Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering

In this nationally respected department, Ph.D. candidates pursue research at the vanguard of environmental engineering—while solving real-world problems from university partners in government and industry. Students might collaborate with the creator of Tunisia’s solid waste master plan, the manager of more than 150 research projects, or the force behind the removal of arsenic from well water in Bangladesh. In the process, they conduct their research in a renowned center with some of the world’s most advanced research laboratories and testing facilities.

Faculty Distinctions

  • Provost and University Vice President George Korfiatis has managed more than 150 research projects (valued at over $30 million), authored over 90 articles, produced three books, co-authored six environmental U.S. patents, lent his expertise to numerous private and government organizations, and co-founded two successful environmental technology companies, among many other achievements.
  • The distinguished career of Professor Christos Christodoulatos includes more than $11 million in research funding and such accomplishments as the recovery of nutrients from inedible plant material. His current research interests include the environmental behavior of nanoparticles and their use for water treatment.
  • A renowned expert in arsenic and heavy metals, Professor Xiaoguang Meng conducts research to uncover the role of nanoparticles in environmental remediation. His research has led to the development of household filtration units for the removal of arsenic from well water in Bangladesh.
  • Associate Professor David Vaccari researches a vast range of environmental topics involving biological processes, physicochemical processes, and system modeling. The International Association on Water Quality USA presented him with its Founders Award for the outstanding paper in water research by a U.S. author.
  • The co-author of nearly 40 journal articles and conference papers, Research Associate Professor Washington Braida is collaborating to produce a seminal handbook on sediments quality for the Water Environmental Federation. His interests range from the remediation of heavy metals to the environmental compatibility of consumer products.
  • Still in the earliest stages of his career, Research Assistant Professor Deok Hyun Moon has already co-authored more than 30 papers. He researches such areas as sludge and sediments, the stabilization and solidification of heavy metals in contaminated soils, and solid waste material characterization, among others.
  • Research Associate Professor Tsan-Liang Su directs laboratory operations at the Center for Environmental Systems. The co-author of nearly 20 papers, he focuses on a variety of research topics, from the environmental fate transport of energetic materials to flushability studies of non-woven consumer products.
  • Research Associate Professor Mohammed Sidhoum developed the national solid waste master plan for the country of Tunisia. For more than 20 years, he has consulted extensively with companies in the petrochemical and natural gas industries and designed numerous treatment plants in the United States, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Research Areas

  • Heavy metals and inorganics. Renowned for their depth of research in this area, Stevens’ faculty study the fate, transport, and treatment of arsenic and heavy metals in water and solids, among other areas.
  • Biological wastewater treatment. Stevens’ faculty have applied control theory to the activated sludge process, then developed and marketed software to simulate and control that process.
  • Groundwater and wastewater. Research topics include groundwater hydrology and pollution, geochemical modeling, and remedial technologies for contaminated wastewater and groundwater.
  • Environmental sustainability. Researchers investigate such areas as the environmental compatibility of consumer products—especially the fate and biotransformation of these products when placed in the environment.
  • Nanotechnology. Several environmental engineering faculty collaborate with others in the Nanotechnology Graduate Program (NGP) to research such areas as the fate and transport of nanomaterials and their use in water treatment and remediation.

Centers & Facilities

Internationally recognized for its promotion of environmental science, technology, and management, the Center for Environmental Systems (CES) fosters basic and applied research to create novel solutions for complex, real-world environmental problems. CES’s state-of-the-art research laboratories and testing facilities include multimedia capabilities for wastewater, liquid waste, solid waste, and air studies, as well as fully automated instrumentation for the analysis of organics, inorganics, and metals. The 25 staff members carry a broad range of expertise in major areas of the discipline, from modeling and remote sensing to bioremediation and life cycle assessment.

Degree Requirements

You must earn 84 graduate credits to complete the doctoral program. Of these credits, 15 to 30 must be earned through course work, and 30 to 45 via dissertation work. You may apply up to 30 credits from a master’s program toward your doctoral degree.

At the first opportunity after completing the first 30 credits of the program, which includes the master’s degree, you must take a written qualifying examination to test your comprehension of engineering fundamentals and mathematics. After passing the qualifying examination and completing the required course work, you must take an oral preliminary examination to evaluate your aptitude for advanced research and your understanding of the subjects associated with your dissertation topics. Upon satisfactory completion of this oral examination, you become a doctoral candidate and start your dissertation research.

Doctoral research must be based on an original investigation, and the results must make a significant, state-of-the-art contribution to the field, worthy of publication in current professional literature. At the completion of the research, you must defend your thesis in a public presentation.