Doctor of Philosophy — PhD

The doctoral program cultivates scholars who are equipped to understand and develop solutions to complex environmental challenges.

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    Program Overview

    Doctoral students work with the school’s world-renowned faculty to collaboratively design cutting-edge research projects that engage them in scientific discovery, policy, public discourse, and action.  The five-year program is fully funded and independent of any faculty research grants, allowing doctoral students the intellectual freedom to explore the environmental issues that most inspire them. Students also have access to a broad array of resources across Yale University and its professional and graduate schools, including its faculty and library system.  Graduates complete the doctoral program having gained disciplinary depth and strong leadership skills that enable success in any career path — academic, government research, policy, nonprofits, and the private sector.

    Doctoral students at YSE receive five years of guaranteed funding, independent of any faculty research grants, allowing doctoral students the intellectual freedom to explore the environmental issues that most inspire them.

    Doctoral Program Handbook

    Combined PhD — Yale Anthropology Combined PhD — New York Botanical Garden

    Why YSE Doctoral Programs?

    A PhD researcher in the field

    Research Independence and Funding

    Doctoral students at YSE receive five years of guaranteed funding, independent of any faculty research grants, allowing doctoral students the intellectual freedom to explore the environmental issues that most inspire them.

    A cohort of 9 PhD graduates celebrating commencement

    Acclaimed Faculty

    Working closely with some of the top experts in their fields is one of the advantages of a YSE doctoral degree. Our faculty are committed to mentoring the next generation of environmental leaders to tackle the world’s most urgent problems.

    Student and Alumni Spotlights

    Yufang Gao in the mountains

    Redefining Human-Wildlife Conflict

    In the Tibetan Plateau, PhD candidate Yufang Gao ’14 MESc interviews, observes, and travels with Tibetan herders and Buddhist monks. He sets up camera traps and collects scat to analyze the diet of snow leopards. And he has hiked a mountainside 15,000 feet above sea level — all in pursuit of data for his dissertation that focuses on the quest for harmonious coexistence between people and large carnivores.

    What is needed for human-wildlife coexistence is a different perspective about conflict, says Gao. 

    “Conflict,” he has found, “is part of coexistence.”

    Eleanor Stokes speaking on a NASA stage

    Insights from the Night Sky

    Using data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite aboard NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite spacecraft, Eleanor Stokes ’18 PhD is helping to map vulnerable communities.

    As co-leader of Black Marble, NASA’s first nighttime light dataset, Stokes has helped FEMA and other relief organizations direct their boots-on-the ground operations after natural disasters.

    “Humanity is facing major global risks from extreme weather and rising sea levels,” she says. “It’s very important to have a satellite record that can speak to the human piece of the puzzle.”

    Rich Guldin leaning against a tree in the forest

    Tracking Forest Inventory

    Richard Guldin ’76 MFS, ’79 PhD has helped reinvent the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program by integrating new sampling designs, field procedures, and innovative software to create an annual inventory that has become a global model. His work earned him the Society of American Foresters’ Sir William Schlich Award.

    Contact the Doctoral Program

    Elisabeth Barsa is the contact for students interested in the YSE doctoral program.


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