PhD in Environmental Engineering - Water Resources


Program Description


The Ph.D. degree program in Environmental Engineering-Water Resources is a broad discipline dedicated to addressing environmental issues in water resources. Water is under increasing pressure from demographic and climatic changes. Treatment processes play a key role in delivering safe, reliable supplies of water to households, industry, and agriculture, and in safeguarding the quality of water.

The program offers a broad-based curriculum with opportunities for concentrated study in environmental chemistry, environmental fluid mechanics, hazardous substance treatment and control, subsurface fate and transport, pollution microbiology, resource development and management and water quality engineering.

Environmental water resources engineering at UT-KIC focuses on the following, but not limited, subjects

  • evaluate removal of water pollutants for direct potable reuse
  • model the impact of extreme events such as floods and droughts
  • quantify the impact of the flow of water and its contaminants in rivers and coastal systems
  • design stormwater control facilities to improve surface water quality
  • remediate groundwaters impacted by unintended pollutant releases

Ph.D. Curriculum

The Ph.D. of Environmental Engineering-Water Resources requires completion of 36 credits, a set of specialty courses (18 credits) and a Ph.D. thesis (18 credits). The main emphasis of the program is on the successful completion of an original and independent research project written and defended as a dissertation.

Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam should be taken at most at the end of the 4th semester and is required before a student could defend the Ph.D. proposal. Students will have two chances to pass the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam. If students receive an evaluation of “unsatisfactory” on their first Comprehensive Exam attempt, the student may retake the qualifier once. A second failure will result in termination from the program. The Comprehensive Exam is designed to ensure that the student starts early in gaining research experience; it also ensures that the student has the potential to conduct doctoral-level research.

Ph.D. Proposal

The Ph.D. proposal must contain Specific Aims, Research Design and Methods, and Proposed Work and Timeline. In addition, the proposal must also contain a bibliography and, as attachments, any publications/supplementary materials. The student must defend their thesis proposal to their committee in an oral exam.


A student should choose a thesis advisor (and one or two co-advisors if required) within the first year of being in the Ph.D. program, approved by the Faculty committee. In the second year, a thesis committee suggested by the advisor alongside by the Ph.D. proposal should be handed over for approval. The thesis committee should consist of a minimum of five faculty members. Two members of thesis committee should be from the other Universities at the Associate Professor level. Not later than the end of the 5th semester, a student has to present and defend a written Ph.D. proposal.

Research Progress

A student is expected to meet with his/her thesis committee at least once a year to review the research progress. At the beginning of each university calendar year, each student and the student’s advisor are required to submit an evaluation assessment of the student’s progress, outlining past year accomplishments and plans for the current year. The thesis committee reviews these summaries and sends the student a letter summarizing their status in the program. Students who are failing to make satisfactory progress are expected to correct any deficiencies and move to the next milestone within one year. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program.

Ph.D. Dissertation

Within 4 years after entering the Ph.D. program, the student is expected to complete the thesis research; the student must have the results of the research accepted or published in peer-reviewed journals. Upon submitting a written thesis and public defense and approval by the committee, the student is awarded the Ph.D. degree. The defense will consist of (1) a presentation of the dissertation by the graduate student, (2) questioning by the general audience, and (3) closed-door questioning by the dissertation committee. The student will be informed of the exam result at the completion of all three parts of the dissertation defense. All members of the committee must sign the final report of the doctoral committee and the final version of the dissertation.

A minimum GPA of 16 over 20 must be maintained for graduation.

Leveling Courses (not applicable to the degree)

The Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering-Water Resources assumes a Master degree in related fields. However, students holding any other master degree besides will be required to complete leveling courses that are designed to provide a background for the Ph.D. courses. These leveling courses are decided by the faculty committee and are not counted for graduate credits towards the Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering-Water Resources.

