Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering (PhD)


Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the natural and built environment. It is a very broad field made up of several sub-disciplines such as environmental engineering, construction engineering, geotechnical engineering, hydrotechnical engineering, materials engineering, structural engineering, and transportation engineering. Many of the sub-disciplines of civil engineering are themselves very broad and are made up of further distinguishable sub-disciplines. For example, hydrotechnical engineering includes water resources engineering, offshore engineering and coastal engineering.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Civil Engineering
Program Components

Research Information

Research Focus

Civil Engineering Materials, Environmental Engineering (Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Geo-Environmental, Pollution Control & Wastewater Management), Geotechnical Engineering, Hydrotechnical Engineering, Project & Construction Management, Structural Enginering (Earthquake Engineering), Transportation Engineering


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


GRE required?

Required by all applicants

Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Career Outcomes

96 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; for 12 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 83 graduates:

RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (5)
British Columbia Institute of Technology (3)
University of Lethbridge
American University of Sharjah
University Centre in Svalbard
Cairo University
University of Chile
King Mongkut's University of Technology
Carleton University
University of Toronto
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
BC Hydro (5)
Golder Associates (3)
City of Vancouver (2)
Klohn Crippen Berger (2)
Tetra Tech EBA (2)
General Electric
Sightline Engineering Ltd.
Glotman Simpson
Ecofish Research
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Senior Geotechnical Engineer (6)
President (3)
Senior Project Engineer (2)
Engineer (2)
Structural Engineer (2)
Geotechnical Engineer (2)
Principal Consultant (2)
Principal (2)
Associate (2)
Founder, CEO
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Many graduates from the Civil Engineering program at UBC use the knowledge and experience they gain from the broad academic program as a stepping stone to non-engineering careers, such as in business and management, or go on to other academic disciplines such as architecture or medicine.

Graduates from the Civil Engineering program at UBC who go on to practice as professional engineers are employed by small and large consulting engineering companies – some providing more specialized services and others more comprehensive services; engineering companies that provide large-scale infrastructure projects; crown corporations such as BC Hydro; and various levels of government – municipal, provincial and federal governments, and government branches and agencies

Alumni on Success

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$104.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,665.26$2,925.58
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$930.14 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations91116118
Total enrolment6976755962

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 94.59% based on 37 students admitted between 2005 - 2008. Based on 29 graduations between 2014 - 2017 the minimum time to completion is 4.00 years and the maximum time is 8.66 years with an average of 6.06 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 22 March 2019]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 23 September 2018].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 - 12:30pm - Room 200

Ruslan Shanth Amarasinghe
Shear Strength of Soil-Pipeline Interfaces Under Low Confining Stresses and Large Displacements

