Home » PhD in Civil Engineering: Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Institutes, Scope

PhD in Civil Engineering: Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Institutes, Scope

A PhD in Civil Engineering is a course that leads to a Doctorate in Civil Engineering. It is usually a doctorate level degree that lasts 4–5 years. It is a course of study that focuses on the design, construction, and maintenance of public structures such as roads, dams, bridges, canals, and other waterways.

A doctoral degree in civil engineering is the best option for those who want to continue their education in this field and pursue a career in research. Project Manager, Head Quality Controller, Site Engineer/Civil Engineer, Project Coordinator, Quality Assurance Manager, Project Procurement Manager, Executive Engineer, Structural Engineer/Structural Designer, and other job titles are available to civil engineering PhD students.

PhD in Civil Engineering: An Overview

A PhD in Civil Engineering is a research-based program that focuses on a specific area of civil engineering. The following are the most important details about the subject:

Level of CourseDoctorate Degree (PhD)
Also referred asDoctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering
Duration of Course4 to 5 years
Type of ExaminationSemester Based
Eligibility CriteriaScores in GATE, NET, etc
Process of AdmissionEntrance Exam Based
Fee for the CourseINR 19K to 73K
Average Annually SalaryINR 2 to 9 lakh
Top Employing FirmsPunj Lloyd, Newton Engineering & Chemicals Ltd,Afcons Infrastructure Limited, Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd (CCCL), Akme Projects Ltd, and etc.
Positions of JobProject manager, head quality controller, site engineer/civil engineer, project coordinator, quality assurance manager, project procurement manager, etc.

PhD in Civil Engineering Eligibility Criteria

Candidates for admission to the PhD Civil Engineering program must meet the following requirements:

  • A master’s degree in engineering or its equivalent from a recognized university is required.
  • The candidate must have a master’s degree with a grade point average of at least 60%.
  • Some colleges and institutes hold entrance exams, while others rely solely on students’ performance in national level entrance exams such as GATE or NET.

PhD Civil Engineering Syllabus

The PhD in Civil Engineering syllabus varies depending on the specialization chosen by the students. PhD programs, in general, are heavily research-oriented and rely entirely on students’ independent research projects, which they conduct with the assistance and guidance of their university’s faculty.

It should be noted that the syllabus for each specialization varies by college; therefore, the syllabus for IIT Kanpur is listed below.

Area of Specialization Subjects
Environmental Engineering Water & Waste water treatment
Aerosol Properties and Regional Climate Change
Experimental (Chamber studies)
Instrument Design
Modeling and simulation of environmental systems
Geoinformatics Geodetic GPS surveys
Satellite data processing and application
Laser scanning technology
Laser scanning applications
GIS applications
Geotechnical Engineering Foundation Engineering
Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
Ground Improvement Techniques
Other Geotechnical Research Areas
Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering Climate Change
Surface Water
Ground Water
Experimental Hydraulics and Sediment Transport
Infrastructure Engineering And Management Construction Management
Infrastructure Assets
Maintenance of Infrastructure Assets
Planning and Creation of Infrastructure Assets
Concrete Engineering
Structural Engineering Computational Mechanics and Structural Analysis
Earthquake Engineering
Seismic Analysis and Design
Risk & Reliability
Concrete and cement based materials
Structure Materials
Design and Experiment
Sensing and Monitoring
Transportation Engineering Traffic Engineering
Transport Demand Analysis
Traffic Safety
Highway Financing and Policy Analysis
Pavement Engineering

PhD Civil Engineering Admission Procedure

To be admitted to a university that offers a PhD in Civil Engineering, students must meet the university’s minimum eligibility requirements and pass the entrance exams. A personal interview will follow the entrance exam. The admissions process differs from one university to the next.

The following are the basic steps in the admissions process followed by the best PhD Civil Engineering colleges:

  • Applications: Candidates should begin by filling out the institute’s application form, then submitting documents and paying the application fee.
  • Institutes may accept scores from national-level exams such as GATE or NET or conduct their own university-level entrance exams.
  • Students will be assessed based on their performance on the entrance exam. Shortlisted candidates will be those who pass the cut-off.
  • Candidates who have been shortlisted will be contacted for a personal interview.
  • Enrollment: After document verification and payment of the first installment, students who pass the interview can be enrolled.

