UNC Charlotte has received approval to offer a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering; this is the university’s 24th doctoral program. The new degree will provide doctoral-level education for students seeking civil engineering careers in practice, research and teaching/academia.
“I think we are all aware of the reports on the poor condition of much of the nation’s infrastructure and the need for improvement in bridges, roads and other major public resources," said Dr. Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNC Charlotte. "Through this program, UNC Charlotte will help meet the nation’s and the region’s demand for graduates equipped to address these problems. We will also graduate students ready to support major regional industries. Through a broad curriculum, students will be able to concentrate in environmental, geotechnical, structural or transportation engineering.”
The William States Lee College of Engineering’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department will administer the program, which will be housed in the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center building. The Ph.D. in Civil Engineering program will fulfill the state’s mandate for EPIC to drive innovation within electrical, civil and mechanical engineering disciplines with new advancements in the energy fields while educating a new generation of engineering professionals.
The Ph.D. program also will support students conducting research within other university centers and facilities, including the U.S. Department of Transportation-funded Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education (CAMMSE); the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Sustainably Integrated Building and Sites (SIBS); the Infrastructure, Design, Environment and Sustainability (IDEAS) center; the Infrastructure Security and Emergency Responder Research and Training (ISERRT) Facility; and the Center for Transportation Policy Studies.
The American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), now views a master’s degree as the entry-level degree for the profession. With jobs in the industry expected to increase 20 percent during the next decade, higher numbers of engineers are expected to pursue a Ph.D. to distinguish themselves in the market. In the future, master’s degrees will focus more on providing the required technical expertise primarily through coursework, and the Ph.D. in civil engineering will emphasize advanced studies and industry-relevant research.
“UNC Charlotte has already invested heavily in infrastructure and research facilities to support the doctoral-level education and research in civil engineering," Dr. Lordan said. "With a well-established engineering program, excellent research and instructional facilities and partnerships with technology-intensive industry employers in the region, UNC Charlotte is a desirable, unique and cost-effective place to initiate a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering program.”
University and Lee College of Enginering officials anticipate enrolling the first class of Ph.D. in Civil Engineering candidates in fall 2019. Six to eight students will be admitted per year, including up to four part-time students by 2023. Degree completion will require at least 72 approved graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate. Up to 30 approved credits from graduate courses taken during students’ masters' degree studies, which may have been taken at some other university, may be transferred toward UNC Charlotte’s Ph.D. in civil engineering.