Specialty courses: 9 courses required; 18 credits

Climate change and water resources

Course Content:
Projecting Future Climate Scenarios Using General Circulation Models, Evaluation and Comparison of Satellite and GCM Rainfall Estimates, Projected Future Precipitation Scenarios for a Small Island, Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources, Modeling Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for Crop, Mitigating Climate Change in Urban Environments: Management of Water Supplies, The Impact of Urban Water Use on Energy Consumption and Climate Change: A Case Study Of Household Water Use, Reducing Carbon Footprint Of Water Consumption: a Case Study of Water Conservation at a University Campus, Responding to Extremes, Drought and Water Scarcity: Discourses and Competing Water Demands in The Context of Climate Change, a Shift From Rain-Fed to Groundwater Irrigated Agriculture in The Context Of Climate Change, Stormwater Reuse Via Aquifer Storage And Recovery: Risk Assessment for Sandy Aquifers, Hydrologic Balance Under Current and Future Climate, Towards a Database for an Information Management System On Climate Change

Sediment transport

Course Content:
A Short History of Sediment Transport, From L Da Vinci to P Forchhelmer, Hydrodynamics of Fluid-particle Systems, Sediment Transport in Open Channels, The Regime Concept, Bedform Mechanics, Cohesive material Channels, Sediment Measuring Devices, Model Laws, Sediment Transport in Closed Pipes, Measuring Devices for Solid-liquid Mixtures in Pipes, The Sediment Transport Model Setric and Its Applications

Dynamics system approach in water resources

Course Content:
The Dynamics of Knowledge and Ignorance: Learning the New Systems Science, Chaos, Computability, Determinism, and Freedom: A Critical Analysis from a System-Theoretic Point of View, The Function of Systems Concepts — From Systems Theory to Systems Science, Fuzzy Aspects of Systems Science, On the Phenomenon of Bimodality in Aggregation Pattern Dynamics, Parameter Estimation in Nonlinear Systems with Dynamic Noise, Spatial Pattern Formation in a Simple Model of Consumer-Resource System, Scaling Laws for the Prey-Predator Interaction Rates, Active Motion in Systems with Energy Supply, Reconstruction of Human Liver Parenchyma with Computer Program, Recent Developments in System Ecology, GIS-Based Catchment Modeling, Hybrid Low Level Petri Nets in Environmental Modeling — Development Platform and Case Studies, An Empirically Based Approach to Self-Organization in Forest Ecosystems, Regional-Scale Groundwater Quality: Monitoring and Assessment Using Spatially Referenced Environmental Data, Mathematical Aspects in the Modeling of Urban Environmental Quality, Elaboration of Systems Hydroecological Monitoring of Aral Sea Basin, Information Theoretic Measures for the Maturity of Ecosystems, Semianalytical Spatial Ranges and Persistences of Non-Polar Chemical for Reaction-Diffusion Type Dynamics, The Uncertainties of Risk Communication in Knowledge Societies, A Dynamic Account of Rational Decision Making under Uncertainty: The Case of Risk Assessment in Hazardous Technological Systems, Assessing the Risk of Transgenic Crops — The Role of Scientific Belief Systems, Quantitative Risk Assessment Applied to Fragmental Rockfall Hazard on a Rock Slope, On the Interrelation of Social, Economic and Ecological Systems — Theoretical Approaches and Policy Implications on the Feasibility of Comprehensive Sustainability

Value engineering in water resources management

Course Content:
Introduction to the Value Methodology, Managing Value Objectives Using the Value Methodology, Discovering the Certification Process, Cost Overrun Trends, Meeting Project Value Objectives, Users of Managing Value Objectives, Value Objectives Methodology, Improving Value, Value Project Analysis Criteria, Pre-Study Work Plan, The Job Plan, Team Make Up, A Sample "Live" MVO Study, MVO Study Examples, Phase 1: Information Gathering Procedures, Phase 2: Creative Brainstorming, People Skills During the MVO Study, Making Effective Presentations, Managing Conflicts, Phase 3: Evaluation Techniques, Phase 4: Development of Best Ideas, Phase 5: Presenting and Reporting Findings, Getting Best Results, Future Follow-Upand Implementation, Blank Sample of Study Format, Midterm Exam, Advanced Team Leader Training Techniques, Managing Project Objectives, Letting the Job Plan Work, Tips, Project Analysis, Creativity Process, Types of Functions, Problem Solvers, Adding Value, Value Mismatch, Managing Time, Financial Breakdown, Life Cycle Cost Components, Cost and Worth Per Function, Financially Important Decisions, Team Building Skills, Function Analysis Diagramming, Alternative Ideas, Evaluating Best Alternatives, Presentations for Management, MVO Program Enhancements, Solving Technical Problems, Breaking the Problem Down, Customer Focus, Leading a Session, Discussion Groups, Overall Component Analysis, Specific Component Analysis

