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Best Doctorates in Environmental Engineering: Top PhD Programs, Career Paths, and Salaries

Oluwaniyi Raji - June 19, 2022


Environmental engineering is a growing field with extensive opportunities in both the private and public sectors. Due to the specialized nature of the work, many environmental engineering jobs require an environmental engineering PhD. If you want to become an environmental engineer, learning about the best PhDs in environmental engineering is your first step to get there.

As with all doctoral studies, earning your PhD in Environmental Engineering is an intense process that can take many years to complete. This article aims to give you all of the information you need to make the process easier, including the average salary for someone with a PhD in Environmental Engineering. After reading this article, you can learn how to get your degree and be eligible for high-paying environmental engineering jobs.

What Is a PhD in Environmental Engineering?

A PhD in Environmental Engineering is the most prestigious degree offered in the environmental engineering field. The programs are research-intensive and teach students advanced knowledge about environmental practices, threats, and solutions in natural habitats. This knowledge is invaluable in today’s world because of things like population growth and the poor state of urban air quality.

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You can start a PhD program after completing your undergraduate studies and earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering or a related engineering discipline.

How to Get Into an Environmental Engineering PhD Program: Admission Requirements

The requirements to get into an environmental engineering  PhD program are usually a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering, though some programs will accept a degree in a related field of study. Since these programs are competitive, your GPA should be at least 3.0. Admissions standards vary between schools, but some common requirements are shared between environmental science programs, such as meeting the application deadline on the university websites.

Additional application requirements include Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, a research proposal, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a non-refundable application fee. Some specific course prerequisites include math, chemistry, and physics. International students may have to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores as proof of English language proficiency.

PhD in Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering (or a related engineering discipline, depending on the program)
  • Official transcripts that show a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Letters of recommendation and a personal statement
  • Resume detailing internship and professional experience
  • Research proposal outlining your topic and plan of study
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores showing English proficiency for international students

Environmental Engineering PhD Acceptance Rates: How Hard Is It to Get Into a PhD Program in Environmental Engineering?

It is very hard to get into a PhD program in environmental engineering. As an advanced degree program in a challenging field, most universities are very strict when it comes to admissions requirements. For example, the University of Arizona Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering only accepts 17.39 percent of applicants into their PhD program. These challenging programs listed below present students with opportunities to get hands-on field work and learn at a top-ranked university.

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Best PhDs in Environmental Engineering: In Brief

School Program Online Option
Arizona State University PhD in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering No
Clarkson University PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering Yes
Drexel University PhD in Environmental Engineering No
The George Washington University PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering No
Michigan Technological University PhD in Environmental Engineering No
South Dakota Mines PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering No
Temple University PhD in Environmental Engineering No
University of Arizona PhD in Environmental Engineering No
University of Cincinnati PhD in Environmental Engineering No
University of North Dakota PhD in Environmental Engineering Yes

Best Universities for Environmental Engineering PhDs: Where to Get a PhD in Environmental Engineering

The best universities for environmental engineering offer high-quality academic programs, access to state-of-the-art research facilities, and advisers to connect you with career opportunities. Check out our comprehensive list below of the best accredited doctoral programs in the US, their program specializations, and other key features.

1

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University was founded around 1885 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is considered by US News & World Report to be the most innovative school in the country . It offers a variety of PhD programs, like Architecture and Construction, Communication and Media, and Computing and Mathematics.

PhD in Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering

This 84-credit program features advanced knowledge in civil and environmental engineering. Along with coursework, you must complete oral and written examinations and defend a dissertation in order to earn the doctoral degree. A PhD student in this program can specialize in areas like hydrosystems, sustainable engineering, or geotechnical engineering.

PhD in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering Overview

  • Program Length : N/A
  • Acceptance Rate : N/A
  • Tuition : $11,720/year (in state); $23,544/year (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities : Loans, fellowships, teaching, research assistantships, and awards

PhD in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Graduate admission application
  • Application fee of $70 for US-based students and $115 for international students
  • Three letters of recommendation and a personal statement
  • Official transcripts showing a 3.2 GPA
  • GRE scores
  • Proof of English proficiency for international students whose native language is not English
2

Clarkson University

Potsdam, New York

Clarkson University is a private research university that was founded in 1896. Along with a strong environmental engineering graduate program, they offer a broad range of master’s and PhD programs, which include subjects like computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, mathematics, and mechanical engineering.

