Undergraduate Academics

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineers apply scientific and engineering principles to assess, manage and design sustainable systems for the protection of human and ecological health. The designs and technologies that they develop provide safe and sufficient public water supplies, enable effective and efficient treatment and resource recovery from wastewater and other wastes, and control pollutant releases that protect water, soil and air quality. Their broad training in basic sciences, mathematics, computational approaches, as well as a strong engineering foundation prepares environmental engineers to apply technological solutions within specific environmental and societal contexts. Environmental engineering graduates are prepared to enter professional practice and to pursue graduate study in environmental engineering and allied fields.

The BS in Environmental Engineering degree program is designed to provide students with comprehensive training in environmental engineering fundamentals. The program has been designed with the goal of receiving accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET under the General Criteria and the Environmental Engineering Program Criteria. Accreditation can be sought once the program has had its first graduates; the program was launched at the start of the 2018-2019 Spring Semester.

Program Objectives and Accreditation Information

EECE Department Mission Statement

The mission of the department is to teach energy, environmental and chemical engineering principles and their application in an inspiring learning environment; to prepare students for engineering careers by developing the skills of critical thinking, analysis and communication proficiency; and to instill a sense of professional ethics and societal responsibility.

Program Educational Objective

The Program Educational Objective for the BSEnvE degree program is that, within a few years of graduation, graduates will: 

  1. Thrive in their professional practice or graduate education, leveraging their knowledge and skills to address complex challenges in environmental engineering or their chosen field.
  2. Foster a lifelong commitment to learning, growth, and professional development, seeking opportunities to advance their expertise and contribute to their environmental engineering practice or chosen field.
  3. Be dedicated to positively advancing society by promoting equity, diversity, sustainability, and ethical practices in their professional endeavors.
Student Outcomes

Graduates of the BSEnvE program are expected to know or have:

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies
Enrollment & Graduation Data for BS in Environmental Engineering
Academic Year Enrollment (all undergraduate levels) BS Graduates
2018 0 N/A
2019 9 N/A
2020 24 N/A 
2021 35 N/A&
2022 27
2023 39
2024* 48 11

*Fall 2024 as of July 15, 2024

Degree Requirements

The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for environmental engineering careers and graduate studies. It is guided by the vision of offering the environmental engineering degree with the strongest chemical engineering flavor or any program in the country. The program benefits from the relatively unique context of a department that integrates environmental engineering and chemical engineering.

The degree requires satisfactory completion of a minimum of 126 units. Degree requirements are linked below, and sample year-by-year curricula are available at the top of this page.

*All BSEnvE students may choose to follow the newer degree requirements.

From the courses listed in the degree requirements, the humanities and social sciences courses (except Engr 450X courses) may be taken pass/fail. All other required courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Additionally, all students must earn a total of 45 Engineering Topics units across all courses. In almost all cases, this requirement can be satisfied by meeting all of the BSCHE degree requirements. Engineering Topics units are denoted by the designation EN/TU in the course listings.

Environmental Humanities and Social Sciences Requirement

As part of the overall requirement of 18 units of humanities and social sciences, the BS in Environmental Engineering requires that 3 units be selected from a menu of options that is focused on environmental humanities or social sciences. Current options for this requirement are listed at the bottom of this page.

Electives Requirements

The degree requirements include 15 units of environmental engineering electives. These units permit students to tailor their studies toward specific goals. Some of these 15 units may be taken in other engineering departments, and one is explicitly required to be from a set of natural science options. In collaboration with their advisers, students design a course of study (subject to certain requirements) for the environmental engineering and science electives.

Electives may be chosen from the list at the bottom of the page, subject to the following requirements:

  • At least 3 units must satisfy the requirement of a natural science elective
  • At least 3 units from EECE courses
  • No more than six (6) units from Independent Study (EECE 300, 400, 500) or Senior Thesis (EECE 423)

Additionally, Engineering Mathematics B (ESE 319) is strongly recommended for students considering graduate studies.

Policies and Procedures for Independent Study and Senior Thesis

Independent Study (EECE 100, 200, 300, 400, or 500) is a great way for students to explore a topic of personal interest or obtain academic credit for pursuing research. In order to register for Independent Study, students should first find an Independent Study advisor (EECE faculty member). In partnership with their advisor, students should complete the Independent Study Petition (linked at the top of this page). Only advanced (300-or-higher) level Independent Study courses will count towards the chemical engineering electives requirement.

