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Admission Requirements

Admission to study in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences is not restricted to civil and environmental engineering or earth sciences undergraduate majors. Applications are also encouraged from students with superior records in other fields of engineering or physical sciences who wish to participate in the programs of study offered by the department.

Candidates must apply and be admitted to the Graduate School of the University. Requirements for admission include an outstanding record in an appropriate undergraduate program and a bachelor's degree. Each applicant should submit

  • a completed Graduate School application form,
  • unofficial transcripts,
  • GRE scores,
  • recommenders (at least three),
  • a curriculum vitae, and
  • a statement of intent

electronically through http://graduateschool.nd.edu/admissions/. Please note: All materials received by mail will be discarded. Foreign students are also required to verify competency in English by submitting the scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with their applications. A personal interview or visit to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences is often helpful to the admission process.

Requirements for the M.S. Degree

The M.S. degree requires:

  • a minimum of two semesters at the University
  • total of 30 credit hours, including at least 16 to 24 credits of formal graduate coursework with the remaining credits earned through research
  • an overall grade point average of at least 3.0, and
  • successful completion and defense of a written research thesis in front of a committee (composed of the student's research advisor and two additional readers).

M.S. students are expected to complete all degree requirements, except defense of the thesis within three semesters. 

Ph.D. students may receive a M.S. degree without completing a written M.S. thesis if the student:

  • has completed the course requirements for the M.S. degree
  • passed the university candidacy examination for the Ph.D.
  • been first or second author on a research manuscript accepted for publication or published in a refereed technical/scientific journal, and
  • defended the research described in that manuscript in front of a committee (composed of the student's research advisor and two additional readers).

More information can be obtained from the Graduate Student Handbook.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

Students with a deeper interest in graduate studies may pursue the Doctor of Philosophy within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. The requirements for the Ph.D. are:

  • a minimum of three full academic years of study and research beyond the bachelor's degree
  • a total of 72 credit hours (students are encouraged to fulfill a portion of the course requirements in related disciplines outside the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences)
  • an overall grade point average of at least 3.0
  • passing a series of written examinations demonstrating advanced skills in their field of study
  • passing an oral candidacy examination in the student's major areas of study, and
  • successful defense of a written dissertation in front of a committee (composed of the student's research advisor and three additional readers).

Students are expected to complete all Ph.D. requirements in approximately four years.  

More information can be obtained from the Graduate Student Handbook.

Careers in CEEES

Deciding to pursue a graduate degree, particularly a Ph.D., is a big decision that should be taken seriously. While your primary reason for pursuing further studies should probably be to expand your knowledge base and work in a discipline you are passionate about, at the same time it is reasonable to ask what the future might hold for you in terms of a career. Most people think that pursuing a Ph.D. is setting the track for an academic position as a professor at a university. In the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences we currently have around 90 Ph.D. students at any given time and while several do pursue further academic interests post-Ph.D., not all do. So a natural question is: where do our graduates end up?

Based on recent graduation statistics, short term, about two thirds of our graduating Ph.D. students continue in some sort of academic research position, with the majority (50%) working as postdoctoral research scholars, both at universities and government research labs, here in the United States and abroad; a smaller number directly obtain adjunct (8%) and assistant professorships (8%). In today’s competitive environment it is rare to get a faculty position at a top university, without some postdoctoral experience and so these numbers should be considered normal for a top level research university. The remaining one third of students typically pursue successful careers in industry (e.g. consulting, the insurance sector, structural engineering, hydrogeology, water management, staff geologist) the nonprofit sector (museums and charitable organizations) or government, including military.

Long term the numbers change a little with approximately one third remaining in academic positions at universities, one third working in government (including research positions at National labs) and nonprofits and the final third working in private industry.

Degrees/Courses

Degrees Offered

At the graduate level, our Department offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) as well as four Master degrees: Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE), Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MSEnvE), Master of Science in Earth Sciences (MS), and the Master of Science (MS). A Master's degree is not required to pursue the Ph.D.

