Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering



The PhD in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering is part of the research and training programme offered by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The programme introduces PhD candidates to the research on theoretical and technological key topics related to water, environment, water and transport infrastructures, geology and geomatics. It is characterized by a strong cross-sectoral and multi-sectoral approach and is organized according to the following three thematic profiles.

Area 01 - Water Science and Engineering

Main topics:

  • 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 influencing 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, including the 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, including the analysis of wave hydrodynamics, sea flows, coastal dynamics, wave-structure interactions.

Area 02 - Transport Infrastructures and Geosciences

Main topics:

  • 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 characterization of infrastructure construction and of maintenance techniques.
  • Risk management: analysis and development of improved measures for the construction and management of road infrastructures, 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; landslides hazard; identification and management of water resources, pollution problems.

Area 03 - Environmental and Hydraulic Engineering and Geomatics

Main topics:

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

Research topics related to hydraulic engineering include:

  • fluid mechanics;
  • fluid-structure 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;
  • Cultural heritage documentation and archiving;

List of courses

Here you find the list of courses for the PhD programme in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering.
You can change the academic year to view the teaching offer provided in the past years and that can be offered also in a near future.

Career Opportunities

Typical job opportunities include working 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 PhD 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).

Eligible candidates and scholarships

Students with a Master’s degree in Engineering, Architecture, Physics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences can enroll on the program. In particular Engineers with a Master degree in Civil and/or Environmental Engineering are especially suitable as PhD applicants. Scholarships can also be funded by various bodies/organizations, 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.