Ph.D. Checklist

Prior to 1st Quarter

Final Transcripts: Verification of degree

Students are required to submit final official transcripts. Students may refer to their ‘Graduate Admission Checklist’ available in MyUCLA to confirm if they have already submitted final official transcripts.

Documents may be mailed to the following address or dropped off in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Student Affairs Office (Boelter Hall 5732-A) when you arrive on campus.

UCLA
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Attn: Admission
420 Westwood Plaza
Room 5732 Boelter Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1593

International students please visit the Graduate Division Required Academic Records website to determine all academic records that are required.

Students must submit final academic records before the first day of class for their first term of enrollment.

Completion of prerequisites

Students will communicate with their faculty advisor to determine deficiencies and outline a plan to take preparatory courses, if needed. Students are eligible to fulfill preparatory course requirements prior to the start of their graduate program at UCLA.

Registration

Please view the Registrar’s Academic Calendar to view important dates regarding registration including when Schedule of Classes is available, when enrollment opens, and registration fee deadlines.

Registration consists of paying fees and enrolling in classes. Registration fees and other University charges are paid through BruinBill. BruinBill is an electronic bill (eBill) that students view in MyUCLA. Enrollment in classes is completed via MyUCLA. Students must complete both processes by the established deadlines to be officially registered and enrolled for the term.

What are PTE #’s? Permission to Enroll (PTE) numbers are required for certain courses. You will typically need a PTE # if you are a graduate student attempting to register for an undergraduate course or a Civil Engineering major attempting to register for a non-Civil Engineering course. Instructors may distribute PTE #s during the summer or may choose to wait until the first week of class to distribute. If you need a PTE #, you may contact the instructor of the course or show up to class during Week 1.

Graduate students are responsible for registering (paying fees), enrolling (enrolling in specific courses for a specific number of units and a grading basis), and making changes in registration and enrollment each term by the Graduate Council-approved deadlines posted in the Registrar’s calendar in the online Schedule of Classes. Unless granted a formal leave of absence, graduate students are expected to register every term, including the term in which their degree or certificate is to be awarded.

Writing Requirement/ESLPE (International Students)

All international students are required to complete the ESLPE unless they meet one of the exemption criteria below. You were notified as part of your admission offer from the university if you are required to take the ESLPE.

If you are required to take the ESLPE you should do so prior to or during your 1st quarter. 
The results of the exam may require you to complete up to 2 quarters of ESL course enrollment. ESL courses cannot be completed concurrently.

There are 3 potential results of the exam: 
1) Pass/Exempt score: You have fulfilled the ESL Writing Requirement; no further action required.
2) Placement into ESL 300: This means you are required to take ESL 300 and ESL 301 in order to graduate.
3) Placement into ESL 301: This means you are required to take ESL 301 in order to graduate.

If you are placed into an ESL course you complete this requirement as soon as possible. 
Students who do not complete the English Language Requirement will not be eligible to graduate. Students are not allowed to retake the ESLPE exam. The ESL Writing Requirement pertains to academic writing only, not speaking or fluency, and has no bearing on whether a student is permitted to work as a TA.

Registration
When registration is available you may complete registration on the ESLPE website: http://wp.ucla.edu/index.php/placement-exam-schedule/eslpe

Writing Requirement Exemptions
1. Taking the ESLPE and receiving a pass/exempt score.
2. Entering UCLA with a score of 100 or above on the TOEFL iBT or at least a 7.5 overall band score on the IELTS exam.
3. Holding a bachelor’s degree or higher from a university located in the U.S. or another country in which English is the primary language.

If you were told you are required to take the ESLPE, but you meet exemption #2 or #3 listed above please contact the Writing Programs office.

TOP Exam (International Students)

Students who plan to work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) at UCLA and are non-US citizens must pass the TOP before working as a TA in any department at UCLA. All non-citizens are considered international students. This includes permanent residents.

Exemptions from the TOP are listed below:

  • You are a U.S. citizen or hold a Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution, you are automatically exempt from taking the test; you do not need to take any further action. Holding a Master’s degree from a U.S. institution does not qualify for an exemption.
  • No alternatives to TOP are accepted. Scores on any other language proficiency exams may not be used as a replacement for the TOP (e.g., SPEAK, TSE, TOEFL, ESLPE).
  • If you do not plan to work as a TA at UCLA, you do not need to take the TOP. Other positions (e.g., Reader, Special Reader, GSR) do not require the TOP.