  • The Ph.D. is the highest degree conferred by the University of Notre Dame. As such, earning this degree signifies that a recipient has 1) obtained mastery of a topical area through formal courses and/or independent readings; 2) demonstrated the ability to formulate original questions and complete a research program to address those questions (resulting in the student's dissertation); and 3) developed his or her communication skills in order to interact with peers in both formal and informal settings, to make effective technical presentations, and to participate effectively in the critique process of such presentations.
  • Students with a wide range of backgrounds in engineering and sciences can apply to the Ph.D.
  • A Ph.D. student may receive a Master's degree without completing a thesis if the student has completed the course requirements for the Master's degree, passed the university candidacy examination for the doctorate, and been first or second author on a research manuscript accepted for publication or published in a refereed technical/scientific journal.
  • The MSCE and MSEnvE degrees are available to those students holding an undergraduate engineering degree or who have been, prior to beginning their graduate programs, accepted as qualifying to take the FE exam by an engineering licensing board.
  • The MSEnvE degree is intended primarily for those students studying environmental engineering and the MSCE degree is primarily intended for those students studying civil engineering.
  • The MS in Earth Sciences degree is available to those students holding an undergraduate degree in Geological or Earth sciences or who have or will have taken a minimum of three 60000 or above level courses in the area of earth sciences. This degree is primarily intended for those students studying earth sciences.
  • The general Master of Science degree is available for those students who do not fulfill the requirements of the above three degrees.

Course Catalog 

No graduate credit is allowed for courses below the 4000 level. The advanced advanced undergraduate courses numbered 40000 through 49999 and 50000 through 59999 may, with the approval of the Department Chair and the Graduate School, be taken to satisfy up to 10 hours of graduate credit requirements. The department may place additional constraints on the use of 40000- level courses to meet its degree requirements.

Handbook/Timeline

The Graduate School Academic Calendar can be found under the Calendars heading here. The specific steps and timelines for the Master's Thesis and the Ph.D. dissertation are listed below.

Steps and Timeline for the Master’s Thesis

Download (PDF)

Graduate Committee

1)  Have your MS graduate committee members approved by the DGS (no required form). At least 2 committee members (in addition to your advisor) from the teaching and research faculty of the Department are required.

2)  At the beginning of your second semester, meet with your graduate committee to discuss your course selection and proposed area of study. This committee can meet on other occasions, as needed, to oversee the student’s progress towards graduation.

Research Proposal

3)  Submit your research proposal to your advisor and to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)prior to the end of your second semester of study. The DGS appoints one reader after consultation with the advisor. The proposal must be approved by both the reader and the advisor.

Thesis and Comprehensive Exam

4)  Have your thesis readers approved by the DGS (no form required). At least two readers (in addition to your advisor) from the teaching and research faculty are required.

5)  Submit a copy of your completed thesis (signed by your advisor) to the DGS and obtain approval before sending the thesis to the readers.

6)  Submit a copy of your completed thesis together with the Reader’s Report on Master’s Thesis Form to each approved Reader. The readers have 2-4 weeks to review the thesis.

7)  Submit a copy of your thesis to the Graduate School for a preliminary style check at the same time copies are sent to your readers. Graduate School approval of the format of theses and dissertations is a requirement for graduation. The Graduate School formatting guide may be accessed on the web at http://www.graduateschool.nd.edu.

8)  Arrange the date, time, and place of the oral examination defense of the oral examination defense of your thesis (no required form). DGS approval required. NO outside chair required. The thesis examination must be completed by the deadline set by the Graduate School for each semester (see the Graduate School Academic Calendar for the academic year you plan to graduate). (See Mollie Dash for help with scheduling.

9)  Submit a copy of your thesis to Mollie Dash in the CEEES department office with the following information (date, time, place, and readers).

10)  Obtain the final signature of your thesis director on the cover page of your thesis after you have passed your exam and content changes have been approved by your director. 

11)  Present your completed thesis to the Graduate School by the deadline set by the Graduate School for each semester (see the Graduate School Academic Calendar here).

All forms should be obtained from Mollie Dash in the CEEES Department Office (and are required to be typed) before signatures.

Steps and Timeline for the Ph.D. Dissertation

Download (PDF)

Ph.D. Written Exam

1) Successfully complete the Ph.D. written exam by the beginning of your fourth semester. This exam consists of four individual exams, each of which covers a different subject area and is prepared by a different faculty member. Have the members of your Ph.D. written examination board and exam formats approved by the DGS by submitting four Ph.D. Written Exam Forms to the DGS at least two months prior to your exam.

Ph.D. Oral Candidacy Exam

2) The Ph.D. Oral Candidacy Examination must be passed by the end of the eighth semester of study. Have the members of your Ph.D. oral candidacy examination board approved by the DGS. Four voting members from the teaching and research faculty of the Department (advisor included). DGS approval required before a non-CEEES examiner is invited to serve on the student’s committee. No more than one committee member can participate at a distance (e.g., webcam).

