Nov 29, 2021  
2008-2009 Graduate Catalog 
2008-2009 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Civil Engineering

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs and Certificates

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers the Master of Science (thesis and non-thesis options), and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Areas of study include Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering and Mechanics, and Water Resources Engineering at the master’s and doctoral levels.

Environmental and Water Resources Engineering 

The Environmental and Water Resources Engineering areas focus on qualitative and quantitative aspects of marine and inland surface waters, groundwaters and wetland environments. The programs allow for study in environmental engineering including biological and chemical aspects of water quality and remediation; and surface and groundwater hydrology, including hydroclimatology and adaptive environmental management. An interdisciplinary approach incorporating environmental and water resources engineering course work and content, and intersecting with other departments’ related programs is encouraged.

The University of Maine is fortunate to be located in a region having an extensive and diverse system of natural ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. The area also has an extensive coastal region with a 3,000 mile shoreline. The State’s future economic development will be heavily tied to the intelligent use of its surface and ground waters as resources in themselves and in conjunction with Maine’s forest, agricultural, fishing, and tourism industries. The vast collection of natural water bodies in Maine provides one of the finest outdoor laboratories in the world for basic and applied research involving the understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur in natural water, and in our influence upon its quality and quantity.

A program of study can be planned in one of the following areas:

Environmental engineering: Physical, chemical and biological aspects of water quality; freshwater and marine pollution control; industrial wastes; water supply; wastewater treatment; hazardous wastes; pollution modeling.

Water Resources Engineering: Surface and groundwater hydrology, hydroclimatology and adaptive environmental management.

Geotechnical Engineering

The graduate program in Geotechnical Engineering provides specialized training and research in soil mechanics, use of waste materials, foundation engineering, design of earth structures, soil-structure interaction including various soil reinforcements, and ground water movements through and around earth structures. The program may be oriented toward professional practice or research applied to practical engineering problems.

Research opportunities are available utilizing field monitoring, laboratory investigations and finite element analyses in properties and use of waste materials in embankments and walls, behavior of soft and stiff clays, soil structure interaction of piles and soil nail walls, thermal behavior of walls and embankments, utilization of fiber reinforced plastics in geotechnical applications, earth reinforcement for embankments, and application of reliability to geotechnical engineering.

Graduate courses are offered in advanced soil properties, shallow and deep foundations, earthwork design, earth retaining structures, thermal soil mechanics, subsurface investigations, waste geotechnics, and ground improvement techniques. Students in geotechnical engineering usually work closely with faculty in the structural and environmental programs offered by the Department.

Structural Engineering and Mechanics

The program offers graduate courses and opportunities for advanced research in several areas of modern structural mechanics and design. This includes the application of innovative materials and structural systems to solve problems of traditional civil infrastructure, marine applications, and other non-traditional applications. Particular areas of strength are composite materials, including wood-based, polymer matrix, and cement-based systems, as well as innovative computational modeling approaches.

Research opportunities are available in the development of lightweight modular blast-resistant structural systems, bio-based materials and renewable systems, characterization and processing techniques for composite materials in ship structures, structural health monitoring, experimental micromechanics, and structural modeling. Many student projects are conducted in the AEWC Center, a State-of-the-Art facility for material processing and fabrication, small scale testing and characterization, and large scale structural testing.

Required graduate courses and seminars are offered in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering departments and these cover the areas of structural dynamics, elasticity, stability, nonlinear elastic behavior, elastic plastic behavior, stability of structural systems, probabilistic design and related topics. The program is research oriented but sufficiently flexible to permit students to develop their interests and individual objectives.

General Information

Applicants for the M.S. program normally should have a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from an accredited institution. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may find it necessary to take certain courses without graduate credit. A grade point average of at least 3.0 usually is required for admittance. Candidates with a grade point average less than 3.0 can be accepted, based on sufficient evidence of satisfactory performance.

