Feb 27, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Civil Engineering

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The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers the Master of Science (M.S., thesis and non-thesis options), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Areas of study and concentrations include Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering and Mechanics, and Water Resources Engineering at the masters and doctoral levels. In addition, the Department offers an accelerated Master of Engineering (M.E.) degree program (4 + 1, non- thesis) with a concentration in Water and Environment.


Environmental and Water Resources Engineering

The Environmental and Water Resources Engineering areas focus on qualitative and quantitative aspects of marine and inland surface waters, groundwater and wetland environments within the broad context of environmental sustainability. The programs allow for study in environmental engineering including biological and chemical aspects of water quality and remediation; water resources engineering including surface and groundwater hydrology, hydroclimatology, and adaptive environmental management; and coastal engineering including river and estuarine mixing and transport processes, and the hydrodynamic and morphodynamic impact of waves, tides and storm surge on estuaries and coasts. Interdisciplinary approaches incorporating environmental and water resources engineering course work and content, and intersecting with other departments’ related programs are encouraged.

The University of Maine is fortunate to be located in a region having an extensive and diverse system of lakes, streams, and rivers, providing one of the finest outdoor laboratories in the world for research on water quality and quantity. The Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Microbiology and Water Resources Laboratories are equipped with essential sample preparation, analytical chemistry, anaerobic cultivation, molecular biology and computing equipment. State of the art low detection level analytical capabilities, microscopy and sequencing facilities are also available on campus.

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

Environmental engineering: Physical, chemical and biological processes affecting water quality; freshwater and marine pollution control; wastewater treatment; hazardous wastes; solid waste management; element and nutrient cycling in the environment.

Water resources engineering: Surface and groundwater hydrology, hydroclimatology, coastal engineering, river and estuarine mixing and transport processes, wave, tide and sediment dynamics in estuaries, hydrologic response to climate change and adaptive environmental management and policy.


Geotechnical Engineering

The geotechnical engineering graduate program provides opportunities for specialized training and research in soil mechanics, unsaturated/gassy soil mechanics, and thermal soil mechanics, slope stability, site investigations, soil-structure interaction, ground improvement, foundation engineering and design of earth retention structures. Students in the program may choose either a thesis option, conducting fundamental research or research applied to practical engineering problems, or a professional practice option without a thesis.


Graduate courses are offered in advanced soil mechanics, thermal soil mechanics, subsurface investigations, ground improvement techniques, slope stability, shallow and deep foundations and earth retaining structures. Additionally, students have the opportunity to incorporate coursework across disciplines, such as from the structural and environmental engineering programs offered by the department and Earth Sciences.


Research opportunities are available to study: behavior of soft and stiff clays; investigation of natural hazards in land, coastal, and near-shore environments as related to formation, failure, improvement and prevention, and engineering within these features, such as slope stability; soil structure interaction using full scale installations and/or modeling of scaled systems, specifically for soil nail walls, offshore foundations and pile foundations; onshore and offshore site characterization employing in situ, geophysical, and laboratory methods; thermal behavior of soils related to energy transfer, permafrost vulnerability and cold regions engineering; and application of reliability in geotechnical engineering.


Structural Engineering and Mechanics

The program offers graduate courses and opportunities for advanced research in several areas of structural mechanics and design. This includes the development of innovative materials and structural systems to solve problems in traditional civil infrastructure, marine facilities, building structural systems, and 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 structural systems for offshore wind power, the development of lightweight modular blast-resistant structural systems, bio-based materials and renewable systems, characterization and processing techniques for composite materials, the use of composite materials in civil infrastructure, structural health monitoring, experimental micromechanics, and timber engineering. Projects are often inter-disciplinary, and closely integrate experimental and analytical/computational research. Many student projects are conducted in the Advanced Structures and Composites Center (composites.umaine.edu), a state-of-the-art facility for material processing and fabrication, small scale testing and characterization, and large scale structural testing.


