Engineering and Public Policy
About the PhD Program
Technical programs and decisions from both public and private sector firms often result in intended, and sometimes unintended, consequences for communities.
This joint doctoral program, offered through a partnership between the College of Engineering and Biden School of Public Policy & Administration, allows students with master’s-level engineering and applied sciences training to apply the concepts and methods of policy analysis to understand the broader social context of their work.
This inherently interdisciplinary, research-focused degree is rooted in the integration of instruction, research, and professional practice.
The program requires intensive student engagement with both engineering and public policy faculty. We prepare students to generate new useable, cross-disciplinary knowledge that expands the boundaries of inquiry and practice at the intersection of these fields.
Some areas of research in this program include:
- Civil infrastructure
- Smart cities
- Energy and the environment
The PhD program in Engineering and Public Policy serves students with master’s level technical backgrounds in engineering and the applied sciences who are interested in using the concepts and methods of policy analysis to understand the broader societal context of technical programs and decisions. The program requires intensive engagement of doctoral students with both engineering and policy faculty and an interest in the generation of new usable interdisciplinary knowledge that expands the boundaries of inquiry and practice. The doctoral program will typically be completed in four years of full-time study that includes advanced courses in policy and engineering, completion of qualifying examinations and dissertation proposal, and a doctoral dissertation that applies engineering and policy analysis to issues of scholarly and policy significance. Possible topic areas include transportation, civil infrastructure, smart cities, sustainability, and energy and the environment. The program is administratively housed and supported by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in cooperation with the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration.
For more information, contact:
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Newark, DE 19716
Admissions and Course Requirements
The minimum requirements for admission to the doctoral program in Engineering and Public Policy are a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of at least 3.5 (out of a possible 4.0) in engineering; a research-based master’s degree with a grade point average of at least 3.5 (out of a possible 4.0) in an engineering or technical field; a demonstrated commitment and aptitude for applying policy considerations to technical decisions in the required essays; and a TOEFL score (for international students) of at least of at least 100 on the iBT with a minimum speaking score of 18 (TOEFL scores more than two years old cannot be considered official.)
Application Availability and Admission Deadlines
The online application is found at Graduate Application.
Note the following important deadlines.
January 15: Deadline for fall admissions and consideration for graduate assistantship/fellowship..
July 1: Final Deadline for Fall admissions
There are no spring admissions.
Engineering and Public Policy Mini-Symposium
Saleem H. Ali
Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment
Professor Ali’s research considers how the inclusion of science and engineering narratives can mitigate or exacerbate environmental conflicts. He has previously worked at General Electric Corporation and was part of their Technical Leadership a Program which had informed his approach to engineering and public policy. Professor Ali also serves on the United Nations International Resource Panel where he frequently interacts with global policy makers who are tasked with using engineering data to develop and refine environmental policy.
Assistant Professor, Biden School of Public Policy and Policy Scientist, Institute for Public Administration
Philip Barnes researches municipal-level strategies for climate change adaptation, including planning and policy options to build resilience to flooding and sea level rise. He also investigates the policy implications of connected and automated vehicles at the state and local levels.
Interim Program Director, Engineering and Public Policy, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Arde Faghri’s research interest is in transportation engineering. His work on quantitative cost-benefit analysis of alternative fuels for mass transit vehicles has impacted states’ decision making for prioritizing and funding of different technologies for public transportation agencies. Another work on prioritizing rail-highway grade crossing hazards has been used by many state departments of transportation for providing funding for safety improvements in and around many dangerous grade crossings.
Assistant Professor, Geography and Spatial Sciences, and Civil and Environmental Engineering
Yao Hu is interested in developing models and cyber-infrastructure to support evidence-based design for water policy. His work has been focused on the development of coupled decision-making models and physically-based hydrological models, and agile cyber-infrastructure that can assist the design of sustainable water policy to improve water security in face of challenges arising from the changing environment.
Professor and Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Biden School of Public Policy
Sue McNeil is interested in infrastructure asset management, natural hazards and extreme events. Her work on structuring the process as a strategic systematic decision-making process based on data is reflected in the legislation requiring states to development risk-based transportation asset management plans for the national highway system.
Assistant Professor, Biden School of Public Policy & Administration
A.R. Siders is interested in the role of infrastructure in adaptation to climate change and climate-related hazards. She uses qualitative case studies, statistical analyses, and modeling to explore how decisions are made and what social equity and risk reduction outcomes result. As a lawyer, she is also interested in how law and the built environment interact and provide both barriers and drivers for adaptation.
Associate Professor, Biden School of Public Policy and Administration
Joe Trainor’s work is multi-disciplinary, mixed methods, qualitative, and quantitative. He focuses on disasters and crises. His studies include “basic” science, applied research, and rapid reconnaissance post-disaster fieldwork studies. Recent projects have focused on: Disaster Researcher and Practitioner Integration; Warnings, Risk Perception, and Protective Action Decision making for short fuse hazards; Post Hurricane Housing Decisions; Household Insurance and Mitigation Decision, and Multi-organizational Response.
Professor of Practice, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Allan Zarembski’s research interest is railroad engineering and safety. His safety work included working with the Governor of Pennsylvania to reduce the risks associated with transportation of crude oil by rail through the state. His work on asset management and includes interface with various railroad departments and government agencies to minimize risk and optimize “state of good repair” of railway and transit systems.