When the TOP schedule is available it will be posted on the following website: http://oid.ucla.edu/training/top


Step 1

Ph.D. Proposal of Fields

Form: Complete Ph.D. Proposal of Fields form

Deadline: Varies. If student started as M.S. student and intends to apply to stay for Ph.D. the student should submit the form attached to the Intent to Advance to Ph.D. form. If student started as Ph.D. student and is earning a M.S. during their first year the student student should submit at the beginning of their 2nd year. If student started as Ph.D. student and already has a M.S. and is will begin minor coursework during first year, student should submit 2nd week of 2nd quarter of enrollment.

Signatures to be obtained by student: Faculty Advisor

Signatures to be obtained by SAO: SAO, Departmental Graduate Advisor

Where to submit: Boelter Hall 5732-A or Jesse’s mailbox

Notes: An accurate and current Ph.D. Proposal of Fields must be on file prior to taking the Oral Qualifying Exam. Petitions and transcripts pertinent to the doctoral program should be attached to the Proposal of Fields form.

Obtaining a M.S. Degree

Students interested in earning a M.S. degree during their Ph.D. program should consult the M.S. Student Procedures, submit all required documents, and consult with the Civil and Environmental Engineering Students Affairs Officer.


Step 2

Ph.D. Preliminary Exam

After mastering the body of knowledge defined in the major field, the student takes a written preliminary examination in the major field. The preliminary examination should be completed within the first two years of full-time enrollment in the Ph.D. program. Students may not take an examination more than twice. Students should contact their faculty advisor to discuss when the Preliminary Exam will be administered. Results of the Preliminary Exam must be reported to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Student Affairs Officer.


Step 3

Complete Remaining Coursework

After passing the preliminary examination and substantially completing all minor field coursework, the student is eligible to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination (Prospectus).

Submit Revised Ph.D. Proposal of Fields (if needed)

If any information has changed from the original submission of the Ph.D. Proposal of Fields, students must submit a revised Ph.D. Proposal of Fields.

Form: Complete Ph.D. Proposal of Fields form

Deadline: Prior to completing Oral Qualifying Exam

Signatures to be obtained by student: Faculty Advisor

Signatures to be obtained by SAO: SAO, Departmental Graduate Advisor

Where to submit: Boelter Hall 5732-A or Jesse’s mailbox

Notes: Petitions and transcripts pertinent to the doctoral program should be attached to the Proposal of Fields form.


Step 4

Nominate Doctoral Committee

Students nominate a doctoral committee prior to taking the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Students must read the Doctoral Committee Regulations outlined in the Standards & Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA handbook (starting on page 11). Additional department requirements for doctoral committees may be found HERE.

Form: Nomination of Doctoral Committee

Deadline: Please leave ample time (at least 3 weeks) for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Student Affairs Officer and the Graduate Division to process the form. The Graduate Division must approve the committee prior to taking the Oral Qualifying Exam.

Signatures to be obtained by student: None

Signatures to be obtained by SAO: Department Graduate Advisor

Where to submit: Boelter Hall 5732-A or Jesse’s mailbox

Notes: Doctoral Committee forms will be reviewed by the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, the student should make sure that such a petition and the committee nomination are submitted many weeks in advance of the anticipated date of the University oral qualifying examination, in particular because there is no guarantee that they will be approved, which means that an alternative committee may need to be nominated later if the petition is not approved.


Step 5

Oral Qualifying Exam (Prospectus)

The nature and content of the Oral Qualifying Exam are at the discretion of the doctoral committee but ordinarily include a broad inquiry into the student’s preparation for research. The doctoral committee also reviews the prospectus of the dissertation at the oral qualifying examination. Students must confirm with their committee the expectations of deliverables for the Prospectus such as a written document and oral presentation.

All members of your committee must be present during the entire exam. Only one committee member (never the Chair or Co-Chair) may participate remotely in an oral qualifying examination or final defense of the dissertation. Remote participation must be the result of a valid reason (e.g., on sabbatical, at a conference) and as a matter of necessity rather than convenience. The committee Chair must provide written consent ahead of time to allow one member to participate remotely. The committee Chair will email the SAO to provide consent of remote participate. The SAO will notify the Graduate Division of remote participation within 14 business days of the Chair’s consent. See the Standards & Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA handbook (starting page 21) for further details.