Required and elective graduate courses and seminars are offered in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering departments that cover the areas of structural design, structural mechanics, structural dynamics, numerical methods, composite materials, bridge engineering, fracture mechanics, experimental mechanics, and related topics. The program is research oriented and sufficiently flexible to permit students to develop their interests and individual objectives.



General Information

Applicants for the M.S. and M.E. degree programs should normally 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. (thesis option) degree are required to take 24 credit hours of course work, 12 of which must be 500-level and higher. A thesis is required for which at least six credit hours can be awarded. Candidates for the M.S. (non-thesis option) degree are required to take 30 credit hours of course work, 12 of which must be 500-level and higher.


The M.E. degree is offered only with a concentration in Water and Environment. Candidates for the M.E. degree are required to take 30 credit hours of course work, 12 of which must be be 500-level and higher. Up to six credits of approved senior-level undergraduate engineering or science courses counted toward the B.S. degree requirements may also be counted toward the 30-credit M.E. degree requirements for students who have been formally admitted to and successfully complete the M.E. degree. Three hours of M.E. or M.S. (non-thesis) course work can be replaced by a project with a written technical report. An M.S. thesis student is typically not allowed to change to the M.E. program. Students changing programs within the Department must have the approval of all members of the student’s advisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator.


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, at least 12 of which must be 500-level and higher, or the equivalent, beyond the B.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, the student’s program of study will be established in consultation with the graduate 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.


All students matriculating into M.S (thesis option) or Ph.D. programs must pass one credit of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training prior to completing the degree, preferably prior to commencing the research. At the advisory committee’s or Graduate Coordinator’s discretion, this credit may be substituted for one of the 6 required thesis/dissertation credits (CIE 699).


The following table summarizes credit requirements:

Degree program

Total credits

Course credits (min.)*

Thesis credits (min.)

M.S. (thesis)




M.S. (non-thesis)




M.E. (Water and Environment)


30, incl. 6 carried over from the B.S. degree






* At least 12 credits must be 500-level and higher


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

Graduate Faculty

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

Aria Amirbahman, Ph.D., P.E. (California, Irvine, 1994), Professor. Water chemistry, process dynamics and solute transport.

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

Bill G. Davids, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1998), John C. Bridge Professor and Chair. Structural engineering and computational mechanics; numerical modeling and finite element analysis; bridge design.

Aaron Gallant, Ph.D. (Northwestern University, 2014), Assistant Professor. Geotechnical engineering; ground improvement, soil-structure interaction, fundamental behavior of saturated and unsaturated/gassy soils, full-scale instrumentation & modeling.

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

Kimberly Huguenard, Ph.D. (University of Florida, 2013), Assistant Professor. Coastal engineering, turbulence and vertical mixing in estuaries, river plumes and nearshore zones, storm surge propagation, residual circulation and material transport.

Shaleen Jain, Ph.D. (Utah State, 2001), Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator. Hydrology and water resources engineering, hydroclimatology, environmental sustainability, adaptive management.

Eric N. Landis, Ph.D., P.E. (Northwestern University, 1993), Frank M. Taylor Professor. Experimental mechanics, nondestructive evaluation, fracture, microstructure-property relationships for construction materials.

Melissa E. Landon, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2007), Associate Professor. Geotechnical engineering, physical modeling of soil-structure interaction, fundamental behavior of fine-grained soils, site characterization.

Roberto Lopez-Anido, Ph.D., P.E. (West Virginia University, 1995), Malcolm G. Long 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. Biological treatment of solid wastes for resource recovery, bioremediation, environmental microbiology.

Edwin Nagy, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. (University of Maine, 2010), Lecturer. Structural engineering, Structural steel design, wood structures.

Lauren Ross, Ph.D. (University of Florida, 2014), Assistant Professor. Estuarine, fjord and coastal hydrodynamic processes, marine renewable energy, analytical and numerical modeling of flow and sediments in semi-enclosed basins, physics of internal waves and tides.

Thomas C. Sandford, Ph.D., P.E. (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.

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