Apr 17, 2024  
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Civil and Environmental Engineering, PhD

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Contact Information

Dr. Bret Lingwall, PhD Graduate Coordinator
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
CM 313
Phone: (605) 394-2439
E-mail: Bret.Lingwall@sdsmt.edu

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a PhD degree in civil and environmental engineering (PhD CENE) in the following emphasis areas: environmental, water resources, geotechnical/materials, and structural engineering.

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

Core requirements: 8-9 credits
Research requirements: 21-34 credits
Elective requirements: 30-42 credits
Total credits: 72

At least 36 of the required 72 credits must be taken at the 600-level or above.

Students entering with an MS degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering or a closely related discipline may apply 24 coursework credits and 6 research credits from a previous MS degree toward the PhD requirements, subject to approval by the student’s committee.

Core requirements

Research requirements

The completion of a doctoral dissertation, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree. The dissertation is expected to advance knowledge and demonstrate the candidate’s technical mastery of the field of study. The research results are expected to be of publishable quality. The student’s major advisor may specifically require submission and/or publication of one or more peer-reviewed journal articles.

  • Credits: 1 to 12 **
  • **A minimum of 21 credits of CEE 898 is required. No more than 34 credits of CEE 898 may be counted toward the degree.

Elective requirements

The student’s graduate advisory committee will assess the student’s academic transcripts and approve elective coursework that, with the core requirements and dissertation credits, meets all degree requirements.

  • At least 30 credit hours and a maximum of 42 credit hours of elective courses.
  • At least 18 credit hours of graduate level courses with the CEE prefix.
  • At least 15 credit hours of graduate level courses at the 600-level or higher.

For additional information regarding elective courses for each area of emphasis refer to the CENE PhD Handbook.


For additional information regarding exams and dissertation requirements refer to the CENE PhD Handbook.

Qualifying examination

All CENE PhD students must pass a qualifying examination, normally to be taken within the first two semesters of enrollment, or the semester after all background course requirements have been completed. The “Qualifying Exam” is a course-work based exam to test and demonstrate the doctoral student’s proficiency in the foundational material of his or her discipline. This exam may include oral and/or written portions at the discretion of the student’s committee. 

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

A comprehensive examination is given to evaluate the student’s ability to formulate a research problem based on substantive literature review, and to test the student’s knowledge in their area of specialty. The exam is given in two parts: 1) a written proposal describing the dissertation topic/problem and a research plan for addressing the problem, and 2) a written and/or oral examination to evaluate the student’s ability to perform research and to demonstrate the student’s knowledge in their specialized field of study. The comprehensive exam is given after substantial completion of PhD coursework.

Dissertation defense

The dissertation is the culminating evidence of the student’s ability to perform and communicate research. The student must prepare a doctoral dissertation and successfully complete a public defense demonstrating the scientific validity of the work, as well as the student’s basic and specialized knowledge in the field of study.

Additional requirements

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

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