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Undergraduate Programs

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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Holmes 383
2540 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822

Tel: (808) 956-7550
Fax: (808) 956-5014
Web: www.cee.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*H. R. Riggs, PhD (Chair)—structural engineering, numerical methods
R. Akiona, MS—construction management
*A. R. Archilla, PhD—transportation and infrastructure systems engineering
*R. W. Babcock, PhD—environmental engineering
*H. Brandes, PhD—geotechnical engineering
*W. F. Chen, PhD—structural engineering
*E. D. H. Cheng, PhD—hydrology, hydraulics, wind engineering
*G. Fischer, PhD—composite materials and structures
*R. A. Grace, PhD—offshore engineering
*A. S. Kim, PhD—environmental engineering, computer simulations
*C. C. K. Liu, PhD—hydrology, environmental and systems engineering
*P. G. Nicholson, PhD—geotechnical engineering
*P. Ooi, PhD—geotechnical engineering
*C. S. Papacostas, PhD—transportation, systems engineering
*S. H. Park, PhD—structures, computational mechanics
*P. D. Prevedouros, PhD—transportation engineering
*C. Ray, PhD—groundwater hydrology, water quality environmental engineering
*I. N. Robertson, PhD—structures, earthquake engineering
*A. Singh, PhD—construction management
*M. H. Teng, PhD—hydrodynamics, coastal and hydraulic engineering

Adjunct Faculty

Alfred A. Yee, MS—structural engineering

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

A. I. El-Kadi, PhD—groundwater hydrology
R. C. Ertekin, PhD—naval architecture, offshore engineering, hydrodynamics, computational methods
N. K. Saxena, PhD—surveying, marine geodesy
W.- W. W. Su, PhD—biochemical engineering, plant cell culture, molecular biotechnology
P.- Y. Yang, PhD—bioprocess technology, wastewater engineering

Degrees Offered: BS in civil engineering, MS in civil engineering, PhD in civil engineering

The Academic Program

Civil engineering is concerned with the activities of people and the environment. The civil engineer conceives, plans, designs, constructs, operates, and maintains the physical works necessary for the environmental needs of people. Students who enter the program today can look forward to one of the most rewarding careers open to men and women–rewarding in personal fulfillment, enduring service to humankind, and financial reward. The curriculum is uniquely designed to meet the demands of business, industry, and government.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree

To fulfill the institutional mission and the needs of our constituencies, the undergraduate program has a set of four specific Program Educational Objectives. In particular, the Department will produce graduates who in the first few years following graduation will:

  1. practice civil engineering in one or more of the following areas: construction, environmental, geotechnical, structural, transportation;
  2. accept responsibility as engineers in the private and public sectors in Hawai‘i and elsewhere;
  3. possess technical and non-technical knowledge/skills that will contribute to personal and employer success; and
  4. practice civil engineering according to accepted professional ethical standards.

The BS degree requires completion of at least 126 credit hours of course work, the equivalent of four years of full-time work. These requirements include 65 credit hours of civil and environmental engineering courses from the following areas: applied mechanics, structural analysis and design, hydraulics, surveying, transportation, construction, soil mechanics, hydrology, water resources, and environmental engineering. There are additional required courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, as well as courses required by UH Manoa in humanities and social sciences. The curriculum provides a broad-based background of fundamentals with coverage of the humanities and social sciences, basic sciences, mathematics, and the engineering design method. Course enrollment for all CEE majors is subject to the approval of an adviser. The requirements are described below and reflected on the check sheet and the list of course prerequisites.

All electives are subject to the approval of an adviser.

College Requirements

Students must complete the College Requirement courses for engineering (see “Undergraduate Programs” within the College of Engineering).

Departmental Requirements

Students must complete the following courses as well as one course in engineering math and four technical electives, (specific options are provided on the curriculum check sheet):

