The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Infrastructure and Environmental Systems is awarded upon completing the required coursework and scholarly research. Recipients of the degree should demonstrate mastery of relevant subject matter and potential for success in research and teaching.
Students admitted to the Advanced Standing Track are required to complete a minimum total of 42-credit-hour curriculum (12 hrs Common Core Courses, 12 hrs Specialized Electives and 18 hrs Dissertation Research), plus two courses mandated by the Graduate School. Students admitted to the Regular Track are required to complete an additional 30 hours in Directed Studies.
Course requirements for students entering Fall 2020 (click here)
Course requirements for students entering prior to Fall 2020 (click here)
Additional information for all students (click here)
1. Requirements for coursework (24 credit hours)
Common core courses (12 credit hours)
- Infrastructure Systems. INES 8104 Advanced Infrastructure Systems. This course is required for all incoming students.
- Environmental Systems. Students may select one from INES 8101 Environmental Systems or GEOG 8707 Human-Environment Interactions or EMGT 6915 Engineering Decision and Risk Analysis or INES 8201 Environmental and Ecological Economics or GRAD 8212 Academic Writing.
- Interdisciplinary elective: Students may select one from ARCH 6050 Architecture Electives or ECON 6112 Graduate Econometrics or EGMT 6912 Computational Intelligences or GRAD 8102 Categorical Outcomes or GRAD 8104 Spatial Statistics or MBAD 6962 Energy Markets or PPOL 8649 Economic Analysis of Public Policy or SOCY 6651 Social Theory or STAT 7122 Advanced Statistics or INES 8202 Renewable Energy.
- Interdisciplinary seminars: INES 8690 Seminars. Repeat for three consecutive fall semesters.
Specialized Electives (12 credit hours)
- Doctoral level courses in the student’s specialty fields including a minimum of two INES 8000-8890 courses (excluding INES 8690) and other non-INES doctoral courses with consent of the advisor.
2. Requirements for Dissertation Research (18 credit hours)
- INES 8999 Dissertation Research. Additional research hours needed beyond 18 can be enrolled in INES 8998 (P/U).
3. Directed Studies (30 credit hours)
- Graduate courses in related fields may count up to 30 hours of transfer credits to fulfill a portion or all of the Directed Studies requirement. This requirement applies only to students admitted to the Regular Track.
- The requirement of Directed Studies is waived for students admitted to the Advanced Standing Track.
4. All doctoral students are required to complete GRAD 8302 Responsible Conduct of Research and GRAD 8990 Academic Integrity.
5. Doctoral Candidacy
In order to advance to Ph.D. candidate, students must complete: (1) a pre-qualifying exam upon completion of INES 8104, (2) a written qualifying exam to demonstrate comprehension of specialized coursework and fundamentals of the intended research topic, and (3) an oral defense of the research proposal.
The written qualifying exam covers specialized areas of coursework and research determined by the student’s advisor and the doctoral committee. The proposal defense requires an oral presentation and defense by the student of his or her proposed research topic. Both of the qualifying exam and oral presentation and defense are administered by the student’s advisor.
Failure of any one of the exams (pre-qualifying, qualifying or proposal defense) for a second time will result in termination of enrollment in the INES Ph.D. Program.
6. Final Dissertation Defense
Each student must complete and defend a dissertation based on a research topic approved by the student’s doctoral committee. The dissertation must be of high quality and represent an original piece of research that advances the body of knowledge in infrastructure and environmental systems. Oral presentation and successful defense of the dissertation before the student’s doctoral committee in a forum open to the public is required.
A copy of the student’s dissertation is made available to the graduate faculty of the program at least two weeks prior to the public defense. The dissertation must be written in a format acceptable to the Graduate School and shall satisfy all requirements and deadlines specified by the Graduate School. Students are strongly encouraged to publish in a refereed journal before graduation.
Total hours required
The INES Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 72 post-Baccalaureate (semester) credit hours (a Minor in this program is not applicable). A Master's degree in an appropriate field, that is consistent with the admission requirements presented here, may count up to 30 hours of transfer credit upon recommendation of the Program and upon approval by the Graduate School.
