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Soil, Water and Environmental Science (PHD)

Degree or Minor: 
Graduate Degree
UA College: 
Agriculture & Life Sciences
Degree/Minor Description: 


Soil, Water and Environmental Science (PHD)  

Program Description

SWES offers graduate work leading to Ph.D. degree in Soil, Water and Environmental Science. Two tracks are offered, "Environmental Science" or "Soil and Water Science". In addition to the major, each Ph.D. student must complete a minor, which can be intra- or interdepartmental. Many, if not most, SWES graduate students enroll in several non-SWES courses as part of their program. This reflects the multi-disciplinary characteristics of the SWES program in general, and also that a minor is required for all Ph.D. students. The most frequently used outside courses are in Chemistry, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Hydrology and Water Resources, and Microbiology.

Once enrolled in the SWES graduate degree program, students may concurrently pursue a Graduate Certificate in Water Policy. There is flexibility in both course selection and schedule, to meet the specific needs and interests of a variety of students. The program is interdisciplinary.

The department also offers two dual degree options:  the Master of Science in Soil, Water and Environmental Science and a Master of Arts in Journalism; and a dual Ph.D. in Soil, Water and Environmental Science and MBA from the Eller College of Management.  Graduates with the dual MS/MA degrees would be able to make important contributions not only to discussions within news organizations about the ways in which information about science should be gathered and evaluated, but also discussions in the fields of science and journalism about the ways in which this information influences public perceptions and public policy, and therefore the effects of science on society.  Those with the dual Ph.D./MBA would be prepared for science-related careers in industry and government that require understanding of development, production and regulation, as well as skills in management and leadership.

The SWES department strongly supports attendance at professional meetings. Student presentations at meetings and student publications are likewise encouraged. Numerous workshops on topics ranging from the Internet to scientific writing are regularly available.

In addition to graduate student-sponsored activities, various departmental events, such as departmental picnics and weekly seminars, provide students with opportunities to meet and socialize with colleagues.

With a M.S. or Environmental Science, students will be prepared for careers in business and industry, governmental agencies, educational institutions, and private consulting firms. Many Ph.D. students obtain faculty positions at colleges and universities.

Electronic copies of Dissertations and Master's Theses may be accessed through the UA Campus Repository.


Department/Academic Unit(s)

Soil, Water, & Environmental Sciences -

The Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science (SWES) brings together a faculty of outstanding scientists, distinguished by their understanding of soil, water, and the environment, and their ability to carry out research and planning towards the solution of environmental and resource use problems.  The department offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Soil, Water and Environmental Science, with focal areas in either Environmental Science, or Soil and Water Science.  Also offered are an accelerated Master of Science degree in Soil, Water and Environmental Science, dual Master of Science degrees in Journalism and Soil, Water and Environmental Science, and in Business Administration and Soil, Water and Environmental Science, and a Graduate Certificate in Aquaculture. 

Graduate study in the SWES Department is open to students with undergraduate preparation in biological, chemical, physical, earth, or engineering sciences. Students with other backgrounds may be accepted into the program, with course deficiencies noted. Approximately 60 graduate students and 200 undergraduate students are continuously enrolled in the department.

Students with a graduate degree from the SWES Department are highly employable, pursuing careers in academia, the public sector (e.g., consulting), with state, federal and international agencies (USDA, USGS, USFC, NASA, FAO, etc.), and NGOs.