Skip to main content
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Health

Track in Environmental Sustainability, Resilience, and Health

Offered By: Department of Environmental Health and Engineering

In-person | Full-Time | 5 years

About the PhD Track in Environmental Sustainability, Resilience, and Health

The Environmental Sustainability, Resilience and Health (ESRH) track cultivates innovative public health scientists and engineers who address urgent challenges at the intersection of climate, sustainability, resilience, and equity. 
ESRH students will be prepared for diverse careers, including work in academic institutions, government agencies, intergovernmental bodies, nongovernmental organizations, and private businesses.

Environmental Sustainability

Humans can safely co-exist within our planetary boundaries over a long time.

Environmental Resilience

Humans and their environment can quickly recover from negative shocks, such as extreme heat events or zoonotic pandemics.

Environmental Health

Humans shape their natural and built environments in ways that promote positive, equitable health outcomes for themselves and the planet.

The PhD Track in Environmental Sustainability, Resilience, and Health is Unique

Have you seen any other doctoral programs with a name like ours? There aren’t any. Yes, you can find programs in “environmental sustainability” and programs in “environmental health,” but you won’t find a program that combines those two emphases and includes a focus on resilience. The nexus between sustainability, health, and resilience is a critical frontier for research and practice in the 21st century. Our students are going to be leaders at that frontier.

Public Health and Engineering

One distinctive feature of this program is its joint delivery by the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Whiting School of Engineering. Students benefit from an interdisciplinary cohort and the opportunity for coursework, mentorship, and research opportunities across both schools. There are slight differences in requirements at the two schools. Prospective students choose which school to apply through based on their primary interests. 

What you’ll study

The ESRH track trains students in systems thinking and the application of core public health and engineering tools. That training is supplemented with a deep understanding of the anthropogenic drivers of environmental change, and the consequences of that change for human health and well-being. Using methods and tools from public health and engineering, ESRH students design, implement and analyze research studies with relevance to both science and practice.

To provide a shared foundation in ESRH topics, all students take a sequence of core courses. Elective coursework is then customized to student interests. Each student identifies a primary focus area and a primary methodological area. Examples of focus areas include climate, food systems, energy, built environment, air, water, and equity. Examples of methodological areas include biostatistics, epidemiology, lifecycle assessment, engineering, economics, systems analysis, program evaluation, qualitative methods, risk policy and communication, and geography. 

Track Faculty

Meghan Davis, PhD, DVM (BSPH) - Environmental microbiology, one health, asthma 
Peter DeCarlo, PhD (WSE) - Atmospheric aerosols (particulate matter), air quality, and climate
Paul Ferraro, PhD (WSE) - Behavioral science, causal inference, environmental policy
Shima Hamidi, PhD (BSPH) - Geospatial data, built environment, housing and transportation & health
Ben Hobbs, PhD (WSE) - Systems analysis, energy, water
Ben Q. Huỳnh (BSPH) - AI, data science, environmental justice; planetary health
Kirsten Koehler, PhD, MA (BSPH) - Exposure assessment, aerosols, air quality
Keeve Nachman, PhD, MHS (BSPH) - Risk science, risk assessment, food systems
Roni Neff, PhD, ScM (BSPH) - Food system, wasted food, resilience, equity
Scot Miller, PhD (WSE) - Global change, greenhouse gases, air pollutants
Carsten Prasse, PhD (WSE) - Emerging contaminants, engineering processes, analytical detection methods
Ana Rule, PhD (BSPH) - Air pollution, bioaerosols, metal speciation
Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MSPH (BSPH) - Water, sanitation and hygiene, environmental microbiology, microbial fate and transport 
Brian Schwartz, MD, MS (BSPH) - Environmental epidemiology, sustainability, built environment, lead
Genee Smith, PhD, MSPH (BSPH) - Environmental epidemiology, health effects of climate change, infectious diseases


Browse an overview of this program's requirements in the JHU Academic Catalogue - See Track Requirements for Environmental Sustainability, Resilience, and Health, and explore all course offerings in the Bloomberg School Course Directory.

Tuition and Funding

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the JHU PhD Union, the minimum guaranteed 2025-2026 academic year stipend is $50,000 for all PhD students with a 4% increase the following year. Tuition, fees, and medical benefits are provided, including health insurance premiums for PhD student’s children and spouses of international students, depending on visa type. The minimum stipend and tuition coverage is guaranteed for at least the first four years of a BSPH PhD program; specific amounts and the number of years supported, as well as work expectations related to that stipend will vary across departments and funding source. Please refer to the CBA to review specific benefits, compensation, and other terms.

Need-Based Relocation Grants
Students who are admitted to PhD programs at JHU starting in Fall 2023 or beyond can apply to receive a need-based grant to offset the costs of relocating to be able to attend JHU. These grants provide funding to a portion of incoming students who, without this money, may otherwise not be able to afford to relocate to JHU for their PhD program. This is not a merit-based grant. Applications will be evaluated solely based on financial need. View more information about the need-based relocation grants for PhD students.

Contact Us

Questions about the program? We're happy to help.

Program Directors
Paul Ferraro, PhD
Keeve Nachman, PhD 
Roni Neff, PhD