  • CEE 123 Computer Aided Design and Drafting (1)
  • CEE 211/211L Surveying I with lab (3)
  • CEE 270 Applied Mechanics I (3)
  • CEE 271 Applied Mechanics II (3)
  • CEE 305 Applied Probability and Statistics (3)
  • CEE 320 Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals (4)
  • CEE 330 Environmental Engineering (4)
  • CEE 355 Geotechnical Engineering I (4)
  • CEE 361 Fundamentals of Transportation (3)
  • CEE 370/370L Mechanics of Materials and Lab (3/1)
  • CEE 375 Construction Materials (3)
  • CEE 381 Structural Analysis (3)
  • CEE 421 Engineering Hydraulics (3)
  • CEE 455 Geotechical Engineering II (3)
  • CEE 461 Pavement Engineering (3) or CEE 462 Traffic Engineering (3) or CEE 464 Urban and Regional Transportation Planning (3)
  • CEE 472 Construction Management (3) or CEE 473 Construction Equipment and Methods (3) or CEE 474 Construction Estimating and Bidding (3)
  • CEE 490 Senior Design Project (3)

Other important requirements:

  1. C grade or better (C-minus is not acceptable) is required for CEE 270.
  2. All CEE courses must be passed in two attempts.

Specialty Tracks

Students who want to pursue an environmental or structures track should refer to the curriculum checksheet for alternative senior year course work.

Graduate Study

Master’s Degree

The department offers a graduate program leading to the MS degree in civil engineering with several areas of concentration under Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis). Close cooperation is maintained with other departments and the Water Resources Research Center. Details and requirements of each plan may be obtained from the department office or on the web.

Applicants must present a BS in civil engineering or the equivalent and must submit either the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) or the EIT (Engineer-in-Training) exam or the results of the GRE General Test. If so required by the Graduate Division, applicants must supply the TOEFL score.


Both Plan A and Plan B require a minimum of 30 credit hours, exclusive of seminars. Plan A includes 9 credit hours of thesis research and a minimum of 12 credit hours in graduate civil and environmental engineering courses, exclusive of thesis, seminar, and directed reading. Plan B includes a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate civil and environmental engineering courses, exclusive of seminar and directed reading, as well as a technical report. Both plans require a minimum of 1 credit of seminar.

Doctoral Degree

Applicants to the PhD program must have fulfilled the requirements for the MS in civil engineering at the UH or its equivalent. Those who have earned the MS at universities other than UH Manoa must furnish the results of the GRE General Test. All applicants must furnish official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate studies and three letters of reference clearly indicating that they are capable of completing a rigorous PhD program. Applicants must also supply a letter explaining in detail their career goals, specific area of concentration, work experience, and reasons for applying to the program. If so required by the Graduate Division, applicants must supply the TOEFL score.


Candidates for a PhD are required to pass a qualifying examination consisting of oral and written components. The examination will be confined to basic topics in civil engineering. One purpose of the qualifying examination is to identify possible deficiencies in the student’s background with a view toward remedial measures. In addition, the examination will serve as a means of assessing the student’s potential for doctoral studies.

To earn a PhD in civil engineering, a student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 50 credit hours in course work beyond the BS and a minimum of 1 credit hour in civil and environmental engineering graduate seminar. Students must also complete and successfully defend a satisfactory doctoral dissertation. Based on a written recommendation of the student’s dissertation committee and with the approval of the chair of graduate studies in civil engineering, students entering the PhD program may be granted an equivalence of up to 30 credit hours earned as part of the student’s master’s program. The 30-credit-hour equivalents may include up to 9 credit hours for the previous MS thesis work but exclude graduate seminar credit hours taken as part of the MS program.

The courses that a student undertakes to fulfill the PhD-credit-hour requirements must be selected by the student and approved by the student’s dissertation committee. At least 24 credit hours must be from graduate-level civil engineering courses. The remaining courses may include graduate and advanced undergraduate courses offered by the civil and environmental engineering department or other appropriate departments of UH Manoa.

Comprehensive Examination

Every PhD student must pass a comprehensive examination. The purpose of this examination is to ascertain the student’s comprehension of the advances in the chosen specialty. Examinations are given when, in the judgment of the dissertation committee, the student has had sufficient preparation, but not sooner than six calendar months after the student has passed the qualifying examination.

Students pass the examination upon favorable recommendation of the majority of the dissertation committee. Students who fail may, at the discretion of the graduate faculty, repeat the test once at least six months later. Students who fail the examination a second time are dropped from the program.

Students attain the status of doctoral candidate only after passing the comprehensive examination and submitting a dissertation proposal that receives the unanimous approval of the dissertation committee.

Final Examination

PhD candidates are required to take a final oral examination in defense of their dissertation. The examination is conducted by the candidate’s dissertation committee. Students pass upon the favorable recommendation of the majority of the committee.

CEE Courses