Groundwater modeling

Course Content:
Groundwater, Aquifers and Aquitards, Groundwater Extraction, Groundwater Chemistry, Groundwater Contamination, Fate And Transport of Contaminants, Groundwater Modeling, Solved Problems in Hydrogeology And Groundwater Modeling, Porosity and Related Parameters, Laboratory Methods for Determining Hydraulic Conductivity, One-Dimensional Steady State Flow, One-Dimensional Transient Flow, Two-Dimensional Steady-State Flow (Flow Nets), Steady State Flow to Water Wells, Transient Flow to Water Wells, Extraction Well Design and Analysis, Spring Flow and Stream Base Flow, Groundwater Flow Modeling, One-Dimensional Analytical Fate and Transport Models, Contaminant Fate and Transport Parameters, Contaminant Fate and Transport Modeling

Surface water modeling

Course Content:
General Overview of Water Quality Modeling, Modeling Costs, General Water Quality Model Components, Typical Water Quality Model Applications, Required Resources, Water Quality Parameters, Receiving Water Processes, Mass Balance, Receiving Water Processes, Selected Models, Model Data Requirements and Prediction Issues, Oceanographic and Water Quality Modeling Studies at Mumbai India 1997, Hangzhou Bay Environmental Study 19931996, Second Shanghai Sewerage Project Sspii 1996, Shanghai Environment Project 1994, Manila Second Sewage Project 1996, Tarim Basin Ii Planning Project 1997 China, Cormix, Divast Binnie Partners, Hydrological Simulation Program Fortran Hspf , Mike System, Qual2e Qual2euncas 6 April 1999, User’s Manual, Delft Hydraulics, Water Quality for River reservoir Systems

Flood modelling

Course Content:
Introduction, Rainfall and Floods, Floods and Drainage Basin Features, Hydrograph and Unit Hydrograph Analysis, Rational Flood Methodologies, Probability and Statistical Methods, Flood Design Discharge and Case Studies, Climate Change Impact on Floods, Flood Safety and Hazard

Quality management of urban runoff

Course Content:
Introduction to Urban Runoff, Developing Municipal Stormwater Management Programs, Monitoring and Modeling and Performance Auditing, Source controls, Selection and design of Passive Treatments controls, Sustainable urban drainage system model


Course Content
Unified Modeling Language, Digital Library Technology for Hydrology, Hydrologic Metadata, Hydrologic Data Models, The Modelshed Geodata, Data Models for Storage and Retrieval, Data Formats, HDF5, Web Services, Extensible Markup Language, Grid Computing, Integrated Data Management System, Introduction to Data Processing, Understanding Data Sources, Data Representation, Spatial Registration, Georeferencing, Data Integration, Feature Extraction, Feature Selection and Analysis, Statistical Data Mining, Artificial Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms, Fuzzy Logic

Hydrology of pollutants

Course Content:
Development of Hydrology and Groundwater, Hydrology, Precipitation, Runoff, Infiltration, Evapotranspiration, Elements of Groundwater Hydrology, Hydrological Properties of Water-Bearing Material, Groundwater MovementSome Basic Principles and Fundamental Equations, Well Hydraulics, WellsTypes Construction Design Development and Production Tests, Hydrochemistry, Groundwater Exploration, Groundwater Development and Management, Industrial Impacts on the water environment, The eco-business parks concept, Sustainable drainage systems for Industry and commerce, Environmental Regulation and contingency planning, How to improve existing pollution problems?

