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PhD Civil Engineering Admission, Eligibility, Top Colleges, Syllabus and Jobs 2020-2021

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Sakshi Gupta

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PhD Civil Engineering is usually a 4 to 5 years long doctorate level degree. It is a course of study that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of structures that are integral to the general public, like roads, dams, bridges, canals, and additionally railways, sewage systems, etc.

Check out the top PhD Civil Engineering Colleges in India.

While pursuing a PhD in civil engineering, students will have to choose a specialization area, like geoinformatics, geotechnical engineering, hydraulics, and water resources engineering, infrastructure engineering, etc to conduct research for their dissertation.

Key Highlights for PhD Civil Engineering

  • Full-Form: Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering
  • Duration: 4-5 years
  • Eligibility: Masters degree in any of the engineering branch
  • Admission Process: Entrance exams
  • Entrance Exams: GATE, NET, VITMEE, ITM NEST, etc
  • Top Institutes: IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, etc.
  • Average Course Fees: INR 19,000 to INR 73,000
  • Average Salary: INR 2,00,000 to INR 9,00,000
  • Job Options: Project Manager, Head Quality Controller, Site Engineer/Civil Engineer, Project Coordinator, Quality Assurance Manager, etc

Candidates wanting to pursue PhD Civil Engineering should fulfill the minimum eligibility criteria i.e, master's degree in civil/environmental/mechanical/chemical/agricultural engineering or in a related engineering branch. The admissions are usually based on the entrance exams.

In the table given below are the rankings of the top colleges in India for a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, according to NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework), 2020 ranking for engineering colleges in India.

NIRF 2020 Ranking College Name Admission Process Average Annual Fees Average Placement Offer
1. Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) GATE/ CSIR-NET/ UGC-NET INR 19,670  INR 16,10,00
2. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi  GATE/ NET  INR 34,900  INR 16,00,000
3. Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai GATE/ NET  INR 73,000  INR 20,34,000
4.  Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur GATE/ NET  INR 64,050  INR 15,80,000
5. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur Department-based test INR 28,900  LPA 15,00,000

The average tuition fee charged to pursue a PhD Civil Engineering differs in each and every college. The average annual fees in top colleges range from about INR 19,000 to INR 73,000 annually.

The course is career orienting in nature that opens many job opportunities for those who are interested in research. The average salary of a civil engineer with a Ph.D. is INR 2 to 9 lakh, but can definitely increase if the student is more skilled and experienced than other prospective employees.

ALERT: VITMEE has been canceled due to COVID-19. The admissions will be conducted based on merit. Check the eligibility for VITMEE

Job profiles for students with a civil engineering PhD include Project Manager, Head Quality Controller, Site Engineer/Civil Engineer, Project Coordinator, Quality Assurance Manager, Project Procurement Manager, Executive Engineer, Structural Engineer/Structural Designer, etc.

PhD Civil Engineering Admission Process

PhD Civil Engineering Admission Process

To get admitted to a university offering PhD Civil Engineering, students should achieve the minimum eligibility criteria given by the university, and clear the entrance exams. The entrance exam will be followed by a personal interview. The admission process may vary from university to university

Given below are the basic steps regarding the admission process followed by the top colleges offering PhD Civil Engineering below:

  • Applications: Candidates can start with filling up the application form of the particular institute, followed by submitting documents and paying the application fees.
  • Entrance Exams: Institutes may accept the scores of national level exams like GATE/ NET or will conduct their own entrance examination at the university level.
  • Merit-list: Students will be evaluated based on the marks scored in the entrance test. The candidates clearing the cut-off will be shortlisted.
  • Interview: Shortlisted candidates will be called for a personal interview.
  • Enrollment: The students clearing the interview can get enrolled after document verification and payment of the 1st installment.
Admission Process PhD Civil Engineering

PhD Civil Engineering Eligibility

Candidates seeking admission in PhD Civil Engineering should fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

  • Master's degree in any branch of engineering or its equivalent from a recognized university.
  • The candidate must have obtained at least 60% in their master’s degree.
  • Some colleges and institutes conduct entrance examinations, and some only consider students’ scores in national level entrance exams like GATE or NET.

