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Environmental Engineering and Science Degrees

SamplingM.S. Environmental Engineering & Science
Ph.D. Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

Master of Science – Environmental Engineering and Science

Environmental engineering and science is concerned with the characterization and control of environmental pollution. Emphasis is placed on applying the fundamental principles of the basic engineering sciences through research and design to the solution of environmental problems in natural and engineered systems. Students may specialize in one of five focus areas: (i) Environmental Chemistry, (ii) Surface and Subsurface Processes, (iii) Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science (NEES), (iv) Process Engineering, (v) Sustainable Systems & Environmental Assessment.

  • Environmental Chemistry - Introduces the fundamental concepts important to environmental chemistry. In particular, the focus is on understanding sources of chemicals in the environment and the characteristics of the chemical and the environment that control fate and effects. Also of interest are the physical, chemical and biological processes that affect the behavior of inorganic and organic contaminants in natural and engineered systems and how these properties may be exploited to detect, quantitatively model and control the contaminants in environmental systems.

    Surface and Subsurface Processes - Provides students with the knowledge and training needed to deal with transport and fate processes in engineered and natural systems. Natural systems will include the atmosphere, surface waters and subsurface waters. The incorporation of the results of transport analyses into management decisions involving monitoring and remediation often requires the quantification and analysis of various real and perceived risks, so an additional objective will be to provide the basic tools needed for risk and decision analysis. A fundamental, quantitative understanding of all these processes will be emphasized, so that students will be able to adapt readily to the ever changing conditions in the real world.

    Process Engineering - The purpose of the process engineering area is to prepare graduates to design engineered systems for removing contaminants from air, water, and soil - an activity that is central to the field of environmental engineering. Because of the continually evolving nature of the problems faced by environmental engineers, courses in this emphasis area focus on the approach to problem solving rather than on specific solutions to today's problems. This provides the students with a strong foundation in unit operations and the ability to assemble them into process trains capable of solving any pollution control problem, regardless of its complexity or nature.

    Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science (NEES) - Explores topics such as environmental health physics, risk assessment, environmental radiochemistry, actinide chemistry, and radioactive waste management. The research efforts primarily focus on radiation detection and measurements, environmental radiochemistry, radionuclide fate and transport, and radioactive waste processing. Students within the NEES program may follow either the Environmental Radiochemistry track or the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) accredited Environmental Health Physics track.

    Sustainable Systems & Environmental Assessment - Challenges students to think about environmental systems in a broader context. The objective of the curriculum is to provide a basis for the analysis of complex interactions between human and natural systems. The core courses cover fundamental principles of systems analysis and risk assessment while the electives allow students to define a path of study that bridges scientific and social inquiry.

  • All students are required to take 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of research credit.

  • Thesis research must culminate in the presentation of a satisfactory thesis for MS candidates. A MS non-thesis option, which requires a minimum of 30 hours of coursework including three hours of a special project, is available. A final examination is required of all master’s candidates.

  • Any student with an engineering or science undergraduate degree who is accepted by the EEES Department and the Graduate School may pursue an M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering and Science (EES).

    For admission to the M.S. EES program, an applicant should have a grade point ratio/average (GPR/GPA) of at least 3.0 out of 4.0. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for students who were accepted into the program recently are shown in the table below.


    Accepted Applicants for the MS EES Program

    (excluding Environmental Health Physics)


    2013 - 2017


    V = 149

    Q = 157

    A = 3


    V = 152

    Q = 161

    A = 3.5


    V = 157

    Q = 165

    A = 4

    Science majors with a strong mathematics background are admitted to the department with appropriate prerequisites. The transcripts of such prospective students are reviewed on an individual basis to identify any undergraduate prerequisites or co-requisites needed to prepare them for the EES program. A graduate of an engineering or science discipline is expected to have completed at some time during his or her academic career the equivalent of two semesters each of general chemistry and calculus-based physics, and four semesters of calculus through multivariable calculus and ordinary differential equations. Prerequisite course work is prescribed to fill gaps in these areas.

Doctor of Philosophy – Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

Our complex world faces many challenges, including contaminated water supplies, hazardous wastes, an increasing population and limited resources. The PhD program in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences provides students with a comprehensive background in one or more fundamental aspects of environmental engineering, environmental science and/or the earth sciences. The major field of study is generally interdisciplinary in nature, consisting of coursework in several areas of the basic and applied sciences, as well as the engineering sciences, so that a better understanding of our earth and environment is obtained and to develop better solutions for the critical problems that we face now and in the future. Using principles of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics and engineering, our PhD graduates work to:

  • improve and protect air, water and soil quality,
  • ensure public safety and health,
  • evaluate and design products and processes for a more sustainable future,
  • develop sustainable approaches to energy and resource management, and
  • better understand the natural processes and human influences that shape our planet.

Each student’s PhD curriculum and research program is tailored to suit his/her personal and professional goals.

  • Students will complete at least 30 total credit hours beyond the MS degree and at least 60 credit hours beyond the BS selected from appropriate courses at Clemson under advisement of a major thesis advisor. The credit hours will be a combination of coursework and doctoral research.

  • PhD students are required to complete a satisfactory dissertation based on original research. Qualifying, comprehensive, and final examinations are required. No foreign language is required.

  • Pursuit of a PhD degree in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences (EEES) is a significant commitment of time and effort. Applicants should communicate with professors in the EEES department who are engaged in research of interest to the applicant. It is important to find a research advisor who will guide the PhD student effectively. Visit the web page of each professor and send an email to those who are involved in areas of interest. For questions about this process, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

    Students with a baccalaureate or master’s degree in a related science or engineering field may apply directly to the PhD EEES program. Students with exceptional records and experience in research will be considered for the PhD degree without a master's degree, however most students admitted to the PhD program will have previously earned their MS degree at Clemson University or elsewhere. Qualified students from Clemson University also may be accepted for continued study from either the M.S. Hydrogeology degree program or M.S. EES program.

    For admission to the PhD program, an applicant should have a grade point ratio/average (GPR/GPA) of at least 3.0 out of 4.0. The applicant must have a faculty member who has agreed to be the research advisor before final admission. Scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for students who were accepted into the program recently are shown in the table below.

    Accepted Applicants for the PhD 
    Environmental Engineering and Science* Program


    2013 - 2017


    V = 149

    Q = 155

    A = 3


    V = 154

    Q = 161

    A = 3.5


    V = 159

    Q = 164

    A = 4.5

    * As of Fall 2018, the degree will be named PhD in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences

Application Information

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For information on applying to the Graduate School, contact the Clemson Graduate School.

For specific information related to the MS in Environmental Engineering and Science and the PhD in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, please contact:

Barbara Smith

Or, come visit the Rich Labs and say Hello! to Barbara