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

This comprehensive degree program is offered by the College of Engineering at Clarkson University. Some core courses and concentrations include Environmental Chemistry and Water Resources Engineering. Students must complete 90 credit hours and defend their dissertation before a committee to satisfy graduation requirements.

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 7 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $1,533/credit
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships, federal student loans, and tuition waivers

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Online application form
  • GRE test scores
  • Resume, statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation
  • Official previous school transcripts showing a GPA of 3.25 or above
  • Application fee of $50
  • TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international students who are non-native English speakers
3

Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Another renowned school you should consider is Drexel University , founded in 1891. The College of Engineering has a wide range of doctoral programs, including Chemical Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Environmental Engineering. The College of Engineering faculty is consistently on the cutting-edge, producing 16 US patents in 2021 .

PhD in Environmental Engineering

This doctoral degree program offers specializations in subjects like air pollution, water resources, and sustainability treatment. You can specialize in any area while cultivating a large breadth of knowledge in environmental protection practices. The program is available part-time and full-time, with a total course load of 90 credits, including a dissertation.

PhD in Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 4 to 6 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $1,342/credit
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Financial aid, teaching assistantships, and an international TA prep program

PhD in Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts showing a GPA of 3.0
  • Application fee of $65
  • GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal essay
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English (PTE) scores for international students
4

The George Washington University

Washington, DC

Established in 1821, the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science covers a wide range of STEM topics. Students can choose between graduate programs in environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering, and technology programs like computer science, cyber security, and data analytics.

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Like other civil and environmental engineering PhD programs, this is a program of study suited for scholars who want to explore solutions to the most pressing environmental engineering problems. Students can specialize in different research areas such as transportation engineering, water resources engineering, and geoenvironmental engineering.

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 4 to 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $1,995/credit
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Online application form
  • Non-refundable application fee of $80
  • Scanned copies of unofficial transcripts from all previous schools
  • GRE test scores
  • Three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume
  • TOEFL, IETS, or PTE scores for international students whose native language is not English
5

Michigan Technological University

Houghton, Michigan

Michigan Tech was founded in 1885 and has a strong track record of producing job-ready graduates. Graduate students can customize an interdisciplinary program for their research by collaborating with faculty in fields like the biological sciences, chemical engineering, sustainable engineering, and environmental policy.

PhD in Environmental Engineering

The Michigan Tech environmental engineering PhD program focuses on sustaining our natural environment. Students learn how to apply engineering principles to improve human health and the quality of human life. Degree requirements include completing core courses, qualifying for research and preliminary examinations, and completing a dissertation and an oral examination.

PhD in Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 8 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $1,343/credit
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, loans, emergency funds, and employment opportunities

PhD in Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official school transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA
  • Resume, statement of purpose, and personal statement
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent degree from an accredited institution
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students
6

South Dakota Mines

Rapid City, South Dakota

South Dakota Mines is a university dating back to 1885 when it was created to provide education for miners. It is known today for educating the next generation of leaders through comprehensive educational experiences. As a school focused on STEM and engineering, it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in almost every engineering discipline.

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

This program requires 72 credit hours between coursework and research. Students can specialize in subjects like structural engineering, environmental engineering, water resources, or geotechnical engineering. Students must also pass mandatory examinations, do at least 21 credits of dissertation research, and complete their dissertation defense.

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $388/credit (in state); $680/credit (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Federal student loans, South Dakota Mines scholarships, work-study opportunities, and fellowships

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Submit the online application form
  • Non-refundable application fee of $35
  • Official transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA, or a third-party transcript evaluation for international students
  • GRE scores
  • One-page statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL and IELTS test scores for international students who did not attend a US university for their bachelor’s or master’s degree
7

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Founded in Pennsylvania in 1884, Temple University is a public university that’s famous for providing quality education via robust research curricula. It offers accredited doctoral research and practice programs in a broad range of fields, like bioengineering, business administration, civil engineering, criminal justice, and educational leadership.

PhD in Environmental Engineering

The PhD in Environmental Engineering program is a comprehensive degree program that provides students with the relevant engineering education needed to tackle complex challenges. Each student takes core courses and chooses a specific plan of study, like environmental biotechnology or surface and subsurface hydrology. Additional requirements for graduation include exams, a dissertation defense, and publishing two technical papers.

