Environmental Science


The PhD in Environmental Sciences, based at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), is a strategic research collaboration between XJTLU and the University of Liverpool. Upon successful completion of your programme, you will receive a University of Liverpool-issued degree, which is recognised by China’s Ministry of Education.

This PhD programme aims to produce advanced researchers with strong analytical, lab and field skills in the range of disciplines constituting environmental sciences. Following the highest international standards, candidates will be equipped with thorough knowledge and skills in how to collect, critically analyse and interpret environmental data. You will also learn how to generate and present top quality academic manuscripts and scientific reports. In this programme, students will:

  • develop a deep understanding of a key area of environmental science, as well as of the interactions among the disciplines constituting this field of knowledge;
  • acquire the expertise to skilfully and independently design field- and/or lab-based research experiments and projects, as well as to thoughtfully coordinate and implement the required tasks;
  • gain a comprehensive understanding of advanced statistical tools necessary to master analysis, interpretation and reporting of scientific data;
  • cultivate a range of communication skills for proficiently reporting scientific findings to a broad audience, as well as the necessary professional skills to thrive in the job market;
  • expand the current body of knowledge of environmental science by conducting research at the edge of its sub-disciplines, or the intersection among them, as well as by producing cutting-edge scientific papers; and
  • achieve a thorough understanding of the ethical implications of scientific activities, as well as the necessary criteria to assess risks of these activities, in order to carry out adequate decision-making when planning and conducting research.

Research areas in this programme include, but are not limited to:

  1. Biodiversity, including its mechanisms and human influences
  2. Landscape changes, including urbanisation and rural farming
  3. Community ecology, including species interactions and trophic dynamics
  4. Soil nutrients and pollution, including interactions and bioavailability
  5. Air pollution, including aerosol processes, air quality and human health
  6. Soils to plants, including nutrition/heavy metals and human health
  7. Pollutants across interfaces, such as those between soil, water, air, biota and humans

Why should I do My PhD in Environmental Sciences at XJTLU?

  • You will be equipped with strong academic and professional skills to help you maximise your future employability;
  • XJTLU’s English-speaking working environment will enhance your English communication skills;
  • You will receive supervision from respected academics at both XJTLU and the University of Liverpool;
  • XJTLU’s research laboratories are equipped with cutting-edge instruments;
  • PhD students have dedicated travel budgets for participating in international conferences; and
  • You will have the chance to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months.

Career opportunities

With an increasing demand for environmental scientists worldwide, there are ample career opportunities in a wide variety of workplaces, including research centres, universities and institutes, government departments, and environmental consulting and management industries. Most recent graduates have secured post-doctoral fellowships or tenure-track positions in well-known institutions in China or abroad.

Research environment and facilities

The Department of Health and Environmental Sciences has 21 academic staff with wide expertise. Academic staff from different countries, such as the US, Spain, Germany, Sri Lanka and China, bring students new ideas and different perspectives. These academic staff members collaborate with colleagues from numerous domestic and overseas institutions. All academic staff are research-active, publishing and holding grants, which has strengthened the foundation from which PhD students gain research experiences and develop research skills.

The Department’s laboratories are well equipped with advanced instruments and facilities, including over 1,200 square metres of lab space. More than 17 million RMB has been invested in lab instruments.

Potential supervisors


Apply for a scholarship for a funded PhD project:

You can apply for an existing PhD project that has received funds from the University or external funding bodies. The research topic and supervisory team for these projects have already been established.

There is no specific application deadline for a project, as it will remain open until the position is filled. The start date of a PhD programme is usually the first day of March, June, September, or December. You can visit the Postgraduate Research Scholarships Page for information about the specific PhD projects available or to contact potential supervisors to discuss funding opportunities.

The scholarship application is open only to applicants applying for full-time doctoral programmes.

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