Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

EEES Degrees

M.S. Hydrogeology
M.S. Environmental Engineering & Science
Ph.D. Environmental Engineering & Science
M.S. and Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering

Master of Science – Hydrogeology

This interdisciplinary program provides students an opportunity to investigate a wide range of problems based in geology, with a particular focus on groundwater geology and subsurface remediation. The curriculum is structured to impart a strong background in field experimentation complemented by laboratory studies and computer modeling. Students may pursue a variety of research projects in hydrogeology and related areas such as environmental geochemistry, geophysics, sedimentology, stratigraphy, geostatistics, environmental remediation, and groundwater contaminant flow and transport modeling. Students completing the MS Hydrogeology receive both a practical skill set and fundamental knowledge base that make them highly competitive for careers in industry and government while also preparing them as outstanding candidates for continuing studies in a PhD program.

Students are required to complete 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of research credit.
Of these course credits, one must be a modeling course (GEOL 808 recommended), a field course (GEOL 875 recommended), and a minimum of three other 800-level geology courses.
Candidates must write a thesis based on original research and defend it in an oral examination. In special cases, a non-thesis option is available for students on leave from industry; it requires 30 hours of coursework and a comprehensive written examination.
Candidates should have a baccalaureate degree in the geosciences; however, students having strong undergraduate backgrounds in other fields of science or related engineering disciplines may be admitted but will be required to correct deficiencies in their geological education during their first year. Specifically, GEOL 101/103, 206, 302; and 314, 316, and 413 (or equivalents) are required. Students entering the program should also have a strong mathematics background; normally two semesters of calculus are required and a third semester is recommended.

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 six focus areas: (i) Environmental Chemistry, (ii) Environmental Fate & Transport, (iii) Environmental Health Physics, (iv) Process Engineering, (v) Environmental Radiochemistry, (vi) 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.

Environmental Fate & Transport – 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.

Environmental Health Physics – Addresses broad environmental issues associated with anthropogenic and natural radioactivity. The objective of the curriculum is to provide students with knowledge and training needed to protect human health and the environment from ionizing radiation. Integral to this focus area is assessing risk associated with the radiation. Research areas include low-level radiation detection, radiochemistry, analytical techniques to quantify stable elements utilizing radiation, environmental monitoring, radionuclide transport, radioactive waste management, and risk assessment.

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.

Environmental Radiochemistry – Introduces the fundamental concepts associated with quantification of radioactivity in the environment as well as chemical separations important for radioactive material production. The objective of the curriculum is to provide students with knowledge and training in such areas as environmental restoration, waste management, spent nuclear fuel processing, nuclear waste management, materials deposition, and isotope production.

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. See the detailed requirements broken down by focus area here (pdf document).
Thesis research must culminate in the presentation of a satisfactory thesis for MS candidates or a special problem report for MEng. candidates. A MS non-thesis option, which requires 30 hours of coursework and three hours of independent study, 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 EE&S Department and the Graduate School may pursue the M.S. degree.

For admission to the M.S. 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 and actually entered the program for the past two years are shown in the table below.


Accepted Applicants
Percentile 2008-09 2009-10
 25th V=432 Q=737 A=3.5 V=485 Q=725 A=3.25
 75th V=500 Q=800 A=4.25 V=565 Q=800 A=4.5
Matriculated Students
 25th V=375 Q=710 A=3.25 V=490 Q=685 A=3.5
 75th V=505 Q=800 A=4.5 V=565 Q=790 A=4.75


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 corequisites needed to prepare them for the EE&S program. A graduate of a science discipline is expected to have completed at some time during his or her academic career a year each of physics (with calculus) and general chemistry, and mathematics through multivariable calculus and ordinary differential equations. Prerequisite course work is prescribed to fill gaps in these areas. No prerequisites are required of students with accredited engineering undergraduate degrees. Some corequisite courses may be required of M.S. students, depending on which of the areas of specialization the student elects to pursue.

Doctor of Philosophy – Environmental Engineering & Science

The PhD program provides students with a comprehensive background in the fundamental aspects of environmental engineering and/or earth sciences. The major field of study is generally interdisciplinary in nature, consisting of coursework in several areas of engineering and the basic sciences. Each student’s curriculum and research program is tailored to suit his/her personal and professional goals.

A typical student will complete XX hours of course credit selected from appropriate courses at Clemson under advisement of a major thesis advisor.
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 is a significant commitment of time and effort.  Applicants should communicate with professors 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 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 masters degree in a related science or engineering field may apply directly to the PhD program. Students with exceptional records and experience in research will be considered for the PhD degree without a master's degree, while most students admitted to the PhD program will have previously received a Masters degree. Students may also be accepted for continued study from either the MS Hydrogeology or MS/MEng EE&S program.

For admission to the Ph.D. 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 and who actually entered the program for the past two years are shown in the table below.


Accepted Applicants
Percentile 2008-09 2009-10
 25th V=432 Q=737 A=3.5 V=485 Q=725 A=3.25
 75th V=500 Q=800 A=4.25 V=565 Q=800 A=4.5
Matriculated Students
 25th V=375 Q=710 A=3.25 V=490 Q=685 A=3.5
 75th V=505 Q=800 A=4.5 V=565 Q=790 A=4.75

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy - Biosystems Engineering

The biosystems engineering graduate program is designed to prepare graduates for leadership, creative accomplishment and continued professional learning, and to prepare graduates to effectively conduct independent scientific research.

Students from all engineering disciplines are encouraged to apply.  Applicants from non-engineering disciplines are welcome, but may be required to take additional undergraduate courses

Each degree program is planned individually to augment the student's previous engineering and science background with adequate breadth in engineering and specialization in an area of biosystems engineering. In addition to biosystems engineering, course work includes mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics, and biological and engineering sciences.