D. Env in Environmental Science and Engineering



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

Which program should I apply for, the Environmental Science and Engineering D. Env. or the Environment and Sustainability Ph.D.?

The UCLA Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IoES) has two doctoral programs, the professional doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering (D.Env.) and the Ph.D. in Environment and Sustainability. Both programs are interdisciplinary, both equip students with diverse perspectives to tackle pressing environmental issues, and both provide opportunities to interact with students and faculty across all the programs and projects of IoES, and more broadly across UCLA.

Environmental Science and Engineering, D.Env.

  • A professionally oriented program – the only professional environmental doctorate in the nation.
  • Emphasizes interactions between science, engineering, public policy, economics, and law in the protection of the environment and public health.
  • Students spend two years in residence completing courses, including a major applied “Problems Course” completed in the second year.
  • The dissertation is completed off campus, typically in two years, while the student is in professional residence at an environmentally focused organization – a business, public agency, consulting firm, environmental group, or non-profit organization.
  • Of the program’s 250 alumni, about 90 percent are in non-academic careers in the public, private, or non-profit sectors.  

Environment and Sustainability, Ph.D.

  • A research oriented program
  • Newly established, with the inaugural class starting in Fall 2018
  • Emphasizes interdisciplinarity and innovation in research to understand paramount environment and sustainability challenges
  • Students have two advisors, from distinct disciplinary backgrounds
  • Students develop an individualized program of courses in consultation with their advisors, including a small number of core courses plus additional courses that develop the foundation of knowledge and skills to support the student’s research aims, in their dissertation and their subsequent career.
  • Students are typically in residence through the entire program. 
  • The program will prepare students for a wide range of academic and research careers, as well as careers in environment and sustainability in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

If you are unsure which program is right for you, we are happy to discuss it with you – or to help you transfer your application to the other program.