Matthew Bentley"The EVEN faculty are of the highest quality, and I feel that I have gained the necessary knowledge, skills, and professional experience to pursue a career in global environmental engineering."
Matthew Bentley, 2020 PhD EVEN and Mortenson Center in Global Engineering graduate.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Environmental Engineering, CU Boulder.

The CU Boulder Environmental Engineering PhD program is available to students entering graduate studies for the first time (i.e., with a BS or BA degree), as well as to those who already have a Master’s. Many incoming PhD students have degrees in engineering, although we routinely admit students from other fields, such as physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry.

As a PhD student at the CU Boulder Environmental Engineering Program, you learn extensive fundamental and foundational knowledge in your field of study and become an expert in your area of research.

Students entering without prior graduate coursework will take around five years, on average, to complete their degree. However, it is not uncommon to finish earlier or later, depending on your individual circumstances.

The requirements for the PhD degree in Environmental Engineering are:

  1. Satisfactory completion of a preliminary examination, based on MS degree-level course work in Environmental Engineering topics. As a doctoral student, you shall take a Preliminary Examination as determined by the faculty of the specialty area in which you are enrolled, normally not later than 12 months from the time you first enrolled in the Doctoral Program. You must pass this examination in order to continue in the Doctoral Program.
  2. Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination to defend the PhD thesis proposal.
    The Comprehensive Examination shall consist of a written and an oral examination. The exam may not be attempted until your last semester of formal course work. At the Comprehensive Examination, you shall present a plan for the dissertation research to the Advisory Committee for approval. Failure to pass the Comprehensive Examination may be remedied by repeating the examination after an interval of not less than four months.
  3. A minimum of thirty semester hours of relevant graduate-level courses must be completed. MS graduates from our program may transfer up to thirty semester hours of relevant graduate-level courses, pending program approval. However, you must have completed the Environmental Engineering core courses (6 hours), and a quantitative analysis class (3 hours, satisfied by CVEN 5537, CVEN 5454, MCEN 5020 or a similar graduate-level class). Coursework must be completed with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.
  4. A minimum of thirty semester hours of dissertation work.
  5. Four semesters of Environmental Engineering graduate seminar, a non-credit seminar requiring attendance at 2/3 of the seminars each semester for satisfactory completion.
  6. Satisfactory completion and defense of a PhD thesis under the supervision of a research advisor who is a member of the Environmental Engineering faculty. 

If you are transferring from another institution, up to 21 semester hours of graduate course work taken at the MS level may be transferred or applied to meet the 30-hour course requirement for the PhD. Courses transferred or applied must be relevant to your PhD degree, follow the rules established by the Graduate School for transfer credit, and credit acceptance is at the discretion of the Environmental Engineering faculty.