Degree Requirements - Civil Engineering
Applicants seeking admission into the Graduate Program in Civil Engineering, leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees administered by the Graduate School, should have a B.S. degree with adequate background in science, mathematics and engineering. In order to specialize in Structural Mechanics and Materials the B.S. degree should have emphasis in mechanics, structural engineering and materials. In order to specialize in Multi-modal Transportation Engineering, the B.S. degree should have imparted a basic background in transportation engineering. In order to specialize in Risk and Reliability Engineering, the B.S. degree should emphasize in one of the majors in engineering.
The Master of Engineering Program is administered by the School of Engineering and the admission requirements are less restrictive. Additional information can be found on the Construction Management Program page.
Time-Line:
The minimum time required for completing the M.S. degree with thesis-option is three semesters and a summer, but two years is more common. The minimum time required to complete the Ph.D. degree by those admitted with a B.S. degree is four years, but five years is more common. Those admitted with a M.S. degree can complete the Ph.D. degree in the minimum time of three years.
Research Adviser:
An M.S./Ph.D. student is supposed to have identified and agreed upon a research adviser before the end of second semester. Normally, during the first two semesters such a student is supported as Teaching Assistant. Thereafter, the student is supported as a Research Assistant. If, however, the student has financial support in the form of Fellowships or Scholarships awarded by some external agency, no other support is needed and student is free to undertake the research work under the guidance of an adviser of his/her choice.
Master of Science Degrees:
- M.S. with thesis option requires 24 credit hours of graduate-level course work (5000 or higher), 6 hours of research/thesis course-work, and the completion of a thesis.
- M.S. with no thesis option requires 30 credit hours of graduate-level course work (5000 or higher), but does not require a project, practicum, or reporting beyond the requirements for successful completion of the individual courses.
- M.S. in passing is a version of M.S. with no thesis, awarded to PhD students who have completed at least 30 hours of graduate study towards their PhD with GPA of 3.0 or better.
Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering (excluding the Construction Management specialization):
M.Eng. in Civil Engineering at Vanderbilt will prepare Civil Engineers with advanced and broad knowledge and understanding in a range of civil engineering areas for careers in consulting, engineering design and management. The philosophy for the M.Eng. degree follows our general philosophy for our undergraduate program: providing a holistic civil engineering experience leveraging the areas of strength within the department.
The requirements for completing the M.Eng. in Civil Engineering are as follows:
- At least six graduate courses (5000 or higher) with civil engineering designation must be completed. (Transfer courses count toward completing this requirement.)
- At least one course from each of the four competency areas indicated in Table 3 must be completed at Vanderbilt. (Transfer courses do not count toward completing this requirement.)
- At least one design oriented course (CE 5200, CE 5210, CE 5250, CE 5500) must be completed at Vanderbilt. Transfer courses do not count toward completing this requirement. In case a student has already completed the equivalent of ALL of the design courses above at another institution, the student will coordinate with the DGS for an alternative arrangement to enhance her/his design experience.
- An extensive, written design report must be submitted on a project approved by the student's project adviser. The student must coordinate the topic and extent of the design project with the project adviser before the end of the first semester of enrollment. Projects aligned with Structures, Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Systems (e.g. transportation) or Engineering Management will be advised by CE faculty with significant practical and design experience. Students can also work with other project advisers from among the CE graduate faculty provided that the relevant faculty agrees to serve in that capacity.
Ph.D. Degree Preliminary Examination:
The goal of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination is to assess the potential of the graduate student in being successful in graduate level research in the relevant area of concentration and completing PhD studies with skills and qualifications listed in the vision statement. The PhD preliminary exam requirements are as follows:
- The student performs a research project within the second semester of enrollment (typically Spring). In order to facilitate the internship, the student enrolls in 3 research hours during the second semester. 3 research hours cannot be counted towards any course credit hour requirements, but count towards the 72 credit hour requirement for PhD.
- The research project topics are offered by the CE gradate faculty (offeror). The research topics are submitted by the faculty to the DGS by October (for fall admissions) and July (for spring admissions) of each year. Each topic must clearly define the full cycle of research, including literature research, hypothesis development and testing, analysis of results, presentation of results, etc.
- At the end of the semester long internship, the student writes a research paper and prepares a presentation of research performed.
- The performance of the student is assess by a faculty committee based on the research paper and an oral examination that includes the student presentation. The four-member committee (including the offeror) is proposed by the offeror from among the relevant graduate committee (CIS or M&S). Two out of the three other (than the offeror) committee members must be Tenure/Tenure Track faculty.
Possible outcomes of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination:
- Pass: The student satisfies all requirements of the preliminary examination and is allowed to continue toward a PhD degree.
- Provisional Pass: The student satisfies some aspects of the preliminary examination requirements, whereas others have been deemed unsatisfactory by the committee. The committee recommends remedial action(s) and the time frame within which, the remedial actions must be completed. The remedial actions range from a complete retake of the preliminary examination, taking specific courses, or other actions as deemed appropriate by the committee. In case of a provisional pass, the graduate adviser of the student must follow the progress of the student towards successful completion of the remedial actions and approve their completion.
- Fail: The student cannot continue towards the PhD degree and is removed from the PhD program. The student is allowed to continue pursuing an M.S. degree.