 3) Submit a copy of your research proposal (approved by your advisor) to the DGS a minimum of three weeks prior to the Ph.D. oral candidacy examination and obtain approval for sending the proposal to the members of the Ph.D. oral candidacy examination board. The proposal should outline the literature pertaining to your research area, the hypothesis (or hypotheses) to be addressed by the research, the techniques to be employed, and a projection of the time requirements to complete the research.

4) Submit a copy of your approved research proposal to each member of the Ph.D. oral candidacy examination board a minimum of two weeks prior to the examination.

5) Submit the Ph.D. Oral Candidacy Examination Form to the Graduate School after you have arranged the date, time, place, and the examination board of the Ph.D. oral candidacy examination. DGS approval required.

Dissertation and Defense

6) Have the dissertation readers approved by the DGS (no required form). Four voting members (advisor included) are needed. DGS approval required before a non-CEEES examiner is invited to serve on the student’s committee. No more than one committee member can participate at a distance (e.g., webcam).

7) Submit a copy of your completed dissertation to the DGS and obtain approval for sending the dissertation to the readers. Your advisor must indicate their approval of the dissertation by signing the cover sheet or sending an e-mail to the DGS. Submit to DGS at least three weeks before your planned defense date. 

8) Submit a copy of your completed dissertation together with the Reader's Report on Doctoral Dissertation Form to each approved reader. The readers have 2-4 weeks to review the dissertation and return their signed Reader's Forms to CEEES office (Mollie Dash). Reader forms need to be at the Graduate School at least three working days prior to the defense. Check with the Graduate School that all Reader's Forms have been received.

9) Submit a copy of your dissertation to the Graduate School for a preliminary style check at the same time that copies are sent to your readers. Graduate School approval of the format of theses and dissertations is a requirement for graduation. The Graduate School formatting guide may be accessed on the web at http://www.graduateschool.nd.edu.

10) Submit a copy of your dissertation to Mollie in the CEEES Department. The dissertation must be made available to all students and faculty for at least two weeks prior to the doctoral dissertation defense.

11) After you have arranged the date, time, and place of the doctoral dissertation defense, provide Mollie with your name and Notre Dame Id No. (900#) and the name and departments of all committee members. DGS approval required. The dissertation defense must be completed by the deadline set by the Graduate School each semester (see the Graduate School Academic Calendar for the academic year that you plan to graduate).

12) After the defense is over and all committee members have signed the Reporting Form, the form must be delivered to Mollie, who will submit it to the Graduate School.

13) Obtain the final signature of your dissertation director on the cover page of your dissertation after you have defended and content changes have been approved by your director.

14) Present your completed dissertation to the Graduate School by the deadline set by the Graduate School for each semester (see here).

For more information please refer to the handbook.

Funding

Financial Aid

  • During their first year, all incoming, full-time, degree-seeking graduate students receive full financial support from the Department, comprised of a combination of a tuition scholarship and a competitive stipend. This financial aid also includes full coverage of the University’s health insurance premium cost.
  • This award is a Graduate Assistantship and requires the student to successfully perform in his/her coursework and to participate in teaching and research.
  • Continuation of funding with a similar level of stipend and full tuition scholarship is contingent upon good academic standing and satisfactory progress towards the degree.

University Fellowships

All students who are accepted into the doctoral programs are also considered for the University fellowships below. Selection of University Fellows is competitive and based on nominations from the admitting departments.

Premier Fellowships:

Presidential Fellowships:

Exchange Fellowships

Special Fellowships:

External Scholarships and Fellowships

There are also numerous external fellowship and scholarship opportunities for which we encourage our graduate students to apply. The following are some of these opportunities: 

Career Services

With the everyday demands of a Notre Dame graduate degree, it’s easy to lose sight of the big-picture future. That’s where Graduate Career Services can make a difference.

Graduate Career resources are focused on graduate student success —helping you to be the best prepared in order to obtain strong career outcomes after your time at Notre Dame.  Whether you wish to remain in academics following your degree or explore options in business, government or nonprofit, Graduate Career Services can help. 

