Environmental Science and Engineering, PhD

PhD students in Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) lead groundbreaking research projects with ESE faculty and also receive broad professional preparation for a successful research and teaching career. They join faculty research groups where they work both independently and in teams, often involving collaboration with postdoctoral fellows and mentoring of undergraduates. They are given a wide berth to explore the range of research opportunities available at Harvard. They interact closely with the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS) and other areas of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) through courses, seminars, and social activities.  



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. However, PhD students can receive a Masters Degree through their coursework during their Ph.D program.

Environmental Science & Engineering PhD Career Paths

About one-third of our PhD graduates go on to be university professors and populate the ranks of the top research universities worldwide. One-third go on to research careers at national labs like NASA, NOAA, EPA, and USGS. Yet another third go on to a range of careers in international organizations (World Bank, United Nations), consulting companies, industry, and research administration.  Read more about some of 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 PhD students come to Harvard from a diversity of backgrounds, from applied math to engineering to chemistry to Earth science, and everything in between. Many have had little or no exposure to environmental science and engineering, while others have had extensive training. Gaps are expected, and the purpose of your courses at Harvard will be to fill these gaps.

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.