The Senior Thesis (EECE 423) is an excellent way for seniors to earn distinction for research they have been involved in, as well as earn elective credit towards their degree. EECE 423 is similar to an independent study, except it is expected to be done over the course of two semesters (both fall and spring of senior year) with various milestone deliverables due throughout the year. At the end of senior year, the student’s thesis will be evaluated by a committee. Like with Independent Study, a Senior Thesis can be done if research is being done outside the department (e.g., at the medical school). Administratively, an EECE faculty member will need to oversee the EECE 423 course grade, but the rest of the oversight can largely be done by the normal research advisor. More details, including the Senior Thesis Registration Form, are linked at the top of this page.

Engineering Topics can be assigned to these courses based on a review of the project scope and content. Independent Study or Senior Thesis units from other departments must be approved by the EECE Undergraduate Committee (through Dr. Janie Brennan) and will be subject to the overall cap of six units. Independent Study or Senior Thesis units cannot be used to fulfill the requirement for an advanced laboratory in engineering or the physical sciences.

Approved Courses for Environmental H/SS and Electives Requirements

Below are lists of courses currently approved to count for either the environmental humanities and social science (H/SS) requirement or the environmental engineering electives requirement. Students interested in counting a course that is not on these lists towards a requirement should first discuss it  with their academic advisor and then petition the EECE Undergraduate Committee by emailing Dr. Janie Brennan. Petitions should include the course name and description, the requirement you'd like the course to count for, the course syllabus (if available), and a brief statement about why the course should be allowed to count.

Environmental Humanities and Social Science Courses
  • Anthro 3616 (Ecofeminism: Environmental Social Movements and Anthropology)
  • Anthro 4287 (Anthropology of Water)
  • Econ 451 (Environmental Policy)
  • EnSt 310 (Ecological Economics)
  • EnSt 346 (Environmental Justice)
  • EnSt 347 (Sustainable Cities)
  • EnSt 357 (Multiparty Environmental Decision Making)
  • EnSt 452 (International Climate Negotiation Seminar)
  • EnSt 4527 (IPCC: Governance, Policy and Science)
  • EnSt 461 (Intro to Environmental Law and Policy)
  • Phil 235F (Introduction to Environmental Ethics)
  • Pol Sci 2010 (Introduction to Environmental Policy)
Environmental Engineering Electives

Natural science elective course options are indicated with asterisks (**).

  • All 300-or-higher level courses in:
    • EECE (E44)
    • BME (E62)
    • CSE (E81)
    • ESE (E35)
    • MEMS (E37)
    • Chemistry (L07)
    • Mathematics (L24)
    • Physics (L31)
  • Biol 2970 (Principles of Biology II)
  • **Biol 381 (Introduction to Ecology)
  • **Biol 419 (Community Ecology)
  • CSE 247 (Data Structures and Algorithms)
  • Chem 262 (Organic Chemistry II)
  • EECE 204 (Thermodynamics II) – Only for students matriculating Fall 2023 and later
  • Engr 324 (From Concept to Market: The Business of Engineering)
  • Engr 329 (Independent Study: Engineering Statistics and Startups)
  • EnSt 380 (Applications in GIS)
  • EnSt 407 (RESET: Renewable Energy and Decarbonizing the Grid)
  • EnSt 539 (Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic)
  • EnSt 580 (Applications in GIS)
  • **EEPS 323 (Biogeochemistry)
  • **EEPS 342 (Environmental Systems)
  • **EEPS 386 (The Earth’s Climate System) [Note: Requires EEPS 202 as a prerequisite]
  • EEPS 387 (Geospatial Science)
  • **EEPS 413 (Introduction to Soil Science) or **EPSc 317 (Soil Science)
  • **EEPS 428 (Hydrology)
  • **EEPS 442 (Aqueous Geochemistry) or **EPSc 444 (Environmental Geochemistry)
  • ESE 230 (Intro to Electrical and Electronic Circuits)
  • MEMS 1001 (Machine Shop Practicum)
  • MEMS 202 (Computer-Aided Design)
  • MEMS 253 (Statics and Mechanics of Materials)
  • MEMS 255 (Dynamics)
  • Physics 217 (Introduction to Quantum Physics)
  • SWCD 5660 (Designing Sustainable Social Policies & Programs: A Systems Dynamic Approach)