We have funded positions starting in 2021 for Ph.D. students interested in infrastructure, climate risk, and water systems. Strong candidates are passionate about infrastructure and climate, have strong quantitative and critical thinking skills, are curious to explore new ideas, perspectives, and methods, and can clearly articulate their research goals. Funding is not tied to specific research topics, but applicants should be interested in the themes outlined on this website.

Minimum qualifications

  • Commitment to our mission and core values
  • At least one course each in calculus and statistics
  • Interest in flood risk management, urban water systems, coastal resilience, renewable energy, or a related topic

Preferred qualifications

No applicant is expected to have all of these characteristics. Ph.D. students are just that -- students -- and we will teach you what you need to know. If you're not sure whether you're a good fit, reach out.
  • Ability to code in at least one programming language
  • Coursework in one or more of: Bayesian statistics, applied mathematics, machine learning, water systems analysis, electricity systems, hydrology, climate dynamics, reinforcement learning, optimization, software engineering, economics, or a related field
  • Perseverance, tenacity, and cogency
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Firsthand experience collaborating with stakeholders to design, build, or critique infrastructure systems

Why Rice

There are many top graduate programs for outstanding students! All of them will expose you to brilliant faculty, professional development opportunities, and rigorous courses. However, there are a few reasons why we think Rice is special:

  • Houston is a great place to live. Compared to other large cities in the US, Houston is relatively affordable and offers a high standard of living. Houston is also sunny, diverse, and home to a great international food scene.
  • Campus culture at Rice in general, and in CEE in particular, is friendly and collaborative.
  • The region is a living urban laboratory for issues including flooding, drought, urban water systems, and renewable energy. (As detailed in our lab guide it is important to approach case studies with humility and deep respect for our partners).

How to apply

As explained here, you are required to apply to the program of your choice in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. You are also encouraged (though not required) to send James an email with your current CV, a statement of your personal and research interests, and any relevant experience before submitting your departmental application.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering requires the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) as part of a holistic admission process. However, since research indicates that the GRE primarily identifies race and socio-economic status, and its association with successful completion of the doctorate is limited, I will not consider GRE scores when evaluating which applicants I will ask the department to admit.

If the GRE requirement or application fee poses a burden you, please reach out.