PhD in Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 7 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $1,184/credit (in state); $1,546/credit (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships

PhD in Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Online application and $60 application fee
  • Three letters of reference, a resume, and a statement of purpose
  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering or related field
  • Official transcripts
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE test scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international students
8

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

The University of Arizona, founded in 1885, is known for high-quality academic programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Along with its PhD in Environmental Engineering, the school offers doctoral degrees in fields like epidemiology, environmental science, English literature, genetics, and chemical engineering.

PhD in Environmental Engineering

This graduate study program takes an interdisciplinary approach, as students must complete dissertation research in collaboration with minor departments like civil engineering, chemical engineering, and geological engineering. Something that sets this program apart is that non-resident graduate students are eligible for thesis and dissertation tuition scholarships.

A bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline is an admission requirement, but in some cases, applicants with a different background can complete coursework to qualify for admission. This school also allows students to participate in a graduate teaching assistantship to help pay for their education.

PhD in Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 6 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 17.39%
  • Tuition and Fees: $17,925/semester (in state); $28,025/semester (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities : Graduate assistantships and associateships, research and teaching assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships

PhD in Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose
  • Proof of English language proficiency for international students (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Common European Framework of Reference [CEFR])
  • Application fee of $85 for US-based students and $95 for international students
9

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio

Another renowned, student-centered public research university on our list is the University of Cincinnati , which was founded in 1819. While you focus on your degree program, you will also meet like-minded people studying in other doctoral programs. Some of these PhD programs include Chemical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science, and Mechanical Engineering.

PhD in Environmental Engineering

In this graduate program, students gain fundamental knowledge of ecosystem sustainability, resource challenges, and environmental hazard management. They’ll cultivate in-depth knowledge on specializations like air quality and water quality through coursework, research, and their final comprehensive examination and dissertation defense.

PhD in Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: 746/credit hour (in district), $771/credit hour (in state), and $1,333/credit hour (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships, loans, fellowships and scholarships, and underrepresented minority scholarships

PhD in Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • $75 application fee
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE test scores
  • Transcripts and proof of previous degrees
  • Statement of purpose and two letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English language proficiency for international students (TOEFL or IELTS)
10

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

If you’re interested in hands-on experience with industrial and environmental challenges, University of North Dakota (UND) could be the right place for your doctoral studies. The school takes an interdisciplinary approach to STEM, and as a PhD student you’ll share lab space with students in other engineering and environmental science programs.

PhD in Environmental Engineering

While pursuing your degree in this program, you must complete at least 90 credits of coursework, a research dissertation, and an oral comprehensive examination. The program also allows you to collaborate with students in UND College of Engineering programs, such as geological, electrical, petroleum, energy, and civil engineering.

PhD in Environmental Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: Up to 7 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $596/credit (in person); $853/credit (online)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs

PhD in Environmental Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Non-refundable $35 application fee
  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • Official transcripts from colleges or universities attended
  • 3.0 GPA
  • GRE scores
  • Personal statement
  • Proof of English language proficiency for international students

Can You Get a PhD in Environmental Engineering Online?

Yes, you can get a PhD in Environmental Engineering online. There are several part-time and full-time environmental engineering PhD programs you can enroll in without being limited by distance. These are high-quality academic programs that are accredited. Check out the next section to see our picks for the best online environmental engineering PhD programs.

Best Online PhD Programs in Environmental Engineering

School Program Length
Bircham International University Online PhD in Environmental Engineering 2 years
Mississippi State University Online PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering N/A
Texas A&M University Online PhD in Engineering 3-5 years
University of North Dakota Online PhD in Environmental Engineering 4 years

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Environmental Engineering?

It takes four to six years to get a PhD in Environmental Engineering while studying full time and seven to eight years while studying part-time. Doctoral programs take this long because students must conduct original research, write a thesis, complete a dissertation defense before a committee, and prepare publications based on their study.

The plan of study includes core coursework that covers fundamental knowledge and advanced elective courses. Students complete coursework in the first few years of their studies before moving on to research aligned with their professional goals. Most programs also require a preliminary and a comprehensive examination before and after your dissertation defense.

Is a PhD in Environmental Engineering Hard?

Yes, a PhD in Environmental Engineering is hard. First and foremost, every field of engineering is complex because of the intense core coursework that covers math, physics, and other technical and scientific knowledge. This is true for all degree levels and is especially true for doctoral programs, since they’re the highest-level degrees offered.