Discussing your career aspirations with a Graduate Career Consultant enables you to:

  • Explore career options and establish a plan
  • Develop your career skills and capabilities
  • Build your professional presence
  • Network and engage with employers and alumni
  • Learn to navigate the job search process

Graduate Career Consultants endeavor to engage, develop and empower students in pursuit of their career and professional development goals as the next generation of global innovators, educators and leaders. 

Learn more about Graduate Career Services.

International Program

The University of Notre Dame has an agreement with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) for a dual graduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. PUC is one of the leading universities in Latin America. It also provides access to the “natural laboratory” of Chile, where there are seismic events, tsunamis, coastal ocean circulation issues, wind wave environments in the vicinity of narrow continental shelves, meteorology affected by tall mountain ranges, groundwater flow, and acid mine leaching.

The agreement between Notre Dame and the PUC provides opportunities for students to carry out part of their research and coursework at PUC. Students must first be accepted at Notre Dame, then be nominated to attend PUC. They must complete the standard admission process for both universities. Once accepted at both, they will be considered enrolled at both universities. Students will be in residence at the partner institution from 12 to 24 months and, typically, take two or more classes in addition to engaging in research. They will be required to fulfill all the requirements of doctoral students at the partner institution—for example, holding a teaching assistantship and completing written comprehensives, oral examinations, and a dissertation defense. Once all requirements are fulfilled, they will receive a degree from both institutions. For more information, see the dual degree agreement (in Spanish) or contact the Director of Graduate Studies.

Welcome from DGS

If you are considering graduate education and interested in conducting highly innovative research with recognized and leading researchers in the fields of civil and/or environmental engineering, fluid dynamics (hydrology), or earth sciences, then I strongly encourage you to consider our graduate program. Our department (Dept. Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences- CEEES) has a vibrant research program, with 23 full-time, teaching and research faculty and over 90 graduate students. Our doctoral program in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences (formerly Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences) was recently ranked by the National Research Council (NRC) as one of the top programs in the United States. Over the past 10 years, our MS and PhD graduates have obtained high-profile positions in industry, government, and academia, with about 25% of our PhD students placed in teaching and research faculty positions across the U.S. and around the world. Our department places great emphasis on the total education of students through coursework, research, and personal mentorship. This is reflected in our low student to faculty ratio (~4 to 1). All incoming students in our graduate program receive full financial support, which consists of a stipend and a tuition waiver. Our graduate students’ research greatly benefits from working in a well-resourced private university that houses state-of-the-art laboratories and analytical equipment.

For further information, I encourage you to visit our department website (http://ceees.nd.edu/), or contact individual faculty (http://ceees.nd.edu/people/faculty). Please feel free to contact me (ceeesdgs@nd.edu) or Mollie Dash (dash.1@nd.edu) should you have any questions about our program, or the application process.

Antonio Simonetti
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
CEEES

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v1i1_12_2015.pdf — PDF document, 730 kB (747610 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v2i1_01_2016.pdf — PDF document, 680 kB (697015 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v2i2_02_2016.pdf — PDF document, 553 kB (566614 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v2i3_03_2016.pdf — PDF document, 754 kB (772848 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v2i4_04_2016_FINAL.pdf — PDF document, 1259 kB (1289949 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v2i5_05_2016.pdf — PDF document, 725 kB (742710 bytes)

Handbook

grad student handbook 2014-15.pdf — PDF document, 258 kB (264430 bytes)

TIMELINE-2012 Masters.pdf

TIMELINE-2012 Masters.pdf — PDF document, 16 kB (16759 bytes)

Timeline2012 PhD

Timeline2012 PhD.pdf — PDF document, 36 kB (37326 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v3i1_08_2016.pdf — PDF document, 1123 kB (1150432 bytes)

grad student handbook 2014_15_v02_16_2015.pdf — PDF document, 258 kB (264430 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v3i3_11_2016.pdf — PDF document, 875 kB (896106 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v3i4_12_2016.pdf — PDF document, 933 kB (955539 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v4i1_01_2017.pdf — PDF document, 669 kB (685822 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v4i2_02_2017.pdf — PDF document, 828 kB (848793 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v4i3_03_2017 (1).pdf — PDF document, 1207 kB (1236783 bytes)

CEEES_grad student handbook 2016_17.pdf — PDF document, 253 kB (259704 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v4i4_04_2017.pdf — PDF document, 1101 kB (1128326 bytes)

CEEES_grad_newsletter_v4i5_05_2017.pdf — PDF document, 936 kB (958530 bytes)