Appendix E - Hydraulics and Hydrology

Master’s Track for Hydraulics and Hydrology (HH) Specialty Area in Civil Engineering

Any student enrolled in the Master’s program (MSCE degree) is expected to finish 30 credit hours of graduate study. Of these 30 credit hours, all students are expected to take a set of core courses as indicated in Table 1.  The remaining elective credits can be satisfied by taking other courses relevant to the student’s research and career objectives, as approved by the student’s committee. The 30 total credit hours can be satisfied by taking any one of the following three tracks: (i) MSCE with thesis; (ii) MSCE with report; and (iii) MSCE with coursework only.   All students are expected to maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA in order to stay eligible for both financial assistance as well as graduation.  Only courses selected with consent of the student advisor and subsequently approved by the committee may count towards degree requirements. In addition, all students are expected to register for CE 69100 (CRN 12972 CE Sem-Gr Stdnt Orient) in their first semester and for CE 69100 (CRN 12971 CE Sem-Hydraul & Hyd) for all semesters.

Table 1.  Core courses and sample elective courses for the Hydraulics and Hydrology graduate program.

Core Courses (Choose 1 from each category*) Sample Elective Courses*
CE 54200 Hydrology or CE 54900 Computational Watershed Hydrology (Merwade) STAT 51200 or STAT 51300
CE 54400 Subsurface Hydrology (Govindaraju/Aubeneau) ME50900; ME57900; ME61100; ME61400; EAPS 58400
CE 54000 Open Channel Flow or CE54500 Sediment Transport Engineering (Lyn) ABE52700, ABE53100, ABE59100, ABE69100
CE 54300 Coastal Engineering, CE 59700 Environmental Fluid Mechanics, or CE54700 Transport Processes in Surface Waters (Troy) EAPS59100; ASM54000
  CHM51000; CHM54000
Other Potential CE Courses  
CE55900 Water Quality Modeling  
CE59700 Transport in Nature  
CE59700 Contaminant Hydrology  
CE69700 Physical Processes in Lakes  


*As offered; not all courses are offered during a given 2-year period, and this list does not cover all courses that can be used as technical electives.

MSCE with Thesis: The minimum course requirements for an MSCE with thesis are 21 credit hours (4 core + electives) and 9 research credit hours.  All MSCE students that receive financial support (either by a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship) are expected to finish their MSCE with a thesis. Any student who chooses this track, and then decides to pursue a non-thesis MSCE degree may lose his/her financial assistantship.    MSCE thesis students must follow the School of Civil Engineering regulations, which require an oral exam held by the student’s M.S. committee, in addition to completion of the written thesis.

MSCE with Report:  Typically a student in this track will satisfy 24-27 credit hours through courses (four core + electives) and 3-6 credit hours of independent study.  All students choosing the Report option must submit a written report, prepared under the guidance of the student’s research advisor and approved by the MSCE committee as a graduation requirement.

MSCE with Coursework Only: A student in this track will satisfy all 30 credit hours through courses (four core + electives).   All courses must be selected in agreement with the student’s designated academic advisor and be approved by the committee.  Students in this track are also expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to remain eligible for financial assistance and graduation. Students in this track can graduate as soon as 30 credit hours are satisfied - which is possible in 2 long semesters.

Major Milestones in the MSCE Program

All students admitted to the MSCE program are initially assigned an initial academic advisor.   However, students should select an advisor based on mutual research interests, available projects, and funding offers.  In certain circumstances, a student may be co-advised by two faculty members depending on the research project selected by the student. Regardless of their MSCE track (thesis/report/coursework), all Master’s Hydraulics and Hydrology students are expected to choose their designated academic advisor in the first semester after enrolling in the MSCE program.  Major milestones in a Master’s program are listed in Table 2 including a tentative timeline.

Table 2

Milestone Suggested Timeline*
Selecting an academic advisor (all tracks) By end of 1st semester
Preparing a plan of study (all tracks) By end of 2nd or 3rd semester
Submitting a thesis/report (MSCE with thesis/report track)  By middle of 4th long semester
Master’s thesis defense or Master’s report approval At least 2 weeks prior to end of 4th long semester, as stipulated by university requirements

*  Fall and Spring semesters are considered as “long” semesters

Minimum GPA requirements and Research Grades

In addition to maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0, all MSCE students are expected to obtain an “S” (satisfactory) grade for their research credits. Any other grade (U – unsatisfactory or I – Incomplete) may become a cause for suspension from research assistantship. Two consecutive U or I grades are potential cause for termination from the program.