PhD Civil Engineering Entrance Exams 

National level as well university level entrance exams are conducted for admission into PhD Civil Engineering. The information regarding some of the entrance exams are mentioned below:

  • GATE: It stands for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, which tests students’ understanding of the basic subjects taught at the undergraduate level related to science and engineering. It is a national level exam for admission into graduate programs in top IITs and NITs.
  • UGC-NET: It is the National Eligibility Test, conducted by the UGC to find aspirants for JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) and Assistant Professor.
  • VITMEE: This exam is conducted by the Vellore Institute of Technology for students that want to join their masters and PhD programs.
  • ITM NEST: It is a common entrance exam for students who want to get admission at the various courses offered by ITM University Gwalior.
Name of the exam Application Period Exam Dates Exam Mode
GATE 2021 August 31 - October 5, 2020 (Tentative) February 1st, 2nd, 8th, & 9th, 2021 (Tentative) Online
UGC-NET 16th March to 30th June 2020 15th June to 20th June 2020 (postponed) Revised dates are yet to announce Online
VITMEE March 6, 2020 - June 20, 2020 Canceled Online
ITM NEST January 30, 2020 - April 15, 2020 April 18 Onward (every Saturday) Online & Offline

How to prepare for the entrance exam?

The GATE syllabus consists of three sections - General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics, and subject-specific papers as chosen by students during the submission of application forms. The subjects for the exam include Computer Science Engineering, Electronics & Communication EngineeringElectrical EngineeringMechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering.

Read more: GATE 2021 Syllabus

To crack any entrance exam for admission in a good college to pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering, the following points should be kept in mind while preparing, because it is absolutely necessary to have a proper strategy.

  • To manage their personal and academic life well, students should prepare a timetable for the proper allocation of time and energy.
  • Choose the highly recommended books to prepare. Because there are too many resources and thus it may be confusing.
  • Solve past years’ question papers because there is no better way to learn and understand the examination pattern than solving question papers of previous years.
  • Instead of investing time in rote learning, spend time on understanding the concept in a meaningful way because that knowledge will stay with you forever.
  • While you study, make sure to also train your mind for the exam by practicing past papers around the time you will be giving the exam.

How to get admission in a good college?

Students who want to study Civil Engineering at the doctorate level in the good and top colleges in India have to keep the following points in mind:

  • Students have to keep in mind that they need to start planning early so that they can be prepared for their entrance exams, as well as the final exams for their master’s degree.
  • By scoring well in their final exams, and achieving a percentage that fits the eligibility criteria provided by the university, students can easily go through to the personal interview round.
  • Other than scoring well in their final exams, and entrance exams, students should also be well prepared for the personal interviews.
  • A student willing to pursue this course should have the passion and determination to study Civil Engineering rigorously, and also be capable to take part in different kinds of research projects.
  • Students should be familiar with the website as well as their social media of the institutes so that they can stay updated with the notices released.
What is a PhD in Civil Engineering?

What is a PhD in Civil Engineering?

Studying Civil Engineering at the doctorate level helps students acquire a systematic and critical understanding of the subject in question, to advance the students’ retention and advanced learning aspects.

  • It refers to the design, construction, and maintenance of structures that are integral to the general public, like roads, dams, bridges, canals, and buildings.
  • To study this subject in-depth at the doctorate level, students must choose a specialization area. Examples of specializations may include geotechnical, structures, construction and management, transportation, environmental engineering, etc.
  • The course is detail and career-oriented in nature, making it important for those who wish to attain higher-paying jobs in the field of civil engineering.
  • Students wanting to pursue this course must have a sharp, analytical, and practical mind and pay special attention to details. They should also possess good technical designing skills along with knowledge in the conceptualizing of structures.
PhD Civil Engineering Course Highlights

PhD Civil Engineering Course Highlights

PhD Civil is a research-based course and specially designed to specialize in a particular area. The important details about the subject are mentioned below:

Course Level Doctorate Degree (PhD)
Full-Form Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering
Duration 4 to 5 years
Examination type Semester Based
Eligibility Scores in GATE, NET, etc
Admission Process Entrance Exam Based
Course Fee INR 19K to 73K
Average Salary INR 2 to 9 lakh
Top Recruiting Companies Afcons Infrastructure Limited, Punj Lloyd, Newton Engineering & Chemicals Ltd, Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd (CCCL), Akme Projects Ltd, and etc.
Job Positions Project manager, head quality controller, site engineer/civil engineer, project coordinator, quality assurance manager, project procurement manager, etc.
Why a PhD in Civil Engineering?

