Ph.D. Program

Doctor Of Philosophy In Civil Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil Engineering is designed to provide a flexible vehicle to address new and emerging areas of research in civil engineering that are within interest and expertise of  the civil engineering faculty.

Forms for Ph.D. students

Objectives of the Ph.D. in civil engineering

  • Apply fundamental concepts of civil engineering in a sub-discipline of interest.
  • Identify and formulate innovative research questions in new and emerging topics that are of national and international interest through comprehensive literature review and synthesis.
  • Develop and execute a research plan for the identified research question(s).
  • Disseminate research results through the completion of a dissertation manuscript and through journal publications and professional presentations.

Admission requirements

In addition to the University minimum Ph.D. admission requirements as outlined in the Graduate Catalog, all applicants to the Ph.D. in Civil Engineering program are expected to meet the following minimum requirements for admission:

  • The student must contact a faculty member who agrees to advise the student and who will serve as the chair of the Ph.D. dissertation committee.
  • The student must have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering or a closely related field from an accredited institution.
  • The student must submit two official transcripts from each institution attended since high school.
  • The student must have an overall minimum grade point average of 3.25 at the master’s and 3.0 at the bachelor’s levels.
  • The student must provide the General GRE test scores.
  • The student must provide a statement of purpose describing the applicant’s research interests and professional goals.
  • The student must provide three letters of recommendation.

Program requirements

In addition to the minimum University requirements listed in the graduate catalog, the following must be fulfilled for the Ph.D. in Civil Engineering program:

  1. Minimum Credit Hours: After admission into this Ph.D. program, the majority of credits taken at Western Michigan University must be from CCE and CEAS (excluding thesis and dissertation credits). 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. Further, no more than six credit hours of independent study courses can be applied to the degree.
  2. Program of Study: A program of study must be completed in the first year of enrollment. This program of study is uniquely defined and approved by the Ph.D. committee chair, the student, the department chair, and the Dean of the Graduate College. The exact distribution of courses, seminars, and research will depend upon the program and may vary from one student to another. Each student is required to complete a dissertation.
  3. Doctoral Dissertation: Minimum of fifteen (15) credit hours of Doctoral Dissertation (CCE 7300) 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, mathematics, research methodology, and computing. These are determined by the Ph.D. 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 dissertation committee.
    • Qualifying Exam: Before admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must pass a written qualifying examination. The exam must be completed within the first calendar year of enrollment in the Ph.D. program. Please refer to the Qualifying Exam Guide for details.
    • 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 Ph.D. candidate status.
  6. 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 committee, the student earns the Ph.D. in Civil Engineering degree.

If a student fails any of the above exams, the student must retake the exam within a year. 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 to:

  • develop, with the student, the program of study for the intended specialty field under the Ph.D. program;
  • design and administer the required Ph.D. examinations; and
  • 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 faculty members. A minimum of two members must be from the civil and construction engineering department including the committee chair. All members of the committee must be either full or associate members of the graduate faculty.

To apply you need to

  1. Application: international admissions or resident. Select Ph.D. in civil engineering.
  2. English test scores: English proficiency


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