Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering



The PhD in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering is part of the research and training program offered by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The programme introduces PhD students to the world of research on critical theoretical and technological elements related to water, the environment, water and transport infrastructures, geology and geomatics. The programme is characterised by a strong cross-sectoral and multi-sectoral structure and is organised according to the following three key thematic profiles.

Area 01 - Water Engineering and Science

The topics of interest are the following:

  • Hydrology and water resources: analysis of the main physical processes of the hydrological cycle that lead to flooding, drought and pollution migration, measurement and modelling of active variables in water and energy balance, development of continuous distributed water balance models.
  • Hydrogeological risk and mitigation strategies, including hydrological extremes, flood frequency, drought and rainfall, operational early warning systems for shallow landslides, snow avalanches and flood risk.
  • Engineering of hydraulic networks, with design of urban sewers and aqueducts, water quality and quantity in drainage networks and effects of local and diffuse structures for flood and pollution control.
  • Coastal engineering, with analysis of wave motion hydrodynamics, marine currents, coastal dynamics, wave-structure interactions.

Area 02 - Transport Infrastructure and Geosciences

The topics of interest are the following:

  • Transport networks: modelling of complex transport networks, including functional interactions with regional, national and international territory.
  • Sustainable development: complex phenomenology that characterizes the dynamics of development and its relations with the infrastructure system; interaction between tunnels and underground hydraulic systems.
  • Technological innovation: methods, criteria and indicators for the performance characterisation of infrastructure construction and maintenance techniques.
  • Risk management: analysis and development of improved measures for the construction and management of road infrastructure, aimed at reducing the risk for both workers and users; geological risk from the construction of transport infrastructure.
  • Applied Geology: hydrogeological risk related to underground excavation in rocks; danger of landslides; identification and management of water resources, pollution problems.

Area 03 - Environmental Engineering, Hydraulics and Geomatics

Research in Environmental Engineering covers the following topics:

  • water supply and treatment technologies, waste water disposal/reuse, biological and physico-chemical technologies for waste water treatment, waste water disposal/reuse, sludge management and disposal, anaerobic digestion processes;
  • management and planning of environmental resources, including the allocation of pollutant loads at source and the assessment of their effects on the environmental components;
  • water quality modelling, knowledge-based decision support systems;
  • minimisation and management of solid waste and sludge;
  • phenomenology of the atmospheric environment and treatment of gaseous emissions: statistical modelling of air quality data, fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, emissions of micropollutants from waste incineration, control of organic birds by biofiltration;
  • contaminated land and its remediation, protection and treatment of groundwater.

Research topics associated with hydraulic engineering include:

  • fluid mechanics;
  • fluid-structure fluid interactions;
  • hydraulic measures;
  • river hydraulics;
  • sediment mechanics;
  • hydraulic risk assessment and management;
  • flow and transport processes in permeable media;
  • hydraulic systems, hydro-energy.

Finally, the main research lines in Geomatics are summarized in the following:

  • Physical and Satellite Geodesy;
  • GNSS and standard surveying techniques for navigation, precise positioning and deformation analysis;
  • Surface surveying with optical and other sensors (e.g. LIDAR);
  • Digital photogrammetry and image analysis;
  • Remote sensing (from satellite to UAV);
  • GIS, Mobile GIS and WebGIS methods and applications.


Career Opportunities

Typical career prospects include opportunities at universities, research centers, public bodies, and authorities, as well as private companies/industry. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may also require highly professional profiles to ensure critical innovation and competitiveness. A Ph.D. in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering can provide highly qualified personnel for key positions and roles in research centers, top management in Public Authorities and Authorities involved in environmental policy, and senior consultants for engineering companies (national and international).

List of courses

Here you find the list of courses of the PhD program in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering. You can select a given academic year, to view courses provided in recent years and that could be offered also in a near future.

Eligible students and scholarships

Students with a Master’s degree in Engineering, Architecture, Physics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences can enroll in the program. Engineers with a Master’s degree in Civil and/or Environmental Engineering are particularly suitable as PhD students/applicants. Scholarships can also be funded by various bodies/organisations, including external public/private research agencies, private companies, universities. Examples are the Italian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, Metropolitana Milanese, Breda, Italcementi, Leica, Eni, CTG, Pibiviesse, US Office of Naval Research. Each scholarship is addressed to a specific research area and theme.