Why a PhD in Civil Engineering?

  • A PhD in Civil Engineering is beneficial for students to develop a center of excellence in civil engineering, and to carry out research in the areas of infrastructure and eco-friendly technologies.
  • This course is worth it for those students who want to create lifelong bonds with like-minded students, faculty, and researchers in the global, scientific, and technological community.
  • Civil Engineers with a PhD in the field also have the opportunity to work for their government and help develop railways, bridges, roads, and etc.
  • Pursuing a PhD basically makes students a subject matter expert in the specialization of their choosing.
  • Ideally, PhDs are desirable for those who have an interest in research and can handle the in-depth knowledge along with the many tasks that come with it, hence, these students are also eligible to work at research centers.
  • A Civil Engineering PhD gives students the level of job security that a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the same field will not give them.
PhD Civil Engineering vs PhD Chemical Engineering

Course Comparison

PhD Civil Engineering vs PhD Chemical Engineering

The table below displays a comparison between PhD Civil Engineering and PhD Chemical Engineering on various parameters:

Check out: Top PhD Chemical Engineering Colleges in India

Parameters PhD Civil Engineering PhD Chemical Engineering
Qualification Doctorate Level Doctorate Level
Objective The design, construction, and maintenance of structures integral to the public, such as roads, dams, bridges, canals, and buildings. The science behind the operation of modern every-day life items such as food, clothes, cosmetics, detergents, paper, paint, tires, etc.
Duration 4 to 5 years 3 to 5 years
Examination Type Semester Based Semester Based
Average Annual Fees INR 19K to 73K INR 50K to 4 lakhs
Eligibility Master’s Degree Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering
Admission Process Merit or Entrance Exam Based Entrance Exam or Interview Based
Colleges IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, etc. Chandigarh University, Shiv Nadar University, NIT Surathkal, IIT Gandhinagar, Lovely Professional University, etc.
Average Salary Offered INR 2 to 9 lakhs INR 4 to 20 lakhs
Job Roles Project manager, head quality controller, site engineer/civil engineer, project coordinator, quality assurance manager, project procurement manager, etc. Analytical Chemist, Energy Manager, Manufacturing Engineer, Materials Engineer, Mining Engineer, Production Manager, Quality Manager, among others.
PhD Civil Engineering Fees Vs PhD Chemical Engineering Fees
PhD Civil Engineering Salary Vs PhD Chemical Engineering Salary
PhD Civil Engineering Top Colleges

PhD Civil Engineering Top Colleges

In the table given below, the top PhD Civil Engineering colleges according to NIRF ranking 2020 are given. The table also contains information about the admission process, average annual fees, and average salary placement offered by the institute.

NIRF 2020 Ranking College Name Admission Process Average Annual Fees Average Placement Offer
1. IIT Madras GATE/ CSIR-NET/ UGC-NET  INR 19,670  INR 16,10,000
2.  IIT Delhi GATE/ NET INR 34,900  INR 16,00,000
3.  IIT Bombay GATE/ NET  INR 73,000  INR 20,34,000
4.  IIT Kanpur GATE/ NET  INR 64,050  INR 15,80,000
5.  IIT Kharagpur Department-based test INR 28,900 INR 15,00,000
6.  IIT Roorkee GATE/GPAT/UGC-NET/JRF INR 28,500 INR 13,16,000
7. IIT Guwahati Seminar/Presentation INR 18,100  INR 11,00,000
8. IIT Hyderabad M.Tech/ GATE  INR 25,095 INR 13,70,000
9. NIT Tiruchirappalli Written test INR 59,250 INR 6,00,000
10. IIT Varanasi GATE/ NET/ GPAT, INR 46,815 INR 8,19,000
Top PhD civil Engineering Colleges

PhD Civil Engineering College Comparison

The table given below compares the top PhD Civil Engineering Colleges in India based on parameters like the ranking, average annual fee, top recruiters, placements, etc.