PhD Civil Engineering: Institutes Ranked by NIRF

Ranking by NIRFInstitute Name Process of AdmissionAverage Fees
Average Salary Offered
1.Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM)GATE/ CSIR-NET/ UGC-NETINR 19,670 INR 16,10,00
2.Indian Institute of Technology, DelhiGATE/ NET INR 34,900 INR 16,00,000
3.Indian Institute of Technology, MumbaiGATE/ NET INR 73,000 INR 20,34,000
4. Indian Institute of Technology, KanpurGATE/ NET INR 64,050 INR 15,80,000
5.Indian Institute of Technology, KharagpurDepartment-based testINR 28,900 LPA 15,00,000

PhD Civil Engineering: Focus Areas

At the doctoral level, civil engineering assists students in gaining a systematic and critical understanding of the subject at hand, as well as improving their retention and advanced learning abilities.

  • It encompasses the planning, construction, and maintenance of public infrastructure such as roads, dams, bridges, canals, and buildings.
  • Students must choose a specialization area to study this subject in depth at the doctorate level. Geo-technical, structures, construction and management, transportation, environmental engineering, and other specializations are examples.
  • The course is detail-oriented and career-oriented, making it essential for those looking for higher-paying jobs in civil engineering.
  • Students interested in this course should have a sharp, analytical, and practical mind, as well as a keen eye for detail. They should also have good technical design skills as well as knowledge of structural conceptualization.
  • They should be able to understand how natural resources like raw materials, energy, and ecosystems are used to support modern society.
  • They should be detail-oriented and have a sharp, analytical, and practical mind.
  • Applicants must have strong technical design skills and be able to conceptualize structures. To use design, drawing, and word processing software, they should be computer literate.

PhD Civil Engineering: Important Entrance Exams

For admission to PhD Civil Engineering, entrance exams are held at both the national and university levels. The following is information about some of the entrance exams:

  • GATE: It stands for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, which assesses students’ knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals taught at the undergraduate level. It is a national exam for admission to top IITs and NITs’ graduate programs.
  • UGC-NET: It is the National Eligibility Test, which is administered by the University Grants Commission to select candidates for JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) and Assistant Professor positions.
  • VITMEE: The Vellore Institute of Technology conducts this exam for students interested in master’s and doctoral programs.
  • ITM NEST: It is a common entrance exam for students interested in enrolling in ITM University Gwalior’s various courses.

PhD Civil Engineering: Important Documents Required

  • Research Proposal
  • Documentary proof of the date of birth
  • Gap certificate (if applicable)
  • Mark-list of the last qualifying degree examination
  • A character certificate (from the head of the institute from which the student has obtained his qualifying degree)
  • No objection certificate from the employer (if employed)
  • Migration Certificate (No objection certificate from the university last attended)
  • passing/degree certificate of the last qualifying degree examination.

Students should be aware that if the aforementioned certificates are not attached to their application, their application will not be taken into account for admission.

PhD Civil Engineering: Preparation Plan

The following points should be kept in mind while preparing for any entrance exam for admission to a good college to pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering, because having a proper strategy is absolutely necessary.

  • Students should create a timetable for the proper allocation of time and energy in order to effectively manage their personal and academic lives.
  • To prepare, select the highly recommended books. Because there are so many resources, it can be overwhelming.
  • Solve previous year’s question papers because there is no better way to learn and understand the exam pattern than to solve previous year’s question papers.
  • Spend time understanding the concept in a meaningful way rather than rote learning, because that knowledge will stay with you forever.
  • While you’re studying, prepare your mind for the exam by practicing past papers around the time you’ll be giving it.
  • Students must remember that they must begin planning early in order to be prepared for their entrance exams as well as their master’s degree final exams.
  • Students can easily advance to the personal interview round if they perform well on their final exams and achieve a grade that meets the university’s eligibility criteria.
  • Students should be well prepared for personal interviews in addition to performing well on their final exams and entrance exams.
  • A student interested in this course should have the drive and determination to thoroughly study civil engineering, as well as the ability to participate in various types of research projects.
  • Students should be familiar with the institutes’ websites as well as their social media accounts in order to stay informed about new notices.

PhD in Civil Engineering: Top Institutes

The top PhD Civil Engineering colleges according to the NIRF ranking 2020 are listed in the table below. The table also includes details on the institute’s admissions process, average annual fees, and average salary placement.

