UMass Boston

Environmental Sciences PhD

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Conduct research and develop innovative strategies to mitigate environmental threats.

Join UMass Boston's Environmental Sciences PhD program and focus on in-depth research that cultivates brand-new knowledge in the field. The School for the Environment is nationally recognized for its preparation of PhD-level environmental practitioners whose research and practical knowledge advances natural resource conservation, climate change impacts and responses in coastal marine systems, new methods and technologies for the remote study of the planet, and the development of sustainable policies and management strategies to conserve and protect human-natural systems.

In the Environmental Science PhD program with UMass Boston, you will:

  • Develop advanced research skills and expertise in your chosen field of environmental science, conducting original research that contributes to the scientific knowledge and understanding of complex environmental issues
  • Refine your critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving abilities, allowing you to identify research gaps, design rigorous studies, analyze data, and draw evidence-based conclusions to address pressing environmental challenges
  • Cultivate strong communication and collaboration skills, enabling you to effectively communicate research findings, engage with diverse stakeholders, and contribute to interdisciplinary teams working towards environmental solutions

Career Possibilities

Lead and conduct cutting-edge research in academia, government agencies, or private research institutions as an environmental research scientist. Work in governmental or non-governmental organizations to develop and evaluate environmental policies, regulations, and legislation as an environmental policy analyst. Or, pursue a career in academia, teaching and mentoring future environmental scientists. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Become a(n):

  • Environmental Researcher
  • Professor
  • Policy Analyst
  • Sustainability Director
  • Environmental Data Scientist

Start Your Application

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • Letters of Recommendation: 3
  • Other: Faculty advisor commitment

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: January 15 for fall, October 1 for spring

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar's website


Core Courses (8 Credits)

  • ENVSCI 603 - Coasts and Communities I 4 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 604 - Coasts and Communities II 4 Credit(s)

Skills Course (3 or 4 Credits)

Complete one from below.

Another course may be taken with approval of the student’s dissertation committee.

  • ENVSCI 601 - Introduction to Probability and Applied Statistics 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 611 - Applied Statistics 3 Credit(s)

Ethics Course (1 Credit)

  • ENVSCI 600 - Responsible Conduct in Research 1 Credit(s)

School for the Environment Seminar (4 Credits)

All PhD students must attend seminar each week throughout their enrollment in the program but will receive no more than 4 credits for seminar.

  • ENVSCI 791 - Seminar in Environmental Sciences 1 Credit(s)

Dissertation Research (18 Credits)

PhD students must complete 18 credits of dissertation research. More than 18 credits may be taken but only 18 will be applied to the degree.

  • ENVSCI 899 - Dissertation Research 1-12 Credit(s)

Electives (25 or 26 Credits)

Complete 28 credits of additional courses and research hours in order to reach the 60 credits required for the program.

Students may select from any of the courses above not already taken or from 600-level or higher courses approved by their faculty mentor.

Graduation Criteria

Complete at least 60 credits from 13 or more courses including two core courses, one skills course, one ethics course, one School for the Environment seminar, 18 credits of dissertation research, and 25 to 26 credits of electives.

Doctoral candidacy: Completion of written & oral qualifying exams by the end of the sixth semester. If the presentation and successful defense of the dissertation do not take place within five years of admission to candidacy, the candidate must repeat the comprehensive examination.
Dissertation: Compose and defense a dissertation based on original research.

En Route Master’s Degree: Students may, with the approval of the program director, apply to receive an MS degree en route to the PhD. To qualify, students must complete the core course requirements and comprehensive examinations.

Minimum grade: No courses with grade below B can be applied to the program. Students who earn B- in two courses will be considered no longer in good standing and may be dismissed from the program. Students who receive a grade below C in any graduate course will be dismissed from the program.
Grading basis: Courses must be taken graded unless the course is only offered on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
GPA: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required from all courses applied toward the program.
Residency: Graduate course credits earned at another institution, as a non-degree student, or in another department may only be applied to the program with approval from the dissertation committee and graduate program director.
Course level: No more than one course taken at UMass Boston at the 300/400-level may be applied toward the program with approval of the thesis/project advisor and graduate program director.
Statute of limitations: Ten years.


Graduate Program Director Georgia Mavrommati
georgia.mavrommati [at]
(617) 287-7419


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