Environmental Science and Engineering, PhD

Environmental Science and Engineering is an interdisciplinary program with the common goal of understanding, predicting, and responding to human-induced environmental change. You will learn that addressing environmental issues requires perspectives from a diverse set of scientific disciplines, including atmospheric physics and chemistry, oceanography, glaciology, hydrology, geophysics, ecology, and biogeochemistry. 

Your research will be strongly interdisciplinary, with many connections to Earth and Planetary Sciences and other science and policy programs at Harvard. You will learn to think about environmental processes in an integrated fashion, preparing you to manage the environmental challenges we face.

Examples of projects current and past students have worked on include building bio-inspired robotics and developing personalized exosuits to assist in real-world walking.



Environmental Science & Engineering Degree

Harvard School of Engineering offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree in Engineering Sciences - Environmental Science & Engineering, conferred through the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Harvard Griffin GSAS). Prospective students apply through the Harvard Griffin GSAS. In the online application, select  “Engineering and Applied Sciences” as your program choice and select "PhD Engineering Sciences: Environmental Science and Engineering" in the area of study menu.

The Environmental Science & Engineering program does not offer an independent Masters Degree.

Environmental Science & Engineering PhD Career Paths

Graduates of the program have gone on to a range of careers in organizations like the World Bank, the Earth System Research Laboratory at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Tesla. Others have positions in academia at Georgia Tech, Oregon State University, and University of Rochester. More generally, students with a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering can go on to careers in academic research/teaching, consulting, law, energy, policy, government, or jobs in the private sector. Read more about some of the our Environmental Science and Engineering alumni.

Admissions & Academic Requirements

Please review the admissions requirements and other information before applying. Our website also provides admissions guidanceprogram-specific requirements, and a PhD program academic timeline.

Academic Background

Our graduate students come to Harvard with diverse undergraduate preparations. Some have studied environmental fields such as meteorology oceanography, atmospheric chemistry, or biogeochemistry. Many others have little prior training in environmental science, but enter with backgrounds in applied math, biology, chemistry, engineering or physics.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Not Accepted

Environmental Science & Engineering Faculty & Research Areas

View a list of our Environmental Science & Engineering faculty and Environmental Science & Engineering affiliated research areas, Please review our faculty members’ research pages to learn about specific opportunities and how they match with your interests. Please note that faculty members listed as “Affiliates" or "Lecturers" cannot serve as the primary research advisor.  

Environmental Science & Engineering Centers & Initiatives

View a list of the research centers & initiatives at SEAS and the Environmental Science & Engineering faculty engagement with these entities.

Graduate Student Clubs

Graduate student clubs and organizations bring students together to share topics of mutual interest. These clubs often serve as an important adjunct to course work by sponsoring social events and lectures. Graduate student clubs are supported by the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin School of Arts and Sciences. Explore the list of active clubs and organizations.

Funding and Scholarship

Learn more about financial support for PhD students.

How to Apply

Learn more about how to apply or review frequently asked questions for prospective graduate students.