Joint Doctoral Program, Structural

Course Requirements

All students, in consultation with their advisors, develop course programs that will prepare them for the departmental comprehensive examination and for their dissertation research. All doctoral students will be required to take SE 200, Applied Mathematics in Structural Engineering, prior to taking the departmental comprehensive exam.

Departmental Qualifying/ Comprehensive/ Ph.D. Preliminary Exam

The exam should be taken after three to six quarters of full-time graduate study and requires a 3.5 GPA of UCSD courses. This examination is intended to determine the candidate’s ability to successfully pursue a research project at a level appropriate for the doctorate.


It is administered by a committee designated by the Department and consisting of four members, three chosen in consultation with the primary co-advisors to represent the subject areas covered during the Examination, and one appointed from a related academic department.  At least one, but not more than two, of these members are from SDSU. The Departmental Comprehensive Exam Committee is chaired by the UCSD co-advisor of the student.

Senate Qualifying/ Ph.D. Candidacy Exam

The Ph.D. Candidacy Examination is an oral examination that includes presentation of a plan for the dissertation research project. The examination is designed to test the ability of the student to conduct original dissertation research, and must be taken within four years after admission to the doctoral program.

The Joint Doctoral Committee consists of at least five officers of instruction, with two members from SDSU, two members from UCSD, and one tenured UCSD member from outside the Department of the candidate. At least two members should represent specialties different from the student’s chosen field. The two co-advisors, one from each institution, serve as co-chairs of the Joint Doctoral Committee. The Joint Doctoral Committee administers the qualifying examination. Students must maintain a GPA equivalent to 3.5 or better in order to take the qualifying examination and advance to candidacy.

Doctoral Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation Defense is the final Ph.D. examination. Upon completion of the dissertation research project, the student writes a dissertation that must be successfully defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by the doctoral committee. The final examination may not be conducted earlier than three quarters after the date of advancement to doctoral candidacy.