Degree Programs

A multidisciplinary course of study is the approach generally taken in the graduate transportation engineering program. The student builds a strong technical base and adds work pursued not only in the Cockrell School of Engineering, but also possibly in the Graduate School of Business, Community and Regional Planning, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, or other academic areas that might pertain to his/her interest.   There is also opportunity for part-time employment on one of a variety of research projects. This provides a setting in which the student can apply the principles learned in course work to actual transportation problems.

The thesis or report topic is often based upon the research project on which the student is working. However, any topic agreed upon by both the student and his/her supervising professor is acceptable.

Master’s Degree

Two routes to a master of science degree in engineering are available for transportation engineering students. A masters student may enroll in the Master’s Program with thesis or the Master’s Program with report.   For the program that includes a thesis, the minimum requirement for graduation is 30 semester credit hours. This program must incorporate eighteen to twenty-four hours, including thesis credits in the transportation area and six to twelve hours outside the transportation area. At least eighteen hours must be in engineering. In the Masters with report program the minimum requirement for graduation is 30 credit hours of which three hours of credit are for a one-semester engineering report in lieu of a thesis. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to avoid academic warning and possible dismissal.   In either Masters program, there is no upper limit on hours of coursework. A student is encouraged to take additional courses deemed appropriate to the interest area by the supervising professor and the student. The Masters program typically takes between one and a half to two years to complete.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy program is appropriate for a person who has a strong desire for a career in research, teaching, or in cutting-edge technically-challenging practice. Prerequisites normally include graduation from an accredited Masters program and a thorough working knowledge of the fundamentals and principles of transportation engineering. Selection of academic and research activities are left open to the discretion of the student, the supervising professor, and the student’s faculty committee, subject to approval by the Department Committee on Graduate Studies and the Graduate School. The Ph.D. program is designed to meet the student’s needs; however the doctoral student is expected to have well-developed goals. Student progress in the program is closely monitored by the faculty.

There are no formal course requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Generally, students complete 16 or more graduate courses, including courses taken for a master’s degree. Students must pass an initial Ph.D. Qualifying Examination in order to be admitted to candidacy. This examination, administered by the Transportation Faculty, consists of a written and an oral examination and must be taken after the first semester of enrollment after the Masters. Under certain circumstances, a student can request to take the examination at the end of the second semester.  Near the end of the student’s coursework, the student must pass a second “Comprehensive Examination”. The scope and structure of this examination is at the discretion of the Ph.D. Committee.  The student is usually asked to make a presentation on the proposed research topic and defend the purpose, motivation, and contribution of the proposed research topic to the state-of-the-art.   At the end of the doctoral program, and after completion of acceptable research and preparation of a doctoral dissertation that meet the committee’s high-quality standards, the Ph.D. candidates must present and orally defend their dissertation at a final, “Defense of the Dissertation” exam. This exam is administered by the student’s Dissertation Committee.

Dual Degree Program

The Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs offer a dual program leading to the degrees of Master of Science in Engineering and Master of Public Affairs. The program is designed to prepare qualified students for careers at any level of government and in public policy-related areas of the engineering profession.  The program is structured so that students can earn the degrees simultaneously. Students must complete the core courses in both programs, including at least 30 semester course hours to be counted toward the civil engineering major and at least 36 hours to be counted toward the major in public affairs. In general, at least two years are required to complete the dual degree program.

A student seeking admission to a dual degree program must apply through the Graduate and International Admissions Center. He or she must be accepted by each individual program in order to be admitted to the dual degree program. Like all other graduate applicants, the student is responsible for submitting any additional information required by the Graduate Studies Committee for each program.