Environmental Engineering PhD

The Environmental Engineering PhD is a doctoral program in the College of Engineering that gives you the knowledge and the credentials to design large-scale solutions to widespread environmental threats to human health and habitations. Devise the biological, chemical and physical strategies to combat the ravages wrought by climate change and daily ecological damage. 

This customizable doctorate allows you to pursue in-depth research in your preferred area of interest. You can choose from current faculty research projects or design your own. Faculty members are currently researching

  • advanced treatments for drinking water and wastewater,
  • emerging contaminants in the environment,
  • environmental biotechnology,
  • fate and transformation of environmental contaminants,
  • floodplain delineation,
  • industrial waste treatment, and
  • surface and subsurface hydrology.

Use your knowledge to devise original solutions to persisting environmental problems, while developing the credentials to teach environmental engineering at the university level. Small classes held in the evening will provide you with a great amount of flexibility. Department course offerings are scheduled through 2020, allowing you to arrange an uninterrupted plan of study.

You’ll leave the program steeped in diverse approaches to engineering that will make you a well-rounded academic, industry engineer or researcher. You’ll also form close relationships with your cohort, a dynamic student body representing a wide range of ethnic, national and racial identities.

Classes & Curriculum

The coursework you complete will be selected in consultation with your research advisor and doctoral advisory committee and follow the outline of your academic plan. Some of the areas you might study include the

  • development of molecular biology techniques for the optimization of environmental engineering systems,
  • emerging contaminants in the environment,
  • floodplain delineation,
  • industrial waste treatment,
  • instrumentation and sensor technology,
  • tracking and treatment of pharmaceuticals,
  • ultrasonic techniques to break down hazardous chemicals, and
  • usage of microorganisms to remediate acid mine damage.

Take a look at the full list of required courses.

PhDs Awarded

As of fall 2016, 11 candidates were enrolled in the Environmental Engineering doctoral program. One doctorate was awarded in the 2015–2016 academic year.

Environmental Engineering PhD student in a lab

Completion Requirements

Completion requirements depend on whether you enter the program with a master’s degree.

  • If you have a master’s degree, you must complete 15 credits of PhD-level didactic coursework and 15 credits of PhD exams and dissertation research, for a total of 30 credits.
  • If you only have a bachelor’s degree, you must complete 45 credits of master’s- and PhD-level didactic coursework and 15 credits of PhD exams and dissertation research, for a total of 60 credits. See the Admissions section below for more information.  

Between didactic coursework, dissertation research and examinations, the PhD can take four or five years, depending on your trajectory and project interests. You have up to seven years to complete your degree.

There are three major pieces of culminating work.

  • Preliminary examination: This exam evaluates your communication, information-synthesis and research skills.
  • Dissertation proposal: Research and write your proposal, and present it at an open college seminar.
  • Dissertation writing and defense: Present and defend your dissertation in front of a dissertation committee.

Labs & Research

Students have access to cutting-edge tools, equipment and research being done at the College of Engineering. Opportunities are available to participate in research-funded studies in specializes areas such as

  • absorption/desorption, 
  • advanced oxidation,
  • emerging contaminants in the environment,
  • environmental biotechnology,
  • fate and transformation of environmental contaminants,
  • nanoparticles, and
  • surface and subsurface hydrology.

The Water and Environmental Technology Center (WET Center) is funded by the National Science Foundation and promotes research into innovative technologies to mitigate emerging and traditional contaminants. There are currently more than 30 industrial and government members of the WET Center. Temple’s Office of Sustainability also sponsors sustainability-oriented research and initiatives to improve outreach and engagement.

You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate on research projects with faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as members of other departments. Interdisciplinary research draws on fields like biochemistry, molecular biology and chemistry. Recent studies have involved

Such cross-disciplinary opportunities allow graduate students to take creative, innovative approaches to their research.

Explore the Department of Environmental Engineering’s cutting-edge labs and equipment.

Research Funding

The College of Engineering had more than $14 million in active research in 2016–2017. With external support from prestigious organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Navy and the American Heart Association, faculty members of Temple University’s College of Engineering are engaging in advanced research. Graduate students will find multiple opportunities to partner with faculty on innovative projects and perform experiments. Take a look at the full range of labs in the College of Engineering.

In 2016, the National Science Foundation placed Temple among the top 100 in terms of research expenditures, which amounted to $242 million. Learn more about the university’s expanded research support efforts.

Carnegie Classification

In 2016, Temple was elevated to an R1 institution of “highest research activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, placing it in the top 4% of all four-year educational institutions in the nation. Temple’s research enterprise distinguishes itself through its focus on community, and using advances in technology to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Doctor of Philosophy offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency, and more. These tuition costs apply to the 2023–2024 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $1,280.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,675.00 per credit

You can view the full Cost of Attendance breakdown on the Student Financial Services website.

PhD Advising

PhD students should identify a faculty advisor prior to applying. A faculty advisor will guide you in navigating the curriculum and selecting the appropriate coursework to achieve your academic and professional goals. Applicants may reach out to faculty via the faculty directory


Additional Program Information