PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Fuel Innovation in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Innovation doesn’t occur by chance. Instead, discoveries emerge through curiosity, exploring how to make processes and systems better and testing ideas as you search for a solution. Clarkson University’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program creates a setting for leading advancements in civil and environmental engineering.

Why Earn a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering?

Our graduate programs in civil and environmental engineering rank high on U.S. News & World Report’s list. Through original research, our PhD candidates lead the way and focus on what matters. You’ve already acquired specialized, real-world knowledge. Yet, you seek to learn more and influence the fields’ processes and future. What should you expect?

  • Interdisciplinary: Continue to focus on a specialty through coursework and research while branching out to other related disciplines.
  • Intensive research: Our department opens the door to discovery. Learn from our world-renowned faculty while conducting your own self-directed study and using state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Thesis: Your research forms the basis for your thesis. This process further strengthens your data collection, analysis, scholarship and communication skills.


PhD candidates develop a specialty in:

  1. Environmental engineering
  2. Geotechnical engineering
  3. Structural and materials engineering
  4. Water resources engineering

The PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering involves 90 credits above the bachelor’s level. This is divided among 36 credits of coursework, a six-credit seminar, doctoral work and a thesis. Devote 15 credits toward a major, nine toward a minor field and six credits to a separate engineering discipline. Apply for PhD candidacy within two years of acceptance to the program. From here, you have seven years to finish all coursework and research.

Develop a specialty in one of the following four areas:

  • Environmental Engineering: Explore practices for preserving our world’s resources for future generations.
  • Geotechnical Engineering: Soil and rocks help support buildings and infrastructure. Study their role in project and slope stability.
  • Structural and Materials Engineering: All projects need to consider strength, stability and resilience. This subfield delves into the design, mechanics and materials involved.
  • Water Resources Engineering: Understand and help shape ideas for design, practices and water resources allocation.

Our PhD candidates spearhead research, working with teams from the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, Center for Air and Aquatic Resources Engineering and Sciences, Center for Advanced Materials Processing, the NYS Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions and the U.S. Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory to test hypotheses and consider all possible solutions. To aid your endeavor, the Department provides state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities. Learn more about research at Clarkson.

A complete application consists of the following:


  • Online Application Form.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Official Transcripts.
  • GRE is optional.
  • For international applicants, an English proficiency test is required.
    • Minimum test score requirements: TOEFL (80) and TOEFL Essentials (8.5), IELTS (6.5), PTE (56) or Duolingo English Test (115).
    • The English language-testing requirement is not waived based on language of instruction, nor do we accept university certificates. English testing is waived if an applicant has a degree from a country where English is the Native Language. Click here to see the list of these countries.

PhD Prerequisites: An MS degree from a program in civil and environmental engineering or other engineering discipline is required for admission.

Learn more about admission requirements for graduate students.

A limited number of one-year and/or partial-year tuition scholarships and stipends are available for qualified full-time students. Most scholarships and/or stipends for PhD candidates are associated with department assistantships.

Learn more about scholarships available to PhD candidates and how to apply by contacting the Engineering Department via email at

Student Perspective

"My advisor is the main reason I chose Clarkson University. I followed her research and felt it aligned well with my interests, so I was very eager to join her team. All of the faculty here are very caring, understanding and knowledgeable. I really enjoy my current research, and I have participated in two conferences where I gave oral presentations."

Mahender Singh Rawat, PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Career Possibilities

The research-heavy foundation and specialized focus of Clarkson’s PhD program prepare candidates for multiple career paths, including:

  • Education and academia
  • Advancing their career in industry
  • Moving to a research-, development- or innovation-based role in government or industry
  • Consulting


Our graduate students looking ahead to leadership or research have secured positions with:

  • Burns & McDonnell
  • CHA Consulting
  • DEW Construction
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • HUNT Engineers
  • John Deere
  • Kiewit Corporation
  • National Grid
  • Turner Construction Company
  • Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Meet Our Faculty

Students enrolled in the PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering program work closely with Department faculty. Learn more about our team, including specialties and backgrounds.

Faculty & Staff

Clarkson has an incredible reputation and connections among private industry leaders; federal, state and municipal officials and higher ed peers in finding innovative solutions that matter on global issues. For example, in 2019, New York State designated Clarkson University and SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF) to co-lead a new Center of Excellence (CoE) in Healthy Water Solutions to deliver synergistic problem-solving on the wide range of water issues impacting the Empire State. Clarkson’s world-class technical and engineering innovation expertise in healthy water systems and ESF’s renowned expertise in monitoring, watershed ecosystem management and solution development uniquely position the CoE to create and leverage partnerships across the public-private sectors.

| STEM OPT Eligible

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions Team
Phone: 518-631-9831

Interested in learning more about the PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering program? Contact Graduate Admissions today with your questions.

Find out more about the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Coulter School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

100% Graduate Placement Rate - Program Specific
Clarkson Graduate Civil Engineering accolade for Top 100 in the nation from the US News & World report.

Achieve Your Purpose Here

Help make civil and environmental engineering more sustainable through your own research and independent study. If you see yourself making this impact through Clarkson’s PhD program, take the next step: