The formal requirements for the doctoral degree consist of a minimum of 32 hours of graded course work beyond the M.S. degree, plus 32 hours of thesis credit. The doctoral program is comprised of four stages. The first stage ends when the candidate receives a M.S. degree, or earns the equivalent credit hours. The second stage comprises completion of at least 32 hours of course work, passing of the transportation engineering qualifying examination, and fulfillment of CEE department requirements. The third stage is passing preliminary examination. The fourth and final stage involves research (minimum of 32 hours), preparation of the doctoral dissertation, and the final examination. The residence period must include two successive semesters in the second or fourth stage.
The major area of specialization often involves a selection of courses which are closely related to, but not necessarily within, the Transportation Engineering program of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Each student is encouraged to arrange a program of study with the aid of a faculty advisor in such a way as to encompass a reasonable number of courses which augment the major program of study. There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering, unless the candidate's research area requires knowledge of a foreign language, and/or the faculty advisor or student’s graduate committee recommends it. All doctoral students must identify a Ph.D. advisor prior to joining the program.