Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Information on Ph.D. Dissertation and Defense

Ph.D. Dissertation

The Ph.D. dissertation is the detailed document that describes your Ph.D. research. Your Dissertation Committee consists of 3 members from your Qualifying Examination Committee, with your Faculty Advisor acting as chair. You and your Faculty Advisor coordinate the preparation of your dissertation. When you have completed a final draft of your dissertation, you should begin preparations for your Final Dissertation Defense.

Final Dissertation Defense

The Final Defense consists of a public oral presentation of your Ph.D. dissertation. You first present the Dissertation Committee with a final draft of the dissertation. The Dissertation Committee has up to 2 weeks to read, review, and comment on the dissertation. You should then revise your dissertation along the guidelines recommended by the Dissertation Committee.

After the Dissertation Committee agrees that the dissertation is ready for oral presentation, the Final Defense is scheduled. Note: the Final Defense is not scheduled until the Dissertation Committee agrees that the dissertation is acceptable. It is your responsibility to ensure that the Defense occurs before the UCI deadline for filing for the degree. The time and place of the Defense will be advertised by the department.

The Final Defense normally consists of a public seminar of 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minutes public question period. A closed oral examination with the Dissertation Committee follows the public session. Your Final Defense must be attended by all members of the Dissertation Committee. This is the minimum audience required to attend. Other faculty, graduate and undergraduate students will be encouraged to attend the defense as well. It is your responsibility to ensure that the minimum attendance requirements are met. After the presentation, questions, and answers, all non-faculty will leave (or the faculty may adjourn to another room), and your presentation will be judged. The faculty may call you back in for more questions. If the Defense is considered acceptable, the Dissertation Committee will sign your Final Defense form. For an unacceptable Defense, the Dissertation Committee may require a range of corrective measures from minor revisions of the dissertation to major revisions and another oral presentation.

After your Final Defense is accepted, and final revisions to the dissertation have been made, your Dissertation Committee signs your PhD Form II (Signature Page/Report on Final Examination for the Ph.D. Degree). The CEE Department Chairman will then sign your Ph.D. Form II and forward it to the Engineering Graduate & Professional Studies Office for further processing. You must also submit an electronic copy of your dissertation to the Department for posterity.

In addition to completing all the graduation requirements specified in the Catalogue, Ph.D. candidates are required to notify the Department (contact Ms. April Heath: of the finalized date for their thesis defense. This notification must occur at least 2 weeks prior of the defense date. The reason for this notification is to enable enough time for announcing and advertising the thesis defense seminar.