Astani CEE PhD Programs
The program accepts students who have completed a four-year Bachelor's degree in a relevant field; a Master’s degree is not a requirement for entry.
Ph.D. students with a previous MS degree may request to apply up to 30 units of graduate transfer credit toward the 60 unit requirement.
Ph.D. students typically enroll in 6-8 units per semester, completing the required courses in 3-4 semesters.
Meet Students and Alumni
“CE578 Technology-Enabled Architecture, Engineering, and Construction is a course that broadened my understanding of industry. We worked in a group on a real-world challenge, learned state-of-the-art technology to come up with a solution, presented the solution to industry influencers, and received valuable feedback. My research is in human-building interaction. To gain a deeper understanding of how technology impacts my field, I helped organize a hackathon and a writing workshop where researchers from different backgrounds shared their insights into my research. I’ve embraced opportunities to be inspired by others, especially those outside my area of focus.”
By Ruying Liu
Current Ph.D. student ‘22
“Our classes don’t just introduce concepts; they introduce us to other researchers and construction professionals and provide opportunities for engagement with the larger LA community. In my two years as a Ph.D. student, I was involved in many mentorship programs where I had the chance to work with high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from diverse backgrounds. I also developed a wide network of researchers and professionals in the field who continue to shape my work.”
By Patrick Borges Rodrigues
Current Ph.D. student ‘22
“Doing my Ph.D. at USC offered me the chance to work with the top researchers in CEE. My advice to current and future Ph.D.’s is don’t compare your Ph.D. project to other’s. Every Ph.D. project is unique so don’t stress out about having less experience or fewer publications than your colleagues. You were accepted to the CEE program at USC because you deserve to be here.”
By Mohamad Awada
Current Ph.D. student ’22
“The program provided me well-balanced research opportunities between fundamental sciences and state-of-the-art computational techniques, which shaped me into a unique researcher in Environmental Engineering. Most importantly, I had an amazing advisor and colleagues whom I always enjoy talking with."
By Jinwoo Im
“I'm working on an interdisciplinary research project with Dr. Bora Gencturk as a Ph.D. student. USC CEE provides me with a platform to explore the field I could never touch before, supports me in every respect when conducting the project, and trains me as an outstanding scholar."
By Bozhou Zhuang
“I am from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where I grew up and spent my formative years all the way to completing my bachelor’s degree at The Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi (now renamed Khalifa University).
I wanted to continue working on and pursuing research in the energy and environment field, with a specific focus on my hometown and the surrounding region (the Persian Gulf). At the time, UAE had just announced they were constructing 4 nuclear reactors to diversify their energy sector. This would be the first time any of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries would enter the nuclear sector, and this really shaped my decision on what I wanted to focus on for my PhD research. I ended up finding an opportunity to work on research focused on my interests at the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at USC, which brought me to Los Angeles."
By Ghena Alhanaee
“My biggest influence here at USC has undoubtedly been my advisor, Dr. Kelly Sanders. Not only has she been an incredible source of information and guidance throughout my time at USC, she has also served as the basis for my personal support system. The relationship between myself and my advisor is one that I treasure greatly. Although she has helped me immensely in my academic career, I would argue that she has had a much greater impact on my personal growth and development, even if she doesn’t know it!"
By Rebecca Peer
“When deciding on attending USC, there were a few things that set Viterbi apart from other programs I had applied to. First, I loved how much freedom I was given as a PhD in choosing the courses for my degree. While there are of course required core courses, having the power to choose electives that I think are relatable and valuable to my research, regardless of the department by which they’re taught, is extremely unique and I love the interdisciplinary approach. Second, I wanted to go to a school that offered the opportunity to not only be a research assistant, but a teaching assistant as well. Wanting to go into academia in the future, this is an extremely valuable way for me to learn what goes into teaching a course, and to help me strengthen my skills as an educator. Lastly, by observing the atmosphere created by the students, faculty, staff, and alumni, I knew USC would offer not only a rigorous education, but a supportive environment as well as a valuable network both during and after my time at Viterbi."
By Raven Althouse
“Support from USC. USC always tries its best to offer students an optimal environment for research. Especially, I have been more than just satisfied with the assistantship that USC provides. With all concerns about money-related issues excluded, I can only focus on my research during my Ph.D. career. I profoundly appreciate USC and proud alumni for their financial support."
By Audie Lee