INES Doctoral Program Requirements
INES 8101 and INES 8102 (6 credit hours)
INES 8690 (3 credit hours total)
INES 8110, INES 8201, INES 8113 or a doctoral level class (in statistics, economics, policy or management)
(3 credit hours)
Specialized Electives (12 hours)
INES 8890 or other approved INES doctoral classes
Dissertation Research (18 hours)
Additional research hours can be registered as INES 8998
Comprehensive (qualifying) examination
Each student must complete a three-part qualifying examination: two written parts and one oral part. The first written examination covers two INES core courses (INES 8101 and INES 8102). The second written examination covers specialized elective areas selected by the student's advisor and doctoral committee. The third examination is an oral examination and is administered by the student's doctoral committee and requires a presentation and defense by the student of his or her proposed research topic. A student many attempt to pass each part of the qualifying exam no more than twice. Failure of any of the three parts a second time will result in termination of enrollment in the Pd.D. Program.
Admission to Candidacy
After passing the qualifying examination, a student can propose a dissertation topic. A student advances to candidacy after the dissertation topic has been approved by the student’s doctoral committee. Candidacy must be achieved at least 6 months before the degree is conferred.
The INES doctoral program includes a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation credit (INES 8999). The number of research credits taken each semester must be approved by the student’s advisor and doctoral committee. If more than 18 hours of dissertation credit are needed, the student should register for INES 8998.
Each student must complete and defend a dissertation based on a research program approved by the student’s doctoral committee. The dissertation must be of high quality and represent an original piece of research that advances the body of knowledge in infrastructure and environmental systems. A copy of the student’s dissertation will be made available to the graduate faculty of the program at least two weeks prior to the public defense. The dissertation must be written in a format acceptable to the Graduate School. Oral presentation and successful defense of the dissertation before the student’s doctoral committee in a forum open to the public will be required.
Graduate Course Requirements
All courses taken for credit in the program shall be graduate level courses (graduate students only), and the majority shall be at the Ph.D. level (Ph.D. students only). All 8000-level core courses will be open only to Ph.D. students. All 6000-level courses available as specialized electives will be open only to graduate students (Masters and Ph.D.).
As specified by the UNC Charlotte Graduate School, letter grades will be used to scale the quality of each student’s completed work as follows: ‘A’: Commendable (4.0); ‘B’: Satisfactory (3.0); ‘C’: Marginal (2.0); ‘U’: Unsatisfactory (0.0). Each Ph.D. student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all coursework attempted for the degree. An accumulation of two “C” grades or one “U” grade will result in termination of enrollment in the program.
Upon acceptance into the Ph.D. Program, a student will be assigned an advisor by the Program Director. Within the first year in the Program, each student will confirm or select a permanent doctoral research adviser. This selection will be approved by the Program Director and Dean of the Graduate School. At any time, a student may request a change in initial supervisor or research advisor. These requests will be submitted to the Program Director for consideration and action.
Plan of Study
Students who enter the Ph.D. Program must prepare a plan of study before the end of the second semester in the Program. The plan of study will propose a schedule for completion of all coursework by the student. Each plan will be prepared by the student in consultation with their supervisor. There is not an established form for the plan of study, rather the student working with the doctoral supervisor will prepare a list of courses, with expected completion times, for consideration by the doctoral committee and the program director.
There is no foreign language requirement in the INES Ph.D. degree.
Each student must satisfy the residency requirement of the program by completing at least 16 credit hours in one period of 12 consecutive months during enrollment in the program.
Time Limits for Completion
No course listed on the candidacy form may be older than 8 years at the time of graduation. Courses that exceed this time limit must be revalidated or retaken, whichever the graduate program decides, if they are to count towards the degree program. Transfer credits beyond the Baccalaureate degree that count toward the Doctorate are not subject to the standard time limit to complete the degree.
Beginning Fall 2019, all doctoral students are required to submit their dissertations to iThenticate, a plagiarism detection service. This tool checks documents against published items, so this process should educate and protect students from inadvertent plagiarism. This must take place prior to the final defense, and doctoral dissertation committees are expected to review the resulting Similarity Report along with the final, pre-defense draft of the dissertation. Committee members will now sign the Final Defense Report not just to indicate that the student has passed his or her final defense, but also in order to verify the originality of the disseration.