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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Civil Engineering (ECE)
with a Concentration in Geotechnical (GTL)

Catalog Photo

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CIP Code: 14.0801
College of Engineering (EN)
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Bachelor's Degree): 78

Contact Information:
College of Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (EGX)
4202 E. Fowler Avenue ENB 118
Tampa FL  33620

Program Director or Coordinator:
Sarina Ergas
Phone: 813-974-1119


Faculty Search: Engineering Faculty List

Program Information

The Ph.D. degree is awarded in recognition of demonstrated scholarly competence and ability to conduct and report original and significant research in Civil Engineering.

The field of Civil Engineering has long been known for its breadth and ability to adapt to the new technological needs of society. The traditional areas of public works, such as highways, bridges, water supply, building design, and wastewater treatment, remain very important. In addition, the modern area of managing the environment, including sustainable development, has been included in the Civil Engineering domain. Graduates of the program are prepared for careers in academia, with public agencies, or with private industry, including firms involved in planning, design, research and development, or regulation.

Ph.D. students may work in any of the areas of Civil Engineering, including Engineering Mechanics, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Pavement Engineering, Materials Engineering and Science, Structures Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Planning, and Water Resources Engineering.

Major Research Areas
Civil Engineering, including Engineering Mechanics, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Pavement Engineering, Materials Engineering and Science, Structures Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Planning, and Water Resources Engineering.

The department has a high bay structures laboratory, which includes an MTS 250 kip testing machine. There are also well-equipped environmental, soils, pavement and hydraulics laboratories. These laboratories include equipment for water and air quality analysis, bench and pilot scale reactor studies, field instrumentation for environmental and water resources studies, constant rate of stress consolidometer, triaxial units, and Superpave testing equipment.

Accreditation Information:

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools.


Admissions Information

Admission Deadlines

There is an established University deadline for the submission of admission application materials. Programs may have earlier deadlines than the University deadline. The deadlines reflected below are the earliest of the two deadlines. Graduate Programs may continue to accept and process applications after the published deadline if space exists within the program. Check with the Program for availability.

Application Deadline (domestic application)

Fall: February 15
Spring: October 15
Summer: February 15

International Students

Foreign applicants who are outside the U.S. are required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country of origin, this may take a few months. So the deadlines for these international applicants may be earlier than the Program deadline and these applicants must apply prior to both deadlines. They are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. Foreign applicants who are in the U.S. and are currently on a visa may use the domestic application deadline dates. In addition to meeting the published application deadline for the Program of interest, all immigration documents should be submitted as soon as possible, but must be on file at USF no later than the following processing deadlines:

Fall: February 15
Spring: September 15
Summer: January 15

Admission Requirements

You must comply with general University policies and meet general University Admission requirements in addition to those listed below.

Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below.

Program Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate GPA greater than 3.3 preferred
  • GRE with preferred minimum scores of V 150 (45th percentile) , Q 159 (75th percentile ), and AW 4.0 (55th percentile)
  • TOEFL (International applicants only) 79 (550 paper based exam) or IELTS 6.5
  • Resume provided at the time of application.
  • Three (3) letters of reference provided at the time of application
  • Statement of Purpose provided at the time of application
  • Exceptions made on a case-by-case basis where warranted.

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements

Total Program Hours:78 hours minimum post-bachelors
48 hours minimum post-masters
Core requirement 1 hour
Concentration/primary area of study 15 hours
Electives 33 hours
Dissertation 20 hours
Other course requirement 9 hours

Core Requirement 1 hour
CGN 6945 (1) Graduate Research Methods

An additional 48 credit hours of coursework are required. The following requirements apply to the 48 credit hours of additional coursework:

  • At least 15 credit hours must be in the students primary area of study (see also Concentration Requirements, below). These 15 credit hours must be structured coursework, i.e., may not include thesis credits or independent study.
  • Up to 30 credit hours from a previously completed Masters degree may be applied, pending course-by-course evaluation and transfer, approved by the Department, the College, and the Office of Graduate S tudies. However, no more than 6 credits of Masters Thesis may be applied to meet the coursework requirement.
  • No more than 9 credit hours of Independent Study may be applied to meet the coursework requirement.
  • Directed research and/or dissertation credits may not be counted towards the coursework requirement.

Concentration Requirements - 15 hours minimum
The Department supports Ph.D. concentration areas in

Environmental Engineering (ENV)
Geotechnical Engineering (GTL)
Materials Engineering and Science (MTL)
Structures Engineering (STR)
Transportation Engineering (TPT)
Water Resources (WRS).