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Adebar, Perry Erwin (Concrete structures, seismic design, high-rise buildings, shear design, evaluation and repair of structures)
  • Banthia, Nemkumar (Materials engineering, concrete, advanced composite materials, shotcrete, fibre reinforcement, rebound mechanics, kinamatic studies, optimization, supplementary cementing materials in concrete)
  • Berube, Pierre (Water treatment, trace organic contaminants, membrane and advanced oxidation technologies., Drinking water treatment, filtration/membrane processes for water and wastewater treatment, distribution system water quality, advanced oxidation, wastewater reuse)
  • Bigazzi, Alexander York (Transportation Systems, active transportation, bicycles, air quality, motor vehicle emissions, travel behaviour)
  • Fannin, R Jonathan (Shear wave velocity for the detection of fines loss in soils, internal erosion in earth dams, seepage-induced instability in gap-graded soils, grain shape and the strength of sands, filtration compatibility of woven and nonwoven geotextiles, pullout resistance of geogrids in static and dynamic loading, debris flow travel distance on steep mountainous terrain, slope stability in engineering practice)
  • Haukaas, Terje (Risk, structures, structural safety, seismic, earthquake, probability, computer analysis, Structures, Probabilistic mechanics, structural reliability and optimization, timber engineering, earthquake engineering, decision making, risk, advanced structural analysis, finite elements, response sensitivity analysis, software development)
  • Howie, John (Field and laboratory characterization of soils for geotechnical engineering design, ground improvement, foundation engineering)
  • Isaacson, Michael D (Coastal and offshore hydrodynamics, with a particular emphasis on ocean waves and their effects on structures.)
  • Jelovica, Jasmin (Stress Analysis, Production and Process Optimization, Metals and Alloys, Solid Mechanics, Finite element analysis, Structural optimization, Welding and joining of metals, Sandwich structures, Ultimate, fatigue and impact strength)
  • Laval, Bernard (physical limnology fluid mechanics environmental fluid mechanics underwater robotics, Field and 3D numerical modeling techniques to describe the spatial and temporal variations of physical processes and their impacts on transport in lakes and coastal waters)
  • Lawrence, Gregory (Environmental fluid mechanics, hydraulics, hydrodynamic stability and mixing, physical limnology, water quality management)
  • Lee, Jongho (Membranes, Water/Wastewater Treatment, Desalination, Resource Harvesting, Nanoporous Media, Electrokinetics )
  • Lence, Barbara Jean (Hydrotechnical, Optimizing design and operational strategies of water resources projects, reliable withdrawal-treatment strategies for contaminated groundwater supply systems, asset management strategies for mid-sized water utilities with limited break data, water distribution system operational procedures to meet hydraulic and water quality objectives)
  • Li, Loretta (Contaminated site investigation and management, environmental monitoring, risk and impact assessment, soil-contaminant interactions, mobility and migration of contaminants, remediation technology, mine tailings waste disposal and treatment processes)
  • Molina Hutt, Carlos (Earthquake engineering, performance-based seismic design, seismic resilience, risk analysis, high-rise buildings, innovative structural systems)
  • Sayed, Tarek (transportation engineering, Transportation, Full Bayes safety models, Automated safety analysis using computer vision techniques, Safety evaluations, Traffic conflicts techniques, Pedestrian modeling, and ITS)
  • Shawwash, Ziad K (Modeling and optimization of large-scale civil engineering systems; planning, design and operation of hydroelectric generating facilities; use of decision, policy and risk analysis techniques in water resource planning and management; use of artificial intelligence systems in water resource and hydroelectric systems.)
  • Staub-French, Sheryl (Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), Building Information Modeling (BIM), collaboration and integrated project delivery, design and construction coordination, 4D (3D + time) visualization, interactive workspaces)
  • Swei, Omar (Asset Management, Life Cycle Modeling, Optimization Methods, Real Options, Reinforcement Learning, Risk Analysis, Sequential Decision-Making, Stochastic Modeling, Sustainable Infrastructure Management, Time-Series Methods, Uncertainty Estimation and Propagation)
  • Taiebat, Mahdi (static and dynamic soil-structure interaction, Theoretical and computational geomechanics, constitutive modeling of engineering materials, geotechnical earthquake engineering, static and dynamic soil-structure-interaction)
  • Vaziri, Reza (Finite element analysis, Mechanics of composite materials, Constitutive modeling of engineering materials, Plasticity, Damage mechanics, Process modeling of composite structures, Analysis of impact and blast loading of metallic and composite structures)
  • Ventura, Carlos Estuardo (Earthquake engineering, structural dynamics, full scale vibration testing, shake table testing Seismic risk evaluation and hazard management studies Investigation of earthquake effects on man-made structures)
  • Weijs, Steven (Water, Hydrological Cycle and Reservoirs, Drinking Water, Fresh Water, Information, Hydroelectricity, Ice and Snow, Hydrological Prediction, hydrology, water resources management, information theory, uncertainty, experimental hydrology, sensors, mountain hydrology, droughts, floods, control of water systems)
  • Wijewickreme, Dharmapriya (Geotechnical, pipeline geotechnical engineering)
  • Yang, Tsung-Yuan (Seismic behavior and design of steel, concrete and composite structures, seismic behavior and design of tall buildings, develop performance-based evaluation methodology and code design procedures for new and existing structures, using innovative structural component and systems to improve structural performance, including the use of innovative active, semi-active and passive energy dissipation systems, develop accurate and cost effective experimental methods to analyze structural response under extreme loading conditions.)


Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Sarmad Mehrbod
    "Dr. Mehrbod studied how teams work together using state of the art 3D and 4D-modelling technologies during building design. He formalized the coordination processes, identified bottlenecks, and proposed novel design considerations. His results have practical implications for the construction industry, and the software development community." (November 2018)
  • Dr. Ilaria Capraro
    "Dr. Capraro studied the impact of subduction motions on the seismic performance of buildings. Her research showed that the long duration of subduction motions leads to higher collapse probabilities and that the magnitude of this effect depends on the fundamental period, the ductility of the structure and the intensity of the motions." (November 2018)
  • Dr. Yuxin Pan
    "Dr. Pan's PhD dissertation is the first detailed study of the effects of long duration earthquakes on the collapse risk of timber buildings. This research is very timely for building developments in southwestern British Columbia. The study is expected to have a significant impact on future building codes for timber structures." (November 2018)
  • Dr. Ahmed Hussein Ibrahim Abd Tageldin
    "Road collisions are a severe epidemic that cause the loss of millions of lives. Dr. Ahmed introduced measures of road safety for less-organized traffic environments. He developed evasive action measures to detect road users in close collisions. His research helps practitioners to objectively assess road safety in less-organized traffic environments." (November 2018)
  • Dr. Shona Jacquelyn Robinson
    "Dr. Robinson studied the long-term use of membranes to treat drinking water for communities. She discovered that membrane performance deteriorates over time, due to changing membrane physical and chemical properties. Her work has established methods to better understand membrane ageing, as well as recommendations to prolong membrane service life." (November 2018)

Supervisor Search


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