PhD Track for Hydraulics and Hydrology (HH) Specialty Area in Civil Engineering

Any student enrolled in the PhD program is expected to finish 48 credit hours of course work and 42 credit hours of PhD research. Students with an MSCE degree from Purdue or other reputed university may be able transfer up to 30 credit hours toward satisfying the total 90 credit hour requirement. All students are required to take four core courses from the four selections listed in Table 1. Students can fulfill their course requirement by taking appropriate elective courses, examples of which are listed in Table 1.

Major Milestones in PhD Program

  1. Selecting an advisor: If not already decided upon entry into the HH program, students should aim to select an advisor no later than the end of their first semester at Purdue.  Typically students who are funded by individual projects are advised by the faculty member(s) directing those projects, but fellowship students can select their advisor from willing faculty members.
  2. Plan of study: Students should aim to produce a viable plan of study by the end of their first PhD year; the plan can be revised at a later date if necessary.  The plan of study will include the PhD committee.
  3. Prelim Exam: The PhD student’s prelim exam should come no later than 1 year from intended graduation, and ideally no later than 2 years following completion of their M.S.  This exam involves the preparation of a research proposal in both written and oral form; the oral presentation is typically public, and the written proposal is prepared for the student’s PhD committee.  This exam follows the guidelines stipulated by the School of Civil Engineering and the University.
  4. Committee meetings: Once formalized, the student should aim to meet with his/her committee at least annually.  These meetings are important in order to keep committee members informed of the student’s progress, and to give committee members a chance to provide feedback prior to the student’s PhD defense. Appropriate forms certifying the annual meetings should be completed.
  5. Publications: Students should aim to have their research published in peer-reviewed journals, preferably submitting these manuscripts prior to completing their PhD degree.
  6. PhD defense: The most significant milestone in a PhD student’s time at Purdue is the PhD thesis defense.  This is carried out in accordance with University and School of Civil Engineering policy.
  7. Signing of the PhD thesis: This last step is completed after the committee and the major professor have satisfied themselves that the thesis has been completed as per committee instructions and feedback.

Major milestones in a PhD program are listed in Table 3 including a tentative timeline.

Table 3

Milestone Suggested Timeline
Selecting an academic advisor By end of 1st semester or sooner
Preparing a plan of study By end of 2nd year or sooner
Preliminary Exam By end of 2nd post-M.S. year or sooner
PhD Thesis Defense By end of 3rd post-M.S. year

Minimum GPA requirements and Research Grades

In addition to maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0, all PhD students are expected to obtain an “S” (satisfactory) grade for their research credits. Any other grade (U – unsatisfactory or I – Incomplete) may become a cause for suspension from research assistantship. Two consecutive U or I grades are potential cause for termination from the PhD program.

Students with Fellowships

All students with Fellowship awards are expected to choose an academic advisor in the first semester after their admission to the graduate program. M.S. students awarded a Purdue fellowship who elect to conduct a "coursework-only" M.S. will lose the remainder of their fellowship funding. All PhD fellowship awardees are eligible to receive up to four years of support to finish their degree. The eligibility for continued support is dependent upon student overall academic performance including research work.  Fellowship awards typically support a student for 1-2 years, and then a mutually-agreed upon advisor takes the responsibility to support the student for subsequent two to three years until the student gets a PhD degree.  Therefore, it is critical for a fellowship student to select an academic advisor as soon as possible after enrolling in the PhD program. The student is expected to choose an appropriate research topic in agreement with the selected advisor. An unsatisfactory (U) grade for research in any semester may disqualify a student from receiving fellowship support if the student does not show signs of improvement after receiving warning/s from the advisor. If, for some reason, a fellowship student decides to change the area of research or the advisor, the student is responsible for finding a new advisor, who must then take the advising as well as financial responsibility of supporting the student towards completion of the PhD degree. Depending on the department and the area of the new advisor, additional criteria related to PhD degree (e.g., format for preliminary exam) may apply.