A student is advanced to candidacy by the Graduate Division when the report on the University oral qualifying examination is received. The student is automatically billed for the doctoral advancement to candidacy fee at the time advancement occurs.

Students must email the Civil and Environmental Engineering Student Affairs Officer (CEESAO@seas.ucla.edu) with the below information at least two weeks prior to the Oral Qualifying Exam.

Full Name:
UID:
Email:
Advisor:
Title of Prospectus:
Date of Qualifying Oral Exam:
Time of exam:
Location of exam:
Consent to allow the SAO to advertize your exam to the CEE faculty and graduate student population:

The Student Affairs Officer will prepare the necessary committee paperwork for the day of the exam. The committee chair is expected to pick up the exam documents from Boelter Hall 5732A the day of the exam and return them to Boelter Hall 5732A the same day.

To reserve room the Civil and Environmental Engineering conference room (Boelter Hall 4275) for your Qualifying Oral Exam, email CEEHelp@seas.ucla.edu with the following information:

Full Name:
Advisor:
Email Address:
Date & Time:

You may check the conference room calendar availability by visiting the CEE Website, clicking on ‘Resources’ and ‘Conference Room Reservation’. (Or go here: http://www.cee.ucla.edu/conference-room-reservations/)


Step 6

Reconstitute Doctoral Committee (if needed)

Recommendation for reconstitution of a doctoral committee is made jointly by the Graduate Advisor of the department and the chair of the doctoral committee, after consultation with the members of the committee who are in residence and the student. Reconstitution is approved by the dean of the Graduate Division, acting for the Graduate Council.

Form: Recommendation for Reconstitution of the Doctoral Committee

Deadline: Please leave ample time (at least 3 weeks) for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Student Affairs Officer and the Graduate Division to process the form.

Signatures to be obtained by student: Committee Members

Signatures to be obtained by SAO: Department Graduate Advisor

Where to submit: Boelter Hall 5732-A or Jesse’s mailbox

Notes: Students who submit forms with committees that do not meet university standards as outlined in the handbook will receive the form back which will significantly delay the doctoral committee nomination process.


Step 7

Attend Dissertation Workshop and Review Policies & Procedures

Click here for Graduate Division Dissertation Information.

Click here for the Dissertation Formatting and Filing Guide.

Click here to view available dissertation workshops.


Step 8

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

The final oral examination is required for all students in the program. The entire committee must be in attendance and each member must record a decision of “passed” or “not passed.” A student is not considered to have passed the final oral examination with more than one “not passed” vote, regardless of the size of the committee.

All members of your committee must be present during the entire exam. Only one committee member (never the Chair or Co-Chair) may participate remotely in the final defense of the dissertation. Remote participation must be the result of a valid reason (e.g., on sabbatical, at a conference) and as a matter of necessity rather than convenience. The committee Chair must provide written consent ahead of time to allow one member to participate remotely. The committee Chair will email the SAO to provide consent of remote participate. The SAO will notify the Graduate Division of remote participation within 14 business days of the Chair’s consent. See the Standards & Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA handbook (starting page 21) for further details.

Students must email the Civil and Environmental Engineering Student Affairs Officer (CEESAO@seas.ucla.edu) with the below information at least two weeks prior to the Final Oral Examination.

Full Name:
UID:
Email:
Advisor:
Title of Dissertation:
Date of Final Oral Exam:
Time of exam:
Location of exam:
Confirmation that Doctoral Committee is accurate and final:

The Student Affairs Officer will prepare the necessary committee paperwork for the day of the exam. The committee chair is expected to pick up the exam documents from Boelter Hall 5732A the day of the exam and return them to Boelter Hall 5732A the same day.

To reserve room the Civil and Environmental Engineering conference room (Boelter Hall 4275) for your Final Oral Exam, email CEEHelp@seas.ucla.edu with the following information:

Full Name:
Advisor:
Email Address:
Date & Time:

You may check the conference room calendar availability by visiting the CEE Website, clicking on ‘Resources’ and ‘Conference Room Reservation’. (Or go here: http://www.cee.ucla.edu/conference-room-reservations/)


Step 9

File Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study. Students are encouraged to file as early in a quarter as possible.

Know the deadlines: Click Here

Read the handbook: Click Here

All requirements, including faculty signatures, must be met by the deadline. It is highly recommended that you do not wait until the last day to file your dissertation.