Ranking by NIRFInstitute Name Process of AdmissionAverage Fees
Average Salary
Per Annum
1.IIT MadrasGATE/ CSIR-NET/ UGC-NET INR 19,670 INR 16,10,000
2. IIT DelhiGATE/ NETINR 34,900 INR 16,00,000
3. IIT BombayGATE/ NET INR 73,000 INR 20,34,000
4. IIT KanpurGATE/ NET INR 64,050 INR 15,80,000
5. IIT KharagpurDepartment-based testINR 28,900INR 15,00,000
6. IIT RoorkeeGATE/GPAT/UGC-NET/JRFINR 28,500INR 13,16,000
7.IIT GuwahatiSeminar/PresentationINR 18,100 INR 11,00,000
8.IIT HyderabadM.Tech/ GATE INR 25,095INR 13,70,000
9.NIT TiruchirappalliWritten testINR 59,250INR 6,00,000
10.IIT VaranasiGATE/ NET/ GPAT,INR 46,815INR 8,19,000

PhD in Civil Engineering: Top Foreign Institutes

Many universities around the world offer PhD programs in civil engineering with a variety of specializations. The top universities offering sought-after doctorate degrees in Civil Engineering with the best research opportunities are listed below:

  • University College London (UCL)
  • University of Lincoln
  • The University of New South Wales
  • University of Houston
  • The University of New Mexico
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Budapest University of Technology and Economics
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Texas A and M University
  • The Ohio State University

PhD Civil Engineering: Important Books Recommended

Below are some civil engineering books that students from all over the world have found useful.

Book NameAuthor;s Name
Engineers’ Practical DatabookJay Smith
Fundamentals of Sustainability in Civil EngineeringAndrew Braham
Civil Engineering MaterialsPeter A. Claisse
Dynamics of StructuresAnil K. Chopra
Introduction to Civil Engineering SystemsSamuel Labi

PhD Civil Engineering: A Comparison among Institutes

The table below compares India’s top PhD Civil Engineering colleges based on factors such as ranking, average annual fee, top recruiters, placements, and more.

Basis of ComparisonIIT MadrasIIT DelhiIIT Bombay
Institute NameIIT Madras has a world-class faculty, a vibrant student community, outstanding technical and support staff, and a well-run administration. They provide courses in a variety of engineering fields.IIT Delhi encourages growth by updating existing courses, creating new courses, and developing new resources.The research and academic programs at IIT Bombay are led by a distinguished faculty who are internationally recognized for their research.
Ranking by NIRF123
Average Fee
INR 19,000INR 34,000INR 73,000
Average Package
INR 16,10,000INR 16,00,000INR 20,34,000
Top Employers Rivigo Services Pvt. Ltd, CSS Corp, ANI Technologies,Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, Oracle India Pvt. Ltd, Tata Steel, etc. Uber, Zomato, Flipkart, Mastercard, Microsoft,Standard Chartered, etc.Amazon, Qualcomm, Tata Steel, JP Morgan, Google,McKinsey & Company, etc.

PhD Civil Engineering Scholarships Offered

Here are some scholarships available to students interested in pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering.

  • Prime Minister’s Fellowship for Doctoral Research
  • Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships
  • PMRF-Prime Ministers’ Research Fellowship
  • The NCERT Doctoral Fellowship

PhD Civil Engineering and PhD Chemical Engineering: Key Differences

On the following parameters, a comparison between PhD Civil Engineering and PhD Chemical Engineering is shown in the table below:

Basis of ComparisonPhD Civil EngineeringPhD Chemical Engineering
Level of CourseDoctorate LevelDoctorate Level
HighlightRoads, dams, bridges, canals, and buildings are examples of public structures that require design, construction, and maintenance.The science behind the operation of modern every-day life items such as food, clothes, cosmetics, detergents, paper, paint, tires, etc.
Duration of Course4 to 5 years3 to 5 years
Type of ExaminationSemester BasedSemester Based
Average Fees
INR 19K to 73KINR 50K to 4 lakhs
Eligibility CriteriaMaster’s DegreeMaster’s Degree in Chemical Engineering
Process of AdmissionMerit or Entrance Exam BasedEntrance Exam or Interview Based
InstitutesIIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, etc.Chandigarh University, Shiv Nadar University, NIT Surathkal, IIT Gandhinagar, Lovely Professional University, etc.
Average Salary
Per Annum
INR 2 to 9 lakhsINR 4 to 20 lakhs
Roles of Job head quality controller, site engineer/civil engineer, project coordinator, Project manager,quality assurance manager, project procurement manager, etc. Energy Manager, Manufacturing Engineer, Materials Engineer, Analytical Chemist,Mining Engineer, Production Manager, Quality Manager, among others.

