The environmental engineering program is based upon a foundation of science and engineering fundamentals. Students are prepared for a wide array of professional opportunities in environmental protection and remediation and possess the scientific and technical knowledge to identify, design, build, and operate systems that make modern society possible. The major areas of expertise that students develop include air pollution processes and control, water quality management, water and wastewater treatment, and global environmental issues. Students majoring in Environmental Engineering are well positioned for careers in the industry, admission into top graduate programs to conduct advanced research in environmental and chemical engineering, or pursue professions such as medicine or law.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is environmental engineering?
Environmental Engineering is the discipline that focuses on the assessment, management and design of sustainable environmental systems for the protection of human and ecological health.
Environmental engineers protect the environment from further damage and correct existing problems by designing systems to provide safe drinking water, treating and properly disposing of wastes, maintaining air quality, controlling water pollution, and cleaning up sites contaminated due to spills or improper disposal of hazardous substances. They monitor the quality of the air, water and land and they constantly seek new and improved means to protect the environment. Environmental engineering is a multidisciplinary field given the various applications of the study and, as a result, practicing engineers are broadly educated and technically trained.
What do environmental engineering students learn?
CEE students develop a strong background in mathematics, physics and chemistry and learn important problem solving and teamwork skills to accomplish goals. The breadth and multidisciplinary nature of chemical and environmental issues requires that students expand beyond their skills of what is typically accepted in other engineering fields. Depending upon their specific career goals, chemical and environmental engineers gain knowledge and skills in areas such as microbiology, ecology, toxicology, chemical technology, geology, water and atmospheric chemistry, hydrology, soil science, computers, economics and law. Our students become skilled at analysis and design, and learn to apply their knowledge to protect the environment and human health.
Where do environmental engineers work?
An environmental engineering degree can be applied to numerous industries. The most common employment opportunities include:
- Engineering consulting firms that design and construct air and water pollution-control systems
- Firms that assess environmental and public health risks associated with past, present and future human activities
- Industries that seek to produce more environmentally friendly devices and systems
- Industries that responsibly treat their air or wastewater discharges
- Private and municipal agencies that supply drinking water
- Companies that treat and dispose of hazardous chemicals
- Companies that operate treatment facilities for municipalities or industries
- Government agencies that monitor or regulate air, water and solid waste discharges
- Universities that teach and conduct research on environmental control
- Private and government laboratories that develop the new generations of pollution-control systems
- International agencies that transfer knowledge and technology to the developing world
- Public-interest groups that advocate environmental protection
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