Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director of Graduate Studies
Lecturer with Rank of Professor
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers programs of graduate study and research in the following two areas: mechanics, materials, and structures; and environmental engineering and water resources.
The department offers three degree programs of study: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.). Students must be admitted to one of these three degree programs.
The student-faculty ratio in the department is kept small to allow for productive working relationships between students and their advisers. The department maintains an atmosphere in which close interaction between students and faculty is the norm, whereby students benefit from the background, experience, and knowledge their advisers have gained in solving important engineering problems.
A bachelor’s degree in engineering or science, completed with superior standing, is normally required for admission to the graduate program. As well, applicants are required to submit the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). An international student coming from a non- English-speaking country and whose bachelor’s degree is not from an American university is required to submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The application for admission must be submitted through the office of the Graduate School of Princeton University. Reenrollment to subsequent years of study is granted by the dean of the Graduate School on the recommendation of the department, and depends upon the student’s demonstrated capabilities in course work and research.
Master of Engineering
An M.Eng. degree is offered to students who are interested in the applied aspects of engineering and who wish to prepare for professional practice and consulting. The department offers two such programs: the M.Eng. in structural engineering, and the M.Eng. in environmental engineering and water resources. In each case, the student fulfills the requirements by successfully completing eight one-term courses selected from a list of relevant courses. A thesis is not required, and financial support is normally not offered. The M.Eng. degree is usually completed in one academic year of full-time study.
The M.Eng. in structural engineering focuses on the applied aspects of structural engineering. Two of the leading civil engineering design companies in the world are actively involved in the program by teaching design-oriented courses and supervising design/research projects. The program also provides the opportunity for formal study in nontechnical areas such as corporate finance, public policy, and regulatory issues.
Master of Science in Engineering
The M.S.E. program has a strong research focus, reflected in the requirement of a master’s thesis. The course requirements are fulfilled by successfully completing 10 one-term courses, two of which are required research courses, CEE 509 and CEE 510. The M.S.E. is usually completed within two academic years of full-time study. Financial support in the form of a research or a teaching assistantship is available for students enrolled in this program. By the second term of study, a committee consisting of the adviser and one additional faculty member is formed to guide and supervise the candidate in his or her research. Candidates must prepare and submit an acceptable thesis as well as present an open seminar on their research.
Doctor of Philosophy
Study leading to the degree of doctor of philosophy is offered in two areas: environmental engineering and water resources; and materials, mechanics, and structures. When a student enters the department, an adviser is assigned from the appropriate program, in the student’s area of interest. The plan of study for the first year is arranged by the student, in consultation with the adviser and the department’s director of graduate studies. A typical plan consists of eight courses, one being CEE 509, which is a required research course. Near the end of the first year, a student who wishes to continue as a Ph.D. candidate declares this intention to the department. Students are expected to complete the general examination successfully within the first two years of their Ph.D. studies. Students are not normally readmitted to a third year (fifth term) of graduate study unless they have successfully completed the general examination. In no case are students admitted to a fourth year (seventh term) of graduate study unless they have passed the general examination. The specific requirements for the examination are different in the two programs, and students should consult the department for details about the examination requirements.
Upon completion of the general examination, the student must have in place a research committee consisting of the adviser and two or more additional members. The research committee meets with the candidate at least once per year to supervise his or her research. Two to three years is usually necessary for completion of a suitable dissertation after completion of the general examination. Upon completion and acceptance of the dissertation by the department, the candidate is admitted to the final public oral examination, in which the dissertation is presented and defended by the candidate.
Teaching experience is considered to be a significant part of the graduate education. It is recommended that Ph.D. candidates assist with course instruction for at least one term.
English Proficiency Requirements
All international students who are not native speakers of English and who are candidates for the Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering are required to pass the Princeton Oral Proficiency Test (POPT). Students who do not pass the POPT by January of their second year of enrollment will have their reenrollment decision (for year three) deferred until the results of the May examination are available. Students who do not pass the POPT by May of their second year of enrollment are not reenrolled to a third year of Ph.D. study, although they may switch to the M.S.E. track. Students are not appointed as an assistant in instruction until they have passed the POPT. Students are required to enroll in the term-time English Language Program, offered by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, for each term of enrollment until they pass the POPT.
M.Eng. and M.S.E. students are not required to pass the POPT. However, unless exempted prior to the initial date of enrollment, such students are still required to enroll in the term-time English Language Program at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning until they pass the POPT or complete all degree requirements.
Fellowships and Assistantships
All first-year Ph.D. students are supported on University fellowships, consisting of full tuition and fees, and a competitive stipend.
The department has been able to support all continuing doctoral students and most M.S.E. students through a combination of fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. In addition to this basic support, students usually continue to work on their research projects during the two summer months, during which additional funding is provided. Upon arrival at Princeton, each student is assigned to an ongoing research project under the supervision of a faculty member, whose interests seem compatible with those of the student as presented in the student’s career statement. At the end of the first year, a student may request reassignment to a different project, and the department will make every attempt to accommodate such a request within the budgets and needs of the various research areas.
The workloads associated with the assistantships are such that they do not interfere with a full-time graduate program. In fact, duties required by a research assistantship generally form the basis for the student’s thesis.
Areas of Concentration and Related Courses
The following areas of concentration are described in the context of research and instruction at Princeton. The student’s choice of an area and the route he or she wishes to follow determine the makeup of his or her study and research.
Mechanics, Materials, and Structures.