An environmental engineering PhD student will gain advanced knowledge in topic areas like ecological systems. As part of their program of study, PhD students defend a dissertation and publish papers based on their original research. Completing a PhD requires a lot of dedication, so you should only apply if the programs align with your personal goals.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a PhD in Environmental Engineering?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), it costs around $19,314 per year to get a PhD in Environmental Engineering. This range covers many program types, specializations, and study locations. Keep in mind that private universities are more expensive and public institutions will have more affordable tuition.

There are many ways to fund your doctoral studies. Many programs offer funding and stipends for doctoral students, and you can apply for scholarships or financial aid. You can finance your studies through work-study options, such as a teaching assistantship or research fellowship. Some programs also admit part-time students, allowing you to study while keeping your day job.

How to Pay for a PhD in Environmental Engineering: PhD Funding Options

The PhD funding options for environmental engineering PhD students include scholarships, tuition waivers, teaching assistantships, research fellowships, and student loans. University admissions offices and specific departments can provide you with the information relevant to your specific program.

While residency can affect your tuition costs, there are scholarships specifically for international students . You can also request employee sponsorship for your PhD program if you’re working and studying simultaneously. Not all employers offer tuition reimbursement and there might be conditions attached to this funding, but it’s an option worth investigating.

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What Is the Difference Between an Environmental Engineering Master’s Degree and PhD?

Two key differences between an environmental engineering PhD and a master’s degree are the amount of time it takes to get them and the level of expertise gained. Based on the widely-accepted academic degree hierarchy, an environmental engineering PhD takes four to six years to complete and is the highest level of education you can complete. A master’s degree takes one to two years to complete and ranks below a PhD.

In other words, an environmental engineering PhD is superior to an environmental engineering master’s degree. While every program is different, a PhD will always require original research and new contributions to the field, whereas some master’s degrees only require coursework. Both graduate degrees are highly respected and will lead to great career opportunities.

Master’s vs. PhD in Environmental Engineering Job Outlook

Across disciplines, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment in master’s-level occupations in general will grow by 17 percent through 2026, while career opportunities for doctoral-level professionals will increase by 13 percent. These statistics apply to those with graduate degrees in environmental engineering as well.

Difference in Salary for Environmental Engineering Master’s vs. PhD

According to PayScale, environmental engineering PhD program graduates earn $78,000 per year on average , while master’s program graduates earn an average of $71,000 per year . While a $7,000 difference might not seem significant at first, this earnings gap can increase as you advance into more senior roles.

Salaries for both degrees are subject to change as the industry grows, and factors like job location and the year you’re hired can affect annual salaries. Nonetheless, extensive opportunities for high-paying jobs are available to those with graduate degrees, and you can increase your earning potential by prioritizing professional development.

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Why You Should Get a PhD in Environmental Engineering

You should get a PhD in Environmental Engineering because it can help you reach the peak of your career in environmental engineering. Organizations all over the world hire environmental engineers, meaning you’ll have incredible job opportunities. If you’re an engineer looking to refine and deepen your expertise, a PhD can help you reach your professional goals.

Reasons for Getting a PhD in Environmental Engineering

  • Higher salaries. With a PhD in Environmental Engineering, you can be confident that you’ll earn more than you would with other degrees, like an associate , bachelor’s , or master’s degree.
  • Career versatility. A PhD in Environmental Engineering makes you versatile and broadens your skill set. A greater breadth of knowledge will increase your competency. Career subject areas include water resources, stormwater management, public health, and ecological safety.
  • Limitless opportunities. Getting a PhD in Environmental Engineering makes you eligible for all kinds of jobs and opportunities, like the ability to influence engineering at consulting firms, making a difference at non-profit or government agencies, designing experimental research programs, or innovating in the private sector.
  • Job security. Acquiring a PhD in Environmental Engineering will let you enjoy a stable job market and career growth. Our changing world and the ever-present environmental issues around the world mean that this is a stable profession, where your expertise will always be in demand.

Getting a PhD in Environmental Engineering: Environmental Engineering PhD Coursework

Two men in industrial safety helmets and jackets are looking at a white paper
Environmental engineers must complete research and specific amounts of credits in coursework before graduation.

