Environmental Science and Engineering, D. Env.

Interested in helping to solve the world's environmental problems?

Do you want to work on research in the workplace that really makes a difference in protecting the environment? Then UCLA's innovative professional doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) may be the program for you. The ESE program is one of the oldest and most successful applied environmental doctorate programs in the nation. Founded by Nobel Laureate, Willard Libby, in 1973, the ESE program has produced over 230 graduates that have worked in senior leadership positions in places such as the USEPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Disney, California Air Resources Board, AECOM, MWH, Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.

A history of success:

Our graduates have helped write laws and regulations that have changed the face of air and water quality protection. They've greened Fortune 500 companies. They've restored water supplies to communities that lost their water due to groundwater contamination. They've helped build sustainable developments all over the globe. And they even helped create our nation's first statewide network of Marine Protected Areas. UCLA ESE graduates have made a difference for nearly 40 years: a difference you can see in the air we breathe and the aquatic environment we enjoy. Today's environmental professionals need scientific, engineering, and policy skills to translate our collective resolve and resources into effective environmental action. This Program focuses on the critical environmental questions of the day: problems that transcend state and national borders, yet also have local relevance.

"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

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.

Click to view courses here

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.

Click to view problems courses here


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.).

Learn about internships here.


Students entering the ESE Program must have a Master's Degree demonstrating their specialized competence in a scientific or engineering discipline. The 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.

Learn more and how to apply here

ESE News

ESE: Getting the Job Done

An IoES Graduate Program Puts Minorities & Women on the Front Lines of Environmental Problem Solving. Read more »

IoES Researchers Fight a Salamander Apocalypse

North America’s salamanders could soon face an apocalypse — from a deadly pathogen making its way here through the pet trade.

But who’s leading the charge to protect them through quick action? ESE doctoral student Tiffany Yap, who credits the program with helping her interdisciplinary approach to the problem — and the frame for her new article in Science that’s getting lots of press. Read more »

For more info contact

Myrna Gordon
ESE Program Administrator

2015-2016 Fellowship Awardees

Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship

Jeniffer Aleman-Zometa

Dr. Ursula Mandel Fellowship

Michelle Angela Thompson

Malcolm R. Stacey Fellowship

Aanchal Kohli

Jordan Rosencranz

National Water Research Institute

Khadeeja Abdullah

UCLA Competitive Edge

Jeniffer Aleman-Zometa

ESE Program Information Sheet

Download ESE Program Info Sheet