You can earn your Ph.D. degree in college-wide study in any of the departments. Engineering research is an inherently interdisciplinary activity and faculty members associated with the Ph.D. degree program are drawn from all departments in the College. The smaller size of the College fosters cooperative research among disciplines in a wide variety of technical backgrounds. The program offers the motivated student an opportunity to acquire the kind of broad-based background in engineering and applied science that allows you to follow your specific interests. Graduates of this program will have acquired a background in diverse engineering approaches so that you will become effective in your advanced-technology careers in research, academia, or industry.
Because the Ph.D. is an individualized program, you will meet with the department’s Graduate Program Coordinator in the first semester to discuss the plan of study which outlining all required courses and the program requirement sequence. All Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework beyond your master’s degrees.
- Qualifying Exam: You will be required to pass an exam evaluating communication, research, and information-synthesis skills.
- Preliminary Examination: After completing coursework this exam evaluates breadth of knowledge in engineering/applied sciences.
- Dissertation proposal: You will present your proposal to the Dissertation Advisory Committee both in writing and orally at an open seminar. They then must carry out the research towards the problem solution.
- Dissertation: The program culminates in the dissertation and defence in a public seminar before their Dissertation Examining Committee. The student will be required to publish at least two research papers in either peer-reviewed journals or refereed conference proceedings. Acceptance of research articles for publication will be considered to have satisfied this requirement.
Areas of Concentration
Current faculty research interests determine the possible areas of concentration. These include, but are not limited to, the following categories:
- Advanced/Computer-Aided Manufacturing and Advanced Materials Processing: Students may work in the fields of failure and fracture mechanics, reliability.
- Bioengineering: Current research activities in this area include development of biomaterials and biomechanics.
- Computer Engineering: Students working in this area may undertake research in digital-hardware design and fabrication, VLSI circuit design, advanced microprocessor design, and computer networks.
- Construction Engineering and Management: Current research activities include construction productivity and safety, construction automation and management information system, and Innovative utilization of industrial waste in civil construction.
- Dynamics, Controls, and Systems: Current research activity in this category includes nonlinear and optimal control theory, mechatronics, neural networks, intelligent systems, multimedia, expert systems, robotics, motion control, and structural analysis.
- Energy and Environmental Science: Active projects in this category include sustainable and renewable energy systems design and analysis, and treatment of water supplies. Other projects include surface reaction studies at the nanoscale, sustainable use of energy waste ash byproducts for material synthesis and reclamation of acid mine drainage.
- Engineering Physics and Engineering Mathematics: Present areas of research include scientific visualization, computational methods for electromagnetic applications, fluid dynamics, and computational physics.
- Green Engineering: Research in this area includes the development of alternative processes with alternative solvents, such as ionic liquids, and biocatalytic systems using waste as the source of enzyme.
- Signal Processing and Communication: Current areas of research include speech and image compression, voice and image processing, signal estimation and filtering, real-time signal processing, and digital data communication.
- Transportation Engineering: Research areas in transportation are flexible pavement, fatigue design of asphalt concrete, and traffic control.
- Water Resources, Hydrology, and Environmental Engineering: This area includes mathematical modeling of surface and subsurface hydrologic systems, contaminant transport in rivers, soils, aquifers, and the ocean, catastrophic flood mapping and flood forecasting, and modeling of the effects of global climate change on the environment.
The student in consultation with the Doctoral Advisory Committee and/or the advisor develops a recommended program of study for any of these areas.