Program Description


The Ph.D. in Infrastructure and Environmental Systems (INES) is an interdisciplinary program emphasizing innovations in design, analysis, construction and operation of civil, energy and environmental infrastructure; and the scientific analysis of environmental systems. The interdisciplinary program also involves the development and sustainable use of renewable resources, and the protection of our earth and its environmental systems. The interplay between the environment and infrastructure is thoroughly studied by students as they confront the challenges facing urbanizing regions. INES engages a diverse group of talented faculty from the science, engineering and management disciplines. INES students are required to conduct interdisciplinary and original research that contributes new knowledge to the profession, as evidenced by scholarly publications in refereed journals.

INES Students can participate in multidisciplinary activities provided by the UNC Charlotte research centers such as the Infrastructure, Design, Environment, and Sustainability (IDEAS) Center; the Center for Applied Geographic Information Science (CAGIS); the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC); the Center for Transportation Policy Studies; the NSF I/UCRC Sustainably Integrated Buildings and Sites; the Integrated Design Research Lab and the Urban Institute. Current areas of INES research can be categorized as follows:

  • Climate change and atmospheric dynamics
  • Civil infrastructure and materials
  • Earth and geo-environmental systems
  • Energy and environmental economics
  • Environmental science and technology
  • Integrated building design and BIM
  • Natural hazards and geophysics
  • Quaternary geology and landform evolution
  • Systems optimization and management
  • Transportation systems analysis and operation
  • Integrated Watershed Management

The program requires a minimum of 72 post baccalaureate credits hours including 12 hours of INES core courses, 12 hours of INES specialized courses, 18 hours of dissertation research, and up to 30 hours from a master’s degree that is consistent with the admission requirements.  A master’s degree in an appropriate field may count up to 30 hours of transfer credit into the INES Program upon recommendation of the Program Director and upon approval by the Graduate School.

  • INES core courses: INES 8101 Environmental Systems, INES 8102 Infrastructure Systems, INES 8690 Seminar (1 credit hour per semester for 3 consecutive fall semesters), and INES 8110 Acquisition and Analysis of Scientific Data or a 8000-level courses in economics, public policy or management.
  • INES specialized courses: INES 8090 cross-listed courses with CEGR, GEOG, ESCI, EMGT, ARCH, CHEM, BIO, and ECON.
  • INES Dissertation Research: INES 8999 for 18 hours and additional hours taken as INES 8998.

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.