Ph.D. in Environmental Science

Program overview

O’Neill’s Ph.D. in Environmental Science Program provides skills and training in the basic and applied sciences to solve contemporary environmental problems. You’ll research and learn how to communicate solutions to policy makers, natural resource managers, and the general public. Through our interdisciplinary program, you’ll benefit from collaborative research among scientists from various natural and social science disciplines.

As a student in our Ph.D. in Environmental Science Program, you’ll:

  • Acquire substantial knowledge in a primary environmental science concentration
  • Develop breadth in related environmental science fields
  • Become proficient in advanced research methods and develop expertise in a chosen dissertation topic
  • Develop expertise in a chosen research topic, composing a dissertation of original research with careful and thoughtful analysis and interpretation of the findings
Chris Craft, director, Ph.D. Program in Environmental Science, talks about rising salt water levels on PBS Newshour.

Description of the video:

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Degree requirements

The Ph.D. in Environmental Science requires the completion of 90 credit hours in advanced study and research beyond the bachelor's degree. A student must complete 30 credit hours of advanced course work, 30 credit hours of research, taken as SPEA e625 or SPEA e890. The student, with approval of his/her advisory committee, should complete a combination of additional course work and research credit to meet the 90 credit hour requirement.


The exact nature and amount of course work in each of three areas, principal field of study, breadth in environmental science, and research methods, will be determined by the Advisory Committee after review and approval of the student's plan of study.

  1. Selection of specific courses will focus on obtaining:
  2. Adequate knowledge for qualifying examinations
  3. International Relations
  4. Appropriate preparation for a research project
  5. A mixture of courses that meet the individual professional goals of the student

Each student will define an interdisciplinary principal field of study and describe it in a narrative statement. Your narrative statement should discuss your previous educational experiences, outline a program of course work within the proposed field of study, and state your career goals and aspirations.

Each student is also required to prepare a program of course work that fulfills the requirement of breadth in environmental science. The breadth requirement may be fulfilled by using a wide spectrum of environmental science courses as well as areas such as economics, law, and management. You are also required to prepare a statement outlining research activities for the committee. Course work should include substantial training in mathematical, statistical and analytical research methods.

Featured environmental science alumni


Aslan, Ph.D.'17

Forest Ecosystem Manager and Sustainable, Conservation & Utilization Programme Coordinator, Kehati Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation

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Eunha Hoh, Ph.D.'06

Associate Professor, Division of Environmental Health, San Diego State University

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Mateus Batistella, Ph.D.'01

Director, EMBRAPA Satellite Monitoring Campinas, Brazil

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