Student conducting research in a lab

Environmental and Water Resources Science


Graduate students in environmental science pursue coursework and research in a wide variety of areas, which include:

  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Water treatment
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Solid and hazardous waste
  • Bioremediation
  • Stormwater treatment
  • Wetlands management

The MS degree program in environmental science is open to full-time and part-time graduate students.  Students may start their graduate studies in the fall, spring or summer semester. A bachelor’s degree in a field of science is required for admission to the MS or PhD degree program in environmental engineering.

Exceptionally well-qualified baccalaureate degree holders may be accepted directly into the fast-track PhD degree program without prior completion of a master’s degree.  Students in the fast-track PhD program are not required to write a master’s thesis or complete the MS degree en route to the PhD.

Environmental and Water Resources Science

How to Apply

The CEAE Department does NOT offer application fee waivers.

A minimum of 3.0 GPA is required for admission into any of the graduate degree programs in the CEAE department.

Complete the online application: APPLY

Application Fees are:

Degree-Seeking, Domestic: $65
Degree-Seeking, International: $85
Certificate-Seeking: $30
Non-degree seeking: $30
Permit to Re-enroll: $20

Undergraduate Preparation

Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering – An ABET-accredited BS degree in engineering, or the equivalent from abroad, is required for admission to our graduate degree and certificate programs in civil engineering, environmental engineering and architectural engineering.

Environmental Science – A bachelor’s degree in a field of science is required for admission to our graduate degree programs in environmental science.

Master of Construction Management – A bachelor’s degree in engineering or a relevant non-engineering field such as architecture or business.


Before you can be admitted, we must receive an official transcript from each university or college you have attended. The official transcript must be sent directly from the university or college to the KU Graduate Application Processing Center at this address:

Graduate Application Processing Center
313 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


Alternatively an official electronic transcript can be sent directly from the college or university.

When you submit the online application, a copy of official transcripts may be uploaded to your application. However, we must receive official transcripts by the end of your 1st semester.

GRE Exam Scores    The GRE score requirement is waived until spring 2023.

Applicants for the M.S. and Ph.D. graduate programs are required to take all three sections of the General GRE (Analytical, Quantitative and Verbal).  While our Department does not have a minimum required score for the GRE, most admitted applicants have at least a 155 on the Quantitative Section of the exam.  However, decisions to admit are based on a prospective student’s entire application package.  Admitted students with highly competitive application packages will be considered for GRA/GTA responsibilities.

The GRE general exam is not required for part-time admission to the MCE and MCM degree programs. Applicants for full-time graduate study must submit GRE scores.  The GRE general exam is not required for admission to the Graduate Certificate programs. The GRE subject exam in engineering is not required. 

When you request a GRE score report from ETS, specify the University of Kansas as the institution (institution code 6871) and "engineering, civil" as the department (department code 1102) for all degree programs in the CEAE Department.


In the online application, enter the names and e-mail addresses of three persons who will provide recommendations for you. The online application system will send those persons an e-mail with a link to an online recommendation form.

Resume and Statement of Purpose

Upload your resume and statement of purpose to the online application site. The statement of purpose is a brief explanation of your academic and career interests and goals and your desired area of specialization. A statement of purpose is not required for admission to the graduate certificate programs.

International Applicants

International applicants who are non-native English speakers must meet KU’s English proficiency requirements.

For admission to any of the CEAE Department’s graduate degree programs, international applicants must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores that meet the following requirements:

TOEFL – Reading, listening and writing part scores all 20 or higher.

IELTS – Overall score 6.0 or higher, with reading, listening and writing part scores all 5.5 or higher

International applicants who wish to be considered for financial aid must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores that meet the following requirements:

       TOEFL – Reading, listening and writing part scores all 23 or higher

       IELTS – Overall score 6.5 or higher, with reading, listening and writing part scores all 6.0 or higher

TOEFL or IELTS scores are not required for applicants with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) earned in residence from an accredited English-medium U.S. college or university or a college or university in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, English-speaking province of Canada, or an English-speaking Caribbean country, with instruction conducted in English. Degrees earned online may not be used to verify English proficiency.

All applicants must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score report (not student’s copy), with scores achieved not more than two years prior to the requested start date for graduate study. Submit TOEFL or IELTS scores to:

Graduate Program Coordinator
CEAE Department, 2150 Learned Hall
1530 W. 15th St.
Lawrence, KS 66045

When ordering TOEFL scores, specify institution code 6871 and program code 65.

Applicants from institutions that use consolidated mark sheets (as in India and Pakistan) must also provide official copies of individual mark sheets. Applicants from institutions that use diploma award certificates (as in P.R. China) must provide an official copy of this certificate.

KU International Student Services provides helpful information and assistance to international applicants.


Deadlines for submission of all required application documents are as follows.

Deadline/ReviewFall/Summer SemesterSpring Semester
Priority Deadlines (MS and PhD)December 1September 1
Rolling Reviews (all CEAE grad programsTwo business days before start of classesTwo business days before start of classes

There are no priority application dates for the MCE and MCM programs or the Graduate Certificates.

Applications are processed immediately upon receipt of all required documents.

