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PhD in Civil Engineering

As the nation’s infrastructure ages, civil engineers are researching, designing, and building the way to a new, more sustainable landscape. Those with the deepest experience and education will be at the forefront of envisioning and creating that future.

A master’s degree has long been considered sufficient education for a practicing civil engineer. However, as technology advances, solutions become more complex, and the demand for an educated workforce grows, engineering doctorates are increasingly desired by employers, universities, and research facilities.

Earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering at Lawrence Technological University can make a difference in your career, opening up significant leadership opportunities for you in academia, research, and professional practice.

Why LTU?

You will participate in and lead pioneering applied research projects that offer you exceptional hands-on experience. Most projects are funded by research grants from private foundations and public entities, such as the National Science Foundation and numerous state transportation departments.    

Much of the civil engineering research is conducted at Lawrence Tech’s Center for Innovative Materials Research (CIMR), a national resource for the research, development, and testing of carbon fiber composites and other new materials for defense and infrastructure applications. CIMR houses such leading-edge instruments as a comprehensive environmental test chamber, a four-post load frame, a fire chamber, an ElectroPuls E10000 capable of performing combined axial and torsional loading, and two structural testing frames with static and dynamic loading capacities up to 150,000 pounds.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has designated Lawrence Tech’s Department of Civil Engineering as a Center of Excellence for Sustainable Infrastructure and Structural Testing for its ongoing research to improve the structural integrity and longevity of concrete bridges.

Whether you want to test the strength of structures, study settlement mechanics of bioreactor landfills, develop environmentally sound stormwater management techniques, or initiate your own project, the PhD in Civil Engineering program at Lawrence Tech can provide you with an individually focused research experience.

Lawrence Tech’s dedicated faculty, who have rich professional, research, and publications backgrounds, will guide and mentor you throughout the process. The advanced testing facilities, intimate private university atmosphere, and low student-to-faculty ratio can help prepare you to build an exciting civil engineering career.




Visit the database of Online Course Descriptions

Students may select one of the following PhD in Civil Engineering program specializations:

  • Construction Engineering and Management,
  • Environmental and Water Resources
  • Engineering,
  • Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering,
  • Structural Engineering and Materials, or
  • Transportation Engineering.

Your program requires a minimum of 24 credit hours beyond your master’s degree and 36 dissertation credits.
You must also pass:

  • a PhD qualifying examination,
  • a proposal examination, and
  • a dissertation defense.

Educational Objectives

During the course of study, students are expected to:

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of a designed experiment in meeting an ill-defined real-world need.
  2. Evaluate a complex system or process, or evaluate the validity of newly-created knowledge in a traditional or emerging advanced specialized technical area appropriate to civil engineering.
  3. Plan, compose and integrate the verbal, written, virtual, and graphical communication of a project to technical and non-technical audiences.

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the PhD in Civil Engineering program requires the following:

  1. Submit a Doctoral Application Form (minimum two months before beginning of the term expected to enroll).
  2.  A civil engineering background at the undergraduate level. Students with non-civil engineering backgrounds may only be considered on a case-by-case basis under very exceptional circumstances.
  3.  A Master of Science in Civil Engineering or an equivalent from an accredited college or university. Exceptional students with an earned Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering may be considered for direct admission into the doctoral program.
  4.  An overall GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale in the master’s degree. Students with lower GPAs may be accepted on a provisional basis as described below.
  5. Official transcripts of all completed college work.
  6. Three letters of recommendation from academic professors who have directly evaluated the student’s academic performance during previous degrees.
  7. A research statement describing subject(s) of interest. This statement MUST INCLUDE the intended area of specialization within civil engineering.
  8. Up-to-date professional resume.
  9. Non-native speakers of English must document English proficiency upon entry to the program (TOEFL minimum 550 or IELTS minimum 6.0).

Students with a graduate GPA lower than 3.3 may be admitted on a provisional basis. They are evaluated for continuation upon completion of nine credits of graduate course work at LTU.

Students with an engineering master’s degree in a field other than civil engineering who have a GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale may be admitted on a provisional basis. The graduate program director and program adviser(s) will define the prerequisite requirements.