Civil Engineering PhD

At CU Denver, we offer two options within the civil engineering PhD program: the doctor of philosophy in civil engineering is a technical degree intended for students with an undergraduate degree in engineering, and the doctor of philosophy in civil engineering systems is a more flexible degree intended for students with undergraduate degrees in other fields such as science, mathematics, or economics. This program is administered jointly with the University of Colorado Boulder.

Areas of Study

Students enrolled in the civil engineering PhD program may choose from five areas of study.

Degree requirements

Students must hold an earned master's degree before they can be admitted to a doctoral program in the Department of Civil Engineering; there is no direct admission from a bachelor's program to the doctoral program. However, a student enrolled in a master's program may apply for the doctoral program before the master's degree is granted, as long as the master's degree is conferred before they enroll as a doctoral student at CU Denver.

Degree components

The PhD in civil engineering systems requires the completion of at least 60 credit hours, including at least 30 dissertation research hours and at least 30 credit hours of coursework relevant to the student’s dissertation research. Nine (9) credit hours must be completed at CU Boulder.

Doctoral students may transfer up to 15 credit hours toward their required coursework, but not for dissertation hours. Students who complete their master’s degree at CU Denver or CU Boulder may transfer up to 21 credit hours.

Students must pass a preliminary examination, complete a comprehensive exam and orally defend their dissertation before a committee of at least five faculty members: two from Boulder and three from Denver.

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisites apply to this degree program and should be completed before more than 12 credit hours of doctoral coursework is completed. Current master’s students may apply to the doctoral program at any point after they begin to earn their master’s degree course work.

Coursework Assessment Form