M.S. and Ph.D. applicants who wish to be fully considered for all types of financial aid should submit all application documents before the priority date.  Applicants admitted after the priority date are considered for any remaining financial aid.

Financial Aid

A variety of scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships are available to M.S. and Ph.D. students through the School of Engineering and KU. Individual funding is awarded on a competitive basis. Not all admitted applicants receive funding offers.

Review of Applications

When we have received all of your required application documents, the Graduate Admissions Committee will review your application, and the Director of Graduate Studies will inform you of the committee’s decision by e-mail. You will receive an official notice of the decision from the University a few days later.

You can check your application status online. If you have any questions or issues regarding your application or admission, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

We are happy to visit with you individually and assist you in planning your graduate studies. Contact us to arrange a visit and tour.

CEAE Director of Graduate Studies

Jian Li, Ph.D. at

CEAE Graduate Program Coordinator

Many full-time MS and most doctoral students in environmental science receive financial support from research assistantships, teaching assistantships, fellowships and scholarships. There is no separate application for financial aid.  If you are admitted, we will consider you for financial aid.  The professors in your desired area of specialization will be informed of your admission and asked to consider you for a graduate research or teaching assistantship.  Graduate research assistantships are awarded by individual professors with funded research projects.  Graduate teaching assistantships are awarded by the professors in charge of specific courses.  Some assistantships are awarded to incoming students; others are awarded to continuing students who have excelled in their studies. Graduate research and teaching assistants are typically employed 50%-time (20 hours per week) and receive payment of tuition and fees in addition to a salary. Many graduate research assistants and teaching assistants also receive a supplemental scholarship or fellowship.

The CEAE Department, the School of Engineering and KU Graduate Studies award a variety of scholarships and fellowships to new graduate students. KU’s Self Graduate Fellowship provides four years of generous financial support for outstanding doctoral students. If you wish to be considered for a specific award, please inform the Professor Dennis Lane, Director of Graduate Studies, well in advance of the deadline for the award.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 3.0 GPA is required for admission into the environmental science graduate degree program.

Candidates for the MS degree in environmental science have 3 options. Option A requires 30 credit-hours including a thesis of 6 to 10 hours and a final oral examination including defense of the thesis. Option B requires 30 hours including a 3- or 4-hour special problem investigation in the specialization and a final examination. It does not require a thesis. Option C requires 30 credit hours of coursework. It does not require a thesis, special problem investigation, or final oral examination.

The MS degree in environmental science requires an understanding of chemical, biological, and physical principles of environmental engineering processes, i.e., satisfactory completion of CE 770, CE 772, CE 773 and CE 774 or equivalent.

Courses to be applied toward the M.S. degree must be listed on a Plan of Study form approved by the student’s major professor and examining committee and the departmental graduate advisor. All graduate students must have an approved Plan of Study on file by the beginning of their second semester of study. Graduate courses offered by the CEAE department are identified by the prefixes CE, ARCE and CMGT and are numbered 700 and above.  No more than 9 hours of courses from other departments or more than 6 hours of courses numbered below 700 (of which only 3 hours may be within the department) may be applied toward the degree without approval of the department’s graduate advisor. No more than 4 hours of special-problem credit may be applied toward any of the master’s degrees without approval of the department’s graduate advisor.

A minimum of 3.0 GPA is required for admission into the Environmental Science doctoral degree program.

Doctoral graduate students must satisfy the university’s requirements that apply to all doctoral degrees.  These requirements are stated in the "Doctoral Degree Requirements" section of the Academic Catalog. The student also must complete additional requirements of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering.

1.   The student must pass a qualifying exam to the satisfaction of a faculty advisory committee. This committee shall consist of the proposed dissertation advisor and at least two other members of the graduate faculty. At least two of the committee members must be CEAE faculty members holding regular graduate faculty status. A student with a master's degree must take the qualifying exam after completion of 12 credit-hours toward the doctoral degree. Students admitted to the doctoral degree program directly from the bachelor's degree must take the qualifying exam after completion of 30 credit-hours toward the doctoral degree. The final examination for a master's degree granted by the KU CEAE Department may also serve as the qualifying exam for the doctoral degree. In this case, the examining committee would make two separate pass/fail decisions: one for the master's exam and another for the doctoral qualifying exam.

2.   The student must submit a completed Plan of Study form before the end the first semester of study. The Plan of Study must be approved by the advisory committee identified in Item 1 above and must list the following:

(a)  The course work to be completed.  The amount of course work required for the doctoral degree depends on the student’s needs and level of preparation.  The student’s advisory committee will decide how many credit-hours of course work are needed and may require specific courses.  The course-work requirement may not be less than 24 credit-hours beyond the master’s degree, or 48 credit-hours beyond the bachelor’s degree for students without a master’s degree.   

(b) One proposed foreign language or research skill.  Any course work taken to satisfy the foreign language or research skill requirement shall be in addition to the course work required in item 2(a).

(c) The student's dissertation topic or the general area proposed for the dissertation.

3.   A minimum of 18 hours of research credit (CE 991 and CE 999 combined) are required. The student should enroll in CE 991 before passage of the comprehensive exam and CE 999 thereafter. The student’s enrollment in research hours should reflect the demand on the research advisor’s time.

(Approved by CEAE faculty on 3/03/15)