9: School of Graduate Engineering and Applied Science

General Information | Degree Programs | Program Descriptions | Course Descriptions | Faculty

Programs in Applied Mathematics | Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering | Department of Civil Engineering
Department of Computer Science | Department of Electrical Engineering
Engineering Physics Program | Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering | Department of Systems Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering

The Department of Civil Engineering offers graduate degree programs in civil engineering and administers the interdepartmental graduate degree program in applied mechanics.

Civil engineering is one of the broadest of engineering professions, encompassing such diverse areas as aerospace, construction, environmental, geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineering. Civil engineers are the fabricators of our modern society and the protectors of the quality of the environment. They deal with people and their management, materials and their use, designs and their application, and the problems of beneficially interweaving these factors to serve society.

Applied mechanics provides the fundamental underpinning for a number of engineering disciplines bringing together the classical disciplines of solid and fluid mechanics and dynamics, using as building blocks the basic principles of physics and applied mathematics. Within this framework, applied mechanics attempts to describe the gross response of materials and systems to mechanical and environmental loads.

Graduate study provides opportunities for the development of professional engineering competence and scholarly achievement. Students are prepared for careers leading to leadership positions in research, development, and design which require creative abilities in solving engineering problems.

Financial assistance to qualified graduate students in civil engineering is available through a variety of fellowships and assistantships. Research assistantships are available through grants or contracts which support research projects conducted by the faculty. In addition, a number of research assistantships are available through the Virginia Transportation Research Council, the research division of the Virginia Department of Transportation, located on the University Grounds. A limited number of teaching assistantships are also available each year to provide tutorial assistance to faculty in several lecture and laboratory courses. Furthermore, a number of graduate engineering fellowships and tuition scholarships are sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Students are also encouraged to apply for various national fellowship awards including those offered through NSF, NASA, AFOSR, ONR, DOT, and others.

Degrees offered in civil engineering include the Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering, the Master of Science in Civil Engineering, the Master of Applied Mechanics, the Master of Science in Applied Mechanics, and the Doctor of Philosophy. The department also participates in the Virginia Cooperative Graduate Engineering Program and provides televised graduate-level courses leading to the Master of Engineering or the Master of Science degrees. These courses are broadcast via satellite to a variety of locations within Virginia and to selected sites throughout the country.

Within the Department of Civil Engineering, the principal areas of graduate study are environmental engineering, structures and mechanics, transportation engineering, and applied mechanics. A more detailed description of each of these areas of emphasis is provided below.

Environmental Engineering   The program emphasizes environmental hydraulics, surface and ground water hydrology, water quality control, and water quality modeling. Research areas include storm water management, urban hydrology, fate and transport modeling of contaminants in estuaries and coastal waters, sediment-water interactions of contaminants, remediation of contaminated ground water, and sorption of organic pollutants to soil.

Structures and Mechanics   The educational program in structural engineering is based on the fundamental principles of structural mechanics, analysis and design of structural systems, properties and uses of basic civil engineering materials, and soil mechanics and foundation engineering. Research activities include dynamic response of structures, field testing of highway bridges, mechanics of composite materials, soil-structure interaction, hysteretic random vibration, and structural reliability.

Transportation Systems and Management   Transportation interests in the department are concerned with the management and planning of urban, rural, and intercity facilities, and the need to improve the mobility and safety of existing systems and develop new projects. Research areas include decision support systems for intelligent vehicle highway systems, highway safety, geographic information systems, applications of artificial intelligence, public transportation operations, and transportation demand management.

Applied Mechanics   In addition to study within the Department of Civil Engineering, students may also pursue a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering or Applied Mathematics with a concentration in applied mechanics. Students interested in applied mechanics should contact the Office of the Director of Applied Mechanics Program or the Office of the Dean.

The faculty of the Applied Mechanics Program represent a distinguished group as exemplified by their outstanding record of scholarly achievements. As a group, the faculty have been very active in the publication of books and journal papers. They have also been successful in attracting financial support for their research. Among the faculty are chaired professors, editors, associate editors and board members of leading mechanics journals, and individuals active in national and international affairs of the mechanics community. A number of the faculty are recognized for their outstanding teaching ability.

Students from a wide variety of backgrounds in engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences are considered for admission for study in applied mechanics. It is desirable for students to have had some undergraduate exposure to mechanics courses and applied mathematics beyond standard calculus. Only those students with superior academic records can anticipate admission to graduate studies in applied mechanics.

Areas of study include: mechanics of composite materials; shell theory; nonlinear elasticity; fracture mechanics; structural mechanics; random vibrations; continuum mechanics; high temperature test methods; thermal structures; fluid mechanics; nonlinear dynamical systems and chaos; biomechanics; optimization; finite elements; anisotropic elasticity; vibrations; galactic dynamics; planetary systems; fatigue; and micromechanics.

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