Parameters IIT Madras IIT Delhi IIT Bombay
Location Chennai Delhi Mumbai
College Overview IIT Madras is an internationally recognized faculty, a bright student community, outstanding technical & support staff, and an effective administration. They offer courses in various engineering branches. IIT Delhi promotes development by updating existing courses, developing new courses, and preparing new resources. In IIT Bombay, research and academic programs are driven by an outstanding faculty, reputed for their research internationally.
NIRF 2020 Ranking 1 2 3
Average Annual Fee INR 19,000 INR 34,000 INR 73,000
Average Annual Package INR 16,10,000 INR 16,00,000 INR 20,34,000
Top Recruiters Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, Rivigo Services Pvt. Ltd, CSS Corp, ANI Technologies, Oracle India Pvt. Ltd, Tata Steel, etc. Microsoft, Uber, Zomato, Flipkart, Mastercard, Standard Chartered, etc. Google, Amazon, Qualcomm, Tata Steel, JP Morgan, McKinsey & Company, etc.
IIT Madras Vs IIT Delhi Vs IIT Bombay
PhD Civil Engineering Syllabus

PhD Civil Engineering Syllabus

The syllabus for PhD in Civil Engineering differs with the specialization chosen by the students. PhDs, in general, are extremely research-based and are completely dependent on students’ independent research projects with help and guidance from their university’s faculty.

It should be noted that the syllabus for each specialization may vary with each college, however, given below is the syllabus according to IIT Kanpur

Specialization Courses
Environmental Engineering Water & Waste water treatment
Aerosol Properties and Regional Climate Change
Experimental (Chamber studies)
Instrument Design
Modeling and simulation of environmental systems
Geoinformatics Geodetic GPS surveys
Satellite data processing and application
Laser scanning technology
Laser scanning applications
GIS applications
Geotechnical Engineering Foundation Engineering
Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
Ground Improvement Techniques
Other Geotechnical Research Areas
Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering Climate Change
Surface Water
Ground Water
Experimental Hydraulics and Sediment Transport
Infrastructure Engineering And Management Construction Management
Infrastructure Assets
Maintenance of Infrastructure Assets
Planning and Creation of Infrastructure Assets
Concrete Engineering
Structural Engineering Computational Mechanics and Structural Analysis
Earthquake Engineering
Seismic Analysis and Design
Risk & Reliability
Concrete and cement based materials
Structure Materials
Design and Experiment
Sensing and Monitoring
Transportation Engineering Traffic Engineering
Transport Demand Analysis
Traffic Safety
Highway Financing and Policy Analysis
Pavement Engineering

PhD Civil Engineering Books

Given below are some books related to civil engineering that students from all around the world found helpful.

Name of the book Author
Engineers’ Practical Databook Jay Smith
Fundamentals of Sustainability in Civil Engineering Andrew Braham
Civil Engineering Materials Peter A. Claisse
Dynamics of Structures Anil K. Chopra
Introduction to Civil Engineering Systems Samuel Labi
PhD Civil Engineering Job Prospects and Career Options

PhD Civil Engineering Job Prospects and Career Options

The prospective job and career options are certainly not limited to the students who have pursued a PhD in Civil Engineering. The areas where Civil Engineering Ph.D. holders can get employed at include Colleges & Universities, Road Construction, Infrastructure Development Companies, R&D Centres, Construction Companies, Railways, etc.

Given below is a table that shows the various job profiles one can achieve with a PhD in Civil Engineering.

Job Profile Job Description  Average Salary Offered 
Building Control Surveyor They ensure that building regulations are met during construction. INR 3,00,000
Building Services Engineer They work on a range of projects that contribute to the functioning of any kind of building, office, or living space. INR 2,70,000
Engineering Geologist They work as advisors to private and public bodies on the natural, environmental, and geological threat in real estate development. INR 7,40,000
Sustainability Consultant They promote sustainable solutions for the conflicting needs of people and the environment. INR 3,40,000
Fire Risk Assessor  They identify fire hazards and risks, record their findings, and advise on fire prevention. INR 5,80,000
Geotechnical Engineer They support design and construction by testing and analyzing the risk to humans and the environment. INR 5,20,000
Urban Designer They create practical and visually pleasing places, including buildings, open spaces, and landscapes. INR 6,00,000

Source: Payscale

Job Options after PhD Civil Engineering
Phd Civil Engineering Future Scope

Phd Civil Engineering Future Scope

  • A PhD holder earns more annually than someone with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
  • The demand for civil engineers in all kinds of specializations is incredibly high in India. Hence with the demand, job opportunities for civil engineers have visibly increased.
  • India being a developing country, still needs to build a lot of infrastructures to improve the life of the people, therefore the demand for civil engineers is quite high.
  • There is a huge demand for well-skilled and educated professionals not only in India but around the world.
  • It is often heard that people with a Ph.D. can only proceed to become a university professor or something along that line - however, this is untrue, as there are so many more job opportunities for PhD holders than just academia.

