Degree Requirements


The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Infrastructure and Environmental Systems is awarded for completion of scholarly research that advances the knowledge base in the field of that research. Evidence of this is demonstrated by a successful dissertation defense. In addition, recipients of the degree should demonstrate a mastery of relevant subject matter and a potential for success in research and teaching.

Total hours required

As summarized in Table 1, the INES Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 72 post-Baccalaureate (semester) credit hours (a Minor in this program is not applicable). A Masters 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.

 Updated October  05, 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Credit Hours to Degree Required for Masters Entrants         

Credit Hours to Degree Required for Bachelors Entrants     

INES Core:
   INES 8101, INES 8102, INES 8690
   INES 8110, INES 8201, INES 8113,
   or INES 8090 (data, economics, policy or management)

9 Credit Hours  
3 Credit Hours  

9 Credit Hours  
3 Credit Hours  

Specialized Electives
   INES 8090
   INES 8890 or approved INES classes

9-12 Credit Hours
0-3 Credit Hours
9-12 Credit Hours
0-3 Credit Hours
Dissertation Research
   INES 8999
   INES 8998

18 Credit Hours, max

18 Credit Hours, max

MS Equivalent
   By Transfer
   Course Work at UNC-Charlotte

30 Credit Hours Max.

30 Graduate Credit Hours              

based on a maximum of 30 credit hours transferred from a Masters program. Less than 30 credit hours transferred will result in a higher number of credit hours required for graduation.

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.).

Grades required

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. 

Transfer credit accepted

Upon recommendation by the INES program director and upon approval by the Graduate School, a certain number of courses in which a student achieved a minimum grade of ‘B’ will be accepted for transfer credit. The following transfer credit policy will apply:

A maximum of 30 semester credit hours from a Masters degree program in an appropriate field, that is consistent with the admission requirements stated earlier, may count toward the INES Ph.D. degree. This rule may apply whether the Masters degree was earned or not. However, no more than 6 hours taken when the student was in non-degree seeking status may be applied toward the doctoral degree.

Student Advising

Upon acceptance into the Ph.D. Program, a student will be assigned an adviser 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 adviser. 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 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 approved by the program director and the student’s doctoral committee.

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 may 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 Ph.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.

Dissertation Requirement

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.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement in the INES Ph.D. degree.

Residency Requirement

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.