Civil Engineering and Urban Sustainability (Ph.D. Dual-Title)

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program in Civil and Environmental Engineering can apply to earn a Ph.D. with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a dual-title in Urban Sustainability. This dual-title degree is designed to prepare professionals to solve challenging urban problems that require working across disciplines. Students enrolled in the dual-title program take courses in topics and develop specific skills relating to urban sustainability. Students in Civil and Environmental Engineering will also conduct an internship or science exchange in Urban Sustainability, help develop and participate in colloquia and seminars, perform community service, and write funding proposals. The dual-title coursework follows competencies outlined by the Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training program.

Coursework for the Civil and Environmental Engineering-Urban Sustainability Degree is currently offered in ten departments across campus.  To earn the urban sustainability dual title, students first must be admitted into the doctoral programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Coursework must include five of six core courses shown in Table 1 (BIO 7310/CE 7311 and GS 0900 are required) plus 8 credits of urban sustainability coursework selected from Table 2 with the approval of their doctoral advisor, who will review the courses for adequate interdisciplinary representation. Alternative elective courses can be substituted for those shown in Table 2 with the approval of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Urban Sustainability Leader, Dr. Carol Miller.  Of the core courses, a seminar course, “Sustainability of Urban Environmental Systems,” is suitable for cross-listing in all departments that offer the urban sustainability dual title degree (currently listed as BIO 7310/CE 7311).

Table 1.  Core Courses for all Urban Sustainability Dual Title Degrees

CE 7311Sustainability of Urban Environmental Systems2
CE 7995Special Topics in Civil Engineering II (Environmental Systems, Economics, and Society)3
ANT 5060Urban Anthropology3
COM 7170Health and Risk Communication3
GS 0900Essential Research Practices: Responsible Conduct of Research0
UP 6470Environmental Planning3

Table 2.  Elective Coursework Eligible for Civil and Environmental Engineering-Urban Sustainability Degree

ANT 5565Urban Archaeology3
ANT 6570Archaeological Laboratory Analysis3
BIO 5040Biometry4
BIO 5180Field Investigations in Biological Sciences0-12
BIO 7540Landscape Ecology3
BIO 6420 Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment3
CE 7995Special Topics in Civil Engineering II (River Assessment and Restoration)3
CE 6270Sustainability Assessment and Management3
CE 7280Applied Environmental Microbiology3
COM 7160Crisis Communication3
ECO 6200Advanced Regulation and Regulated Industries4
ECO 6520Advanced State and Local Public Finance4
ECO 6800Advanced Urban and Regional Economics4
FPH 7420Principles of Environmental Health3
GEL 5000Geological Site Assessment4
GEL 5510Environmental Fate and Transport of Pollutants4
GEL 5650Applied Geological Mapping4
GEL 5610Special Topics in Geology1
LEX 7231Environmental Law2-3
PHC 7410Principles of Toxicology3
or BIO 7011 Principles of Toxicology
PSC 6910Pharmaceutical Waste: Environmental Impact and Management2-3
or CE 6910 Pharmaceutical Waste: Environmental Impact and Management
UP 5110Urban Planning Process3
UP 5430Cities and Food3
UP 6120Planning Studies and Methods4
UP 6260Land Use Policy and Planning3
UP 6700Geographic Information Systems4

Other activities required for the Civil and Environmental Engineering-Urban Sustainability Degree are the following:

  1. Community service:  participate in two events per year or an equivalent commitment to citizen science, stewardship or outreach/education projects with community group partners.
  2. Participate in Colloquium:  help develop and attend an annual series of talks given by visiting lecturers across disciplines.
  3. Prepare and submit an external proposal to a funding agency.

These requirements will be satisfied in the core courses.  Specifically, participation in colloquia and seminars is a requirement in Sustainability of Urban Environmental Systems and Urban Anthropology, partaking in community service is an activity in the Environmental Planning and Urban Ecology class, and writing funding proposals is a course assignment in Sustainability of Urban Environmental Systems and Environmental Systems, Economics and Society.  In addition, the requirement of community service will also be part of the course requirement for Essential Research Practices:  Responsible Conduct of Research (GS 0900).

In addition, doctoral students will be strongly encouraged to:

  1. Participate in an internship in an applied setting with a partner organization in urban sustainability.  Example eligible organizations with which the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has previously partnered include Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, Macomb County, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Great Lakes Water Authority, but participation is not limited to these.
  2. Produce a video documentary with their doctoral research team about the interdisciplinary sustainability problem their research is addressing, translating scientific content for a wide audience. 
  3. Participate in the WSU Research and Academic Development Seminar Series, which provides graduate training and career development workshops, to help prepare students to complete the required funding proposal and to envision perspectives to consider during documentary and publication preparation.
  4. Produce a collaborative publication with a doctoral research team.
  5. Develop a 2 credit capstone seminar course in collaboration with other students pursuing the Urban Sustainability Dual Title Degree that they will co-teach with the guidance of faculty. The capstone course will tie together and demonstrate the interconnected nature of urban sustainability topics and will be available to fellow Dual Title Degree students and other graduate and undergraduate students.
  6. Include undergraduate students in field work, laboratory analysis and report-writing, both to foster greater participation in later graduate studies by those students, and also to develop the mentoring skills of the doctoral students.