Sustainable development in groundwater resources

Course Content
Global Freshwater Resources and Their Use, Groundwater System, Groundwater Recharge, Climate Change, Groundwater Quality, Groundwater Treatment, Groundwater Development, Groundwater Management, Groundwater Restoration, Groundwater resources sustainability indicators, Indicators and indexes of groundwater quality sustainability, Using models to manage systems subject to sustainability indicators

Reliability in water resources management

Course Content:
Introduction, The unbearable cleverness of bluffing, Aspects of uncertainty reliability and risk in flood forecasting systems incorporating weather radar, Probabilistic hydrometeorological forecasting, Risk cartography for objective negotiations, Responses to the variability and increasing uncertainty of climate in Australia, Developing an indicator of a communitys disaster risk awareness, Determination of capture zones of wells by Monte Carlo simulation, Controlling three levels of uncertainties for ecological risk models, Stochastic precipitationrun off modeling for water yield from a semiarid forested watershed, Regional assessment of the impact of climate change on the yield of water supply systems, Hydrological risk under nonstationary conditions changing hydroclimatological input, Fuzzy compromise approach to water resources systems planning under uncertainty, System and component uncertainties in water resources, Application of a new stochastic branch and bound method, Uncertainty in risk analysis of water resources systems under climate change, Theory and practice, Quantifying system sustainability using multiple risk criteria, Irreversibility and sustainability in water resources systems, Future of reservoirs and their management criteria, Performance criteria for multiunit reservoir operation and water allocation problems, Risk management for hydraulic systems under hydrological loads

Pollution load measurements in the aquatic environment

Course Content:
Transport of Pollutants, Sedimentation Processes, Atmospheric Interactions, Water Chemistry, Nutrients, Metals, Organic Pollutants, Pathogens, Tracers, Ecotoxicology, Ambient Water Quality Criteria, Application of Passive Sampling Techniques for Monitoring the Aquatic Environment, Modern Techniques of Analyte Extraction, Mineralization Techniques Used in the Sample Preparation Step, Biota Analysis as a Source of Information on the State of Aquatic Environments, Speciation Analytics in Aquatic Ecosystems, Immunochemical Analytical Methods for Monitoring the Aquatic Environment, Application of Biotests, Total Parameters as a Tool for the Evaluation of the Load of Xenobiotics in the Environment, Determination of Radionuclides in the Aquatic Environment, Analytical Techniques for the Determination of Inorganic Constituents, Analytical Techniques for the Determination of Organic and Organometallic Analytes, Green Analytical Chemistry, Chemometrics as a Tool for Treatment Processing of Multiparametric Analytical Data Sets, Quality Assurance and Quality Control of Analytical Results, Analytical Procedures for Measuring Precipitation Quality Used within the EMEP Monitoring Program, Life Cycle Assessment of Analytical Protocols

Sediments and water interactions

Course Content:
Introduction, Managing River Sediments, Hydrodynamics, Transport Modeling, Catchment Modeling, Sediment-Water Interactions, Transport Indicators, Fine Sediment Particles, Microbial Effects, Sediment Toxicity Data, Development of Layered Sediment Structure and its Effects on Pore Water Transport and Hyporheic Exchange, Modelling Phosphorus Retention in Lakes and Reservoirs, Transformation of Particle-Bound Phosphorus at the Land-Sea Interface in a Danish Estuary, Use of an in Situ Erosion Flume for Measuring Stability of Sediment Deposits in Hamilton Harbour, Canada, Effect of Sediment Humic Substances on Sorption of Selected Endocrine Disruptors, Sources, Fate and Distribution of Organic Matter on the Western Adriatic Continental Shelf, Italy, Risks from Historical Contaminated Sediments in the Rhine Basin

Quality management of reservoirs and water bodies

Course Content:
Water Quality the Challenge of the Future, An Introductory Framework, Understanding of Water Pathways and Quality Genesis, Recent Trends and Future Prospects, Limnology and management of reservoirs, Problems in reservoir trophicstate classification and implications for reservoir, Mathematical Models and New Techniques, Sedimentation and mineralization of seston in a eutrophic reservoir with a tentative, Design of limnological observations for detecting processes in lakes and reservoirs, Reservoir Water Quality Management, Framework for investigation and evaluation of reservoir water quality in Czecho, Stateoftheart of reservoir limnology and water quality management, Lakes and Reservoirs as Water Resources, Lake and Reservoir Water Uses And Abuses, Evaluating Lake And Reservoir Water Quality, Measures for Improving Water Quality, The Use of Mathematical Modelling in Lake and Reservoir Management, Management of Reservoirs, Integrated Lake and Reservoir Management, Development of Water Quality Management Strategy, Lake and Reservoir Case Studies