Getting a PhD in Environmental Engineering requires a lot of you, from paying tuition to completing your coursework and dissertation defense. Coursework differs between individual specializations, so you’ll need to ensure that your plan of study aligns with your personal goals. Below are some relevant graduate-level courses you may encounter in your studies.

Air Pollution Control

This course teaches students how to identify air pollutants and employ control methods suitable for different contexts and industries. Students learn fundamental knowledge about air pollution chemistry, the effects of air pollution on public health and environmental issues it causes, and government policies on air quality.

Waste Management

One of the core courses in environmental engineering is waste management. This course introduces students to existing waste management policies, types of environmental waste, and waste management methods. It also helps graduate students understand the role of environmental engineers in ensuring a clean and safe ecosystem.

Water Resources Sampling and Analysis

You are most likely to find this course in many environmental engineering PhD programs during your school search journey. That’s because it focuses on the study of water and how to identify water-related vulnerabilities. Students also learn to identify different water samples and interpret laboratory results.

Energy and Environmental Resources and Policies

This course revolves around energy policies, natural resources, and environmental laws. Students also learn how to analyze energy markets and recommend new approaches. Successfully completing this course gives you insights into the responsibilities of an environmental consultant, especially in government agencies.

Transportation Engineering

This course focuses on urban planning and transportation systems from an engineering perspective. Students learn how to regulate road construction activities without jeopardizing environmental health. Most environmental engineering PhD programs allow for specialization in transportation engineering.

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How to Get a PhD in Environmental Engineering: Doctoral Program Requirements

Getting a PhD in Environmental Engineering isn’t complicated, but since it’s a long process, you need to make sure you’re staying on track. With an academic advisor, you’ll be able to successfully navigate through your program within the stipulated time. We’ve included an overview of the major doctoral program requirements below.

1

Admission Requirement

Starting at the very beginning, you’ll need to get into a PhD program that aligns with your personal goals. Every prospective PhD student must have a bachelor's or master's degree from a reputable academic institution. Admissions requirements generally include letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, and official transcripts.

2

Coursework Completion

Completing your coursework is a key part of your PhD program. Students must complete all required coursework and credit units according to the curriculum before they receive admission to candidacy, meaning approval to begin dissertation work. PhD-level coursework ensures that you have all of the fundamental knowledge you’ll need to do your own research project.

3

Examination Requirement

PhD students must pass a comprehensive exam in their field of study, with some schools requiring multiple exams. These exams can take place at the end of the first or second year, depending on your school's calendar. If you succeed, you will move to the candidacy phase, which is the dissertation phase.

4

Conduct and Document Your Research

Graduate students pursuing a PhD in Environmental Engineering submit a dissertation proposal, conduct research, and document their work. This dissertation work must be original research that advances your field of engineering. Every student has their own research committee made up of internal and external professors who they consult with while researching.

5

Oral Dissertation Defense

After submitting your dissertation or research work, you will defend your work to the committee of professors you worked with during the research process. You will answer their questions about your research techniques and results. If your answers satisfy the committee, you will receive a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.

6

Thesis for PhD in Environmental Engineering

The thesis for your PhD in Environmental Engineering is the result of the dissertation research and defense process. Submitting your written thesis concludes your plan of study and qualifies you for graduation. It’s the ultimate proof of your in-depth knowledge of environmental practices and environmental issues and their effects on humanity.

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PhD in Environmental Engineering Salary and Job Outlook

Since it’s the highest academic degree in the field, you can be confident that your salary and job outlook with a PhD in Environmental Engineering is promising. BLS predicts a four percent increase in the job outlook for environmental engineers within the next decade. If you’re wondering about what kind of work you can find, you can find a list of top jobs below.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Environmental Engineering?

With a PhD in Environmental Engineering, you can do many things within your field of engineering or in a related area. You can work in academia, healthcare, technology, construction, or for private industry, non-profits, or government agencies. Specific jobs include environmental engineer, environmental health scientist, and public health personnel.

Best Jobs With a PhD in Environmental Engineering

  • Senior Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist
  • Senior Environmental Health and Safety Engineer
  • Civil Engineering Specialist
  • Senior Environmental Engineer

What Is the Average Salary for a PhD in Environmental Engineering?

According to PayScale, the average annual salary for someone with a PhD in Environmental Engineering is $78,000 . Note that this is an average figure, so your specific wages can vary based on job location, your industry, and your particular skillset. In any case, your annual salary can increase as you gain more experience and advance in your career.

