The Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering brings together an interdisciplinary group of faculty to tackle global challenge problems related to energy, environment, and health. EECE provides integrated and multi-disciplinary programs of scientific education in cutting-edge areas organized through four clusters: 1) Aerosol Science & Engineering; 2) Engineered Aquatics Processes; 3) Metabolic Engineering and 4) Systems Biology;

Full Support & Funding

Our PhD students are fully funded, including full tuition support and health insurance. As a doctoral candidate, you will also receive a generous stipend to cover living expenses. This support is guaranteed as you continue to make satisfactory progress towards your degree.

Brief summary of requirements for PhD program:

  • Base competency in core subject areas demonstrated by passing the qualifying examination in first year of residency in the program
  • Research rotations in first semester of study prior to choosing a permanent adviser
  • Demonstrated teaching experience as per graduate school teaching requirement
  • Minimum of 36 credits for coursework and minimum of 30 credits for PhD research; total of 72 credits to earn the PhD degree
  • Defend a proposal within 18 months of passing the qualifying examination
  • Defend PhD dissertation by making an open oral seminar presentation, followed by questions from the dissertation committee members

Selected Opportunities for PhD Students in EECEal Engineering 


Ann W. and Spencer T. Olin - Chancellor's Fellowship McDonnell International Scholars Academy Other Fellowships and Scholarships Dean's International Award

Frequently asked questions

What is the typical educational background of a student admitted into the Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering PhD program?

The typical educational background of a student admitted into the Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering PhD program has a degree in chemical, biomolecular, material, or environmental engineering.  However, graduate research in the Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering department is highly interdisciplinary and therefore also aligns well with students that have proficiency in college-level math or backgrounds in chemical, atmospheric, and biological sciences as well as other engineering degrees.

What can I do with a PhD in EECE?

Students who graduate with a PhD in Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering have a wide range of options for future careers. The following include examples of where current students are employed.

  • Faculty (e.g., U. of Minnesota, U. of Houston, Virginia Tech, U. of Washington)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellows (e.g., Caltech, MIT, Stanford, Harvard)
  • Industry (e.g., Corning, Cabot, DuPont, Intel, SunEdison, Thermo Fisher Scientific)
  • Government (e.g., Congressional Fellows) 
  • Startups (e.g., Applied Particle Technology)
  • National Research Labs (e.g., NREL, PNNL, LBL, USEPA)
  • Consulting & Think Tanks (e.g., ICCT, Rand, L.E.K Consulting)
Why should I choose to study at Wash U?

Washington University is a prestigious, well-endowed private university, which creates stability (we don't rely on direct government funding for our operations), flexibility, and opportunity. Saint Louis is a city with a low cost of living and a high quality of life (many students and faculty have a short, pleasant walk to school). However, it is big enough to be cosmopolitan and to offer many cultural, dining, and entertainment opportunities.

The EECE department at Wash U brings together cross-disciplinary research in chemical, environmental, and biological processes in engineered systems with the goal of achieving cleaner air and water while meeting heightened demand for energy and goods through responsible and sustainable approaches. A student wanting to study in the EECE department at Wash will be part of an ecosystem of research, education, and community to support discoveries that address future global challenges with active research in three areas: Chemical Engineering and Processing; Energy; and Environmental Engineering. If a student chooses the EECE department at Wash U, they will gain expertise in and be exposed to the fundamentals and applications of Aerosol Science and Engineering; Engineered Aquatics Processes; Synthetic Biology & Bioproduct Engineering; and Multiscale & Electrochemical Engineering.

How long does it take to earn a PhD?

While there is no fixed time to complete a PhD, most students finish in approximately five years.

How do I choose a lab/professor to work with?

Each entering PhD student will be assigned to the First-year PhD Adviser as their temporary academic advisor. This adviser is a full-time faculty member in EECE whose role in the department is to help new students become acquainted with first year procedures, research rotations, procedures to select a permanent advisor, and initial choice of classes. The First-year PhD Adviser is the point of contact for entering PhD students and available to assist entering PhD students with any questions or concerns. To become better acquainted with potential faculty advisors and learn about their research in greater detail, all students will then spend approximately one month in their first semester rotating with each of two different research groups.  Through the EECE Orientation Week and Laboratory Rotations, an incoming PhD student will be well-prepared to choose a lab or advisor to work with.

How do I find housing?

There are a number of resources offered by the Graduate School in regard to housing, transportation and support for both domestic and international students. All students have access to a free UPass which covers universal rail and bus transportation. The University assists graduate students with finding suitable off-campus housing through

Is St. Louis safe?

Overall, St. Louis is a safe and healthy city, with crime rates that are typical of medium-sized US metropolitan regions. St. Louis, like other major cities, faces social disparities and inequities, and some neighborhoods are safer than others. WashU is committed to promoting systemic change and keeping students safe. The EECE program is centrally located on WashU’s Danforth Campus. Adjacent to campus you will discover a rich cultural life that supports your time outside of the classroom: the coffee shops and music venues of the Delmar Loop, as well as the museums and trails of nearby Forest Park, voted “Best City Park” by USA Today. The campus is served by several MetroLink light rail stations and bus lines, making the area easy to navigate. Go to for statistics and information recommended for safety precautions. Learn more about St. Louis.

What is the amount of time required weekly for research?

Students are expected to commit 40 hours/week towards the program. This includes time for both academic coursework as well as research.

Will I have time to have a social life?

You will have as much time for a social life as you would in any other full-time job.

What does it mean to be “fully-funded”?

We provide monetary support for living expenses and tuition. This stipend is adjusted each year for living expenses.

Will I be able to obtain outside scholarships?

Yes. Information on the various outside scholarships and how to apply for them is available on the Office of the Provost website and our Tuition & Financial Assistance for Graduate Students page

Are there resources on campus that support PhD students?

Yes, Habif Health and Wellness offers medical and mental health services for graduate students. The Graduate center offers a variety of clubs, seminars and workshops specifically geared toward graduate students. AGES is the Association of Graduate Engineering students and all PhD students are members. The Association offers networking events and social events. In addition, McKelvey Graduate Student Services office offers support for PhD students for a variety of issues.