Areas of Specialization in PhD Civil Engineering

There are a variety of course options for a PhD in Civil Engineering because there are several specializations within this domain to choose from. Here are some of the most well-known civil engineering PhD programs available around the world:

Doctor of Philosophy in Geo-technical EngineeringDoctor of Philosophy in Ground Engineering and Engineering GeosciencesDoctor of Philosophy in Geotechnical and Engineering Geology
Doctor of Philosophy in Structural EngineeringDoctor of Philosophy in Geosensing Systems Engineering and SciencesBuilding Designs, Buildings and Constructions – the Theory of Buildings and Structures.
Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental EngineeringDoctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering – Computing and SystemsDoctor of Philosophy in Urban Planning
Doctor of Philosophy in Biomechanical EngineeringDoctor of Philosophy in Built EnvironmentDoctor of Philosophy in City and Regional Planning
Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering – Construction Engineering and ManagementDoctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering and SurveyingLandscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, PhD
Doctor of Philosophy in Intelligent InfrastructureDoctor of Philosophy in Territorial EngineeringNumerical study of complex fluid-structure interaction, PhD

PhD Civil Engineering: Top Job Profiles

Students who have earned a PhD in Civil Engineering have a plethora of job and career opportunities. Colleges and universities, road construction, infrastructure development companies, R&D centers, construction companies, and railways are all places where Civil Engineering PhD holders can find work.

The table below shows the various job profiles that a PhD in Civil Engineering can lead to.

Profile of JobDescription of JobAverage Salary
Per Annum
Building Control SurveyorThey make certain that all building rules and regulations are followed during the construction process.INR 3,00,000
Building Services EngineerThey work on a variety of projects that help any building, office, or living space function properly.INR 2,70,000
Engineering GeologistThey advise private and public entities on natural, environmental, and geological risks associated with real estate development.INR 7,40,000
Sustainability ConsultantThey advocate for long-term solutions to people’s and the environment’s competing needs.INR 3,40,000
Fire Risk Assessor They identify fire hazards and risks, document their findings, and provide advice on how to avoid fires.INR 5,80,000
Geotechnical EngineerThey aid design and construction by evaluating and testing the risk to people and the environment.INR 5,20,000
Urban DesignerThey design buildings, open spaces, and landscapes that are both functional and visually appealing.INR 6,00,000

Some other important areas of Employment

  • Executive Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Construction Companies
  • Head Quality Controller
  • R&D Centres
  • Project Coordinator
  • Infrastructure Development Companies
  • Structural Engineer/Structural Designer
  • Road Construction Companies
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Railways
  • Project Procurement Manager
  • Site Engineer/Civil Engineer
  • Colleges & Universities

PhD Civil Engineering: Benefits and Scope

  • A PhD in Civil Engineering allows students to establish a civil engineering center of excellence and conduct research in the areas of infrastructure and environmentally friendly technologies.
  • Students who want to form lifelong bonds with like-minded students, faculty, and researchers in the global, scientific, and technological community should take this course.
  • Civil engineers with a PhD in the field can also work for their government to help develop railways, bridges, roads, and other infrastructure.
  • Students who pursue a PhD become subject matter experts in the specialization of their choice.
  • PhDs are ideal for those who are interested in research and are capable of handling the in-depth knowledge as well as the numerous tasks that come with it; as a result, these students are also qualified to work in research centers.
  • A PhD in Civil Engineering provides students with job security that a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the same field does not.


Is it possible to get a job in the gas or electricity industries with a PhD in Civil Engineering?

It’s possible that a PhD topic will intrigue the interest of someone working in the gas or electricity industries, but the link isn’t always obvious, so jobs aren’t guaranteed.

What are your options once you’ve completed your PhD?

Civil engineers are in high demand, and you could work for a private or government company, or you could teach at a university.

What are the best colleges for pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering?

IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IIT Guwahati, IIT Hyderabad, NIT Trichy, IIT Varanasi, and others are among the options available in India.

What are the entrance exams required by Indian colleges?

Students’ scores in national level entrance exams such as GATE, NET, JEE, and others are required by India’s top and reputable colleges.

After completing a PhD, how does one go about becoming a professor?

Apply for the position; if you meet their selection criteria and what they’re looking for in a professor, you’ll almost certainly be hired. It also depends on the type of university you want to attend: research or teaching; you’ll need a strong profile in either research projects or teaching credentials for both.

Is it possible for me to work for the government after I finish my PhD in Civil Engineering?

Civil engineers with various specializations are employed by the government as well, so prospective career options are not limited to private companies that hire civil engineers.

What is the average length of a PhD in Civil Engineering?

The course usually lasts four to five years, depending on which university the student attends.

Are there different eligibility criteria for different specializations?.

Some colleges have different eligibility requirements for the various specializations they offer, but this varies from institution to institution

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