Oct 27, 2020  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Geosensing Systems Engineering and Sciences, PhD


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Colleges  > Cullen College of Engineering  > Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering  > Geosensing Systems Engineering and Sciences, PhD


In addition to continued study of a broad range of Geosensing fundamentals, candidates for the doctoral degree enjoy intensive exposure to a specific field of geosensing systems engineering research. Individual research is the major focal point for doctoral students, who are expected to expand the frontiers of knowledge in their area of endeavor. Moreover, candidates learn and experience the general philosophy, methods, and concepts of research and scholarly inquiry. Acceptance into the full-time Ph.D. program is generally accompanied by financial support.

A fast-track Ph.D. program (B.S. to Ph.D.), available to undergraduate students upon completion of a bachelor’s degree within that program, is also available in Geosensing Systems Engineering and Sciences.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly selective. Satisfying the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. All applicants must be approved by the Geosensing Systems Engineering Admissions Committee and the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Programs. Since a research dissertation is required of all Ph.D. candidates, it is highly recommended that a prospective Ph.D. student contact individual faculty members whose research programs are of interest and a match to the student’s skill sets to discuss the possibility of performing research under their guidance.

For more information, please visit the Doctor of Philosophy in Geosensing Systems Engineering and Sciences program page.

Admission Requirements


B.S. to Ph.D.

  • A B.S. degree in engineering or in a science related to engineering from an accredited college or university or the foreign equivalent of an accredited American BS or MS degree in engineering. Non-engineers with degrees in related fields may be considered for admission after certain prerequisite courses are completed. A list of pre-requisites and leveling courses can be found on the Information for Non-Engineers page. Applicants with non-science bachelor’s degrees in fields such as technology, management, business, and the arts must obtain an accredited engineering degree before applying.
  • Complete application & payment of application fee ($25 domestic/$75 international) must be completed via the online application found at How to Apply to UH Graduate School.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of “B”, i.e., 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on the last 60 hours of course work attempted.
  • Satisfactory scores on the General Aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The Quantitative + Verbal scores combined should be at least 1100 using the prior GRE scale (Verbal minimum is 450 and Quantitative minimum is 650) or 301 using the current GRE scale (Verbal minimum is 150 and Quantitative minimum is 151); however, this does not guarantee admission.
  • The applicant must meet English language proficiency requirements, either via degree completion in the US or another certified English-speaking nation, or via submission of TOEFL/IELTS scores. Full details are found on the International Graduate Students website.

M.S. to Ph.D.

  • Met the requirements listed above for BS to PhD
  • Completed an MS degree with thesis in Chemical, Environmental, or Civil Engineering with an Environmental emphasis with a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale from an ABET- accredited engineering program or a foreign equivalent thereof.  A copy of the title page, signature page, and thesis abstract, as well as excellent letters of reference from faculty familiar with the research, must be submitted with the application.

Degree Requirements


Credit hours required for this degree: 84.0 (B.S. to Ph.D.) or 54.0 (M.S. to Ph.D.)

Direct B.S. to Ph.D.

A Ph.D. degree for a student whose highest prior degree is a B.S. requires 84 credit hours of approved study beyond the B.S. degree. These requirements translate to a minimum of 39 credit hours of organized course work (thirteen 3-credit non-research courses) beyond the Bachelor’s Degree plus 45 hours of Ph.D. research, dissertation and unrestricted electives. A maximum of 100 credit hours as a Ph.D. student also applies. After 100 hours, the student is no longer eligible for the lower, Texas-Resident Tuition.

M.S. to Ph.D.

The Ph.D. degree requires 54 credit hours of approved study beyond the M.S. degree. These requirements translate to a minimum of 18 credit hours of organized course work (six 3-credit non-research courses) beyond the Master’s Degree plus 36 hours of Ph.D. research, dissertation and unrestricted electives. After 100 hours, the student is no longer eligible for the lower, Texas-Resident Tuition.

A B.S. or M.S. student becomes a Ph.D. student after passing the qualifying examination which is usually taken after two or three semesters in residence. The qualifying exam consists of a critical review of a manuscript published in the peer-reviewed literature, and related to the student’s research area chosen by the chairman of the student’s dissertation committee. The student has 15 calendar days to write a comprehensive critique of the article and then, approximately two weeks after submitting the written critique to the examination committee (consisting of the core faculty members) the student presents and defends the critique in front of the committee. The result is pass (excellent, good or fair) or fail (poor). The examination may be retaken only once.

After the student has completed 1-2 years of course work and preliminary research, they prepare a formal research proposal as their thesis proposal and select a dissertation committee consisting of a chair, two program faculty members and two faculty members from outside the GSES Program Department. Members are chosen by agreement between the student, the chair, and the potential member. All committee appointments must be approved by the Program Director and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. A candidacy examination consists of a formal proposal presentation and defense in front of the dissertation committee. The result is pass or fail. If the result is pass, the Ph.D. student becomes a Ph.D. Candidate. Even with a pass, the committee may point out deficiencies in the proposed research and recommend additional course work or require that specific experiments be completed. The exam may be retaken once. If the student fails the retaken exam, the student will be terminated with a M.S. degree.

After completing the research and writing the dissertation, the candidate defends the dissertation in a public meeting of the committee, interested faculty, staff, and students. The result is pass or fail with a pass usually being accompanied by recommended changes to the final draft.

All graduate students must maintain a “B” average (GPA 3.0). Any graduate student who earns three “C” grades in graduate courses will be dropped from the Program. Doctoral students who fail to complete their dissertation within five years after completion of the comprehensive examination must retake the exam.

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