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Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Program

Ph.D. Program

Program Committee and Advisor

Each student will be assigned an advisor who will recommend a graduate advisory committee. The advisory committee will consist of at least four members. The committee has the responsibility for the preliminary examination and the qualifying examination for the Ph.D. degree.


The curriculum for the Ph.D. degree will be tailored for each individual student. Although a designated minor is not required, many programs may include a minor subject.

A minimum of 72 credit hours distributed as follows:

  • 34 hours graded graduate coursework
  • 2 hours graded seminar (CE 580) can be counted in the 34 graded hours
  • 36 hours CE 800 (dissertation)

NOTE: Students are required to enroll in CE 600 in semesters they are not enrolled in CE 580.  If a student is unable to enroll in CE 600 in a semester due to personal circumstances, a request for a waiver to this requirement must be made by the advisor of the student stating those circumstances. Upon review, the CEE Chair may grant a waiver. Please coordinate with the Graduate Coordinator.


  1. Complete successfully a qualifying examination.
    • prepared and administered by the student’s advisory committee
    • must be taken at end of first year of graduate work
  2. File program of study after the qualifying exam is passed.
  3. Complete successfully a preliminary examination (written and oral).
    • prepared and administered by the student’s graduate advisory committee
    • to be taken when student has completed most of their coursework and submitted a dissertation proposal
  4. Prepare dissertation.
    • must be approved by the student’s advisory committee
    • must be based on the research conducted as part of the graduate program
  5. Defense of the dissertation.
  6. Provide department with one unbound copy plus $20.00 for binding. Committee may require additional copies to be bound.

Qualifying Examination

(Departmental requirement)

  1. Each student must take this examination at the end of the first year of entering the Ph.D. program.
    • Primary purpose is to assess at an early date student’s qualifications and potential to complete the doctoral program in a timely manner.
    • Subject matter to be covered will be primarily from both graduate and undergraduate course work already completed in the area of major interest.
  2. Examination will consist of a written part of 4 to 6 hours duration and an oral part of 2 to 3 hours. The oral part may be waived for a student showing exceptional performance in the written part.
  3. Examination will be given by the advisory committee or CEE group faculty, who may solicit questions from other faculty in the group.

Preliminary Examination

Each student is required to pass a preliminary examination in order to become a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. This examination will be taken after most of the required course work has been completed, as determined by the graduate advisory committee, and upon submission of a dissertation research proposal. The preliminary examination will consist of written and oral parts. The written and oral portions will focus on the student’s major area of specialization, courses taken, and the subject matter of the proposed research.

Dissertation and Final Examination

The final examination will be a defense of the dissertation. All students are required to present a seminar on their dissertation research.

Students must submit the final copy of the dissertation to the Graduate School in digital format through ProQuest at The Graduate School will provide guidelines for the proper procedure. The candidate for degree will continue to submit one digital copy of the title page, abstract, and signature page in myWSU. Instructions are provided on the Graduate School website. The Hold Harmless/Copyright Agreement form and completion of the online Survey of Earned Doctorates are also required after passing your final doctoral exam.

In addition, copies must be provided to the department, committee chair and any committee member requesting it. For the department copy, submit an unbound signed copy and $20.

More Information

Kelly Caraher Graduate Academic Coordinator (509) 335-4547