Water quality trading

Course Content:
Introduction, Concept Framework and Considerations for Water Quality Trading, Overview of Observations in Water Quality Trading, Potential Role of Trading in Water Area, an Economic Framework for Evaluating Trading Opportunities, Trade, Science Data and Analytical Needs, Societal Requirements for Water Quality Trading, Gaining Public Acceptance, Making the Decision, A Synopsis of Michigan's Water Quality Trading Regulations, Best Management Practice List for the Lower Boise River Pollution Trading Program, Perpetual Conservation Easement, Water Quality Trading Resources Environmental Trading Network

Groundwater quality

Course Content:
Groundwater Baseline Quality, The Baseline Inorganic Chemistry of Groundwaters, Organic Quality of Groundwaters, Geochemical Modelling of Processes Controlling Baseline Compositions of Groundwater, Timescales and Tracers, Dating Examples in European Reference Aquifers, Identifying and Interpreting Baseline Trends, Monitoring and Characterization of Natural Groundwater Quality, Natural Groundwater Quality Policy Considerations and European Opinion, The Chalk Aquifer of Dorset, Groundwater Baseline Composition and Geochemical Controls in the Doñana Aquifer System SW Spain, The Aveiro Quaternary and Cretaceous Aquifers Portugal, The Neogene Aquifer Flanders Belgium, The Miocene Aquifer of Valréas France, The Miocene Sand Aquifers Jutland Denmark, Tracer Based Study of the Badenian Bogucice Sands Aquifer Poland, The CambrianVendian Aquifer Estonia, The Cenomanian and Turonian Aquifers of the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin Czech Republic, Quality Status of the Upper Thracian PlioQuaternary Aquifer South Bulgaria, The Mean Sea Level Aquifer Malta and Gozo, The Natural Inorganic Chemical Quality of Crystalline Bedrock Groundwaters, Natural Groundwater Quality Summary and Significance for Water Resources Management

Surface and groundwater pollution

Course Content:
Principles of Groundwater Flow, Groundwater and Aquifers, Fundamental Equations of Groundwater Flow, Confined Aquifers, Unconfined Aquifers, Combined Confined and Unconfined Flow, Hydraulics of Wells, Two-Dimensional Problems, Nonsteady (Transient) Flow, Determining Aquifer Characteristics, Design Considerations, Interface Flow, Principles of Groundwater Contamination, Causes and Sources of Contamination, Fate of Contaminants in Groundwater, Transport of Contaminants in Groundwater, Groundwater Investigation and Monitoring, Initial Site Assessment, Subsurface Site Investigation, Groundwater Cleanup and Remediation, Soil Treatment Technologies, Pump-and-Treat Technologies, In Situ Treatment Technologies, Storm Water Pollutant Management, Integrated Storm Water Program, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Best Management Practices, Field Monitoring Programs, Discharge Treatment

Statistics for environmental engineers

Course Content:
Environmental Problems and Statistics, A Brief Review of Statistics, Plotting Data, Smoothing Data, Seeing the Shape of a Distribution, External Reference Distributions, Using Transformations, Estimating Percentiles, Accuracy, Bias, and Precision of Measurements, Precision of Calculated Values, Laboratory Quality Assurance, Fundamentals of Process Control Charts, Specialized Control Charts, Limit of Detection, Analyzing Censored Data, Comparing a Mean with a Standard, Paired t -Test for Assessing the Average of Differences, Independent t-Test for Assessing the Difference of Two Averages, Assessing the Difference of Proportions, Multiple Paired Comparison of k Averages, Tolerance Intervals and Prediction Intervals, Experimental Design, Sizing the Experiment, Analysis of Variance to Compare k Averages, Components of Variance, Multiple Factor Analysis of Variance, Factorial Experimental Designs, Fractional Factorial Experimental Designs, Screening of Important Variables, Analyzing Factorial Experiments by Regression, Correlation, Serial Correlation, The Method of Least Squares, Precision of Parameter Estimates in Linear Models, Precision of Parameter Estimates in Nonlinear Models, Calibration, Weighted Least Squares, Empirical Model Building by Linear Regression, The Coefficient of Determination, R2, Regression Analysis with Categorical Variables, The Effect of Autocorrelation on Regression, The Iterative Approach to Experimentation, Seeking Optimum Conditions by Response Surface Methodology, Designing Experiments for Nonlinear Parameter Estimation, Why Linearization Can Bias Parameter Estimates, A Problem in Fitting Models to Multiresponse Data, Model Discrimination, Data Adjustment for Process Rationalization, How Measurement Errors are Transmitted into Calculated Values, Using Simulations to Study Statistical Problems, Introduction to Time Series Modeling, Transfer Function Models, Forecasting Time Series, Intervention Analysis