Helpful Hints:

1. Your committee members must log in to Go.Grad to sign off on your final oral exam and/or manuscript.

  1. After completing your process, you can log back into the Graduate Division website to check the status of your committee approvals.
  2. What counts as submitting by the deadline? How will the Graduate Division determine my filing date and whether I’ve met the deadline? All of the following must occur by the official deadline: a) All required committee members have signed off, b) Committee has certified you have passed the final oral exam, c)You submitted a final PDF via ProQuest, and d) You completed the online Graduate Division process. The last date that all of the items listed above is complete will be your filing date.

What is the interim deadline? The interim deadline is an extended deadline in which a student can use his/her current registration or filing fee status to file before the start of classes for the following quarter. For example, the Filing Deadline is December 9 and the End of the Interim Period is January 5. A student who successfully completes all degree requirements between December 10 and January 5 will not have to pay any further registration fees, but will earn a Winter degree instead of a Fall degree.

Consider Filing Fee: If students have completed all requirements for the degree except the filing of the thesis or dissertation and/or the final examination (doctoral final oral examination), they may be eligible to pay the Filing Fee (half the registration fee) instead of registering. Please visit the Graduate Division website for details.

Students must email ceesao@seas.ucla.edu after they file their dissertation. Be sure to include UID, final dissertation title and confirmation that the dissertation was successfully filed.

Course Requirements

There is no formal course requirement for the Ph.D. degree, and one may theoretically substitute coursework by examinations. Normally, however, the student takes courses to acquire the knowledge needed for the written preliminary examinations. The basic program of study for the Ph.D. degree is built around one major field and one super-minor field or two minor fields. A super-minor field is comprised of a body of knowledge equivalent to five courses, at least three of which are at the graduate level. When two minor fields are selected, each minor field is normally comprised of a body of knowledge equivalent to three courses, at least two of which are at the graduate level. The minimum acceptable grade point average for the minor fields is 3.25. If the student fails to satisfy the minor field requirements through coursework, a minor field examination may be taken (once only). The minor fields are chosen to support the major field and are usually subsets of other major fields. A minimum 3.25 grade point average is required of all coursework. Students who have completed graduate level coursework prior to UCLA may apply coursework toward one of the following: Ph.D. major field, one minor, or superminor. At least 50% of coursework applied toward Ph.D. program must be completed at UCLA, unless petition has been approved by the department.

Foreign Language Requirement

None.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations (Prospectus)

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

After mastering the body of knowledge defined in the major field, the student takes a written preliminary examination in the major field. This preliminary examination should be completed within the first two years of full-time enrollment in the Ph.D. program. Students may not take an examination more than twice.

After passing the preliminary examination and substantially completing all minor field coursework, the student is eligible to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The nature and content of the examination are at the discretion of the doctoral committee but ordinarily include a broad inquiry into the student’s preparation for research. The doctoral committee also reviews the prospectus of the dissertation at the oral qualifying examination.

Students nominate a doctoral committee prior to taking the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Two members, including the chair, must hold appointments at UCLA in the student’s major department in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. For a full list of doctoral committee regulations please visit the Graduate Division’s “Standards & Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA” handbook.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written preliminary and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

Required for all students in the program.

Time-to-Degree

The normative duration for full-time students in the Ph.D. program, after completing a M.S. degree, is twelve quarters. The maximum time allowed for completing the Ph.D. degree, after completing the M.S. degree, is twenty-four quarters. Each quarter students must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degree. Quarters taken on an approved Leave of Absence do not count toward the time limit.

Continuous Registration

Unless granted a formal leave of absence, graduate students are expected to register every term, including the term in which their degree or certificate is to be awarded. A student must be registered in order to take any University examination with the exception of those that are permitted by payment of the Filing Fee (master’s comprehensive or doctoral final oral examination [defense if the dissertation]). Students must be registered during the regular academic quarter when they take the written and oral qualifying examinations for the doctorate. To be eligible to take such examinations in the summer, the student must have been registered in the immediately preceding Spring term. If students have completed all requirements for the degree except the filing of the thesis or dissertation and/or the final examination (master’s comprehensive or doctoral final oral examination), they may be eligible to pay the Filing Fee (half the registration fee) instead of registering. Failure of students to register as required will constitute presumptive evidence that they have withdrawn without leave from the Graduate Division, and that to be readmitted, they must apply formally in competition with all other applicants for admission.

