Doctorate in Environmental Engineering

Doctorate in Environmental Engineering

Students in canoes on river

The graduate programs in environmental engineering from Drexel Engineering engages students in learning and research at the forefront of environmental engineering. Students graduate prepared for careers in academia, practice or research.

What is an Environmental Engineering PhD program?

An environmental engineering doctoral program prepares you to tackle the work required of roles that control, reduce, or eliminate impact on animals, plants, human populations and surroundings from the effects of adverse environmental factors. A doctoral degree in environmental engineering explores advances in design, systems, processes and policies that will help to provide healthful conditions and a more sustainable existence. As a student, you will investigate ideas that seek to address the continuing need to address evolving environmental conditions on our society.

The PhD program in Environmental Engineering has the following major aims:

  • Deliver education covering the breadth and depth of the most current and advanced knowledge in environmental engineering through in-depth study of a chosen subject of specialization.
  • Develop top research capabilities through discovery, faculty guidance and research training.
  • Prepare leaders in the field in careers in academia, research and practice.


  • On-campus
  • Full-time
  • This program will take four to six years to complete on a full-time basis

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Why choose Drexel for your PhD in Environmental Engineering?

Students prepare equipment to monitor river

As a Carnegie R1 research institution, Drexel is in the top tier of research output and one of only 34 US institutions with that designation. Through rigorous analysis and exploration, Drexel’s doctoral degree program in environmental engineering deepens knowledge of the discipline, engineering design and implementation, and the considerations unique to the field. Students emerge prepared to take on the demands of industry, research, or academia in environmental engineering and its related disciplines.

The Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) faculty direct thriving research that supports PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in a variety of activities. In 2021, the department received nearly $3.5 million dollars in awards and over $3 million in research expenditures. Drexel PhD students shape the field through pioneering research that often leads to commercialization and entrepreneurship. Just in 2021 alone, the College of Engineering faculty have garnered 16 US patents, three license agreements and has produced a new startup company.

Students have access to department lab facilities and equipment such as our 200 square-foot clean room and other modern technology. Learn more about CAEE facilities.

Simi Hoque, PhD, PE, is developing tools to measure building energy use and researching ways to protect our comfort in the face of climate change.

Research Spotlight

Simi Hoque, PhD, PE, is developing tools to measure building energy use and researching ways to protect our comfort in the face of climate change.

Read More


Faculty in CAEE are experts with industry experience or are at the forefront of research and teaching. Our CAEE faculty have garnered many awards and numerous notable achievements — a few of these include:

  • Charles Haas, PhD, National Academy of Engineering member; Distinguished Fellow,  International Water Association;  Drexel University Outstanding Career Research Award (2021); National Water Research Institute, Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize (2017); American Water Works Association, John Leal Award (2017) and A.P. Black Research Award (2018)
  • Shannon Capps, PhD, NASA New Investigator Award (2018), NSF CAREER Award (2020)
  • Franco Montalto, PhD, appointed in 2020 by Mayor Bill DeBlasio to fourth New York City Panel on Climate Change; Environmental and Water Resource Engineer of the Year, American Society of Civil Engineers, Philadelphia Section, 2018; recipient of National Science Foundation CAREER award (CBET 1150994), 2012-2017;
  • Mira Olson,  Frontiers of Engineering Organizing Committee (2018); 2016 ELATES Fellow; Drexel Career Development Award (2019)
  • Dean Sharon Walker, Fellow, American Society for the Advancement of Science (2019) and Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (2017), Fulbiright Fellowship (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (2018-19); AEESP/Mary Ann Liebert Award for Publication Excellence in Environmental Engineering Science (2018)


The city of Philadelphia and the surrounding metro area are home to multiple industrial research and production facilities that attract advanced environmental engineering talent. Learn more.

Curriculum and Requirements

Both in research and in curriculum, the Drexel Environmental Engineering PhD program emphasizes a combination of fundamentals with topical specialization and interdisciplinary training.

At least 90 credits are required for the PhD degree. You will choose a doctoral thesis topic after consultation with the faculty early in the program. An oral thesis presentation and defense are scheduled at the completion of the thesis work.

For students entering the PhD program with a prior MS degree:

  • 45 credits of graduate courses out of which 18 credits are graduate courses exclusive of independent study and dissertation.

For students entering the PhD program with a BS degree without a master's degree:

  • The master’s degree is not a prerequisite for the PhD
  • 90 credits of graduate courses. 45 of these 90 credits must satisfy the MS in Environmental Engineering degree requirements.

Graduate advisors will guide your course selection and scheduling of core and elective courses. Visit the Drexel Catalog for more information or learn more about our admissions requirements.


All students in the Environmental Engineering PhD program engage in research as part of their degree. Candidates are encouraged to base their thesis on some aspect of faculty research.

Department research competencies touches areas of great importance to our society including clean environment and green energy, environmental health, indoor air quality, stormwater management, water quality control and many others. Funding comes from organizations such as the NSF, NASA, Sloan Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Indiana Soybean Alliance and others.  

Examples of current faculty research covers:

  • Water treatment and distribution to protect public health
  • Management of water quality in building plumbing systems
  • Use of biotechnology for novel treatment processes
  • Indoor and outdoor air quality
  • Building energy efficiency
  • Green design
  • Evaluating impacts of energy strategies

Visit research areas for more about other research activity at the College of Engineering.

Funding Opportunities

The vast majority of incoming graduate students are funded by research assistantships, so we encourage you to contact faculty whose research interests you.

In addition, you may wish to investigate the following funding opportunities:

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