PhD Program Requirements - Environmental Engineering

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The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research degree: the primary objective is to train students to be competent independent researchers.  The research experience is the heart of the Ph.D. program, and the stated requirements should be considered as elements supporting this primary objective.  Because each student will have individual research interests and objectives, we attempt to design each student’s program to best address their needs.   As a result there are no formally designated components or tracks within the Ph.D.

A doctoral program consists of (1) prescribed course work, (2) a qualifying examination, (3) a comprehensive examination, (4) research, (5) a dissertation, and (6) a final oral examination. While these components are the same for all students, specific requirements are developed for each student by the advisor and guidance committee in dialog with the student.  Coursework normally consists of at least 15 credits of courses beyond those completed for the M.S. degree, including a course in the first year on research methods and strategies.  The remaining elements relate to the research topic developed by the student and academic advisor.  The overall program of doctoral study normally requires at least 3 years, with most effort devoted to conducting independent research,  development of a doctoral dissertation, and preparation of research publications.  There are also opportunities to attend professional conferences, study or perform research off-campus, including with collaborating researchers in other countries, work as a teaching assistant, and participate in outreach activities. 

Students may elect to pursue a doctoral specialization in Environmental Science and Policy by meeting the course requirements of the program as a part of their elective coursework, and participating in required program activities such as seminars.  Specific requirements can be found at http://www.espp.msu.edu/index.php. Doctoral students can also elect to earn a certificate in Global Water Engineering.

Additional details on program requirements can be found in the Environmental Engineering Graduate Handbook on the graduate resources webpage.