging technologies, but also trained to address the long-term challenges to the transportation, environmental and urban infrastructure from global and systemic points of view. Graduates will have the ability to make meaningful decisions considering technical feasibility, monetary constraints, public policy issues, and a myriad of potential environmental consequences; and
  • To educate future educators, scholars, and professionals who are sensitive to the complex implications for infrastructure development and education of international boundaries, bi-national relationships, and shifting demographics. The program anticipates that a substantial proportion of graduates will be Hispanic, thus contributing in an important way to addressing the current severe under-representation of Hispanics in the civil engineering profession at every level.

Graduates from the program will have the technical background to contribute to improvements in the reliability, maintenance, and management of infrastructure systems. Graduates will be able to undertake integrated programs of research, education and technology transfer to produce new knowledge that will enhance the performance of transportation, environmental, and urban infrastructures.

Graduates will be capable of:

  • Developing the needed methodologies for automated inspection and rapid testing of infrastructure systems and components;
  • Modeling the system and component-level deterioration of infrastructure systems under partial or uncertain information;
  • Developing models for the interaction among the infrastructure systems and the economic effects of renewal actions;
  • Conducting full-cycle analysis of infrastructure systems;
  • Developing smart and renewable materials for infrastructure components;
  • Designing sustainable and environmentally-friendly infrastructure systems; and
  • Addressing infrastructure vulnerability and security issues.

Degree Requirements Summary:

Credit Hours

12 Core Courses
12 General Electives
3 Management Elective
15 Technical Electives
3 Graduate Seminar
21 Doctoral Research
6 Dissertation

Note: students entering with a master's may count up to 24 credit hours toward this total. This is a minimum requirement and does not include leveling work.

The admissions committee will review the records of applicants admitted without degrees in Civil Engineering and determine preparation deficiencies. The committee will then make specific recommendations for leveling courses or for testing to determine adequacy of preparation. Leveling courses will not be applied to the degree requirements.

During the first semester new students will take an assessment test (set by three members of the doctoral program committee appointed by the director) to assess the student's technical background and her or his ability to integrate and apply that background to the solution of engineering problems. Based on the results of the test, the committee may recommend specific coursework for students to undertake. This coursework may or may not be applied to the degree plan depending on the area and level of the courses proposed.

Students in the program are required to complete 4 core courses (12 hours):

  • Engineering Analysis
  • Modern Methods of Engineering Computations
  • Infrastructure Management
  • Infrastructure Engineering

Students are required to complete prescribed electives in three categories:

  • General electives: 4 courses (12 hours) chosen from a menu of 12 courses. These courses provide broad foundations for the areas of student research focus, but may have application for a range of research areas. Other appropriate courses may be selected with the approval of the advisor and program director.
  • Management elective: 1 course (3 hours) chosen from a menu of 8 courses in management offered in the departments of Information and Decision Sciences, Economics, Political Science [Public Administration], and Environmental Science and Engineering. Other courses may be elected to fulfill this requirement as recommended by the advisor and program director.
  • Technical electives: 5 courses (15 hours) chosen from a broad menu organized into three general categories: Water Resources/Environmental Engineering, Transportation, and Structural Systems/Mechanics. These courses are selected to provide the foundation for the student research focus area. It is anticipated that students will focus in one of these three areas, but the listing of courses is only intended as a guide. Students develop their specific degree plans with the advice and approval of the advisor and program director and they may take courses across these categories or other courses as appropriate.

**New course

Core (12 sch)

  • **CE 6303 - Engineering Analysis I
  • **CE 6332 - Modern Methods of Engineering Computations
  • **CE 6301 - Infrastructure Management
  • ** CE 6306 - Infrastructure Engineering

General Electives (12sch)

  • CE 5390 - Special Topics in Civil Engineering
  • CE 5310 - Risk and Reliability Analyses of Engineering Systems
  • ** CE 5324- Construction Management
  • CE 5307 - Theory of Finite Element Analysis
  • GEOP 5362 - Reflection Seismic Data Interpretation
  • GEOP 5354 – Seismology
  • GEOP 5460 - Geophysical Applications of Digital Signal Processing
  • GEOP 5352 - Geophysical Inverse Theory
  • MATH 5343 - Numerical Solution to PDE
  • MATH 5311 - Applied Mathematics
  • MECH 5312 - Advanced Mechanics of Materials II
  • MECH 5318 - Advanced Dynamics

Management Elective (3 sch)

  • CIS 5311 - Management Information Systems Theory and Practice
  • CIS 5313 Strategic Information Systems
  • CIS 5340 Electronic Commerce in Business
  • FIN 5311 - Financial Management
  • ECON 5304 - Business Economics
  • POLS 5359 - Seminar in Regional and Urban Planning
  • POLS 5364 - Seminar in Public Policy Analysis
  • ESE 6301 - Environmental Law and Policy

Technical Electives (15 sch) 

Water Resources/Environment Eng.  

  • ** CE 6313 - Water Resources Management
  • CE 5302 - Groundwater Hydrology
  • CE 5409 - Environmental Engineering Chemistry
  • CE 5312 - Environmental Processes
  • CE 5322 - Hazardous and Special Wastes Management
  • CE 5326 - Air Pollution Control
  • **CE 5329 - Air Pollution Modeling
  • CE 5342 - Groundwater Contamination and Reclamation
  • CE 5344 - Biological Unit Operations and Processes
  • CE 5345 - Advanced Water Treatment Processes
  • CE 5348 - Design of Water and Wastewater Systems
  • ESE 6301 - Environmental Law and Policy
  • ESE 6303 - Transport, Fate, and Treatment of Contaminants in the Environment
  • ESE 6402 - Environmental Chemistry
  • GEOL 5345 - Environmental Geochemistry
  • GEOL 5383 - Physical Hydrogeology
  • CHEM 5318 - Advanced Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 5321 - Advanced Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 5339 - Contemporary Topics in Biochemistry


  • ** CE 6314- Advanced Traffic Engineering
  • **CE 5355- Advanced Civil Engineering Materials
  • ** CE 6315 Infrastructure Planning
  • ** CE 6316 - Urban Transportation Analysis
  • CE 5320 - Advanced Geotechnical Engineering
  • CE 5351 - Mechanistic Pavement Design and Analysis
  • CE 5352 - Foundation Design II
  • CE 5353- Geotechnical Site Investigation
  • *CE 5359-Foundation Design I
  • CE 5325- Design of Structures for Dynamic Loads
  • MME 5308- Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • MECH 5302- Advanced Mechanics of Materials I


Structural Systems/Mechanics  

  • ** CE 5318 - Bridge Engineering
  • ** CE 5319 - Structural Systems.
  • ** CE 5321 - Prestressed Concrete.
  • CE 5304 - Advanced Reinforced Concrete
  • CE 5305 - Advanced Structural Analysis
  • CE 5308 - Advanced Design of Steel Structures
  • CE 5325 - Design of Structures for Dynamic Loads
  • CE 5333 - Plates and Shells
  • CE 5307 - Theory of Finite Element Analysis
  • MME 5308 - Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • MME 5313 - Advanced Materials and Composites
  • MECH 5302 - Advanced Mechanics of Materials I
  • MECH 5309 - Structural Dynamics
  • ** CE 5327 - Continuum Mechanics I
  • MASE 5340 - Advanced Failure Analysis


  • **CE 6195 - Civil Engineering [Doctoral] Seminar
  • **CE 6396 - Doctoral Research
  • **CE 6398 - Dissertation
  • **CE 6399 - Dissertation