Current research work in earthquake engineering, structural engineering, and computational mechanics includes the analysis and design of structures in seismically active areas; synthesis of earthquake ground motion; soil liquefaction and its effect on structures; linear and nonlinear finite-element methods; use of parallel computing in structural engineering; nonlinear dynamic analysis of structures; probabilistic mechanics and structural reliability; stochastic finite-element methods; vulnerability of buildings to progressive collapse; improvement of related codes and standards; response of structures to extreme loads (impact/blast/fire); sensors for structural-condition assessment; methods of multihazard risk assessment and management; numerical modeling of fire-structure interactions; fluid-structure interactions; soil-structure interactions; cavitating flows; and dynamic/explosive impact on structures.
Current research work in materials includes the determination of the bulk mechanical and transport properties of porous materials; anomalous behavior of liquids in nanoporous materials; mechanisms responsible for deterioration of concrete and other building materials, particularly by crystallization of salt and ice; and the structure and properties of gels. Computational materials research includes numerical simulation of crack growth and propagation in layered and polycrystalline structures and topology optimization of materials microstructure. Students can participate in the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, which provides special courses, experimental facilities, and interdisciplinary interactions necessary for research in modern materials science and engineering.
A project on sequestration of carbon dioxide in saline aquifers involves numerical simulation of transport of injected CO 2 in deep aquifers and deterioration of cement in existing oil wells by the acidic brine. The work is done in collaboration with colleagues in the Program in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources who are studying geochemical interactions, the contamination of drinking water, and other related problems.
Current research in the history of technology includes a program of study on the transfer of technology from Europe to the United States, focused on structural engineering (NSF); research on bridge design that links techniques and aesthetics; research on the structuring of major American river basins, with an emphasis on the design, construction, and environmental consequences of large-scale federal dams; and research on major engineering innovations in the United States between 1876 and 1939.
Environmental Engineering and Water Resources.
The Program in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources provides students with the training necessary to analyze quantitatively a broad spectrum of environmental and water resource problems, which by nature are multidisciplinary. Students and faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering interact strongly with faculty from other departments and programs, such as atmospheric and oceanic sciences, chemical engineering, chemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology, geosciences, and the Princeton Environmental Institute as well as affiliated faculty at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory). The interdepartmental element of the program provides students with opportunities to formally combine studies in civil engineering, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, ecology, and geological and geophysical sciences. To provide the sound background necessary for conducting significant research and carrying out applications in the area of environmental engineering and water resources, advanced analytical, numerical, and statistical methods are combined with elements of environmental fluid mechanics, geochemistry, hydroclimatology, hydrogeology, hydrology, and water quality.
Civil and Environmental
Mark A. Zondlo, Elie R. Bou-Zeid, Catherine A. Peters
CEE 502 Environmental Engineering Fundamentals II: Surface and Subsurface Processes
Michael A. Celia, Catherine A. Peters, Kelly K. Caylor
CEE 505 Introduction to Probability Modeling in Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences
CEE 507 Independent Study I
Peter R. Jaffé
CEE 508 Independent Study II
Peter R. Jaffé
CEE 509 Directed Research
Peter R. Jaffé
CEE 510 Research Seminar
Peter R. Jaffé
CEE 511 Design of Large-Scale Structures: Buildings
Leslie E. Robertson
CEE 512 Design of Large-scale Structures: Bridges
Theodore P. Zoli
CEE 513 Introduction to Finite-element Methods
CEE 514 Earthquake Engineering
CEE 515 Geotechnical Engineering
CEE 523 Mechanics of Dissipative Media
CEE 524/MSE 532 Random Heterogeneous Materials
CEE 525 Applied Numerical Methods
Michael A. Celia
CEE 526/ENV 526 Environmental Issues Seminar
Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, Daniel I. Rubenstein
CEE 531 Elastodynamics
Peter C. Lee
CEE 532 Advanced Finite-element Methods
CEE 533 Seminar in Advanced Elasticity
Peter C. Lee
CEE 535/CBE 525 Statistical Mechanics II: Methods
CEE 539 Special Topics in MMS
CEE 540 Special Topics in MMS
CEE 548 Risk Assessment and Management
Mark E. Dobossy
CEE 558 Random Fields and Random Media
CEE 561/MSE 501 Introduction to Materials
CEE 563/WWS 528B Topics in Domestic Policy Analysis
Thomas L. Lussenhop
CEE 567 Advanced Design and Behavior of Steel Structures
Maria E. Garlock
CEE 571 Environmental Chemistry
Catherine A. Peters
CEE 572/GEO 523 Geomicrobiology
Tullis C. Onstott
CEE 573/GEO 525 Environmental Issues Seminar
CEE 576 Water Quality Modeling and Analysis
Peter R. Jaffé
CEE 581 Theory of Groundwater Flow
Michael A. Celia
CEE 582 Advanced Groundwater Modeling
Michael A. Celia
CEE 583/ENV 531 Topics in Energy and the Environment
CEE 586 Physical Hydrology
Eric F. Wood
CEE 587/ENV 587 Ecohydrology
CEE 591 Radar Hydrometeorology
James A. Smith
Remote sensing of precipitation and the hydrometerology of precipitation are the paired topics of this course.The fundamentals of radar remote sensing are introduced. Propagation and the scattering and absorption of electromagnetic waves are covered. Principles of Doppler radar are introduced, followed by techniques for measurement of precipitation and winds. The structure and evolution of precipitating cloud systems are covered as well.
CEE 599 Special Topics in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources
Advanced studies in selected areas of water resources. Special topics vary according to the instructor's and the students' interests.
CEE 599B Special Topics in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources
Mark A. Zondlo, Paul A. Ginoux, James A. Smith
This course will provide a survey of current research topics at the intersection between plant ecology and surface hydrology. We will explore scientific questions and debates related to (1) eco-physiological constraints on water movement in plants, (2) environmental and biological determinants of transpiration and evaporation, (3) the manner by which hydrological processes mediate terrestrial biogeochemical processes, and (4) the extent to which hydrological and ecological dynamics interact to govern vegetation form and function.