Doctor of Philosophy in Ocean Engineering

The Ph.D. in Ocean Engineering degree prepares students to be technical leaders in their field, including the ability to do original research or high-level design. Our ocean engineering group conducts research on hydrodynamic modeling of currents and the dispersion of effluents in the coastal zone, experimental and computational marine hydrodynamics, coastal sediment transport, climate change, port security, coastal hazards, inland and coastal flooding, storm surges, maritime transportation, and analysis of current and wave observations in the coastal ocean.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Ocean Engineering requires 84 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. A prior master’s degree may be transferred for up to 30 credits without specific course descriptions. The remaining 54 credits must include at least:

    A minimum of 15 credits of additional graduate course work that may include up to 9 transfer graduate course credits that have not been used toward any degree. 

    A minimum of 15 credit hours of dissertation research

●    Completion of all program core course requirements

●    Completion of Stevens Doctoral Signature Course – PRV 961

Note: The PRV 961 course counts towards the 84 credit hours but not towards the minimum number of 15 credit hours of additional graduate coursework.

Doctoral students are expected to maintain a 3.0/4.0 cumulative grade-point average. Students failing to meet this requirement may be placed on probation at the discretion of the faculty.

Research Seminars

Ph.D. students are required to attend research seminars. Students failing to meet this requirement may be put on probation at the discretion of the faculty.

Qualifying Exam

The qualifying examination is intended to evaluate if the student has the required breadth of knowledge that qualifies them to become a Ph.D. candidate and to pursue a doctoral degree.

Note that a student officially becomes a Ph.D. candidate after the qualifying examination is successfully completed. The qualifying examination consists of a written part and an oral part.  It covers broad topics related to the student’s academic interests and topics that are relevant to the research area of the student.  Students must take this exam no later than the end of the third semester after their first enrollment at a CEOE doctoral program. A full-time Ph.D. student needs to have completed at least 18 credit hours before he/she can take the Ph.D. qualifying exam. The exam is given on or about the first week of October for students first enrolled in the fall semester of the previous year and on or about the first week of March for students first enrolled in the spring semester of the previous year.  A part-time Ph.D. student has one more year to take the qualifying exam (i.e., in the beginning of the fifth semester).  For a Ph.D. student coming to CEOE without a MS degree, they will need to finish 30 credit hours to meet the MS requirement first and then can plan for the Ph.D. qualifying exam.  


Students must complete a minimum of 15 credits of OE 960 Dissertation/Research. The dissertation must demonstrate the student’s mastery of the associated topic area, it must exhibit sound research methodology and it must make a unique and substantial contribution to an area of research.

Thesis Proposal

By the end of their fourth semester, students must write and present a thesis proposal, where they lay out an intended course of research for their dissertation. The proposal should contain an explanation of the problem and why it is important, a sketch of the proposed solution, and background information that serves to indicate that the problem is unsolved and what prior or related approaches to this or similar problems have already been investigated.

Dissertation Defense

The final Ph.D. dissertation is usually defended at the end of the fourth year of full-time study.


The faculty reserves the right to make exceptions to any of the rules and procedures described above in order to promote and preserve the health of the doctoral program and to ensure each student’s prompt and effective progress through the program.