Environmental Engineering, Membrane Processes

Job Type
Job Rank
Ph.D. student
Job Institution
Ph.D. Position – Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 – Environmental Engineering, Membrane Processes
Job Description

Ph.D. Position – Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 – Environmental Engineering, Membrane Processes

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the George Washington University is seeking 1–2 motivated Ph.D. students to start in the Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 semester. The student will conduct NSF-funded research on understanding the mechanisms of fouling on polymeric membrane surfaces with the goal of improving the robustness of membrane processes in desalination and water treatment applications.  The successful candidate will be fully supported with salary, tuition, and benefits. Students who are interested in performing research in this area are encouraged to contact Prof. Xitong Liu by visiting https://www.cee.seas.gwu.edu/liu-xitong or by sending an email to xitongliu@gwu.edu for more information.

Application links and deadlines can be found in the links below. The deadline will be extended for students applying for the Fall 2022 entry.



Self-motivated candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Material Science Engineering, or closely related fields are particularly encouraged to apply.  A Master’s degree with research experience is highly desirable but not required. Previous research experiences with membranes, polymers, water chemistry, and/or colloids and interfaces will be favorable. Excellent verbal and writing communication skills as well as the ability to work independently will also be highly valued in the review process.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to send the following materials as a single PDF file to Prof. Xitong Liu at xitongliu@gwu.edu: a cover letter stating your motivation and past research experience, a C.V. or resume, transcripts, and TOEFL (if applicable) score.  GRE score is currently optional for Ph.D. application to GWU.

George Washington University is a private research university located at the heart of Washington D.C. GWU is an “R1” university (very high research activity) under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is located in the recently built 500,000 sq. ft. Science and Engineering Hall which houses a Class 100 nanofabrication clean-room and advanced microscopy suite. Recent graduates from the GWU Environmental Engineering program work as faculty members in major research universities, environmental engineers in consulting firms, and co-founders in startup companies. The GWU Foggy Bottom campus is a 20-min walk to the National Mall, Washington Monument, and Smithsonian museums. Washington D.C. has world-class attractions, high-quality performing arts, and numerous parks and gardens for outdoor activities. Washington D.C. is rated as one of the most livable cities in the United States.

PI bio: Dr. Xitong Liu obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Nanjing University. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University and received postdoctoral training at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a recipient of multiple academic and professional awards, including the GWU-KU collaboration award, the ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award, the C. Ellen Gonter Environmental Chemistry Award, the American Chemical Society Graduate Student Award, and a student award from the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization. His research has been published in Environmental Science & Technology, Langmuir, ACS ES&T Water, ACS ES&T Engineering, and Journal of Membrane Science. His work has been cited by >1,100 times with an H-index of 15.  His research group studies environmentally relevant interfacial phenomena and aims to develop durable, selective, and cost-effective separation technologies for water purification and recovery of critical materials.  His current research interests include 1) elucidating fouling phenomena at solid-water interfaces; 2) applying colloidal amendments for groundwater remediation; and 3) developing selective separation technologies for critical mineral extraction from water streams.

Please visit the Liu research group website for more information: