PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering


The Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD program at Northeastern University is flexible and may be adapted to any subject area in civil and environmental engineering. The Graduate School of Engineering also offers an interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy degree involving substantial work in two or more academic departments or disciplines (Interdisciplinary Engineering, PhD).

Innovative Curriculum

Students admitted to the program are involved in cutting edge research, often interdisciplinary, in all areas of civil and environmental engineering. Awarding of the Doctor of Philosophy degree is based on ability to formulate, execute, and communicate original research as well as have strong performance in course work.

For more information on the structure and requirements of the doctoral program, please see the Graduate Catalog or contact the Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.

  • Ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems.
  • Ability to explain and apply engineering principles.
  • Ability to identify, motivate, formulate, and solve important problems, through original, independent, use-inspired scholarly research.

Funding is available for graduate students focused on research in the form of graduate research assistantships, graduate teaching assistantships, and fellowships.

  • CEE Chair’s Select Stipend for Professional Development
    Awarded for merit, incoming Ph.D. students have the opportunity to receive for their personal professional development one-time  stipend funds of $5,000. These funds provide agency for the students to pursue significant professional development at key junctures in their program.
  • CEE Professional Development Fund
    Once enrolled, all Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD students have the opportunity to apply to receive funds for reimbursement of allowable professional development expenses. These funds provide agency for the students to pursue additional professional development during their program.
  • PhD Network Travel Funding Match
    The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering provides matching funding to the Ph.D. Network and research project for travel support, up to $500/student per year.
  • CEE Department Graduate Awards and Ceremony
    Departmental awards for excellence in research, teaching, and leadership, with monetary honorariums, are awarded to selected MS and PhD students at the conclusion of each academic year at the CEE Graduate Awards Ceremony.

The department offers Graduate Fellowships to PhD and MS/PhD applicants. These prestigious Graduate Fellowships include integrated research and teaching to foster a comprehensive graduate education. All applicants are considered automatically for the fellowship program. It is strongly recommended that applicants interested in funding within the department via fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).


Experiential Learning

Northeastern combines rigorous academics with experiential learning and research to prepare students for real world engineering challenges including industry experience as part of the co-op program or an internship. The Cooperative Education Program, also known as a “co-op,” is one of the largest and most innovative in the world, and Northeastern is one of only a few that offers a Co-op Program for graduate students. Through this program, students gain professional experience employed in their field of interest as part of the academic curriculum. Northeastern has over 3,000 co-op employer partners in a wide variety of organizations, from large companies to entrepreneurial start-ups. Students can also participate in the university’s Experiential PhD program.

CEE PhD Workshop

To celebrate the outstanding work of our students, each year a workshop for PhD students is hosted by the department that includes a research expo, professional development presentations, panel discussions on academic and industry careers, and related topics.

Yiwen Zhu, PhD'17, did her internship at Microsoft.

Academic Advising

The Academic Advisors in the Graduate Student Services office can help answer many of your questions and assist with various concerns regarding your program and student record. Use the link below to also determine which questions can be answered by your Faculty Program Advisors and OGS Advisors.

Admissions & Aid

Ready to take the next step? Review degree requirements to see courses needed to complete this degree. Then, explore ways to fund your education. Finally, review admissions information to see our deadlines and gather the materials you need to Apply.

Student News

CEE Students Receive NCSEA Foundation Diversity in Structural Engineering Scholarship

CEE students Baiyu Chen, PhD’27, Shun Lei Yee, E’25, and Santa Flores Alvarez, MS’24, were named recipients of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) Foundation Diversity in Structural Engineering Scholarships.

COE Research Expo Displays Promising Work of PhD Students

The College of Engineering held a research expo to highlight the work of PhD students. Participants presented their research to a panel of judges and gained critical presentation and communication skills. They also displayed their research during the poster showcase and students were recognized with awards.

Engineers Without Borders Experience Leads to Pursuit of an MS in Engineering and Public Policy

Melanie Marino, MS in Engineering and Public Policy, and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, was drawn to advance her education in public policy after a trip with Engineers Without Borders to Tanzania, which required working with the local government to help a village with an unreliable supply of electricity.   

Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory Invited to Present at United Nations HQ

The Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory presented at a United Nations event on disaster risk reduction, highlighting the importance of data-driven climate resilience and resilient infrastructure.