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.
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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 Course||Doctorate Degree (PhD)|
|Also referred as||Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering|
|Duration of Course||4 to 5 years|
|Type of Examination||Semester Based|
|Eligibility Criteria||Scores in GATE, NET, etc|
|Process of Admission||Entrance Exam Based|
|Fee for the Course||INR 19K to 73K|
|Average Annually Salary||INR 2 to 9 lakh|
|Top Employing Firms||Punj Lloyd, Newton Engineering & Chemicals Ltd,Afcons Infrastructure Limited, Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd (CCCL), Akme Projects Ltd, and etc.|
|Positions of Job||Project 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)|
|Modeling and simulation of environmental systems|
|Geoinformatics||Geodetic GPS surveys|
|Satellite data processing and application|
|Laser scanning technology|
|Laser scanning applications|
|Geotechnical Engineering||Foundation Engineering|
|Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering|
|Ground Improvement Techniques|
|Other Geotechnical Research Areas|
|Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering||Climate Change|
|Experimental Hydraulics and Sediment Transport|
|Infrastructure Engineering And Management||Construction Management|
|Maintenance of Infrastructure Assets|
|Planning and Creation of Infrastructure Assets|
|Structural Engineering||Computational Mechanics and Structural Analysis|
|Seismic Analysis and Design|
|Risk & Reliability|
|Concrete and cement based materials|
|Design and Experiment|
|Sensing and Monitoring|
|Transportation Engineering||Traffic Engineering|
|Transport Demand Analysis|
|Highway Financing and Policy Analysis|
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 NIRF||Institute Name||Process of Admission||Average Fees|
|Average Salary Offered|
|1.||Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM)||GATE/ CSIR-NET/ UGC-NET||INR 19,670||INR 16,10,00|
|2.||Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi||GATE/ NET||INR 34,900||INR 16,00,000|
|3.||Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai||GATE/ NET||INR 73,000||INR 20,34,000|
|4.||Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur||GATE/ NET||INR 64,050||INR 15,80,000|
|5.||Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur||Department-based test||INR 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 NIRF||Institute Name||Process of Admission||Average Fees|
|Average Salary |
|1.||IIT Madras||GATE/ CSIR-NET/ UGC-NET||INR 19,670||INR 16,10,000|
|2.||IIT Delhi||GATE/ NET||INR 34,900||INR 16,00,000|
|3.||IIT Bombay||GATE/ NET||INR 73,000||INR 20,34,000|
|4.||IIT Kanpur||GATE/ NET||INR 64,050||INR 15,80,000|
|5.||IIT Kharagpur||Department-based test||INR 28,900||INR 15,00,000|
|6.||IIT Roorkee||GATE/GPAT/UGC-NET/JRF||INR 28,500||INR 13,16,000|
|7.||IIT Guwahati||Seminar/Presentation||INR 18,100||INR 11,00,000|
|8.||IIT Hyderabad||M.Tech/ GATE||INR 25,095||INR 13,70,000|
|9.||NIT Tiruchirappalli||Written test||INR 59,250||INR 6,00,000|
|10.||IIT Varanasi||GATE/ NET/ GPAT,||INR 46,815||INR 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 Name||Author;s Name|
|Engineers’ Practical Databook||Jay Smith|
|Fundamentals of Sustainability in Civil Engineering||Andrew Braham|
|Civil Engineering Materials||Peter A. Claisse|
|Dynamics of Structures||Anil K. Chopra|
|Introduction to Civil Engineering Systems||Samuel 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 Comparison||IIT Madras||IIT Delhi||IIT Bombay|
|Institute Name||IIT 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 NIRF||1||2||3|
|INR 19,000||INR 34,000||INR 73,000|
|INR 16,10,000||INR 16,00,000||INR 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 Comparison||PhD Civil Engineering||PhD Chemical Engineering|
|Level of Course||Doctorate Level||Doctorate Level|
|Highlight||Roads, 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 Course||4 to 5 years||3 to 5 years|
|Type of Examination||Semester Based||Semester Based|
|INR 19K to 73K||INR 50K to 4 lakhs|
|Eligibility Criteria||Master’s Degree||Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering|
|Process of Admission||Merit or Entrance Exam Based||Entrance Exam or Interview Based|
|Institutes||IIT 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 |
|INR 2 to 9 lakhs||INR 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 Engineering||Doctor of Philosophy in Ground Engineering and Engineering Geosciences||Doctor of Philosophy in Geotechnical and Engineering Geology|
|Doctor of Philosophy in Structural Engineering||Doctor of Philosophy in Geosensing Systems Engineering and Sciences||Building Designs, Buildings and Constructions – the Theory of Buildings and Structures.|
|Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering||Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering – Computing and Systems||Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Planning|
|Doctor of Philosophy in Biomechanical Engineering||Doctor of Philosophy in Built Environment||Doctor of Philosophy in City and Regional Planning|
|Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering – Construction Engineering and Management||Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering and Surveying||Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, PhD|
|Doctor of Philosophy in Intelligent Infrastructure||Doctor of Philosophy in Territorial Engineering||Numerical 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 Job||Description of Job||Average Salary |
|Building Control Surveyor||They make certain that all building rules and regulations are followed during the construction process.||INR 3,00,000|
|Building Services Engineer||They work on a variety of projects that help any building, office, or living space function properly.||INR 2,70,000|
|Engineering Geologist||They advise private and public entities on natural, environmental, and geological risks associated with real estate development.||INR 7,40,000|
|Sustainability Consultant||They 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 Engineer||They aid design and construction by evaluating and testing the risk to people and the environment.||INR 5,20,000|
|Urban Designer||They 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
- 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.
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.
Civil engineers are in high demand, and you could work for a private or government company, or you could teach at a university.
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.
Students’ scores in national level entrance exams such as GATE, NET, JEE, and others are required by India’s top and reputable colleges.
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.
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.
The course usually lasts four to five years, depending on which university the student attends.
Some colleges have different eligibility requirements for the various specializations they offer, but this varies from institution to institution