Students may select from one of these Concentrations, or may select no concentration.

ENV 6002 (3) Physical Chemical Principles of Environmental Engineering
EES 6107 (3) Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering
ENV 6666 (3) Aquatic Chemistry

At least o ne course from the following:
CGN 6933 (3) Green Engineering for Sustainability
CGN 6933 (3) Green Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities
ENV 6510 (3) Sustainable Development Engineering

CEG 5115 (3) Foundation Engineering
CES 6118 (3) Finite Element Analysis

Additional 9 credit hours of coursework in Geotechnical E ngineering or closely related areas

At least 2 courses (6 credit hours) from the following list:
CGN 6933  (3) Concrete Construction Materials
CGN 6720 (3) Electrochemical Diagnostic Techniques
CGN 6933 (3) Structural Life Prediction
EMA 5326 (3) Corrosion Control
EMA 6510 (3) Characterization of Materials

Additional 9 credit hours of coursework in Materials Engineering and Science or closely related areas

1 course (3 credit hours) from the following list of courses:
CES 6706 (3) Advanced Concrete
CES 6835 (3) Design of Masonry Structures
CES 5715C (3) Pre-stressed Concrete

1 course (3 credit hours) from the following list:
CES 6118 (3) Applied Finite Elements
CGN 6933 (3) Advanced Structural Mechanics
CGN 6933 (3) Advanced Structural Analysis
CES 5209 (3) Structural Dynamics
CGN 6933 (3) Continuum Mechanics

Additional 9 credit hours of coursework in Structures Engineering or closely related areas

TTE 5205 (3) Traffic Systems Engineering
TTE 5501 (3) Transportation Planning and Economics
TTE 6507 (3) Travel Demand Modelling

Additional 6 credit hours of coursework in Transportation Engineering or closely related areas

A minimum of 4 courses (12 credit hours) from the following list:
CWR 6235 (3) Free Surface Flow
CWR 6239 (3) Waves and Beach Protection
CWR 6305 (3) Urban Hydrology
CWR 6534 (3) Coastal and Estuary Modeling
CWR 6535 (3) Hydrologic Models
CGN 6933 (3) Vadose Zone Hydrology
CGN 6933 (3) Groundwater Hydraulics
CGN 6933 (3) Advanced Computational Fluid Mechanics
GLY 6836 (3) Numerical Modeling of Hydrogeologic Systems
GLY 6827C (4) Advanced Hydrogeology
CWR 6820 (3) Coastal Waves and Structures
CWR 6538 (3) Advanced Hydrologic Modeling

Additional 3 credit hours of coursework in Water Resources or closely related areas

Electives - 33 hours
Selected in consultation with the students major research advisor and/or advisory committee

Qualifying Exam
Doctoral students are expected to pass a qualifying examination no later than the semester following the completion of 48 credits of coursework beyond a bachelors degree. At minimum, the exam will include a written dissertation proposal and oral defense by the dissertation committee. A written exam in the area of concentration may also be required. Poor performance on the qualifying exam based on the judgment of the committee may result in the student failing the exam. If a student does not pass on the first attempt, he/she may request in writing to repeat the exam. Students who fail the Qualifying examination the second time will be dismissed by the Program.

Dissertation Requirements - 20 hours minimum
CGN 7980 (20) Dissertation
A minimum of 20 credits of dissertation, an approved PhD dissertation, and a dissertation defense are required. Students may not sign up for dissertation credits until they have defended their proposal and advanced to candidacy (see Qualifying Exam, above).

Additional Requirements - 9 hours minimum
Nine (9) credits of additional coursework, dissertation, or directed research are required.

Publication Requirement
Students must have at least one paper accepted to a peer- reviewed journal or peer- reviewed conference based on their research carried out during their doctoral studies at USF.

College Degree Requirements

Refer to the College Section of theGraduate Catalog for College requirements and information.


USF Degree Requirements

See USF Degree Requirements —


Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships


Registration Process

First, contact your graduate program advisor for guidance courses to register for. Obtain any electronic course permit if necessary. Register for the new student orientation online at Then go to the link to OASIS, USF's on-line registration system to register for your classes. Follow the directions given on-line.

To access online course materials, students must have a USF NetID (e-mail account). Please visit: to obtain your NetID.

New students, including those studying online, may obtain a USFCard. Please visit: to obtain your USFCard.

Tuition and fees: Fees are determined by the level of the course. Please visit Cash Accounting, Controller's Office, for information on tuition and fees.


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