Qualifying Examination and PhD Dissertation Committee Requirements:
PhD Coursework Requirements:
Students in Civil and Infrastructure Systems (CIS) Engineering concentration area are required to take four courses from three competency areas of Advanced Mathematics, Systems Engineering, and Data Analytics. The courses for each CIS competency area are listed in Table 1. Students in the Materials and Structural (M&S) Engineering concentration area are required to take four courses from four competency areas of Advanced Mathematics, Data Analytics, Materials and Mechanics, and Computational/Numerical Modeling. The course lists for each M&S competency area are listed in Table 2. For both the CIS and the M&S concentration areas, each student is required to take at least one course from each competency area. Transfer courses and individual studies cannot be used to satisfy any part of the core course requirements. The students are required to complete the core course requirements before they can take the PhD qualifying examination. At least two core courses must be civil engineering courses with a CE designation in the graduate catalog. For PhD students, a minimum of 30 hours of formal coursework must be completed. Each student is allowed to take a maximum of 6 credit hours as independent study courses at Vanderbilt. The students should consult their research adviser (if adviser has not yet been assigned, the DGS) in choosing the core as well as other courses.
Table 1: CIS Competency Area Core Course Requirements
Advanced Mathematics | |
CE 6305 |
Engineering Design Optimization |
BIOS 6341 |
Fundamentals of Probablility |
BIOS 8370 |
Foundations of Statistical Inference |
BIOS 8372 |
Bayesian Methods |
CS 5250 |
Algorithms |
CS 6310 |
Design and Analysis of Algorithms |
EECS 6361 |
Random Processes |
MATH 5620 |
Introduction to Numerical Mathematics |
MATH 5640 |
Probability |
MATH 5820 |
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics |
MATH 6620 |
Linear Optimatization |
MATH 6630 |
Nonlinear Optimization |
MATH 5610 |
Ordinary Differential Equations |
Systems Engineering | |
CE 5240 |
Infrastructure Systems Engineering |
CE 5300 |
Reliability and Risk Case Studies |
CE 5305 |
Enterprise Risk Management |
CE 5340 |
Risk and Decision Analysis |
CE 5500 |
Transportation System Design |
CE 5510 |
Traffic Engineering |
CS 6376 |
Foundations of Hybrid and Embedded Systems |
EECE 5257 |
Control Systems I |
EECE 5358 |
Control Systems II |
EECE 6311 |
Systems Theory |
EECE 6321 |
Cyber-Physical Systems |
ENGM 5010 |
Systems Engineering |
Data Analytics | |
CE 5320 |
Data Analytics for Engineers |
CE 6300 |
Probabilistic Methods in Engineering Design |
CE 6310 |
Uncertainty Quantification |
BIOS 6301 |
Introduction to Statistical Computing |
BIOS 6312/L |
Modern Regression Analysis |
BIOS 6342/L |
Contemporary Statistical Inference |
BIOS 7362 |
Advanced Statistical Inference |
BIOS 8366 |
Advanced Statistical Computing |
CS 5266 |
Topics in Big Data |
CS 6350 |
Artificial Neural Networks |
CS 6362 |
Machine Learning |
Table 2: M&S Competency Area Core Course Requirements
Advanced Mathematics | |
CE 6305 |
Engineering Design Optimization |
CHBE 6100 |
Applied Math in Chemical Engineering |
MATH 5620 |
Introduction to Numerical Mathematics |
MATH 5640 |
Probability |
MATH 5820 |
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics |
MATH 6620 |
Linear Optimization |
MATH 6630 |
Nonlinear Optimization |
MATH 7110 |
Partial Differential Equations |
MATH 6600 |
Numerical Analysis |
Materials and Mechanics | |
CE 6200 |
Continuum Mechanics |
CE 6205 |
Theory of Inelasticity |
CE 6212 |
Advanced Computational Mechanics |
CE 6215 |
Structural Dynamics and Control |
CHBE 6110 |
Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics |
CHBE 6200 |
Transport Phenomena |
IMS 5320 |
Nanoscale Science and Engineering |
PHYS 8030 |
Quantum Mechanics |
PHYS 8040 |
Statistical Mechanics |
Computational/Numerical Modeling | |
CE 6210 |
Finite Element Analysis |
CE 6313 |
Multiscale Modeling |
CHEM 5410 |
Molecular Modeling Techniques |
SC 5260 |
High Performance Computing |
Data Analytics | |
CE 5320 |
Data Analytics for Engineers |
CE 6300 |
Probabilistic Methods in Engineering Design |
CE 6310 |
Uncertainty Quantification |
CS 5266 |
Topics in Big Data |
CS 6350 |
Artifical Neural Networks |
CS 6362 |
Machine Learning |
BIOS 6312/L |
Modern Regression Analysis |
Table 3: M.Eng. Core Course Requirements
Area 1: Structures | |
CE 5200 |
Advanced Structural Steel Design |
CE 5210 |
Advanced Reinforced Concrete Design |
CE 5250 |
Foundation Analysis and Design |
CE 5999 |
Special Topics - Advanced Structural Analysis |
CE 6200 |
Continuum Mechanics |
CE 6318 |
Prestressed Concrete |
Area 2: Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Systems | |
CE 5240 |
Infrastructure Systems Engineering |
CE 5430 |
Building Systems and LEED |
CE 5500 |
Transportation System Design |
CE 5510 |
Traffic Engineering |
ENGM 5010 |
Systems Engineering |
Area 3: Engineering Management | |
CE 5400 |
Construction Project Management |
CE 5401 |
Advanced Construction Project Management |
CE 5420 |
Construction Law and Contracts |
ENGM 5600 |
Technology-Based Entrepreneurship |
ENGM 5700 |
Program and Project Management |
Area 4: Reliability and Risk-Based Engineering | |
CE 5300 |
Reliability and Risk Case Studies |
CE 5305 |
Enterprise Risk Management |
CE 5340 |
Risk and Decision Analysis |
CE 6300 |
Probabilistic Methods in Engineering Design |
CE 6310 |
Uncertainty Quanitification |