Environmental Science and Engineering, D. Env.

We train the next generation of master environmental problem solvers using the unique, practice-intensive method of IoES. The Environmental Science and Engineering professional doctorate was founded by Nobel laurate Willard Libby in 1973. Since then, more than 230 graduates have gone on to take senior leadership positions at places such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Walt Disney Company, the Army Corps of Engineers and AECOM.

A diverse, practice-based education

Our commitment to hands-on environmental education and research is a major part of our students’ success. It begins with rigorous study of diverse subjects from 12 academic departments, including science, engineering, business management, public policy and law. After that, students conduct supervised research and publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals. The doctorate culminates in a full year of real-world practice—a hallmark of IoES. Students prepare their dissertation while working full time with businesses, government agencies and environmental groups. This practical research is done under the supervision of a UCLA doctoral committee. Successful completion of this dissertation results in the award of the Doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering.

A history of success

Our academically diverse, practical degree prepares graduates to take on today’s most complex environmental problems. They’ve written laws and regulations to improve our air and water. They’ve helped Fortune 500 companies become greener. They’ve designed and built sustainable infrastructure and housing all over the world. And they’ve helped to create our nation’s first statewide network of Marine Protected Areas. While the issues they face transcend borders and boundaries, they are relevant locally to people all over the planet.

“The value of the ESE program is best exemplified by the success of its graduates and the leadership positions many now hold in the U.S. and around the world.” Steve Kahane

ESE alumni, President and CEO, International Coatings


Students entering the ESE Program must have a Master’s Degree demonstrating their specialized competence in a scientific or engineering discipline. Their overall academic record, including GRE scores (and TOEFL scores when applicable), must reflect exceptional verbal and quantitative skills, and strong motivation toward academic achievement. Admission to the Program has always been highly competitive. About 4-6 students are accepted each year.

Academic Program


The program is administered by the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and offered in collaboration with twelve academic departments in the College of Letters and Science and the Schools of Engineering, Management, Public Health, Public Policy and Law. All students take courses in air pollution, water quality, applied ecology, environmental toxicology, water quality control systems, environmental economics, and environmental law. In addition, students take elective courses chosen from the wide variety of environmental courses offered at UCLA.

Problems Course

During the second year, all students participate in a Problems Course consisting of a supervised research project directed towards the solution of a current environmental problem. This intensive research effort typically occurs over a 12-15 month period, and leads to one or more peer-reviewed journal articles.


After year two, students begin their dissertation internship in the workplace at businesses, regulatory agencies, consulting firms or environmental groups. The internship provides practical experience in environmental analysis and management, as well as the opportunity to conduct a dissertation research project under the supervision of a UCLA doctoral committee. Successful completion of the dissertation results in the award of the Doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering (D.Env.).