Highest-Paying Environmental Engineering Jobs for PhD Grads

Environmental Engineering PhD Jobs Average Salary
Senior Civil Engineer $98,677
Senior Environmental Engineer $98,165
Senior Environmental Health and Safety Engineer $92,383
Senior Environmental Compliance Specialist $87,577
Senior Environmental Scientist $83,298

Best Environmental Engineering Jobs With a Doctorate

Since a PhD in Environmental Engineering is the most advanced degree in the field, you’ll be qualified for the best environmental engineering jobs. Top companies that hire environmental engineers look for expertise and experience, and someone with a PhD is the best choice for these positions. The high-paying jobs listed below would be suitable for anyone with a doctorate in environmental engineering.

1

Senior Civil Engineer

PhD Salary: $98,677

PhD graduates can work as an on-site or off-site civil engineering specialist. Civil engineering specialists survey land, test soil, and evaluate the quality of foundations. Most importantly, they use their expertise to check for potential environmental hazards before, during, and after a construction project.

2

Senior Environmental Engineer

PhD Salary: $98,165

Environmental engineers apply engineering principles to find solutions for environmental issues. They focus on improving waste management, minimizing environmental hazards, and improving global public health. They work within different professions and can be found in offices or construction sites.

3

Senior Environmental Health and Safety Engineer

PhD Salary: $92,383

Health and safety engineers combine engineering and health knowledge to design systems for protecting people and properties from industrial damage. They ensure a safe environment for industrial activities by inspecting machinery and guiding public health policies. They also work closely with environmental health specialists.

4

Senior Environmental Compliance Specialist

PhD Salary: $87,577

Environmental compliance specialists inspect work conditions and environments. They audit procedures, prepare reports on their findings, and recommend health insurance policies. In other words, they examine workplaces for environmental issues and provide solutions for existing problems.

5

Senior Environmental Scientist

PhD Salary: $83,298

Environmental scientists focus on protecting the environment and human health, just like other careers in this field. They collect and analyze environmental data from soil, air, and water samples. They use their research results to develop plans to fix, control or manage environmental issues. Anyone with a PhD in Environmental Engineering can excel in this job.

Is a PhD in Environmental Engineering Worth It?

Yes, a PhD in Environmental Engineering is worth it for those looking to advance in their careers and contribute to safeguarding the planet. With this degree, you can command respect among your peers, earn a good salary, and enjoy job security. Since environmental issues are a global issue, you can work anywhere in the world with this degree.

Studying environmental engineering at the doctoral level and learning from world-class faculty helps you develop your expertise and acquire in-demand skills in your field. Whether you plan to work in academia, non-governmental agencies, a private industry, or for the government, adding a PhD to your resume is guaranteed to bring your career to the next level.

Additional Reading About Environmental Engineering

This guide describes some of the best environmental engineering jobs for graduates at every education level.

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This guide describes some of the best environmental engineering jobs for graduates at every education level.

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Environmental engineering is a rewarding career. Read on to learn about the best companies for environmental engineers.

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PhD in Environmental Engineering FAQ

Do environmental engineers need a license to practice?

Yes, most environmental engineers need a license to practice independently. However, the licensing requirements are subject to state rules. Because of this, you have to adhere to the criteria stipulated in the state where you want to work. You can research individual state requirements with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

Can you acquire other certifications with a PhD in Environmental Engineering?

Yes, you can acquire other professional certifications even after earning a PhD in Environmental Engineering. There is a wide spectrum of certifications that will give you an edge in the field of environmental engineering. An example of such a certification is Registered Environmental Professional from the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP).

Are there professional support organizations for environmental engineers?

Yes, a broad range of professional organizations support environmental engineers throughout their careers. These organizations provide networking opportunities, continuing education, and other relevant career information. These organizations include the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

What are the top cities with environmental engineering jobs for PhD students?

According to Glassdoor, the top cities with environmental engineering jobs for PhD students are San Diego, Columbus, Seattle, Minneapolis, New York, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Boston, and Bethesda. However, you can find lucrative jobs suitable for PhD students in other cities.

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Oluwaniyi Raji

About the author: Raji is an expert content writer who specializes in B2B business sales writing and blog writing. Outside of his writing career, he is interested in learning how to code and develop websites. Raji holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Lagos.

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