Candidates for the M.S. degree are required to take 24 credit hours of course work, 12 of which are to be 500-level and above. A thesis is required for which at least six credit hours can be awarded. Candidates for the non-thesis M.S. degree are required to take 30 credit hours of course work. Three hours of non-thesis M.S. course work can be replaced by a project with a written report. Students changing programs within the Department must have the approval of the Departmental graduate faculty committee.

The Ph.D. degree is granted in recognition of high scholastic attainment in some area of civil engineering in concert with a demonstrated ability for independent research. The preparation and defense of a thesis embodying the results of an original investigation in a specialized area of civil engineering are essential features of the program. The program for the Ph.D. carries a minimum residency requirement of two academic years and a course credit requirement of 42 credit hours, or the equivalent, beyond the bachelor’s degree. Transfer credit of up to 24 credit hours and one academic year of residency may be accepted. In view of the wide variety of specialized areas embodied in Civil and Environmental Engineering, each program of course work will be established by the student and the student’s committee. To attain the academic breadth necessary in the doctoral program, it is also required that all students complete an approved minor program consisting of at least nine credit hours of course work outside the major area of specialty. Before admission to candidacy for the Ph.D., a student must successfully complete a qualifying examination designed to test the student’s area of expertise. The qualifying examination will normally be taken as soon as possible after the student has completed the graduate school requirement of one and one-half years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. No foreign language requirement is included in the program.

Financial assistance is available for graduate students from several sources, including teaching and research assistantships.

Graduate Faculty



Aria Amirbahman, Ph.D. (California, Irvine, 1994), Associate Professor. Environmental chemistry, process dynamics and solute transport.

Willem F. Brutsaert, Ph.D. (Colorado State, 1970), Professor . Groundwater hydrology, mathematical modeling of hydrodynamic systems, water resources and water quality modeling.

Habib J. Dagher, Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1985), Professor. Probabilistic mechanics, timber structures, advanced wood composites, concrete structures, bridges.

William G. Davids, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1998), Associate Professor. Structural engineering and computational mechanics; numerical modeling and finite element analysis; bridge design.

Per Garder, Ph.D. (Lund University, 1982), Professor. Transportation planning; forecasting, design & evaluation with emphasis on traffic safety & environmental aspects.

Dana N. Humphrey, Ph.D. (Purdue, 1986), Professor and Dean of Engineering. Geotechnical engineering, reinforced embankments, soil stabilization, behavior of stiff clay, use of waste materials in construction.

Shaleen Jain, Ph.D. (Utah State University, 2001), Assistant Professor. Hydrology and hydroclimatology, water resources engineering, climate variability and change, and adaptive environmental management and decision-making.

Eric N. Landis, Ph.D. (Northwestern University, 1993), Professor and Chair. Experimental mechanics, microstructure-property relationships for heterogeneous materials, nondestructive evaluation.

Roberto Lopez-Anido, Ph.D., P.E., (West Virginia University, 1995), Associate Professor. Mechanics of polymer matrix composites for infrastructure; modeling, design and experimental characterization of advanced composite systems; fatigue and durability of composite materials for construction; engineered wood composites; methods of structural analysis.

Jean MacRae, Ph.D. (University of British Columbia, 1997), Associate Professor. Environmental microbiology, biogeochemistry, microbial cycling of arsenic and other elements, bioremediation, biological waste treatment.

Bryan R. Pearce, Ph.D. (Florida, 1972), Professor. Coastal engineering, estuarine hydrodynamics and material transport, hydraulics.

Chet A. Rock, Ph.D. (Washington, 1974), Professor and Associate Dean, College of Engineering. Water quality, ecological effects of pollutants, wastewater treatment.

Thomas C. Sandford, Ph.D. (Illinois, 1976), Associate Professor. Geotechnical engineering; soil/structure interaction including piles, culverts, and abutments; soil-nail walls; reliability based design; soft clay behavior; and field monitoring.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs and Certificates