Check out other PhD Engineering Specializations: PhD Mechanical Engineering, PhD Computer Science Engineering, PhD Electrical Engineering, etc.

Phd Civil Engineering Future FAQs


Ques. Can a PhD in Civil Engineering bring job opportunities from the gas or electricity sectors?

Ans. It is possible that a topic covered during the Ph.D. may interest someone in the gas or electricity sector, but the connection isn’t that obvious which means that jobs aren’t guaranteed.

Ques. What is the scope after finishing the PhD?

Ans. Civil engineers are in demand, and you may get employed at a private or government company, or you can also become a professor at a university.

Ques. Which colleges are the best to pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering?

Ans. In India, there are several options like IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IIT Guwahati, IIT Hyderabad, NIT Trichy, IIT Varanasi, and etc.

Ques. What are the entrance exams that colleges in India ask for?

Ans. The top and reputed colleges in India ask for students’ scores in national level entrance exams like GATE, NET, JEE, etc.

Ques. How can someone become a professor after the completion of their PhD?

Ans. Apply for the job - if you meet their selection criteria and what they’re looking for in a professor, there’s no doubt that you’ll get selected. It also depends on the type of university you want to join; research or teaching based - you need to have a solid profile for both in either research projects, or some kind of teaching credentials.

Ques. Which specialization should I choose?

Ans. Choose what suits you best, and what you want to make a career in - water resources, geotechnical, transportation - it's up to you and your interests.

Ques. Which of the top colleges that offer a PhD in Civil Engineering have the best average placement offer?

Ans. IIT Bombay comes a first place when the average placement offer is concerned, followed by IIT Madras, and IIT Delhi.

Ques. Can I work for the government after I’ve pursued my PhD in Civil Engineering?

Ans. Prospective career options are not just limited to private companies that hire civil engineers - the government employs civil engineers with different specializations too.

Ques. How long is a PhD in Civil Engineering normally?

Ans. The duration of the course is typically four to five years, depending on the university the student joins.

Ques. For different specializations, are the eligibility criteria different too?

Ans. Some colleges do have different eligibility criteria for the various specializations they offer but it does vary from college to college.

Ques. What is the minimum percentage that a student should have scored in their master’s degree?

Ans. Generally, the minimum percentage is 60% but it can vary from college to college.

Ph.D. (Civil Engineering) Fee Structure in India

30.50 K (Minimum Fee)PUBLIC COLLEGES4.50 L  (Maximum Fee)
1.05 L (Average Fee)
53.78 K (Minimum Fee)Private COLLEGES7.50 L (Maximum Fee)
2.29 L (Average Fee)

Ph.D. (Civil Engineering) Fee Structure By state


1.57 L
59 KPrivate COLLEGES2.75 L
1.56 L


1.66 L
1.16 LPrivate COLLEGES3.15 L
2.05 L

Tamil Nadu

67.38 K
70 KPrivate COLLEGES2.35 L
1.19 L

Uttar Pradesh

1.11 L
1.40 LPrivate COLLEGES4.90 L
2.25 L

Delhi NCR

1.15 L
1.40 LPrivate COLLEGES6.62 L
3.01 L


47.50 K
58 KPrivate COLLEGES6.62 L
3.11 L

Madhya Pradesh

1.16 L
98.40 KPrivate COLLEGES7.50 L
3.02 L


1.13 L
1.39 LPrivate COLLEGES2.50 L
1.81 L


1.89 L
1.22 LPrivate COLLEGES4.08 L
2.45 L


61.40 K
58 KPrivate COLLEGES3.97 L
2.63 L


1.11 L
1.80 LPrivate COLLEGES3.60 L
2.80 L

Andhra Pradesh

38.25 K
70 KPrivate COLLEGES2.05 L
1.60 L

Himachal Pradesh

1.70 L
1.50 LPrivate COLLEGES4.59 L
2.93 L


1.02 L
2.25 LPrivate COLLEGES2.25 L
2.25 L
66.02 K
58.98 KPrivate COLLEGES3.41 L
2.21 L


76.53 K
2.50 LPrivate COLLEGES2.95 L
2.65 L

West Bengal

50.50 K
1.15 LPrivate COLLEGES3.46 L
2.54 L


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