Advanced Hydrology

Course Content:
Evaporation, Fluid mechanics of the lower atmosphere, Infiltration and related unsaturated flows, Precipitation, Fluid mechanics of free surface flow, Overland flow, Streamflow routing, Fluid mechanics in porous materials, Groundwater outflow and base flow, Mechanisms and parameterization, Streamflow response at the catchment scale, Elements of frequency analysis in hydrology, Elements of Meteorology, Evaporation and Transpiration, Interception, Runoff, Flood Rooting, Extreme Events Design Flood and Small Catchment Runoff, Flow Regulation Catchment Yield Sediment Yield, Hydrological Modelling and Water Resources Systems, Analysis of Information

Numerical methods in fluid dynamics

Course Content:
General Introduction, The Godunov Schemes, The BVLR Method, The Method of Characteristics for Three-Dimensional Problems in Gas Dynamics, The Method of Integral Relations, Telenin’s Method and the Method of Lines, Finite Volumes Methods, Weighted Residuals Methods, Spectral Methods, Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) Methods, Application of SPH Methods to Conservation Equations, Finite Volume Particle Methods (FVPM), Numerical Algorithms for Unstructured Meshes, LES, Variational Multiscale LES, and Hybrid Models, Numerical Algorithms for Free Surface Flow

Risk analysis and management

Course Content
Mathematical Bases, Cramér-Lundberg Model, Models With the Premium Dependent on the Capital, Heavy Tails, Some Problems of Control Introduction, The PRAM process, Organization and control, Behavioral influences, Areas of particular concern, The business perspective, Maintaining interest, Qualitative and quantitative risk assessment, Risk response techniques

River engineering

Course Content
Mathematical description of flow and sediment transport, Fundamentals of sediment transport, Numerical methods, 1D numerical models, 2D numerical models, 3D numerical models, Domain decomposition and model integration, Simulation of dambreak fluvial processes, Simulation of flow and sediment transport in vegetated channels, Cohesive sediment transport modeling, Contaminant transport modeling, River flow kinematics, Conservation of mass, Equations of motion, Hydraulic and energy grade lines, River basins, Rainfall precipitation, Interception and infiltration, Excess rainfall, Surface runoff, Upland erosion losses, Sediment source and yield, Steady flow in rivers, Steady nonuniform river flow, Sediment transport in rivers, Unsteady flow in rivers, River momentum equations, River flood waves, Looprating curves, River flood routing, River flow and sediment duration curves, River equilibrium, Channel stability, Regime relationships, Equilibrium in river bends, Downstream hydraulic geometry, Bars in alluvial rivers, River meandering, Lateral river migration, River dynamics, Riverbed degradation, Riverbed aggradation, River confluences and branches, River databases, River stabilization, Riverbank riprap revetment, Riverbank protection, River flowcontrol structures, Riverbank engineering, River engineering, River closure, Canal headworks, Bridge scour, Navigation waterways, Dredging, Physical river models, Rigidbed model, Mobilebed river models, Mathematical river models, Finite difference approximations, One dimensional river models, Multidimensional river models, Waves and tides in river estuaries, Tides in river estuaries, Saline wedges in river estuaries
Last updated Mar 2018

About the School

Kish International Campus was established in 2007 in order to facilitate the enrolment of foreign students.

Kish International Campus was established in 2007 in order to facilitate the enrolment of foreign students. Read less