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PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences

(Focus in Civil Engineering)

The PhD in EAS (Focus in Civil Engineering) is offered in three specializations: (1) Construction Engineering, (2) Structural Engineering, and (3) Transportation Engineering.

Admission Requirements:

In addition to the University minimum PhD requirements for admission as outlined in the Graduate Catalog, all applicants are expected to meet the following requirements for admission to the PhD in EAS (Focus in Civil Engineering):

1. The prospective student must identify a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering and obtain his/her approval prior to application to the program.  The faculty member will be the students’ champion during the application process and serve as advisor following students’ admission to the program.

2. A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred) from an accredited institution in engineering, or a closely related discipline relevant to Civil Engineering as determined by the department doctoral student admission committee.

3. Official transcripts of Bachelor’s degree and Master’s (if applicant has a Master’s degree).

4. An overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 for Bachelor’s and 3.25 for Master’s studies.

5. General GRE test scores need to be submitted.

6. For international students, the TOEFL test scores need to be submitted (only for international students).

7. Statement of purpose describing the applicant’s research interests, professional goals and the name of the faculty member that will be championing the application.

8. Three letters of recommendation from individuals having close academic or coursework related relationships with the applicant, at least one letter of recommendation needs to be from an individual who has directly supervised the academic or creative design work of the applicant.

The admission process will be administered by the graduate admission committee of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering.
Upon the student’s initial enrollment, the department shall provide a document to the graduate student outlining the annual review criteria and procedures.

Admission Policy

A student who has been dismissed from another PhD program in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is not immediately admissible in the PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences (EAS) program. There will be a waiting period of five years after which the student can apply for this program with a set of improved credentials.

Program Requirements:

In addition to the minimum University requirements listed in the graduate catalog, the following must be fulfilled for the PhD in EAS program:

1.  Minimum Credit Hours: The majority of courses taken at Western Michigan University must be from CEAS.

a.  Students admitted after Bachelor’s degree: A minimum of sixty (60) graduate-level credit hours, excluding the dissertation, beyond the Bachelor’s is required, of which thirty (30) hours must be at Western Michigan University in an approved program of study. No more than fifteen (15) credit hours can be at the 5000 level and at least thirty (30) credit hours of regularly offered courses, excluding independent study, independent research, seminars, doctoral research, professional field experience and internship courses.

b.  Students admitted after Master’s degree: A minimum of thirty (30) graduate-level credit hours, excluding the dissertation, beyond the Master’s is required at Western Michigan University in an approved program of study.

2.  Program of Study: A program of study in the student’s field of interest must be completed in the first year of enrollment. This program of study is uniquely defined and approved by the PhD committee chair, the student, the department chair of the PhD committee chair, the Dean of CEAS or his/her designee, and the Dean of the Graduate College. The exact distribution of courses, seminars, and research will depend upon the student’s major and may vary from one student to another. Each student is required to complete a dissertation. Any subsequent changes in the Program of Study must be approved by the student's advisor and a new Program of Study must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate College for approval.

3. Doctoral Dissertation: Fifteen (15) credit hours of Doctoral Dissertation (ENGR 7300 or similar) are required.

4. Research Tools: Two appropriate research tools courses are required. Such research tools may include, but are not limited to, statistics, numerical analysis, research methodology, and computer programming.  These are determined by the PhD committee chair and the student.

5.  Candidacy and Examination Requirements: Passing the following three examinations in the intended specialty area is required. These exams are designed and administered by the Qualifying Exam Committee.

a. Qualifying Exam: Before admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must pass a written and oral qualifying examination. The exam must be completed before the completion of 45 credit hours for students admitted after bachelor’s degree, and before the completion of 15 credit hours for students admitted after master’s degree.

This exam covers the student's competence in his/her field of specialization (i.e., structural engineering, transportation engineering, or construction engineering). The qualifying exam is administered by the student's advisor and the Qualifying Exam Committee. The performance of the student in the qualifying exam is used by the committee to determine competence of the student to continue in the doctoral program. The Qualifying Exam Committee can directly find the student competent to continue in the program or the committee can suggest additional course work and modifications to the original Plan of Work.

b. Comprehensive Exam: Each doctoral candidate must obtain approval from his or her dissertation committee for a dissertation topic and research plan through the comprehensive exam. The exam requires a written proposal and oral presentation, and is typically taken near the end of the course work outlined in the doctoral program of study. The comprehensive exam must be completed within one year after passing the qualifying exam. Upon passing the comprehensive exam, the student is advanced to the PhD candidate status.

c. Dissertation Defense: The defense takes place at the conclusion of the dissertation research with the approval of the committee. Upon a successful defense outcome, as determined by the dissertation, the student earns the PhD in EAS degree.

If a student fails any of the above exams, the student can apply to retake the exam in the next semester. A second failure will result in dismissal from the program.

Doctoral Dissertation Committee

A doctoral dissertation committee shall be appointed for each student during the first year of enrollment. The purpose of the dissertation committee is:

1. Develop, with the student, the program of study for the intended specialty field under the PhD in EAS program;

2. Design and administer the required PhD examinations;

3. Provide the technical guidance to the student during the dissertation portion of the doctoral program.
The doctoral dissertation committee shall consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty, including the chair of the PhD committee. Additional members of the committee must be either members or associate members of the graduate faculty.

View more information on the PhD in Engineering in the Graduate Catalog

To apply you need:

  1. Application (International Admissions, Resident ) (Select PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences: Engineering Track Option)
  2. English Test Scores English proficiency


Dr. Osama Abudayyeh, PE
Department of Civil and Construction Engineering
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5316
Phone (269) 276-3210
Fax (269) 276-3211