What is Environmental Engineering?
Environmental engineering applies scientific and engineering principles to protect human populations from harmful environmental factors and to protect and improve the quality of the environment. Environmental engineers are concerned with local and worldwide environmental issues, such as sustainable engineering, global climate change, air and water pollution, hazardous waste management, and more.
How do I enroll?
The department has the following deadlines:
- Fall semester – March 15 for full financial consideration, final application deadline is May 15
- Spring semester – October 15
Students without undergraduate civil and environmental engineering backgrounds may be required to complete select undergraduate courses prior to admission as a graduate student. This is determined by the committee on a case-to-case basis.
- Complete the online application
- Pay the $55 application fee
- Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE
- Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
- Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
- Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
International students have additional admissions requirements.
Environmental Engineering Specialization
Graduates with this specialization work in the following areas:
- Drinking water treatment
- Wastewater treatment
- Air quality and air pollution control
- Solid and hazardous waste management
- Pollution prevention
- Water quality modeling
- Fate and transport of environmental contaminants
- Natural systems engineering
- Wildlife protection
Geotechnical Engineering Specialization
All master’s graduates work as geotechnical engineers in the areas listed below, while PhD graduates work in academia or pursue research positions at consulting firms or research organizations.
- Consulting firm
- State and government agencies, primarily the Army Corps of Engineers, state highway departments, and the Federal Highway Administration
- Geotechnical specialty contractors
Structural Engineering and Mechanics Specialization
Graduates with this specialization have many potential career paths. The following is a partial list:
- Structural consulting firms
- Additional education in engineering, architecture, or other professional fields such as business, medicine, law, etc.
- Professor (teaching and research)
Transportation Engineering Specialization
Graduates in this specialization work as transportation engineers in the following areas:
- Federal Highway Administration
- State Department of Transportation
- Metropolitan Planning Organization
- City, county, and state engineers
- Private consulting in transportation and logistics
- Research institutes and universities
- Railroads, trucking firms, etc.
Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulic Engineering Specialization or Water Resources Engineering and Hydrology Specialization
Graduates can work as engineers in the following capacities:
- Consulting in water resources, hydraulics, or hydrology
- Engineers for consulting and construction companies
- University professors (PhD)
- Research engineers
Master's Degree Plan Option(s)
Students can receive the MS or the ME by pursuing one of three options:
- In the MS Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework, are involved in research, and must write a thesis.
- In the MS Plan B option, students complete graduate-level coursework, work on a project, and are required to produce a report.
- A third option, ME Plan C, does not involve a thesis or a defense meeting and is comprised of coursework only.
The ME degree emphasizes professional practice and coursework. A minimum of 30 credits of technical and scientific coursework is required. The MS degree emphasizes research and the preparation of a significant publication. A minimum of 30 credits, 6 to 9 of which shall be thesis research, is required for an MS. In special cases, as decided by the student’s supervisory committee, a second MS is available with a Plan B option, which requires 30 credits, including 3 credits of CEE 6970 - Thesis Research. The Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD degree, which prepares students for professional engineering careers, requires 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, or 42 credits beyond the master’s degree, including a technical engineering report. The PhD degree represents high scholarly achievement demonstrated by independent research and competence in an area of specialization approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
PhD Qualifying Exams:
Environmental Engineering Specialization:
PhD students must take a comprehensive exam once core classes are completed and no later than the end of the fourth semester. The content and format of the comprehensive exam will be determined by each student’s supervisory committee.
Geotechnical Engineering Specialization:
PhD qualifying exams are generally taken within the first few semesters and cover topics from master’s-level coursework and early PhD coursework. A dissertation proposal and defense are also required.
Structural Engineering and Mechanics Specialization:
PhD candidates must take a qualifying exam and defense of proposed dissertation topic within the first two years of PhD study. Content of the qualifying exam and dissertation proposal defense are determined by the student’s graduate supervisory committee.
Transportation Engineering Specialization:
PhD qualifying exams consists of a written and an oral examination, which are held after the second semester and prior to the beginning of the third semester of graduate study. The written examination will be in the form of an eight-hour exam comprised of questions from the required courses in transportation systems engineering. Upon successful completion of the written examination, the student will present and defend the dissertation proposal at an oral examination.