Registration in the Final Quarter for the Award of the Degree

If a student is completing courses, using faculty time, library facilities, laboratories, or other University resources, or receiving University funds, the student is required to register in the final term in which the student expects to receive the degree.

Filing Fee Notes

There are benefits (reduced cost) and limitations (not allowed to receive funding, not allowed more than 12 hours of university resources, no library access) to filing fee. In addition to the information listed below, filing fee information may be found here.

Usage Period: Students on filing fee will only have the first two weeks of the filing fee quarter to complete degree requirements. We do not recommend that you plan on using filing fee in your final quarter to complete degree requirements. Filing fee should be used as a back-up plan in case an emergency situation occurs where you cannot complete degree requirements in the preceding quarter.

Application: Students must submit the filing fee application one quarter prior to the filing fee term. For example, students who wish to go on filing fee for Winter must submit the filing fee application at the end of Fall.

ATC: Students must Advance to Candidacy (ATC) at least one quarter prior to using the filing fee. Students must complete their Qualifying Exam by the end of Week 2 if they intend to go on filing fee the following quarter. Most PhD students will not experience this situation as PhD students typically ATC many quarters before they intend to graduate.

Summer Funding: Students who plan to utilize filing fee in Fall are not eligible to receive Graduate Division Block Grant funding or Graduate Division Conference Travel Reimbursement issued through the Civil and Environmental Engineering department during Summer.

International Students: The Dashew Center will shorten the I-20 or DS-2019 end dates for all F-1 and J-1 students on filing fee status to the end of Week 2 of the student’s filing fee quarter. Students who wish to maintain F-1 and J-1 visa status until the end of the quarter must be registered full-time by the end of Week 2 of that quarter.

Certificate of Completion

A Certificate of Completion from UCLA is only necessary when you must immediately submit proof of completion to an employer or other institution. If needed, you can contact the Registrar’s Office only after receiving the final email confirmation from the Graduate Division of the completion of all filing requirements.

Official Transcripts & Diplomas

Complete official transcripts are available approximately 30 working days after the last day of the term. For graduating students, official transcripts with the graduation date included are available approximately seven weeks after the end of the term. Diplomas for graduate students are available approximately three months after the degree award date. Information about obtaining your diploma in person or by mail is sent to your e-mail address approximately six weeks after the end of your final term. Please view the Registrar’s website for further information.

Summer Information

To satisfy continuous registration, a graduate student should register in Fall, Winter and Spring terms. Enrollment in Summer may not substitute for registration in a regular term. For Ph.d. Students: A student who registered in the preceding Spring term may take the written and oral qualifying examinations for the doctoral degree during the Summer. A student who did not register in Spring must wait until the Fall to take these examinations, at which time the student must be registered. For M.S. & Ph.D. Students: Per the continuous registration policy, in order to be eligible to take the master’s comprehensive or doctoral final oral (dissertation defense) examination, file a thesis or dissertation, or receive a degree during a Summer Session, a student must either pay the Filing Fee if eligible or register and enroll in at least four units during the Summer Session.

Registration: If students register in summer to graduate, typically students register in one of the following courses under their faculty advisor: C&EE 296 (for MS Comprehensive Exam students), C&EE 598 (For MS Thesis students), C&EE 599 (For PhD students). These summer courses are not made available unless a student sends a request to CEESAO@seas.ucla.edu and includes their name, UID, faculty advisor name, and requested course of registration. Students may select to take a regular 4 unit course during the summer and are not required to take the courses listed, but most students typically enroll in one of the courses listed. Continuing students (will register in Fall) do not have to register in Summer. See Filing Fee section above for Filing Fee details.

Recommendations: (a) If a student is graduating in Summer and will be receiving funding from the university during summer, he/she must register in summer. Please note there is no tuition/fee reimbursement for the summer term. Students will be responsible for paying the tuition/fees if registered. (b) If a student plans to be on filing fee during summer and is unsure if he/she will make the deadline to file the thesis or dissertation, do not submit the filing fee application until later in the summer. (c) A MS student who is continuing to the PhD program in Fall may want to consider waiting to submit the MS Thesis until the Fall term. That way the student does not have to pay to register or use filing fee in Summer. The student will still be able take courses toward the PhD program in Fall.